After a couple of bad results, you start to appreciate the wins so much, much more. I was generously given two straight whites, and thanked Caissa for her trust in me by scoring two good wins.
In round 3, against the Austrian FM Platzgummer, I got a completely dominating position and I made a big mistake by capitalizing on the domination too soon by entering a pawn-up rook ending. I should have improved my position much more, for instance by f4! which works tactically as Rxe4 loses to Nb8! With the e4-f3-g4 structure, I thought I had an optimal position as I can give the f3-pawn without allowing black to get a passed pawn in the near future. With hindsight, it’s very difficult, maybe even impossible since black’s king is very close and will give white many headaches in trying to promote the pawn. Luckily, my opponent played Rh1, which is certainly a mistake. Rb5! is good, but I think I should have played Kd4 instead of Kd2 afterwards. I thought the setup I got in the game was easily winning, but truth is that black’s active rook and king is troublesome. We got the following interesting position pretty much by force:
Here I thought 49…f6!? would be a very tricky move. There is some sort of zugzwang, since the move white wants to play, 50.Ka2 is a draw after 50…Ke5! for instance 51. Ka3 Kd4! with enough counterplay, or 51.Rd3 Kf4 52.Ka3?? Rxf3 53.Rxf3+ Kxf3 54.b4 Kxe4 when black is in time to catch the white pawn and win. My idea was to play 50.Ka1!? with the main point being 50…Ke5 51.Rd3 Kf4 52.b4! since there’s no longer a pin on the second rank. Now if Rxf3, white will queen the b-pawn just before the black king makes it back. I actually could’ve played it in the game by transposition, but then I’d already calculated the game continuation to a win, so its relevance got lost. The irony is that the mainline in this Ka1-idea would be exactly the same as the game continuation, as white would have to spent one extra tempi to get to d3, while black would spent a tempi going back with the king from f4. If black moves his rook after Ka1, white will play Ka2 with a winning position.