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Mikhail Tal vs Boris Spassky
Montreal (1979), Montreal CAN, rd 1, Apr-11
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation (E94)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-22-05  pferd: This game was published in Chess Canada Bulletin #34 with notes by Tal (translated from "64")

Note following 7. ... exd4

"This year is the Silver Jubilee of my encounters with Boris Spassky. We first met over the board at the 1954 USSR Junior Championship. Since then we have played in many tournaments and a match. My result has been poor; even worse. I had never won a game with White. Frankly, I was not in an agressive mood. Spassky adopts the King's Indian Defense -- a rare bird in his opening aviary -- rightly considering that however peaceful were my intentions, I would not play 7.dxe5. It appears, however, that K-fianchetto formations are not normally to his liking. In any case, the plan chosen by Spassky is nether new nor particularly effective."

Dec-22-05  pferd: Following 12. ... dxe4

"Better was 12. ... Nc6, though we both thought the position after 13.Bb5 Qb6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Bxe8 Bb7 to be better for White but after ...


... the added pressure on the f-file against f7 makes Black's position even less palatable"

Dec-26-05  pferd: Following 14.Ndb5

"In a critical situation, Spassky finds a deep Exchange sacrifice. Objectively, the sacrifice is not sufficient, but there are many ways for White to go astray."

Following 19.Qb3

"Here, for example, 19.Nd6 looks good but after 19.... Bxd6 20.Qxd6 Qxe2 21.Rae1 Qc4! 22.b3 Qc5 23.Re8+ Kg7 24.Qxc5 Nxc5 25.Rc1 b6 26.b4 Nd3 it is not easy to turn the extra Exchange into a point. I was not unduly concerned, of course, becuase it appeared that 19.Qb3 led by force to a good position."

Sep-20-13  CopyBlanca: Great gentleman Spassky. At a simultaneous exhibition the crowd stood and clapped when he first appeared. I managed to hang on longer than most of the other players but before long his attacking skills were too great. I tried Alekhine's defense afraid of Kings Gambit after Boris crushed Fischer with it.
Sep-20-13  offramp: As one might expect from these two attacking players, the "closed" opening is completely open after a dozen moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: 19....Qxe2 20.Qxf7+ Kh8 21.Qe7! (pinning the bishop and threatening mate in two via Rf8+; I never see moves like this) 21....Qc4 22.Rf7! (now threatening Qe8+ instead; I never see moves like this either) and Black has to give up his queen.
Sep-23-13  Ulhumbrus: the move 10...d5 appears to smash White's centre but after 11 cd cd White ignores the attack by 12 Bg5! and now to borrow Hans Kmoch's humorous remark in his parody of "My system" <It is not White's e pawn which is attacked by Black's d pawn but Black's d pawn which is attacked by White's e pawn. A tremendous difference!>

More seriously, the move 12 Bg5! pins Black's knight and tilts the scales in White's favour with respect to the fight over the point d5

Morphy may have employed this stratagem - that of not answering directly an attack but doing something else that is useful instead - in one of his games.

Jul-31-14  Howard: It's not often that a Soviet player in a tournament would be completely "shut out" by the other ones, but that's what befell Spassky in this event. He not only lost both games to Karpov, but also to Tal.
Jul-31-14  Petrosianic: Well, ex-Soviet. I'm pretty sure Spassky was a French citizen by this time.
Jul-31-14  Howard: Not to get technical here, but Spassky was still playing under the Soviet flag at this time even though he moved to France in 1977. He may have been a French citizen at the time of Montreal, but he would have, of course, retained his Soviet citizenship.

Interesting you'd bring that up though......I still remember thirty years ago, in 1984, I was at a tournament in Wisconsin and heard while there that Spassky had just played at a tournament in Bugojno and this would be his last event representing the Soviet Union.

Jul-31-14  Petrosianic: Oh, well if he was still playing under the Soviet Flag in 1984, then you're right. He did play under the Soviet flag while living in France (for example, in the 1977 Candidates), but I thought he had stopped by 1979.
Jul-31-14  Howard: As a follow-up to this matter, the 1985 Candidates tournament took place in France, and since France was the host country it was allowed to seed its highest-rated player directly into the tournament. Guess who that turned out to be ?

And Spassky did rather well in the event, finishing at plus-one. Not bad considering that three players tied for first place with a score of "only" plus-three, in a fifteen round event.

Jul-31-14  Petrosianic: Yeah, that was pretty good, considering it was his first winning score in the Candidates since 1968. He'd finished at exactly 50% in 1974, 1977 and 1980.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The whole business strikes me as an exercise in hair-splitting; for Spassky was outside the USSR and free to live his life as he pleased.
Jul-31-14  RookFile: Tal was pretty cold blooded. Black's position looked pretty menacing for much of this game, but Tal found the resources.
May-11-18  hmamani: Comentarios de Tal en Ajedrez Magistral, Montreal 1979: "Este año se cumple el 'jubileo de plata' de mis encuentros con Boris Spassky. Nos enfrentamos por primera vez, ante el tablero durante el Campeonato Juvenil de la URSS., en 1954. Después, en muchos torneos, un match... Los resultados fueron para mi poco atractivos y lo que resultaba más penoso, era el hecho de que, hasta ahora, nunca había conseguido vencer conduciendo las blancas... Diré con sinceridad que mi ánimo no era demasiado combativo.
May-11-18  hmamani: "Spassky utilizó la poco frecuente en él Defensa Inda de Rey, pensando con razón, de que por muy pacíficamente mentalizado que estuviera, no jugaría 7 dxe5. Sin embargo, parece que la formación de la Defensa India no es del agrado de mi contrincante. En todo caso, el plan de Spassky no es muy nuevo y no impresiona demasiado". (Tal- Ajedrez Magistral Montreal 1979)
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: I remember this game from coverage of the tournament in 1979. Looking back at it with the aid of Stockfish reveals new perspectives.

Tal slipped up with 22 Rf3? The computer, of course, is unaffected by nerves or time pressure & coolly plays the developing move 22 Rae1! and now two pretty wining lines are a) 22..Ne4 23 Bxg6! hxg6 24 Qd5 or b) 22..Bg3 23 Re3 Bxh3 24 Rxg3 Be6 25 Rh3!

In contrast, Spassky's developing Rook move 25..Rd8? in the game was a mistake: better the deflecting 25..b5 as pointed out by commentators at the time.

But a significant earlier improvement for Black is either 23..Nh5 or 23..Be4 because the Knight coordinates much better with the Bishop(s) and Queen. Spassky should not have traded this piece off as it reduced his attack's strength.

Dec-21-18  Olavi: <woldsmandriffield> Tal gave <22 Rae1! and now two pretty wining lines are a) 22..Ne4 23 Bxg6! hxg6 24 Qd5 or b) 22..Bg3 23 Re3 Bxh3 24 Rxg3 Be6 25 Rh3!> but is silent on <23..Nh5 or 23..Be4> - in the 1979 tournament book edited by Chepizhny.

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