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Mikhail Tal vs Paul Keres
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 16, Jun-02
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Keres Defense (C96)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 19.Nc6 was a mistake allowing pretty combination.
May-13-05  Hidden Skillz: is it best then to capture on Nxf2? imo i think tal chose the other route cos this way he would have a very weak king side ..with threats like Bh4
May-13-05  aw1988: Well, Kxf2 Qb6+ goes without saying, and it seems to be Keres would be vastly better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: Instead of 19.♘c6, white has a Tal-like move to maintain a little edge. Unfortunately Tal was ill during this candidates tournament and was unable to produce his usual brilliancies.

19. ♗a5 ♕xa5 20. ♕xd3 ♗e5 21. ♕e3 ♗e6 22. f4 ♗xd4 23. ♕xd4

Feb-05-06  deadlyfischer: keres was a real master in the ruy lopez openning...with black!
Jun-29-06  Hesam7: Timman's commentary of this game in his tournament book is pretty disappointing. He avoids a through analysis of the complications initiated by Tal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Tal had planned and written down 20 Qh5 on his scoresheet, and even jokingly told Petrosian on a previous move "I'm going for the brilliancy prize."

How would 20 Qh5 have worked out?

Timman made a computer check, but found the move unconvincing.

<I decided to have the queen move checked by the computer, which came up with the following main line: 20 Qh5 Nxh3+ 21 Kh2 g6 22 Qf3 Be5+ 23 Nxe5 dxe5, and Black is superior by far>

I disagree with Timman's statement that "Black is superior by far" after this variation. In fact White may be winning two pawns down! The depth of Tal's concept does not become apparent until the 27th or 28th move.

I'll show the variations tomorrow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: <tamar> Can't wait. And why didn't Tal play it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: In answer to why Tal wrote down 20 Qh5 and then played 20 Qf3, Tal wrote,

<I was planning to sacrifice my Queen for two minor pieces, but after writing down Qh5. which would have led to the sacrifice, I instead changed my mind and played Qf3, forgetting about Black's obvious reply. Within two moves I was a pawn down, and soon had to resign.>

The queen sacrifice line according to Timman is 20 Qh5 Nxh3+ 21 Kh2 Qc7 22 e5 g6 23 exf6 gxh5 24 gxh3 Qxc6 25 Be4 Qd7 26 Re3 with a strong attack.

So Tal had to calculate this line, and also the 21...g6 line which looks tougher on the surface, and is favored by computers.

Jul-02-06  Hesam7: <tamar: I disagree with Timman's statement that "Black is superior by far" after this variation. In fact White may be winning two pawns down! The depth of Tal's concept does not become apparent until the 27th or 28th move.>

This is a very strong claim considering the fact that the position after 20. Qh5 Nxh3+ 21. Kh2 g6 22. Qf3 Be5+ 23. Nxe5 dxe5, is very similar to the position of the game after Black's 22nd move except for the g-pawn. Is this detail that makes the difference? Or White had a win (in the game) after Black's 22... dxe5 ?

<tamar: The queen sacrifice line according to Timman is 20 Qh5 Nxh3+ 21 Kh2 Qc7 22 e5 g6 23 exf6 gxh5 24 gxh3 Qxc6 25 Be4 Qd7 26 Re3 with a strong attack.>

I think this is one of Timman's mistakes. White is losing after his line, 25... d5 and 26... d5 both look very strong.

I have done some computer assisted analysis too, will post them after seeing yours.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Hesam 7> I'll give the variations, then search for reasons why the game position at move 22 failed while these seem to work.

I let Shredder 8 search as long as possible, at least 11 hours, and about the tenth hour it found a defense for Black that seems to hold. I will check this drawing resource more, as it was only done to 15 ply.

20 Qh5 Nxh3+ 21 Kh2 g6 22 Qf3 Be5+ 23 Nxe5 dxe5 24 Bb4 Ng5 25 Qg3 Re8 26 Rfd1 Qc7 27 Rac1

click for larger view

A key position. Black is two pawns up, but his knight is en prise.

