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Mikhail Tal vs Anatoly Karpov
Montreal (1979), Montreal CAN, rd 7, Apr-19
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System (C07)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: This game was played during the first cycle of the double round-robin tournament in Montreal. White is better, due to the isolated Black d-pawn. If this game was played in the last round and Tal needed a win, I am sure he would have played on.
Aug-16-10  rigel1503: Contrived insipid result typical of the Soviet era. This game was drawn even before the first move was played. In multinational tournaments the Soviet players would agree to easssy draws so they would be mentally fresh when playing non Soviet players. Tal and Karpov played each other 22 times for 19 draws. Need I say more!
Sep-05-11  ughaibu: In this tournament three Soviet players contested six games. There were only two draws. Perhaps you do need to say more.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Graham> Here's a game from the same line with 6....Be7, eight rounds on, which shows Tal in a better light: Tal vs Portisch, 1979.

One suspects that Karpov would hardly have played this on many occasions, as the French was a rara avis in his praxis as Black; moreover, he had played this line as White the previous year: Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978.

It took errors by Karpov and the tremendous defensive skills of Korchnoi to turn this into a drawn result.

Apr-12-12  ozmikey: <ughaibu> In the tournament book Tal comments that he and Karpov acted as each other's "seconds" in this tournament, while Spassky essentially worked alone. Of the six games you mention, the two drawn ones were between the two "colleagues", while Spassky actually got beaten in the other four!

Spassky was already living in France by this time as far as I know, so I suspect he was more or less on the outer (although he didn't officially become a French citizen until some time afterwards).

Of course it was common practice for the two Soviet representatives (there were generally two) at international tournaments in this era to make a quick draw, but that's one draw out of about eleven or fifteen games (and, as Karpov remarked when someone brought this topic up with him in an interview, you can't win tournaments with draws).

Apr-12-12  King Death: < GrahamClayton: ...White is better, due to the isolated Black d-pawn. If this game was played in the last round and Tal needed a win, I am sure he would have played on. >

I'm sure that in that case Karpov wouldn't have played the French, it was an opening he'd hardly ever tried with Black until then.

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