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Boris Gulko vs Mikhail Tal
Grandmasters-Young Masters (1970), Sochi URS, rd 2, Oct-??
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Spassky Variation (D87)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-04-03  ughaibu: There's a rather complicated unbalancing exchange of material that presumably both sides were happy to enter into but it seems to have been very poor judgement by Gulko.
Jun-23-05  vampiero: the wierd exchange of material entered by Gulko because he though that if he just took the c5 pawn earlier, he was falling for a miraculous attack by Tal
May-02-06  whatthefat: This is one of the very rare games where Tal decided to play the Grunfeld. The ending reached after 22.Bxa3 is fascinating in view of how the two players must have both positively assessed it at the beginning of the exchanges.
May-03-06  madlydeeply: Tal seems to use his Rooks like minor pieces, they seem very agile, always rooklifting and such.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: Gulko went for complicated play, but the magician found something even more unexpected. Then, Tal played the ending in a very simple way: just push the passed pawn. This made me remember of his comments of similar earlier Karpov games, where Anatoly was advancing in direct fashion his queen side passed pawns.

17.Qa3?! <It seems that Gulko had nothing better to do than come back with 17.Be3, more or less equal. But it is always a difficult choice.> Bxd4!? <Unexpected! 17...Nd4 18.Bd7 Ne2 19.Kh1 Qb1! 20.Rb1 Rd7, Black has Rook+Knight+pawn vs Queen. It seems that the position is slightly in Black's favour, as his pieces have better squares. If 21.Bb4 a6! 22.Be7? Rc3 23.Qb4 Nc1 threatening 24...Rd1 and 24...Nd3, Black wins.> 18.Bxc6 <Interesting 18.Nd4 Qd4 19.Be3 Qe4 20.Bd3 Q moves 21.Rb7. Black won a pawn, but the dark squares around the Black King are weakened after the trade of the Black Bishop.> Bc5! <only move.> 19.Rxb6 Bxa3 20.Bxd7 Rxd7 21.Bb4 axb6 22.Bxa3 <it was all forced. Now Black wins another pawn, reaching an ending with Rook+2 pawns vs Bishop+Knight. This is in Black's favour, although the two pawns on the queenside are of lesser value because doubled.> Rc4 <good but simpler is 22...Rc2.> 23.Ng3 Ra4 24.Bc1 Rxa2 25.Be3 Rb2 <Not 25...b5 on account of 26.Rb1.> 26.Rc1 b5 27.Kf1 b4 28.Ke1 b3 29.Rc3 h5 30.e5 Rd5 31.Ne4 <31.e6 was more accurate.> Rb5 <31...Re5 32.Nc5 f5! 33.g3 (33.Nd3 Rb1) g5! destroys White's position.> 32.e6 Rb1+ 33.Kd2 <33.Ke2 b2 34.Rc8 Kg7 35.Bd4 f6 36.Nd2 Rc1, Black wins too.> b2! 34.Bd4 Rd1+ 0-1

Apr-06-07  refutor: i feel the exact same way that Tal does about the Grünfeld (taken from Tal : Life and Games)

"Normally I play this opening badly. My last attempt was in a game from the match with Larsen (1965) when I lost. Yet there is something in the defense that appeals to me, and it is most appropriate to train oneself in a training tournament"

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The rarity of the Gruenfeld in Tal's praxis, especially in his early career, given his partiality to sharp play, was something of a mystery to me as well. The same could be said for how infrequently the Panov appeared versus the Caro-Kann in his games.

It's surprising to me that Tal rejected the natural 22....Rc2 in favour of 22....Rc4. One can only speculate as to what appealed in the line chosen by him.

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