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Mikhail Tal vs Miroslav Filip
Portoroz Interzonal (1958), Portoroz SLO, rd 5, Aug-12
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C98)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-11-07  Fanques Fair: Another sensational attack from Mikhail Tal ! 28- Bxh6 is something not expected, Filip probably thought that everything was defended... 30- Rd4 ! ilustrates the calmness in a crucial tatical situation that caracterized his style, and, finally : 33- f6 !!! that forces Black´s capitulation... suddenly the white diagonal opens as if by magic !
Mar-16-08  Eyal: <On the following day [after the 4th round loss to Matanovic] I went along to play Filip in the mood "win or bust". In a sharp position I decided on a piece sacrifice, which, if declined, would lead to a slightly inferior position for Filip, while its acceptance would have unpredictable consequences. It would appear that the sacrifice was not 100% correct, but before making his move and capturing the piece, Filip offered me a draw. I realized there was something in the character of the position that my opponent did not like, so I declined the offer, and in the subsequent confusion somehow outwitted him.> ("Life & Games of Mikhail Tal")

The move leading directly to Filip's downfall seems to be 32...Ne8? allowing 33.f6! and the opening of the b1-h7 diagonal, which together with the open g-file proves to be lethal.

Sep-29-09  tivrfoa: <Eyal> hehe. Interesting. So when someone offers you draw you should not accept it. =)
Sep-15-12  thomastonk: I found the finish of this game yesterday evening in "Schach lebenslänglich", De Gruyter 1987, p. 150-155 by Alexander Koblents, and I like to share some thoughts with you.

According to Koblents, Svetozar Gligoric called Tal's sacrifice 28.Bxh6 dubios, and Tal called the sacrifice "not 100% correct" (see Eyal's kibitzing above). But except of accepting the draw offer (see again above), it seems that there are no alternatives. Black threatens Rxd2 and 28.Be3 is followed by 28.. Nxe4!

Koblents called 29.. Be7 a mistake, and reports that later it was found that 29.. Qe7 is the right move. Let's start with this alternative: 29.. Qe7 30.Qf4 (forced) Nh7 31.Qxf6 Qf6 is Koblents line. But 31.Qxf6 is a greedy mistake. Better is 31.Rxd7 Rxd7 32.e5!, and White is at least okay!

After 29.. Be7, 30.Rd4 is definitely a strong move, but White has still no full compensation I think (contrary to Koblents). Instead of 30.. Rxd4, Black can play 30.. Kh7 immediately. But even in the game, it needs another mistake by Black, namely 32.. Ne8?, mentioned correctly by Koblents. Koblents suggests 32.. Nd7 as an improvement (I agree), but he has doubts that Black will be able to regroup successfully (I disagree, though it could be difficult in practice). But Black has alternatives: 32.. Qg7! and also 32.. Qe8. 32.. Qg7! threatens Bd6 and hence White has to retreat his queen. After 33.Qg3 Black can exchange queens, and after 33.Qf4 or 33.Qh2, Black can play Qg5. Doesn't look too difficult!

Finally, after 32.. Ne8? 33.f6! is a strong move, but White has still only compensation! Instead of 33.. Nxf6 which Koblents leaves uncommented, but which is the decisive mistake, Black should play 33.. Bxf6! 34.Qf5+ Kg8! and now 35.Rg1+ Bg7 36.e5 Qb4! or 35.e5 Qe7!! These lines are fun. In the latter case, White can avoid the perpetual by 36.exf6 Qxf6, but Black is fine here!

Serious comments and hints for further sources are very welcome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: I don’t know if a slower build-up (Bc1-e3, doubling rooks on the g-file) might be more correct, but as soon as I saw 22...h6 I knew what was going to happen.
Sep-15-12  thomastonk: <AylerKupp> I think there is nothing wrong with 22.. h6. The game is equal at this stage, and different setups are possible for both sides. White's problems start with the oversight 27.Kh1? Rad8, after which Bc2 cannot protect both, e4 and d1.

However, the fragment in Koblents' book begins at the position just before 28.Bxh6. What surprised me there were all these comments made after the dust of the battle has settled, and which I feel partly unconvincing. E.g. Gligoric's "dubious move": I think 28.Bxh6 is not only practically the best one, but also analytically.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<thomastonk>: <AylerKupp> I think there is nothing wrong with 22.. h6.>

Oh, I'm sure you're right, Filip's mistake(s) came later. But with a half-open g-file and Tal playing White I had no doubt that Bxh6 was in the cards eventually. I remember that as I was playing the game over I grimaced involuntarily as soon as I saw 22...h6.

Sep-16-12  thomastonk: The game is entitled in Koblents book with "When Tal has an open file, he will win!"

When the game was in the crucial stage, Geller said to Koblents, that he sees no prospects for Tal and Koblents saw schadenfreude in his eyes. This made him angry, and so he said the sentence above, which got some fame later on.

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