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Mikhail Tal vs David Bronstein
USSR Championship (1964/65), Kiev URS, rd 1, Dec-26
French Defense: Winawer. Poisoned Pawn Variation General (C18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-18-03  corbinamman: Addressing drukenknight's tactical idea, I think White loses, or at least comes out neutralized, after 26...Qg2, as in 26.Bf4 Qg2 27.Qe4 Kd8 28.g3 Nxf4 29.Qxf4. That's just one possible line. It's a complicated position after Qg2.
Feb-20-03  drunknight II: back to the winawer: okay i have an improvment on the line I give above. The reason I think the check is important is that white is behind in material and the way to offset that is to attack the K. Both sides have 3 connected pawns, but black has a passed pawn; + 1/2 pt. However much you value a passed pawn, whatever number you want to give it, black has one and white does not, therefore black has some minor advantage in material.

Look at the way Tal plays it, Re1 does attack the K but only indirectly, this move does not lead to anything because blacks Q and B are well placed. then Tal moves Rb5 and this loses time.

Heres the improved line: 23 Qa5+ Bd7 26 Qe4 Qxe4 (what else?) 27 fxe4 Bh3 28 Rf2 Ne7 29 Nxc3

and now white has taken the passed pawn, game must be close to equality

Feb-20-03  drunknight II: sorry that should be 25 Qa5+ above. This laptop is killling me!
Feb-20-03  drunknight II: at the end of the game: how is it that Tal is lost? Someone else needs to explain this to me.
Feb-20-03  ughaibu: Has he got any sensible moves?
Feb-20-03  drunknight II: Rh4+ then push the a pawn until something happens I guess. He doesnot appear to be out of moves.

is he out of time?

Feb-20-03  Spitecheck: Most likely the position was adjourned, and after analysing if for awhile he saw his position as futile. I think you would play it on if the clock's were still ticking but in the long term the material deficit should count for something.


Feb-20-03  ughaibu: Rh4 Ke3 a4 f4 then bring the rook over and capture the a-pawn? It looks like they just passed the time control and the game was resigned during the adjournment.
Feb-21-03  Cyphelium: Winning this position as black looks pretty easy, especially if you are a GM who gets some time to analyse it. Continuing would be a waste of time.

Ke3-Kf2 and pawns will fall....

Feb-21-03  drunknight II: well I am glad that you are confident that he will win. How will black win if he is not able to queen a pawn? with a lone B and K vs K it is impossible.

That inability of the lone B to win the game should be enuf to make one think seriously about the position and whether he can hold a draw. If everything else is swapped off, black would not have enuf to win.

How about at least showing us a few moves....?

Feb-21-03  corbinamman: I'm not saying white has no recourse, but if he follows your prescribed strategy, here are the lines I see. Rh4 Ke3 a4 Kf2 a5 Rg3+ Kh2 Rxg2+ Kh3 Bxf3 a6 Bg4+ Rxg4 fxg4+ Kh4 Kf3 0-1. (if a7 Kf4 a8Q (or Kh5) Rh2#)
(if Kg5 Ra2 and the gpawn eventually queens)
Feb-21-03  drunknight II: Umm, I appreciate your effort corbi. I am always skeptical of proposed winning lines that are more than 4 or 5 moves. Not trying to put you down here, but there is nothing that jumps out at me in the final position that tells me tal is messed up.

Well instead of moving pieces around right off lets think about this problem. I like to think about a position in general terms ahead or behind in material, etc.

Okay where is tal in terms of strategy? He is AHEAD in material! Right? He has three connected pawns that equals blacks B plus he has passed pawn. I count it as 1/2 pt. but you can call it any sort of fractional value.

As long as you dont count isolated or doubled pawns as material. DK say: they count as 0.

OKay Tal is ahead in material he needs to at least try to exchange.

So what the hell am I doing by starting off w/ the check? Duh. My bad.

Hmmm let me see; what if we start w/ 42 Rxf5? this will drop a pawn but it also creates a second passsed pawn. a net result of minus -1/2. Hmmm.

Like I said, I think its better to always think each move out in terms of the overall strategy of material vs attack. This may lead to a better result before we bash out 8 or 9 moves right off the bat.

Okay I have to do drive back to Maryland now. I will have to take it up later tonight.

Think about what I said, and I bet you will come up with a save here for Tal before I get back home. Just using the logic of chess.

Hey corbi, what do you think of that 25 Qa5+ line now?

Anyhow thanks for the feedback, it is always nice to see some response and I will check back later. bye

Feb-21-03  corbinamman: I think we can agree on this: In response to your proposed 42 Rxf5, Be6 wins.

I appreciate your comments, but my reason for seeking concrete lines was in response to your request that someone show you some moves. I also think looking at specific lines is a worthwhile exercise when studying games. It is the best way to discover the subtleties of any position.

3rd, in response to your more abstract assessment of the position in terms of material and strategy, it seems odd to be counting up pawns when black is in mid attack, white's king is trapped on the h file, and his only piece has no viable moves. White has nothing to do but wait for Black to move in and overwhelm his f and g pawns. White can't sneak out by walking underneath his pawns, because Kg1 is met with Bxf3. Trying Kh4 with the idea of forcing a rook exchange also loses. So what is White to do?

Feb-21-03  drukenknight: Hmm, yes I like concrete lines too. I didnt really have time to read your previous analysis I only had time to try to think out one move in advance.

maybe he blew it on the 40th move. PUtting the R back over on the k side does not seem to help much if at all. What if 40 Ra4+?

