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Vlastimil Hort vs Mikhail Tal
"The Tal-Tale Hort" (game of the day Dec-27-2010)
Havana ol (Men) fin-A (1966), Havana CUB, rd 1, Nov-04
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Hedgehog Defense (A30)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: That was certainly a Poe pun.
Dec-27-10  Elsinore: Mikhail Tal was born to have GOTD puns named after him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: No, Virginia, there was never a match Tal-Short.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Indeed, a Poe quality pun not worth raven over, nor a toast from a cask of Amontillado, truly a grotesque and arabesque effort possibly plagiarized from a purloined letter.
Dec-27-10  RandomVisitor: 32.Qf4 Rxb3 33.Bd4 might hold for white.

36.Qa8 might be his last chance...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I would never have associated Tal with the Hedgehog. That opening normally requires patient maneuvering, waiting for the proper moment to make a liberating move such as 21...d5 which seems to come out of nowhere.

Yes, Tal was good at making liberating moves, but often his actually did come out of nowhere.

The fun starts after 21.Rcd1, leaving the knight temporarily unprotected. I think it was Suba who made an interesting point against playing against Hedgehog-style positions. Often, a player will put his pieces on perfect squares, achieving a seemingly dominant position. However, to attempt progress he must move a piece and create a weakness. Sort of a "dynamic zugzwang".

Dec-27-10  acme: What if 38. gxf4?
Dec-27-10  AnalyzeThis: Hort played Tal 17 times and got 16 draws, losing only this game. That's really quite good.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: If 38.gxf4, 38...Nxe3 39.fxe3 Rxe3 40.Qd1 Qa2+ .
Dec-27-10  ChessValley: Most of the Hort-Tal games were short draws. However, Hort vs Tal, 1963 is definitely a good fight.
Dec-27-10  AnalyzeThis: Tal doesn't give you a short draw unless you're a strong player.
Dec-27-10  goodevans: <Sastre: If 38.gxf4, 38...Nxe3 39.fxe3 Rxe3 40.Qd1 Qa2+ >

I'm sure the evaluation is correct, however after <41 Kf1> I'm struggling to find ways for black to maintain his advantage. The black K is also in a slightly precarious position and black must guard against checks on the b1-h7 diagonal and moves like Qg4/Rf7.

I'd be interested in any analysis of how black should continue after 41 Kf1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <goodevans> After 41.Kf1, 41...Qc4+ 42.Kf2 (42.Kg1 Qe4 43.Kf2 Rd3 44.Qe2 Qd4+ 45.Kf1 Rd1+) Rd3 43.Qb1 Qe4 44.Rb8 Rd2+ 45.Kg3 Rg2+ 46.Kh4 Rxh2+ is good for Black.
Dec-27-10  goodevans: <Sastre: ... After 41.Kf1, 41...Qc4+ 42.Kf2 (42.Kg1 Qe4 43.Kf2 Rd3 44.Qe2 Qd4+ 45.Kf1 Rd1+) Rd3 43.Qb1 Qe4 44.Rb8 Rd2+ 45.Kg3 Rg2+ 46.Kh4 Rxh2+ is good for Black.>

Yes, although I think <46 Kh3> is a slight improvement, restricting the deficit to just the a-pawn (whereas 46 Kh4 loses both a- and h-pawns).

The resulting endgame is not an easy win and I think that 38 gxf4 would have been a better choice than the exchange sac played.

Dec-27-10  goodevans: ... having said that, I think black can get an easier endgame win by playing 44 ... Qxf4+.

The Q then maneuvers back to the b2-h7 diagonal before checking with the R, exchanging Qs and then picking off the a-pawn. The 2 pawn advantage should see white off OK.

Dec-27-10  markbstephenson: What about 41... Rb3 threatening Rb1?
Dec-27-10  acme: <The resulting endgame is not an easy win and I think that 38 gxf4 would have been a better choice than the exchange sac played.>

My point exactly. Black is better even after gxf4, but it looks better than the text.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Toga indicates the defensive exchange sacrifice 38.Rxf4 is better by far than 38.gxf4. (The full computer variations follow. Humans can improve near the end.)

[ply 15/68- time 01:29 value (to White) -6.46]

38.gxf4 Nxe3+ 39.fxe3 Rxe3 40.Qd1 Qe4+ 41.Kf2 Ra3 42.Rd8 Ra2+ 43.Rd2 Qxf4+ 44.Ke2 Qxh2+ 45.Kd3 Qd6+ 46.Ke2 Qe5+ 47.Kf2 Qd4+ 48.Ke2 Qe4+ 49.Kf1 Ra1 50.Qxa1 Qh1+ 51.Kf2 Qxa1 52.Rd7 Qxa5

[ply 15/48 time 00:58 value (to White) -2.08]

38.Rxf4 Nxf4+ 39.Qxf4 Rxa5 40.Qd4 Qc6+ 41.Kg1 Rb5 42.Qd3+ Qg6 43.Qc4 Rb1+ 44.Kg2 Rb2 45.h4 a5 46.Qd4 Qc6+ 47.Kh2 Rb4 48.Qd3+ Qe4 49.Qc3 Rb1 50.f3

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <markbstephenson: What about 41... Rb3 threatening Rb1?> White has decent drawing chances after 42.Rc8 Rb1 43.Rc1 Rxc1 44.Qxc1 Qxa5 45.Qb1+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: A quick silicon analysis of the game suggests that <36. Ra8?> was the move that caused the White position to deteriorate from difficult to losing. In the position after <35. Ra3>:

click for larger view

<36. ... Qa8> would have been an improvement (< >).

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White will be mated soon.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: What an interesting opening name and pun !
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Perhaps Hort was blinded by a Red Masque?

There is an Edgar Allen Poe memorial park in the Bronx, New York City. He lived in a little one room shack, in the north Bronx. The house has been preserved; it is in a separate gated part of the park. I think it contains some of his personal effects. Right now the house is closed for renovations.

More interesting would have been to preserve Houdini's apartment on Manhattan's upper west side, make a mini museum. I wonder if the present resident of this brownstone knows who lived there (assuming the orignial building is still standing)? Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes fame was a friend and sometimes visitor.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Poe puree.
There's gold bugs in them thar engines.
Dec-27-10  rwbean: How about 27. Be3 (Stockfish suggestion, score >+0.52 at depth 32). 27. cxd5 opens lots of files for Black.
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