7 OTB Tournament Games Fully Annotated (3 Against Titled Players), 4 Puzzles and More!

Apr 29, 2010, 3:52 AM |

A week ago I published a blog post with my first OTB tournament game (against a NM) since 2002. This time you'll see 7 games that I played (excluding one game where my opponent, a little kid made many blunders, and a game I didn't yet had the time to annotate so I will include it in an additional blog), fully annotated, 3 of them against titled players and some puzzles in between for your entertainment.

First, some background. Parallel with the Anand-Topalov match, there was an open tournament in the same building in which I participate. 68 player participated and among them were 3 GMs, 7 IMs, 1 WIM, 2 FM, 1 WFM, 9 NMs and me. Needless to say, I didn't have much chances but that's all right - I played for fun and to see in what shape I was after leaving OTB chess for 8 years.

How did I prepared for each game? First I checked to see what my opponents would play against me. Most of the time that information is found online at the FIDE site or at the tournament website. I make a quick drill on the opening or the variation in the evening. On the morning I do 30-40 quick tactical problems to get my brain working, take a shower, grab a bottle of soda and a quick snack and play my chess :)

My first game was against a 2150ish-rated NM - 230 points above me. But I was not nervous since I was ranked 58th in that tournament - whatever I did would be a success. I'm proud of this game, even though I lost. I played very accurate chess (confirmed by Rybka) and my position was better up to the 30th move when I made a blunder (which, for the first time, raised a flag that I needed to improve my calculating ability). Here is the game:


I started the tournament with a loss but my relatively good play gave me some strenght and confidence that I can do even better. Alas, in the second round I was also defeated but once again played a good game. Until I blundered to small tactical trick.

But first, can you spot the trick? It is black to move in this little puzzle.








And here is the game:




With 0 out of 2 I played against a 11-years old kid who I easily defeated after a number of blunders on his part. I won't bother you with this game. In the next round I played a game where everything was decided in the mutual time trouble. I won and you'll see the game in the next few days.

With 2 out of 4 I was paired with a 1868-rated opponent. Now, I have some advantage in rating but my rating is very old and, most likely, unreliable. The game was a drama in 3 parts: in the first part I got a strong advantage in the opening; in the second I lost a pawn and went on the defense; In the third I regained the pawn and proceeded to win the game.

The game finished with a nice little tactic. Can you find it in the next puzzle? It's white to move.
















And here is the game:

The 6th round was a loss against a strong player. I blundered a pawn as usual, put as tougher resistance as I could but my opponent finally managed to find a way in. Can you find how in the next little puzzle? It's white to move.















And here is the game:

The 7th round brought back the agressiveness in me. I thought I lost my agressivness some time ago but with opposite-side castling and pawnstorms, this game was really beautiful. Look at the next puzzle. What would you play with white here?
















And here is the game:

In the 8th round I was to play against a second titled player - a NM. I knew that he would play the English opening against me so I felt prepared. I played a great game in this opening recently on Chess.com so I knew the idea I wanted to follow. The game finished with a rook endgame. Before looking at the game, please evaluate the position on the diagram. How the game should end. The answers is at the end of this post and in the annotated game.















If you think you have an answer proceed to the game:

The final round I was playing an IM with the whooping rating of 2376. I played very agressivelly, reached a good position but miscalculated my moves and my opponent found the refutation. The idea was really good (and Rybka agrees there was a way to exploit it with awesome results) but on the board you can't see everything. If you play against much stronger opponents, you should play activelly. If I give him the upper hand early on, defending will be a major pain, probably impossible. Here is the game:


With 4.5 out of 9 (and a draw against a NM) I was happy with my play. I saw I'm still in shape and I'm capable of playing good chess although I need to work on my calculations. The average rating of my opponents was 2005 and my FIDE performance rating was 1915. I need one more game from another tournament to get a FIDE rating (and it'll be somewhere around 1900-1930). My national rating jumped 5 points. I found that I was relativelly calm during the games even when I was losing. This was a surprise for me as I expected to be more nervous based on my experience from long ago. Thank you for reading this blog, any comments will be appreciated and answered!

THE ANSWER FOR THE ENDGAME QUESTION: White can't take the black pawn, he could only exchange it for the f-pawn. The result is a theoretical endgame - since black can easily control the queening square (g8), white can't win.