After a fairly simple win in round one, I tried out a different Sicilian than I usually play. I played it decently, with only one early move where I clearly didn't understand the line.

**Bitran,Daniel (2133) - Cross,Ted (2034) [B99]**

Budapest Spring Chess
Festival Budapest (2), 15.03.2014

**1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.g4 b5 11.a3 Bb7?!**

Here is where I clearly didn't know the line, where Rb8 would have been equal, while my move leads to a small edge for white if he plays correctly.

**12.Bd3?!**

Which he didn't, thankfully.

**[12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.g5 Bxd4 14.Rxd4 0–0²]****12...Nc5 13.Rhe1 Rc8 14.Kb1 Qb6 15.Qe2 b4! 16.axb4 Qxb4 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.e5 dxe5 19.fxe5 Be7**

I had played well to this point and had a significant advantage. Be7 here still leaves me with an edge, though Bh4 was stronger. [¹19...Bh4 20.Rf1 0–0–+]

**20.Rf1?!**

White gives me an opportunity to gain a winning advantage. [¹20.Ne4 0–0µ]

**20...Nxd3?!**[¹20...Rb8 21.Na2 Qb6 22.Bc4 0–0 23.b3 h6–+]

Which I promptly fail to see. Luckily I still have a nice edge.

**21.Rxd3 0–0 22.Ne4 Bxe4?**

But here I blow most of my advantage. I'd have been winning with

**[22...Bd5! 23.Nd2 Rb8 24.N4b3 a5 25.Rd4 Qb7–+]****23.Qxe4 Bc5?!**

**Now I let white get equality, while I'd still have a large edge with [23...Rc4! 24.Rfd1 h6µ]**

**24.c3 Qa4 25.Rh3 g6**

The computer thinks g6 is fine but says a tiny fraction better is [¹25...h6
26.g5 Rb8 27.Rf2 Qd1+ 28.Ka2 Bxd4 29.cxd4 Rb4 30.gxh6 Rxd4 31.Qb7

*(31.Qg2 g6 32.Qb7 Qa4+ 33.Ra3 Qc4+µ)*31...Ra4+ 32.Ra3 Rxa3+ 33.Kxa3 Qa1+ 34.Kb3 gxh6µ]**26.Qf4 f5??**

**And I blow everything, giving white a winning game. The right way to play was [26...Rb8! 27.Rf2**

*(27.Qh6?? Rxb2+ 28.Kxb2 Ba3+ 29.Ka2 Bc1+–+)*27...Rb7 28.Rc2 Rfb8 29.Rf3 Bxd4 30.Qxd4 Qxd4 31.cxd4 Rb4³]

Now it's just easy for white.

**27.exf6 Qd7 28.Rd3 Rce8 29.Qe4 Qd5 30.Qxd5 exd5 31.Nb3 Bd6 32.Rxd5 Bxh2 33.g5 Re5 34.Rxe5 Bxe5 35.Nc5 Bd6 36.Ne6 Rf7 37.Nd8**

**1–0**

So that was painful, to do so well in a new line only to throw it away with one bad move. The next round saw me continue my experimentation with the Grand Prix Sicilian. I was playing an International Master, so maybe I'd have been better off sticking to my normal opening.

**Cross,Ted (2034) - Pirisi,IM Gabor (2258) [B23]**

Budapest Spring Chess
Festival Budapest (3), 16.03.2014

**1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.f4 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bb5 Nd4 6.0–0 Nxb5 7.Nxb5 a6 8.Nc3 b5 9.d3 d6 10.Qe1 b4 11.Ne2 Nf6 12.h3 0–0 13.Qh4 e6 14.f5 exf5**

Fourteen moves in and I'm doing fine. I had been studying a book by GM Perelshteyn, and though I didn't know it at the time here I was exactly following a Perelshteyn game. Only on the next move the GM played correctly while I went astray.

**15.Bh6?**[15.exf5 Nh5

*(15...Re8; 15...Nd5)*16.Bg5 Bf6? (16...f6 17.fxg6 fxg5

*(17...hxg6 18.Bd2 f5 19.Qc4+ Kh8 20.Nf4 Nxf4 21.Qxf4±)*18.gxh7+ Kh8 19.Qxh5 Qe8 20.Qxe8 Rxe8 21.Rae1±) 17.g4!?

*(17.Ng3 h6 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Nxh5 gxh5 20.Bxf6 Rxf6 21.Qxh5±)*17...Bxg5 18.Nxg5 h6 19.f6 hxg5 20.Qxg5 Re8?

