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Lajos Portisch vs Mark Taimanov
Budapest (1959)
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-24-03  refutor: quite an unusual set up by portish (4. Qg4) and some unusual replies by taimanov (9. ... Rh7 looks strange until you realize the idea behind it)
Feb-13-05  Victor A N Gustavo: Taimanov played very well.
Oct-14-07  Erdkunde: It's amusing how quickly decisive Black's counterattack is once White's early aggression has been stifled.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The latter part of the game is a beautifully efficient kill by Taimanov, ripping White apart while wrecking hope of counterplay.

But the opening is fascinating too, not least for its transpositional possibilities (Agincourt is just a generic name for 1.c4 e6 -- French vs English): it begins as a Kangaroo (or Keres) Defence, where 3.d4 would be the mainline, and could lead to a Bogo-Indian, Nimzo-Indian, or Dutch. Instead White's 3.e4 is in the spirit of the Flohr-Mikenas, and Qg4 is common in lines (French Winawer, some Kan Sicilians, etc) where g7 has been weakened. Black's ...c5 is interesting, contesting d4 but preventing the Bishop retreat. And ...Kf8 seems justified.

All the themes are known from more mainstream lines, but combine here in an unusual way. Portisch was/is a 1.c4 English Opening specialist whose style drew comparisons with Botvinnik. Taimanov's play is more like Korchnoi, grabbing pawns in 'heroic defence' mode while simultaneously preparing a counter-attack.

And the conventionally castled White King proves weaker than its walkabout opposite number.

I could just say 'nice game', I suppose. Or paste in some engine spew to sound authoritative.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: When you play moves like 12. ♗d1, 14. ♘c2 and 17. ♕h2 you know you are in trouble!
Aug-06-13  TheFocus: Taimanov in <Selected Games> said that this game was from Leningrad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Be silent, and come out of him!:-)

Nice game by Taimanov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  senojes: Andrew Soltis in his, "The Art of Defense in Chess," has 9. P-KR3 (i.e. 9. d3) instead of 9. d3 above. This is probably correct because Soltis commented on White's problems of providing "an avenue of retreat for his queen" (p.xiv). Interestingly, when I changed the PGN of this game from 9. d3 to 9. h3, it loaded perfectly. That is because White played 13. h4 and 16. d4, enabling a perfect transposition from either 9. d3 or 9. h3. A great defensive game by Taimanov. I play the French exclusively against 1. e4 so I will remember 4... Kf8 and 9... Rh7 against 4. Qg4. I was crushed by Portisch in a small simul in the late 1960s/early 1970s, when my rating was still about 1900, so I know first-hand how strong Portisch was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  senojes: Sorry, that should have been "has 9. PKR3 (i.e. h3) ..."
Oct-25-21  Granny O Doul: 9. h3 looks mightily implausible. Aside from its lack of any point that I can see, it would leave White's e pawn hanging a couple of times in the moves ahead.

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