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Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"Winawer Winnowed" (game of the day Nov-19-2010)
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 1, Mar-15
French Defense: Winawer. Classical Variation (C18)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-17-03  RPietsch: what about 11.Qxc3?, some sugestion how blacks reacts?
Aug-17-03  Shadout Mapes: Go to and look at the sample pages to see Tal's annotations of the first 14 moves.
Aug-18-03  RPietsch: Sorry, the answer isn't there. Maybe
11.. Qxc3, 12.Ta2 d3, 13. Bxd3 Dxe5, 14. Nf3 Dg7 and black is ok ( or not??)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 12.Rb1, preventing black's bishop from developing, is better. To use your line, we get [11...Qxc3 12.Rb1 d3 13.cxd3 Qxe5 14.Nf3 Qg7 15.Qxg7 Rxg7 16.h4] White's position is superior, maybe not winning, but its a difficult defence for Black because he has so little counterplay. White's passed h pawn is very threatening. For this reason, Black is better off not taking Qxc3.
Aug-18-03  RPietsch: Calli, the idea about 12.Rb1 d3 13. cxd3 is dangerous because 12...Bd7 followed by 12... Ba4+ . The point on 12.Ra2 is protect the pawn in c2. But i agree whith you about the h's pawn force. Thx!
Aug-18-03  Shadout Mapes: I recommend looking at Tal vs Botvinnik, 1961 which follows this game until 12...Kd1 13.Nf3 Qxc3, it should help out.

I think the problem with 11...Qxc3 is that black should probably develop. Grabbing pawns in tactical games like this, especially against Tal, usually doesn't work.

Sep-07-03  bunti: The contrast in the effectiveness of white's light squared bishop over black's in this game is evident. Black's 14th move of Bd7-a4+ is a meaningless check that just forces white king to a more comfortable position of e1 where it would probably have moved anyway. The bishop lingers on a4 for much of the middlegame completely out of the action. The poor position of the bishop on a4 also allows white to develop his queenside rook which eventually helps to control the center of the board. In contrast, white's bishop makes only two moves and decides the game.
Nov-05-04  mack: One of my favourite games this, and a delight to play over the board especially. Just look at that lovely end position too; after unnatural early excusrions both the king and queen are on their original squares!
Jun-12-05  madlydeeply: I like this game because Tal lifts both rooks and doesn't castle. It is a french defense of course, no need to castle in the French! In the first game of the World Championship, no less. It is as if the cocky young Tal is trying to prove that he can beat Botvinnik any old way he chooses....
Jun-12-05  woodenbishop: Beautiful TAL!!
Nov-01-05  Robyn Hode: In My Great Predecessors Part II, Kasparov doesn't even mention 11...Qxc3 and gives 11...Bd7 an exclamation point, writing, "But this is a novelty, and a cunning one. Petrosian played 11...Nbc6 12 Nf3 Nxe5, but after 12 Bg5! he ran into difficulties (13...Bxf3? 14 Bb5+!; 13...N5g6 14 Bf6! and h2-h4-h5)."
Nov-01-05  aw1988: Why grab a pawn when you can develop?
Nov-13-05  capatal: Like Tal said,
"Finally,the passed pawn
has its say.
Black resigned."
Feb-07-06  mack: This remains my favourite game of all time.
May-25-06  LIFE Master AJ: Wild tactics. Bizarre positions. Their first meeting.

The great master of the French Defense is dismissed from class ... and sent home without a note.

May-25-06  Open Defence: this and Tal's French Winawer game against Fischer was one of the first grandmaster chess games I played over ... I seemed to find the ideas behind most of the initial moves but then the complications were too difficult to understand and I remember thinking that Black was winning after 13.d3
May-26-06  LIFE Master AJ: Its such a complex game ...

Black does appear better out of the opening ...

Only a chess genius could get away with making so many wild moves and breaking so many of the rules and guidelines for the opening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: Definitely -not- the kind of position that Botvinnik was aiming for in his pre-match preparation:

click for larger view


Sep-02-06  vesivialvy93: Botvinnik the weakest tactical chess player champion of all time trying to beat the best in tactics of his time....not the best strategy !
Sep-02-06  slomarko: is this game from match 1 or 2?
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This was game # 1 from their first match. It was also the first time they had ever played each other.
Dec-06-06  ToTheDeath: Botvinnik was hardly weak in tactics. In fact he sidestepped a large number of landmines and pitfalls in this game before succumbing.

Very original game. It's hard to pinpoint where Botvinnik went wrong because in a way his entire opening idea was flawed.

Dec-06-06  euripides: Tal suggested Black should have sacrificed a second pawn with 14...Nc6.

I love this game, but I don't think it's particularly tactical at least by Ta's standards. He wins this one by finding interesting routes to get his pieces onto good squares. For examples of similar rook play, see:

Karpov vs Hort, 1971

Topalov vs Kasimdzhanov, 2005

Dec-13-06  mcgee: Leonard Barden in The Guardian newspaper in the UK recently said that this was probably Tal's best game, but I kind of agree with ToTheDeath - Botvinnik never really seems to get going precisely because of the opening strategy. But that just opens up the whole 'best ever Tal game' argument again....!

Dec-22-06  M.D. Wilson: "vesivialvy93: Botvinnik the weakest tactical chess player champion of all time..." Yeah, Botvinnik was soooo weak tactically, he just "accidently" became world chess champion 3 times, competed with a host of strong opponents and beat outstanding opposition on a regular basis. But we shall heed your words of wisdom ;)
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