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Mikhail Tal vs Pal Benko
Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), Amsterdam NED, rd 11, Jun-02
Caro-Kann Defense: Karpov. Smyslov Variation Main Line (B17)  ·  1-0



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Given 21 times; par: 29 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-25-12  dragon player: This move seems obvious:

19.Rd8+ Kxd8

If 19...Ke7, 20.Rxh8

20.Nxf7 Ke7

and white has won the queen.

Time to check.


Indeed, black thought that he could reduce the loss to only an exchange, but was confrontated with a mate.


Apr-25-12  dzechiel: White to move (19?). Black is up a pawn. "Medium/Easy."

White picks up material after...

19 Rd8+

Black has two responses.

19...Ke7 20 Rxh8 Qxg5

and white wins an exchange, or

19...Kxd8 20 Nxf7+ Ke7 21 Nxe5

and white wins queen and pawn for a rook. This seems much easier than yesterday's position.

Time to check.

Apr-25-12  5hrsolver: For a long time I didn't see 19.Rd8+. I understand how Benko can miss it.
Apr-25-12  zavariz: Amazing !Amazing ! I wonder why Pal Benko took the pawn (Qxe5). Didn´t He see the Knight threatening the King (Kxf7)?. My computer chess plays better.
Apr-25-12  zavariz: ºPal Benko
Last FIDE rating: 2408
Highest rating achieved in database: 2496
Also great champions make big mistakes.
Apr-25-12  Limpin Kt: <Rd8!> and thats it. One of <MISHA'S magics>
Apr-25-12  rossvassilev: got it in 2 seconds.
Apr-25-12  kevin86: Black must either dodge the rook and lose his own rook...or take the rook and face a check that would attack king,queen,and rook.
Apr-25-12  BOSTER: Basic to Caro-Kann opening line is the development of the queen bishop. Looks like Benko forgot this,forced to play 6...e6.

When black played "h6" on the king side, "a6" and "c5" on the queen side, and white played 0-0-0 the question where to hide black king in the air?

17....Bxe5 is not very nice decision, because this move opened the "d" file for white rook (after dxe5) ,and the knight, who blocked "f" file should move.

If such master like Benko was so greedy playing 18...Qxe5, what can you expect from amateur.

If he saw 19.Rd8+ and decided to exchange his rook on h8 for knight plus pawn, why did he resign after couple moves?

Apr-25-12  Murky: <Bwarnock, "... it seems like Black has chances to defend after the alternative 18.... Nd7">. But then Tal has 19. Ba4! with advantage. Amazing!
Apr-25-12  Memethecat: 19Rd8+ Ke7 20Nxf7 Kxf7 21Rxh8
Apr-25-12  cyclon: Hmmh.., let's see, it starts with 19. Rd8+ Ke7 <( -Kxd8? 20. Nxf7+ wins Queen for a Rook )> 20. Rxh8 Qxg5 <( nothing better in sight )> 21. Qd2 < ( in my view the correct move here threatening 22. Qd8X, because if 21. - Nd5 then 22. c4 and Black cannot capture on e3 with check losing the piece )> 21. -Nd7 22. Rd1 and it's difficult to meet 23. Rxc8. If 22. -Kf6 23. Rxc8 Rxc8 24. Qxd7 Qxe3+ 25. Kb1 the edge is clearly Whites, but there may well be other - perhaps more 'Talian' - lines.
Apr-25-12  BOSTER: This is not that <bwarnock> <Tal had everybody intimidated in those days> , this is how the genious played chess.

I guess after 18...Nd7 black is lost.
Black has uncastled king, rook are disconnected, the bishop on "c8" has no any move, when white has "d", "f" and "g" files are opened.

My guess that in such pos. Tal could sacr. couple pieces,playing Nxf7 Kxf7, Bxe6 Kxe6 and win. I don't think that you could escape in such pos. vs Tal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Live dash off again it yum <19.rd8> tin as hush (19.kxd8?) epicenti tanka balde it is a cooteng hang i ram rookd8 rh8 . <20.nxf7> read mini falafel! flows for light gadster.
Apr-25-12  BlackSheep: <Murky> I think Rd1 is stronger than Ba4 in that position .
Apr-25-12  frogbert: well, easier than last week's wednesday, that's for sure. :o)

btw, how relevant is 21. Qd2 at the end? white doesn't mate (after 21... Nd7), and although Qd2 probably is "best", i'd think other moves would win as well.

21. Qd2 Nd7 22. Rd1 Qe5 doesn't look like much fun, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: <frogbert> indeed 23 Rxc8 Rxc8 24Qxd7+ wins the house
Apr-25-12  Murky: <BlackSheep> Your suggestion of Rd1 doesn't work too well. Mostly because it's not a legal move! Two rooks can't occupy the same square.
Apr-25-12  Patriot: It looks like white can at least win the exchange with 19.Rd8+. 19...Kxd8 20.Nxf7+ wins the queen and 19...Ke7 20.Rxh8 Qxg5. But in the second line I think white can get away with 20.Nxf7 first. I thought 20.Nf3 may be best but 20...Qh5 holds.
Apr-25-12  Patriot: Ok, now I see that 20.Nxf7 is a mistake because of 20...Qh5.
Apr-26-12  bwarnock: <<BOSTER> <This is not that <bwarnock> <Tal had everybody intimidated in those days> , this is how the genius played chess....

I guess after 18...Nd7 black is lost... My guess that in such pos. Tal could sac a couple of pieces, playing Nxf7 Kxf7, Bxe6 Kxe6 and win. ...>

I don't think so - the other suggestion (19 ♗a4 !) seems to be better. After 18... ♘d7 19. ♘xf7 ♔xf7 20. ♗xe6+ it's true that both 20... ♔xe6? 21. ♕g4+ and 20.... ♔e7? 21. ♕g4! are winning, but 20... Ke8! gives Black pretty good chances for defense.... White is beginning to run out of attacking pieces and Black is threatening 21... Nxe5 or 21... Nf8

Apr-26-12  bwarnock: <<Murky> <bwarnock, "... it seems like Black has chances to defend after the alternative 18.... Nd7">. But then Tal has 19. Ba4! with advantage. Amazing!>

This is very strong because after 19... b5 20. ♕f3 ♘b6 White has the amazing move 21. ♖d8+ (!!).

(deserves a diagram):

click for larger view

more analysis later....

Apr-26-12  bwarnock: From here:

click for larger view

21... ♔xd8 22. ♘xf7+ ♔e8 23. ♘xh8 and now it looks like Black can get an advantage with either 23....♕b7 (!)

click for larger view

or hold on with 23... ♗b7 (?!) 24. ♕h5+ ♔d7 25. ♖d1+ ♔c6 26. ♕f3+ ♘d5 27. c4 ♖xh8 28. cxd5+ exd5+ 29. ♕xd5+ ♔b6 30. ♕d6+ ♕xd6 31. ♖xd6+ ♔c7 32. ♗c2

click for larger view

The only GM I can think of who might be able to find this kind of defense over the board is Robert Huebner. Maybe Korchnoi. Anyone else would most likely go wrong somewhere.

It shows how brilliant Tal's tactical imagination was - nearly impossible to withstand this kind of sustained attack (unless you're a computer :).


Apr-26-12  BlackSheep: <Murky> Sorry my mistake I was looking at a different position to the one you was my bad .
Apr-13-14  zydeco: I think 14....Bd7 is necessary.

After 18.....Nd7 19.Nxf7 Kxf7 20.Rhf1+ Ke8 (not 20....Ke7 21.Qg4) it seems like white should win but I don't see a direct line.

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