I again had the same dilemma as a few days before trying to decide what to do – go to the club or watch playoff hockey and choose chess again. It was a last round and my opponent was an old guy whom I played several times before. I got Black and we played Queen’s Gambit, Slav defense, Exchange variation.

It was a completely equal and frankly, pretty boring position and I decided to “spice it up”.  I soon realized that it was a bad idea and I will be in trouble after 17. d5. Then we both made a few mistakes. Computer thinks he had to play 19. Rc1 with 19… Be7 20. d6 Bxd6 and White is having 1.75 advantage. Then I had to play 19… Bb8 making the position equal. Then again he could get advantage playing 20. d6.

So after 22 moves I suddenly found myself in a completely equal position. We continued to play and after we exchanged dark-colored bishops I got myself a better endgame due to his bad bishop. He realized that and offered a draw. I said I will play and he jokingly said that I have to prove it. After his 35. Bb4 I started to think what I can do and saw f4 pawn sacrifice.

I calculated 35… f4 36. gxf4 Bd8 37. h5 gxh5 line and thought that I am better, but didn’t like his passed “f” pawn and thought that he has a counter-play.  I didn’t feel like I have energy and didn’t want to risk the first place that I would share after a draw. So, I accepted his draw offer.

At home next day I ran a deep analysis of that sacrifice and computer told me that it was winning. His king has to go to the kingside to stop the “h” pawn, black bishop goes to h4, then after h2 Black exchanges “h” pawn to “f” pawn and then wins “e” pawn. Move f5 is met with Kd5. It was pity to see that it was possible to win.

After my last post I got 4 draws ( and 1 loss ). Three draws were against higher rated opponents, but there was not much interesting happening there. The last draw was really entertaining, so I decided to post it. I had to do a lot of driving that day and needed 20 minutes nap to get myself into more or less “playable” state. My opponent was a little boy, same rating, my score with him +1, =1.  I got Black and we played Slav Defense, exchange variation.

The opening was quite boring and taking into account my physical shape that day I was ready for a draw. After I played c5, he unexpectedly moved his queen to c2. I realized that I am in trouble. I looked at different ways to get out of pin, but didn’t like any of them. Rb5 looked suspicious to me and I was afraid that in my shape I will make a mistake in my calculations and eventually will be without a piece. And yes, computer says I would be worse after e4. The only move saving the situation was a5, I didn’t see it. So, I played Nd7. On move 23 I didn’t want to play g6 taking that square from my knight and played h6, which was not a good move. I could play g5 instead. Then he made a mistake by playing g3, the only right move was Nc3 keeping the advantage. I saw d4 and played it. His exd4 was right, computer in some lines lets dxe3 happened and it is not good for White. After another move he offered a draw, which I accepted.

We did a post-mortem and discussed Kf1 with king escaping to the queenside. He said that he considered it risky. I actually thought that it could be not good for me, but in the shootouts most of the games ended up drawn and one game ended up with Black winning, as black queen developed a lot of activity and took all of the queenside pawns, sacrificing black knight at some point.


It is exactly how I felt during this game of the first round of the big tournament. The guy got White and we played Queen’s gambit Slav, Exchange variation. I misplayed it and had to go back with my bishop. Still I was OK until I played these bad moves Nh5 and f6. Right after f6 I saw Bc7. He played it and I got into trouble.

Then after Nh4 I thought that I lost the game, that’s how bad it looked. Amazingly he played 20. Bg6 and I saw f5 right away. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Then I  probably played it too safe, computer doesn’t like at all my queens exchange. For the price of the pawn I eventually got all my pieces in play and after 45… Rc4 I felt that I am winning. But the guy was not in  a hurry to agree… My Na3 was the right move, but 49… fxe4 was of course a mistake, g6 was keeping the fort. The same g6 that I played one move later could cost me a game after f5, as it is losing by force due to a two passed pawns and remote knight. He didn’t see it.

The play continued and then he played 54. h4, to which computer puts ?? comment because of Nxe5. Would you believe me if I will say that I considered Nxe5 at least a few times? But it seemed to me that his king gets to the pawns in time. What I didn’t see was that my king after eliminating “b” pawn succeeds in taking “e” pawns too. And the last thing I didn’t see with 8 minutes remaining (no increment) is that I could play 56… h5 and get my king to c6. Still, natural Kxb6 allowed him to get a draw after f5 and my king is too far. So, only careful maneuvering with  a knight and a king wins here. After 58. Kb5 he said it was a 3-fold repetition. I didn’t see a win, so agreed to a draw without even checking the score sheet.

I can only add that the guy played really well later at the tournament and shared a second place with 4/5.

This is a refrased title of the one of my favorite AC/DC songs. The season in the club started with a changed time control – 60/G plus 15 seconds increment. I got an opponent with whom despite of his higher rating I had a positive score.

I got Black and we got Slav defense, Exchange variation, here is the game. He got an attack after the opening and told me after the game, that he saw 17. Bxh7, but decided not to follow with it.  Funny that after 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 even Fritz thinks that Black is better until you force him to play 19. Rf3. That was winning.

21. Rf3 was his big mistake allowing me to win an exchange. Then I didn’t have to give up my queen for his rook and night, but situation looked too dangerous to me. I didn’t see that after 27… Rc7 28. Rh7 Qf6 my knight was coming to f7 to defend from Kf2 and Qh1.  Anyway I got a material and positional advantage and he was really low on time, less than 30 seconds. But he started to play fast and he saw a plan with his queen penetrating into my backyard.

That really worked well and I had to switch to defense. Then he repeated moves a few times and after me noticing it thought a bit and agreed to a draw. In the final position I was actually worse, he still had less time and probably didn’t see how he can win.