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Mikhail Tal vs Svetozar Gligoric
Bugojno (1978), Bugojno YUG, rd 11, Mar-10
Spanish Game: Closed. Bogoljubow Variation (C91)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-25-07  Fast Gun: The last decisive game between these two great players, I have said it before and I shall say it again that Tal was renown for his attacking play and tactical genius, was not bad at playing the endgame too, have a look at some of his endgame victories, they are excellent pieces of technical work and it is all too easy to overlook the fact that he was also a good endgame player !!
Aug-11-07  Dr. Siggy: Tal is perhaps the weakest endgame player of all the World Chess Champions up to now; but his performance in this endgame is simply excellent and repays careful study.

Nevertheless, it should be noticed that this particular endgame was the direct result of a very well prepared opening line against the Closed System of the Ruy Lopez: 9. d4(!?) Bg4 10. d5 Na5 11. Bc2 c6 12. h3(!) - a line, by the way, which avoids the still much feared Marshall Counter-Attack: 7... 0-0 8. d4(!?) d6 9. c3 Bg4 10. d5 Na5 11. Bc2 c6 12. h3(!).

Although seldom played, this line is of great theoretical importance because, if it works (mind you: if it works!...), it will force Black to revise its entire defensive system. Allow me to show you why I'm saying this:

I. In case of 12... Bxf3 13. Qxf3 cxd5 14. exd5 Nc4 15. Nd2 Nb6 16. Nf1! (as played in this game), Black is better advised not to accept the pawn sacrifice because, after 16... Nbxd5(?) 17. Ng3! g6 18. Bh6 Re8 19. Rad1 Nc7 20. Nf5 Ne6 21. Rxe5! gxf5 22. Rxe6! fxe6 23. Qg3+, White is clearly better. However, neither 17... Nxa4 18. Bxa4 bxa4 19. Ne3 g6 20. Nc4 f5 21. Rxa4 Nc7 22. Na5 nor 17... bxa4 18. Bxa4 Nxa4 19. Rxa4 f5 20. Ne3 (or 20. c4 right away) avoids Black a worse game.

II. A safer alternative for Black seems to be to withdraw the Bishop - but where to? If 12... Bh5(?) 13. g4!, or if 12... Bd7(?) 13. Nxe5!, of course! Apparently, the best square for the Bishop is c8; but, even after 12... Bc8, the sequence 13. dxc6 Qc7 14. a4 b4 15. cxb4 Nxc6 16. b5 Nb4 17. Bb3 axb5 18. Nc3 bxa4 19. Rxa4 Rxa4 20. Bxa4 Ba6 21. Bb5 Bxb5 22. Nxb5 gives White a small plus.

Food for thought for the Ruy Lopez addicts, don't you think?...

Aug-11-07  CapablancaFan: Another fine endgame by Capablanca, oh wait a minute, that was Tal?
Aug-18-07  sharkw: Could someone clarify a couple of points in this game for me? It's quite impressive how White tactically protects the b-pawn in the sequence from moves 27 to 33, however I'm not sure that Black can't take it after 30. Be2. For example, after 30...Rxb4 31. Rc3 Rb7 32. Rc6 Ne7 33. Ba6? Ra7, the best I could find is 32. Ba6 Nxa6 33. Rxc8+ Kg7 34. Nc4, or now come to think of it 34. Rc6 Nc6 35. Nc4 does actually look pretty good for White. Is this correct?

Also, after 38. h4+, can Black play 38. ...Kxh4? I've been trying to find the point, I can't make the crazy 39. Nf5+ work, so I don't see a good follow-up for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 38....Kxh4 39.f4 and black King is in danger.
Aug-19-07  Dr. Siggy: <sharkw>: <[...] I'm not sure that Black can't take it after 30. Be2. For example, after 30...Rxb4 31. Rc3 Rb7 [...], the best I could find is 32. Ba6 Nxa6 33. Rxc8+ Kg7 34. Nc4, or [...] 34. Rc6 Nc6 35. Nc4 [...]. Is this correct?> I think it is. The first sequence was already pointed out as in 1978 by "Bulletin"; but the second one seems to me to be at least as good as the first, viz., 35... Ne4 36. f3 Ng5 37. Kg2 Rb3 38. Rxd6 Nxf3 39. Rd7! e4 40. d6! Rb4 41. Rc7 Kf6 42. Rc8! Rb7 43. Re8 Ng5 44. h4 Ne6 45. Re7! Rb4 46. g5+ Kf5 47. d7!! Rxc4 48. Rxe6!! Rd4 49. Re7 f6 50. Rxh7! and White wins.

<Also, after 38. h4+, can Black play 38. ...Kxh4?> Against it, the same "Bulletin" gave the move pointed out here by our friend <Honza Cervenka>, that is 39. f4; but, after 39... Nb6 40. b3 Kg3!, it seems to me that White would have had to fight very hard to get the full point, viz., 41. Ra7 Nxc4! 42. bxc4 Nxb5!! 43. cxb5 exf4! 44. Nc2! Rxb5 43. Rxf7 g5 46. Nd4 Rb4 47. Rf6 Rxg4 48. Rxh6!! Rb6 (what else?) 49. Rg6 Ra6 50. Ne6! Ra4+ 51. Kd3! Ra3+ 52. Kc4! f3 53. Rxg5+ Kh3 54. Rf5 Kg2 55. Nf4+ Kf1 56. Rf6 and wins.

Mind you, I'm just a patzer! So, check out carefully these variations given by me before making your final opinion about this very interesting endgame!...

Nov-28-07  computer chess guy: After 49. ♖a6, why did Black avoid the reply .. ♘xa6? It leaves White with two passers after bxa6, but does he have a way to win? Also, after Gligoric's reply ♔c8, why not 50. ♖xd6, after which Fritz predicts 50 .. ♘xb5 51. ♖f6 ♔d8 52. ♔e4 ♔e8 53. ♔xe5, winning a pawn.
Nov-28-07  talisman: makes you think of 65 and 68. both of these guys coming close in those years, and tal had one more "real" shot in 79 after this.
Nov-28-07  InspiredByMorphy: perhaps 20. ...b4 was not a good move. 20. ...Qd7 would have at least developed a piece and defended the b pawn.

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