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Lajos Portisch vs Mikhail Tal
EUR-chT (Men) 2nd (1961), Oberhausen FRG, rd 4, Jun-24
French Defense: Tarrasch. Pawn Center Variation (C05)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-14-05  paladin at large: I am surprised this one has not drawn attention. Pretty win by Portisch with a queen sacrifice with 32. Bg5 which Tal cannot accept because of the threat of instant mate.

I am no expert on the French, but Portisch's maneuvers with his king 12. Kf1 and 14. Kg2 are an interesting way to combine defense with offense.

Portisch defends very coolly after 22.....Rxf3. I assume this sacrifice is in fact unsound, since if Tal could not make it work, how could anyone else?

Oct-27-05  Scarecrow: I also found this game in an early biography of Portisch (published in 1978, written by Jozsef Hajtun). There the analysis suggests 22. - Rf7 23. Bf6 Bd8 24. g5 Ne7 25. Nf4 Rc8 and "White can still spoil his game".
Oct-27-05  Koster: It's atrange that a lover of complicated positions like Tal didn't throw in g5 instead of trading on e5, as in Reshevsky-Vaganian and other games. The exchange sac on f3 isn't uncommon but generally seems to be sound only if black can take the d pawn as well. Here it looks like Tal simply didn't want to lose a tempo retreating the rook so he sacrificed it.
Oct-27-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: In _My Life and Games_ Tal commented that this game caused him to abandon the French.
Oct-27-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Keypusher> Not that Tal ever played it much anyway, other than his celebrated game with Fischer at Leipzig the year before.

<paladin> From about 1981 through the the 1990s, I played the 5.f4 line with both colours, and Kf1-g2 is a typical idea. Have a look at the game Reshevsky-Vaganian, 1976 for an excellent example of Black's resources in this line.

Oct-27-05  euripides: I think the Tarrasch was about to come into fashion. 3 Nc3 had been the main move in the 1950s (and of course has come back strongly in recent years as people have become less keen on the Winawer for Black). So the best plans for Black in the Tarrasch may not have been familiar. Tal never looks comfortable in this game and 22...Rxf3 looks a bit desperate. As <paladin> says 32 Bg5 is a very nice way to reassert control of the complications.
Jan-20-12  drukenknight: I dont think Tal's play is all that compelling, the sack just doesn't go anywhere. Can black improve his play with 25...Ba4?
Sep-25-13  Granny O Doul: According to a Ray Keene annotation somewhere, Portisch chose the Tarrasch because he himself was having trouble meeting it with Black, and hoped that Tal would show him the right way.
Sep-25-13  LIFE Master AJ: Good play by Portisch ...
Sep-26-13  MarkFinan: I received a Life Master in a student from an email on a fan 💤💤💤😜
Sep-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<paladin at large> I assume this sacrifice is in fact unsound, since if Tal could not make it work, how could anyone else?>

"There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones, and mine." – Mikhail Tal

Yes, the sacrifice 22...Rxf3 is unsound, at least according to Critter 1.6a. It evaluates the position after 22...Rxf3 23.Kxf3 at [+1.96], d=24, and considers Black's best move to be 23...Qc4, with Tal's 23...Bb6 not among its top 3 choices.

But Black apparently was not in great shape without a sacrifice. Critter assessed Black's best move after 22.g4 to be 22...Rff8, evaluating it at [+0.93], d=26. And, if an exchange sacrifice was intended, preferred 22...Rxg5 instead of 22...Rxf3, evaluating the former at [+1.33], d=25. So sacrificing the exchange at this point, either with 22...Rxg5 or 22...Rxf3 probably represented Tal's best practical chance OTB.

Oct-04-14  Conrad93: < I am surprised this one has not drawn attention. Pretty win by Portisch with a queen sacrifice with 32. Bg5 which Tal cannot accept because of the threat of instant mate. I am no expert on the French, but Portisch's maneuvers with his king 12. Kf1 and 14. Kg2 are an interesting way to combine defense with offense.

Portisch defends very coolly after 22.....Rxf3. I assume this sacrifice is in fact unsound, since if Tal could not make it work, how could anyone else?>

That's the nice thing about the French. White cna get some very interesting set ups that sometimes look out right wrong or just simply bizzare. Like Kf8 for black or Kg2 for white, but like Perfidious said, this is sort of the mainline. It's not a new idea.

Oct-04-14  Conrad93: 10...g5! looks very good for black. Then black has the option of either Qd8 or Be7 after gxf4.
Oct-09-14  N0B0DY: Bad beats only happen to good players.
Oct-10-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Wow, I never knew I was a good player.
Mar-21-20  brimarern: 32.Bc1 seems a lot cleaner, but at this point there are a lot of roads that lead to Rome.
Mar-21-20  ewan14: Portisch defeats another Soviet legend
Mar-21-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Portisch was Bobby's dinner lol lol lol
Mar-21-20  sudoplatov: Portisch, Tal, and Keres were part of a non-transitive chess triangle (I first saw in something written by Khorchoj.)

Tal Portisch 9-5-18

Portisch Keres 3-1-4

Keres Tal 8-5-17

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