*(20...Ng7! 21.Rae1 c4 22.Ng3 Ra7 23.Qe3 Rd7 24.fxg7 Kxg7 25.dxc4±)*21.gxh5 Re5 22.Qg2 Ra7 23.hxg6 fxg6 24.Qxg6+ Kh8 25.Ng3 Qg8 26.Qxg8+ Kxg8 27.h4 d5 28.Rf4 Rh7 29.a3 bxa3 30.Rxa3 Kf7 31.Ra5 d4 32.b4 Rh6 33.Ne4 Bb7 34.Nd6+ 1–0 Perelshteyn,E (2360)-Montalvo,A (2235)/Mermaid Beach 1997/EXT 2001]

**15...Nh5 16.Bxg7 Qxh4 17.Nxh4 Nxg7 18.Ng3?!**

**I'm in trouble no matter what, but slightly better was [18.exf5 Bxf5**

*(18...Nxf5 19.Nxf5 Bxf5 20.Ng3 Be6 21.Ne4 Rfd8 22.Rae1µ)*19.Ng3 Be6 20.Ne4 Ne8 21.a3µ]

**18...f4 19.Ne2 g5 20.Nf3 h6 21.Rae1 Bb7 22.g3 fxg3 23.Nxg3 f5 24.exf5 Nxf5 25.Nxf5 Rxf5 26.Nd2 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Kg7 28.Re1 Kf6 29.Ne4+ Bxe4 30.Rxe4 d5 31.Re2 Ra7 32.Re8 Re7 33.Rc8 Re2 34.Rxc5 Ke5**

After all this fairly straightforward maneuvering, I actually dared to think I might be able to save the game at this point. The computer laughs at my naive thinking! I failed to understand how deadly black's kingside pawns would be.

**35.c4?**

**Even the better [35.a3 b3 36.cxb3 Re3 37.Kg2 Rxd3 38.b4 Rd2+ 39.Kf3 h5–+] fails.**

**35...Rxb2 36.Rxd5+ Kf4 37.Ra5 Kg3 38.Kf1 Kf3 39.Kg1 h5 40.c5 g4 41.hxg4 hxg4 42.c6 Rb1+**

**0–1**

So after a win followed by two losses in a row, I needed to get back on track quick. My next opponent was a Swede that I had played in the same tournament in 2003.

**Pesola,Jyrki (1863) - Cross,Ted (2034) [B98]**

Budapest Spring Chess
Festival Budapest (4), 17.03.2014

**1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6**

Again I try the Najdorf Sicilian even after my loss two rounds previously.

**6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 h6 8.Bh4 Be7 9.Qf3 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 Qc7 11.Bf2 b5 12.Bd3 Bb7 13.a3 Nc5 14.Rhe1 Rc8 15.Qe2 Qa5**

I had played the opening well, gaining a slight edge to this point,and now my opponent gave me a dangerous opportunity.

**16.Qd2?**

**e5?**

Which I failed to see. Best was [16...b4!
17.axb4 Qa1+ 18.Nb1 Ncxe4 19.Qe2 0–0µ]

**17.Nf5?**

**Luckily for me he messed up for a second move in a row, and this time I didn't let the chance escape me! [17.fxe5 Ng4**

*(17...dxe5 18.Nf5 b4 19.Bxc5 bxc3 20.Nxg7+ Kf8 21.Bxe7+ Kxe7 22.Qf2 cxb2+ 23.Kxb2 Rc3 24.Nf5+ Kf8 25.Ra1²)*18.exd6

*(18.Kb1 Nxd3 19.cxd3 dxe5 20.Nf5 Bxa3 21.bxa3 Qxa3 22.Na2 g6 23.Ne3 Qb3+ 24.Qb2 Qxb2+ 25.Kxb2 Nxf2 26.Rd2 Nxd3+ 27.Rxd3 Bxe4 28.Rd6 Ke7 29.Rxa6 Rhd8 30.Re2÷)*18...Bg5 19.Be3 Nxe3 20.Rxe3 0–0 21.Rde1 Rce8 22.Qf2 b4 23.axb4 Qxb4 24.Nf5 Nxd3+ 25.cxd3 g6 26.Ne7+ Kh7µ]

**17...b4 18.Nd5??**

**Even without his blunder here he was lost [18.fxe5 bxc3 19.Qxc3 Qxc3 20.bxc3 Nxd3+ 21.cxd3 dxe5 22.Nxe7 Kxe7–+]**

**18...Nb3+**

**0–1**

**I'll get to the really memorable game that I mentioned above in the next post.**