The opening was a Caro Kann with 3 e5 and on move 7 he introduced a very rare set-up. It didn’t make much sense to me, as he played 7…h6 and this was usually connected with Bh7 later on, but he played 6…Bg6 so I concluded that he just mixed something up (he spent some time on these moves). But things weren’t that simple (as if they ever are!) and soon enough I thought that if I didn’t manage to push f5 at all costs black would have a good game.
I spent masses of time on moves 9-11, calculating a lot and very soon I was sacrificing pawns (and pieces and rooks in my calculations) in order to open up the game and use my development advantage. As it turned out, he made an imprecision on move 11 (11…dc4?!, we both thought it was the best move, but the computer disagrees) and then I firmly took over the initiative. By a series of only moves he managed to stay in the game and we went into an endgame where I still had the initiative. When he offered a draw on move 23 I calculated a line that led to an equal rook endgame and accepted, but I made a mistake already on my intended 24th move – instead of my intended 24 Rd1, he suggested 24 Rd4, which was much better and kept better chances for white. For some reason I didn’t consider it. So a draw in the end and a good game, even though I was left with the feeling that I let him escape.
There are only 3 players with 4/4 (and I couldn’t understand a thing of what happened in the endgame Delchev-Bok). The tournament enters the middlegame and there is everything to play for.