1/1 Chess 2/3

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Game 1

We got the white pieces, started off in our repertoire with an Italian two knights defense:

I took the pawn and even retreated to the correct square:

Both players had used a whopping 13 seconds (of 10 minutes) getting here, which makes what follows very bad…

My opponent played Nd4, which I had to think about:

According to lichess’ database, this has never been played by a master, and has only happened about 40 times with players ~1800 and up. The most popular response, which I found, is Nf7, with white winning 84% of those games.

Extremely embarrassing, but here I was so busy calculating all of the options after something like Qe7 Nxh8 Nxb3 axb3 that the following happened…

Absolute bonehead, could have captured his queen and took a rook instead! Evaluation from +4 for white to -5.

He started to attack right away, without bothering to tuck his king away or grab my knight. I saw the chance for a cute little trap:

Be3! and he took the bait.

We both still have over 8 minutes, so just sloppy from both sides. The game is now slightly in my favor, and with best play ends up looking something like this, with material equal:

Fortunately for me, we did not get best play, he played Qxf1, which seems like it should be OK, but is actually very bad because it lets me retake with my queen with check, giving me a huge advantage, letting me keep my knight (no longer stuck in the corner, and if black slips, easily leading to mate.

He does indeed slip! Can you find the mate in two? Black resigned after seeing it.

Both players ended with over 8 minutes!

Game 2

White again! Very auspicious. Within about 10 seconds used for each player we get this position in the Evans Gambit:

I usually forget if I’m supposed to castle (seems too slow) or play Qb3 (thematic but perhaps too early). In this game I properly remembered that d4 is the move.

We stayed in my opening prep all the way till this position:

Both players had about 8 minutes left. I took the pawn, but the wrong one. Qxb7 is the last move in my opening prep, but I did not know it, and played Qxe6. Both are equal material for the moment, but Qxb7 is +2.5 vs Qxe6 +0.5.

My opponent was pretty cooperative with my development and I ended up here, each with about 3-4 minutes left:

More simplification and I have really nice control of the center and his King does not look safe:

But at this point we both had less than 2 minutes and I wasn’t able to find any of the best ideas, and instead played f4, which is probably a crime. The best idea was Ba3 and if he moves his rook on the f-file, d6, if he moves it on the 8th rank, d6 or a5.

With 61 seconds for him and 50 seconds for me we ended up here:

Either e6 or d6 is winning by a mile, obvious in hindsight.

Instead I traded down and pushed my pawn too far! Black is now going to pick the pawn up and win!

Luckily for me I was able to flag him (sorry, broh)!

Game 3

We have the black pieces, and the scandi is on the board!

We got here rather quickly, then he played c3. Things started to go wrong rather quickly for me, e5 is the only good move, instead I played Nf6.

We ended up in this position and I tried to sacrifice my bishop:

I played more bad moves and ended up here, where white is well ahead with either Bd3 or Nxc6:

After some trades we simplified to this position:

I am down a piece but have two pawns and a decent looking structure.

Eventually I trapped his knight, but was down to 3 minutes (to his 8!)

I ended up getting myself into trouble on the d file after doubling on the f file:

I should have moved my bishop but instead played Rf8 (can you see the issue???). Luckily, he didn’t either. I was able to trade down to this position, but just didn’t have enough time (17s):

I lost on time here, in a position that was technically drawn:

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