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Viswanathan Anand vs Jan Timman
Linares (1993), Linares ESP, rd 1, Feb-23
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Norwegian Variation (C70)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-29-03  Whitehat1963: Another one who employs 5 ... Na5 in the Ruy Lopez. Ultimately it proves unsuccessful, but I don't think it's anything close to a losing move. Still, it's highly unpopular. Why?
Oct-29-03  NiceMove: I think Na5 isn't that popular because it it costs black a few non-developing tempi (from someone else's comment) to eat the bishop which isn't as useful in the resulting closed position. So it's trading black's good minor piece for white's not-as-good piece. Also, the open a file compensates for the double pawns. It seems playable, but I think black has better choices.
Sep-15-04  DanielBryant: Burgess writes about it as if it's the losing move, a condemnation I don't quite understand.
Sep-16-04  e4Newman: I don't personally have experience with 5...Na5 but in John Emms book on the Lopez, he doesn't strongly suggest it (doesn't saying it's losing either!). Interestingly, he uses this game as an example of how not to play 13...Ne3, which he claims allows black to equalize after the 15...g6 move.

Emms quotes Anand himself as suggesting 13.Nc3! b4 14.Ne2 where <...white's space advantage outweighs the latent power of the bishop pair.> To me it looks like white has to keep those bishops hemmed in while activating his knights to the forward positions that the pawns support.

Sep-16-04  e4Newman: Woops, I meant "not to play 13.Ne3", instead of <not to play 13...Ne3>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MoonlitKnight: 5...Na5 is called the Norwegian variation and was invented by some Norwegian IMs in the 50s I think.
Apr-14-05  weirdoid: Norwegian variation? Maybe. Is it Svein Johannessen?

I was told it was called Taimanov variation - he survived Spassky vs Taimanov, 1955 and at the earlier stages of the (dubious, according to some) attack, he even appeared to be headed to victory.

S. Johannessen did not do as well in Fischer vs S Johannessen, 1966.

I used to use this defense with black myself - with mixed results. Then I faced it once with white and won easily (admittedly against a weaker opponent) and decided to stop using it with black :( :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MoonlitKnight: Yes, Svein Johannessen was its inventor. But he did actually have good results with it. Losing to Fischer is just what you must expect as an IM. It might very well be called the Taimanov variation as well, since he was probably the only GM to employ it, but it was originally invented by Johannessen.
Aug-23-12  Cemoblanca: The very first game of the famous Linares tournament in 1993. This was a category XVIII event & thus 1 of the 2 strongest tournaments of all time.

Here is a Top 10 list:

#1 Vienna, 1882
#2 Linares, 1993
#3 Nottingham, 1936
#4 AVRO, 1938
#5 Linares, 1992
#6 Wijk aan Zee 2001
#7 London, 1883
#8 Wijk aan Zee 1999
#9 Linares, 1994
#10 Hastings, 1895

By the way: Great game by Vishy!

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