A) 27...h6 28 Bb3 Qa7 29 Bd5 Be6 30 Bc5 Qb8 31 Bd6 Qxd6 32 Bxa8 Qb8 33 Bd5 Rd8 34 Kh1 Kg7 =0.23/15

B) 27...a5 28 Bb3 Qa7 29 Bc5 Nxe4 30 Bxa7 Nxg3 31 Rc7 Bg4 32 Re1 Be6 33 Bxe6 Rxe6 34 Kxg3 Rae8 1.88/18

C) 27...Ne6 28 Bb3 Qb8 29 Qf2 Qa7 30 Qf6 Qe3 31 Bd5 Rb8 32 Bd6 Qh6+ 33 Kg1 Qf4 34 Qxf4 Nxf4 3.74/18

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Tal wrote notes to this game which appeared after round 25. There he gives the queen sacrifice line he intended.

Oddly Timman gives this note as a postscript, but does not amend the part where he says he discovered Tal's plan.

Tal's note reads> "20 Qh5 would offer more chances: the main line is 20...Qb6 21 e5 Ne4+ 22 Kh2 g6 23 exf6 gxh5 24 Bxe4 and White has counterplay.

click for larger view

"Not good is 20...Nxh3 21 Kh2 Be5+ 22 Qxe5 dxe5 23 Nxd8 Rxd8 24 Bxe5"

This is illegal, but Tal undoubtedly wrote 24 Ba5 which saves the bishop and wins the knight.

Jul-02-06  Hesam7: <tamar> Thanks for the good work, I am looking forward to more of it. My analysis does not overlap with yours that much it is more related to the queen sac. Right now I am running Fruit on the following position:

click for larger view

which arises after: 20. Qh5 Nxh3+ 21. Kh2 g6 22. Qf3 Be5+ 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Bb4 Ng5 25. Qg3 Re8 26. Rfd1 Qc7 27. Rac1 h6. It looks like Black is forced to give up exchange to repel the attack.

In your line (which I mentioned above) I think 21... g6 is forced; all other moves seem to lose, mostly to the queen sac Tal had in mind. Also is 24... Ng5 forced? Do you have analysis for 24... Nf4? Even if we show that White is winning after 27. Rac1 we should also show that the line up to there is more or less forced.

Jul-02-06  Hesam7: @ tamar

After: 20. Qh5 Nxh3+ 21. Kh2 g6 22. Qf3 Be5+ 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Bb4 Ng5 25. Qg3 Re8 26. Rfd1 Qc7 27. Rac1 h6,

click for larger view

After 2.5 hour Fruit gives:

28. Bb3 Qb8 29. Bd5 Be6 30. Bc6 Rc8 31. Bxa8 Rxc1 32. Rxc1 Qxa8 33. Qxe5 Nxe4 34. Re1 Nf2 35. Qd4 Ng4 36. Kg1 Qd5 37. Qxd5 Bxd5 38. Re7 Kg7 39. Bd2 (eval:+0.10, @ depth 20)

I think the eval is misleading and that there should be improvements for White after 33... Nxe4. Also the following line is nice:

28. Bb3 Qb8 29. Bxf7+ [The move I discovered when Fruit was computing the above line, first I thought it will lead to a win but apparently it does not] 29... Kxf7 [29... Nxf7 loses to 30. Qxg6] 30. Bd6 [I do not think there is anything better] 30... Qb6 31. Bxe5 Rxe5 [This is the quickest way] 32. Qxe5 Nf3+ 33. gxf3 Qf2+ 34. Kh1 Qxf3+ =

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Hesam 7: Your suggestion of 24...Nf4 is better than my 24...Ng5 and voids a lot of my analysis.

I hate it when that happens!

I probably entered 24...Ng5 thinking it was forced because of Timman's note in a similar position.

I recall looking at it briefly and thinking 24...Nf4 25 Bb4 loses the exchange, so my eye was drawn to the more forcing 24...Ng5, and I must have started Shredder on that move.

So Timman is vindicated on this variation at least. Black may not be completely winning, but has favorable chances after 24...Nf4

Does your analysis confirm this?

Jul-03-06  Hesam7: <tamar> I think after:

20. Qh5 Nxh3+ 21. Kh2 g6 22. Qf3 Be5+ 23. Nxe5 dxe5 24. Bb4 Nf4! 25. Bxf8 Kxf8 26. Qe3

click for larger view

Black is better but not that much especially if White succeeds in exchanging the heavy pieces, also Fruit gives less than a pawn advantage @ depth 18. Our analysis was not in vain, it showed 24... Ng5 was much weaker than 24... Nf4.

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