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Lajos Portisch vs Gyozo Forintos
HUN-ch 13th (1958), Budapest HUN, rd 6
Slav Defense: Alekhine Variation (D15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Very nice game!
Jun-21-04  Shadout Mapes: This is a nice game. I've noticed that the knight on e5 is very strong when black plays b5 in this opening. Reminds me of M Carlsen vs L Drabke, 2003

Notes: Capturing the bishop from moves 11-13 results in Qa4+

14...Bc8 15.Qf3

22.Kxh2 Qb8+

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Instead of 26.Kxh2 white could play 26.Be6 with immediate win. Black missed much better defense 23...Qh6! forcing 24.Qxg7 with trade of Queens, and also 26...Qc7+ was a bit better.
Jul-25-21  Gaito:

click for larger view


This position is evaluated as equal or unclear by the chess engines. Black could have played 17...Bxh2+!? (so that if 18.Kxh2 Qd6+), but an even stronger move would have been 17...Ra1! where Black has at least an equal game.

Instead, Forintos faltered with the passive 17...Rc8?, after which White played 18.d5!, and Portisch was in the driver's seat for the rest of the game.

Jul-25-21  Gaito:

click for larger view

It looks like Forintos was in shock when Portisch played 18.d5! (diagram). After that strong move Black played a series of weak moves and his position deteriorated quickly. Instead of 18...exd5? Black should have tried to get some counterplay with 18...Qa5.

On 18...exd5? 19.Bxd5 Rxc3?? was too greedy and coud have been punished right away (see diagram below)

click for larger view

In this position an attacking master (like Geller or Tal) would surely have played 20.Qh5!, after which Black's game would quickly have gone down in flames. Instead Portisch played the second best move, namely 20.Bb2, which was also sufficient to win, though it took much longer.

A likely continuation after 20.Qh5! would have been 20...g6 21.Qh4+ f6 (if 21...Kd7 22.Qa4+ is crushing) 22.Bb2 Be5 (if the attacked rook moves, White mates in two) 23.Qe4! (much better than capturing the rook) Rc7 (if 23...Rc5 24.Ba3 with a quick win) 24.Ba3+ Ke7 (after 24...Ke8 25.f4 is curtains) 25.Qa4+ (see diagram below):

click for larger view

White mates in two: 25...Rc6 26.Qxc6+ Ke7 27.Qe6 mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: I believe Portisch is rather underappreciated relative to his career achievements, longevity, and quality of games. I'm always stumbling across excellent games by him I haven't seen thanks to users like <Honza> and <Gaito>. He's like the chess version of the gift that just keeps on giving.

The nadir of disrespect towards Portisch I've seen here was when a user tried to denigrate Anish Giri by saying, "he's just another Portisch." To which my reply was, that's quite the compliment to Giri!

Jul-25-21  Gaito: Portisch could have avoided the complications arisen after 21.e4?! with the simple move 21.g3! (computer evaluation by SF13: +4.77); moreover 21.g3! would have been a move more in keeping with Portisch's safe style. After 21...Bxh2+! 22.Kh1 (if 22.Kxh2 Qb8+ equalizes) 22...Qb6 23.Qd4? (23.Qd2! was the correct move), the following position was reached:

click for larger view

In this position Black ought to have played 23...Qh6!! with an unclear game and with chances for either side. Sure enough, 23...Qh6!! is an engine's move, certainly not a human move, as White is allowed to capture a rook with check! Of course, after 23...Qh6!! 24.Qxc5+?? Bd6+ mate would follow. The following continuation would have been more or less forced: 23...Qh6!! 24.Qxg7 (the only move to prevent being checkmated) Qxg7 25.Bxg7 Rg8 26.Bd4 Rxd5 27.exd5 Bd6, and the ending should be a draw in spite of White's extra pawn which is of little significance in this position (see diagram below):

click for larger view

Jul-25-21  Gaito: When I was young I used to study chess with great enthusiasm, and one of my favorite players was Lajos Portisch. I very much liked his fine strategic judgment and his clear and logical style. While I run the risk of saying a blasphemy, in my opinion Portisch's general approach to chess seems to me to be very much like Rubinstein's approach to the game. I believe that the strong points of Rubinstein and Portisch were the same: A clear and superb judgment of the strategic features of any position, a very logical way of thinking, and excellent preparation in the openings, and of course, very good command of the endings. Nevertheless, the weak side of Portisch's way of playing chess seems to be the same as Rubinstein's weak side, namely the difficulty to find his way in unclear tactical complications. Of course, Tal knew that, and that is why Tal often beat Portisch by steering the game into devilish tactical complications which suited Tal's style, but not Portisch's style.
Jul-25-21  Gaito: Somewhere I read that Lajos Portisch learned to play chess by sudying the games of Samuel Reshevsky. (Portsich said that in an interview, though I don't remember the source). That may account for Portisch's fine understanding of positional chess, just as Reshevsky's. I have also studied Reshevsky's best games, but I believe that Portisch is like an improved version of Reshevsky. Anyway, both Reshevsky and Portisch played a tie-break match after the 1964 Interzonal in Amsterdam in order to win a place in the 1965 Candidates, and Portisch won. That was a case of the pupil beating his teacher.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: There's a reason why he is/was called <The Hungarian Botvinnik>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <Gaito>
Thanks again for your analysis and further interesting comments. Portisch is quickly becoming a favorite of mine as well.

That makes sense!

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