I am not willing to conceded that Be6 wins, but it might. I cant finish this tonight but I will get to it.

Feb-22-03  corbinamman: I think 32 Qb2 is strange. White needs to keep the pressure focused on the pinned bishop with 32 Qe3. IMO his opportunities in this game have to o with the king being uncastled and poorly defended.
Feb-22-03  drukenknight: Yes, hmmmm. 32 Bb2 might make more sense. If he wants to start making big moves with the Q then maybe 32 Qa7 (or even b6) Just exchanging queens on the back row would favor white, no?

Yeah Okay I agree you on that, Corbi. But gee he couldnt have lost the game that far back, could he? There must be a blunder made after that.

You know I am not convinced the R for B sack is a forced loss, but it looks so depressing to play as white I am loathe to try to work that one out.

In the later stages of the game I thought white was going to push those K side pawns forward, at least get them working together up there. The thing is the K will have to move forward, before he gets too much more exposed, but that doesnt seem that big a problem.

I thought playing e.g f4 at some stage in the second half would be the way to start to move the pawns.

Looking back on the game, look at 28 h6, a simple spite toss at the Queen. POsitionally it turned out bad for white as the Q moves to a little better spot and the pawn becomes lost. I like pawns on the 6th rank too but both sides h pawns cannot do anything at the moment.

What if 28 Nf4? this puts immediate pressure on both the N protecting b6 as well as the B on the e file.

Also 34 Bd2 puts more pressure on the N, blocks the d file from the Q and then maybe get the a pawn rolling.

Feb-23-03  corbinamman: Problem with 32 Bb2 is Rxh6. Problem with the R for B sack is that it also doubles the pawns on the f file and strands them from the hapless king still stuck on the h file. This of course makes them much easier to scoop up. 28 Nf4 makes no sense to me. It gives away a piece without getting the passed c pawn out of the deal as Tal did in the game.
Feb-23-03  corbinamman: drukenknight: this game runs almost exactly like the other we've been studying...but they play it out a little more. check it out.
Feb-23-03  drukenknight: Corbi: on 28 Nf4 Nxf4 29 Rxb6 and now blacks K is exposed to the Q/R, his K is trapped in the open w/ no protection on the right flankl. there should be a mating attack in there. I assume you want to take with the N from your post.

on 32 Bb2 okay, but then white trades B for N and then tries to exchange queens on b6. HE has passed pawn and better connected pawns.

Feb-23-03  drukenknight: Hey thanks. THis is how the game finishes after the intermission, it's got to be.

Hey check this out Corbi, you've been debating with me the merits of Bb2 and your argument is that it gives up the h pawn. HEre we are at a latter stage of the game and Tal's mistake looks like trying to hold onto the h pawn.

But you always have to give up something to get something, is giving up the h pawn a good trade in order to move the a pawn? I have to believe it...

I guess you and Tal think alike!!!

The reasoning behind giving up the h pawn w/ Bb2 is that, Tal has a meterial adavantage due to passed pawn and 2 connected pawns. It seems he has the defensive side of things secured and his way to winning is pushing the a pawn.

Feb-24-03  corbinamman: After 28 Nf4 Nxf4 29 Rxb6 White black has 29...Nh3+. So , no. Nothing doing with 28 Nf4. In fact, black's correct response would be 28...Rxf4! If white recaptures with 29 Bxf4 then Nxf4 and white loses. If white doesn't recapture, he has nothing to do anyway. His queen is still held to the 2nd rank, the bishop has nowhere to go, and the knight is still covering b6.

your other idea: 32 Bb2 Rxh6 33 Bxc3 Rxc3 34 Qb6, seeking a queen exchange. this loses immediately along one of 3 forced lines starting with 34...Rh1+! (a) 35 Kxh1 Qh4+ 36 Kg1 Qxe1+ 37 Kh2 Qh4+ 38 Kg1 Rd1# (b) 35 Kf2 Qh4+ 36 g3 Qh2#
(c) 35 Kf2 Qh4+ 36 Ke2 Qxe1#

Jun-03-11  Yodaman: After 7...cxd4 white wins 43.8%, drawn 28.1% and black wins 28.1% (89 games in data base).

Yet Tal played 8. Bd3 when 8. Qxg7 and 8. cxd4 seemed obviously better. 8. Bd3 had only been played a few times in the data base before and white never did well. Maybe Tal was trying to surprise Bronstein thinking he prepared for Qxg7 and cxd4? Anyways it didn't work. I would think at the top level playing the stronger moves rather than the surprising ones would be smarter. 8. Bd3 might be good to play against an amateur to surprise him, but against Bronstein? Even Tal didn't manage to pull it off. Then again, I am a beginner myself and can't really tell if he blundered later in the game. Maybe he was actually okay after 8.Bd3. Still, I would play the stronger move rather than the surprise.

Jun-03-11  Yodaman: Opening Explorer
Sep-03-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Yodaman> Your analysis is correct; however we have to bear in mind that Tal was an experimenter (not one to always follow established lines that have been proven by statistical evidence, to fair better). In fact Bronstein also had a similar playing style to Tal. Both were incredibly creative Chess artists that the world may not see in many years to come. #
Sep-07-18  Everett: Tal plays the game on its head, and Bronstein is up for the challenge. It was fun to see all the intermezzos between 11.h5 attacking Black‚Äôs N and its eventual retreat with 15..Ne7
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