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Mikhail Tal vs Viktor Korchnoi
Herceg Novi blitz (1970) (blitz), Herceg Novi YUG, rd 13, Apr-08
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Euwe-Keres Line (C07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-18-04  rafaelluiz: As always, Tal surprises :)
Jan-18-04  Almanzor2: You have to love the position after 22.Rad1. Tal lets Korchnoi recover the pawn, but look at his development! He controls the only two open files, and the fact that the Black rooks are not connected, and the Black king has no escape, forms the basis for the nice combination that sends Korchnoi home for the night.
Jan-19-04  rafaelluiz: And this because Korchnoi is a french specialist :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Is this a blitz game? I thought Herceg Novi 1970 was just a blitz tournament.
Jul-21-05  Castle In The Sky: 17.♘e3 sets up a beautiful trap which Black readily falls into!
Aug-25-06  talisman: "tal is a very ordinary player"...korchnoi(after their very close candidate match '68)
Aug-25-06  ughaibu: Courtesy of the similar games link: Geller vs Korchnoi, 1975
Aug-26-06  Albertan: Offramp you are correct. This game was from the Herceg Novi blitz tournament won by Fischer with a score of 19/22.
Mar-24-09  outsider: excellent excellent excellent. btw, i may confirm this was a blitz tournament
Aug-25-09  dTal: talisman, Korchnoi was quite upset because their match was much closer than he expected, with Tal missing a couple of wins, and Korchnoi just managing to scrape through 2 to 1. Tal never bore him a grudge though, he understood K's character and said he doesn't really mean many of his mean comments..
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It seems here that to make the french an open game, with free movement for the black pieces, Korchnoi has to settle for a mangled pawn position and bad development. Somehow the move 1...e6 just seems fundamentaly wrong. But enought strong players win with it, and it was used to defeat Bobby Fischer.
Sep-16-11  iamdeafzed: @ HeMateMe

Actually, according to the statistical data available on this site, I believe 1...e6 is the 3rd highest scoring reply to 1.e4 (after 1...c5 and 1...e5); hardly "fundamentally wrong". Yes, black often accepts spatial inferiority on the king side and a light-square bishop that's difficult to develop. Big deal. Name me one defense that doesn't have at least one fundamental drawback to it.

Consider the pros of the French Defense: it allows black to control some of the center without necessarily maintaining pawn symmetry like 1...e5 does. It also is relatively safe, unlike the Sicilian Defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think the French wins because white tries too hard to make use of his spatial advantage, becomes a bit reckless. I don't think it scores well because it is strategically sound. People like Kasparov and Karpov knew how to strangle French players. You have to be patient.
Jan-25-12  iamdeafzed: @ HeMateMe

Without over-generalizing too much, yes, much of the point of the French Defense is to provoke white into being overly aggressive, encouraging him to make unsound mating attacks that (with accurate defense) are parried, and then black can usually easily win an endgame after that.

Perhaps you don't like living with spatial inferiority as black. Neither did I until I started actually playing the French more and realized what kind of counterplay it can give you. Look, EVERY defense has its drawbacks. In the Sicilian, for example, black almost always risks succumbing to an early attack by white, thanks to his typical lag in development (king side particularly). And should white decide to castle queen side, you'd better be prepared to face an aggressive pawn storm.

Also, just because Kasparov and Karpov "strangled" other French players (as you put it), that almost certainly says more about Kasparov and Karpov as players as opposed to any inherent deficiencies in the French Defense. Both were world champions you realize. Given this fact, one would EXPECT them to win most of their games against their opponents no matter what opening they played against.

Jan-25-12  SChesshevsky: <<It seems here that to make the french an open game, with free movement for the black pieces, Korchnoi has to settle for a mangled pawn position and bad development.>>

I'm guessing that Korchnoi played this French defense more aggressively only because it was blitz.

Moves like the agressive 15...Qd6 and not getting the King off the a2 diagonal after 16.Bf3 are probably more typical of blitz than reg time games.

Jan-19-13  leka: Albertan. It was Fischer best rating results 19/22 in blitz in 1970 rating 2991 ratings point.Magnus Carlsen did the same results in London 2012.The highest ratings scores ever in the tournaments 1.A.Alekhine 3041,6 points in San Remo in 1930 2.Anatoly Karpov in Linares in 1994 3016,6 points
Jan-06-19  Albanius: If 24.. Rxe8
25 Rxe8+ Rf8
26 Rd8 Kg8!? (..h6 27 Rxf8+ Kh7 28 Rxc8 +-)
hoping for
27 Rxc8? Rxe8
28 Rxe8+ Kf7 -+
so W must play 27 Rxf8+ Qxf8
28 Bd5+! +-
Oct-21-21  Gaito: An outstanding game by Tal. Another miniature won by Tal (against Petrosian) also with the Tarrasch variation of the French Defense can be seen in this link: Tal vs Petrosian, 1975 The Tarrasch variation seemed very powerful for White when Tal played it!

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