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Mikhail Tal vs Viktor Korchnoi
Reykjavik (1987), Reykjavik ISL, rd 7, Feb-26
Spanish Game: Open. Bernstein Variation (C80)  ·  1-0


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Given 7 times; par: 89 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-27-14  M.Hassan: "Medium"
White to play 40.?
White has a pawn for a Knight

40.g3+ Kxg3
41.Qe3+ Kh4
42.Rf2! threatening mate on h2
43.Rf4+ Kh3
44.Qd2 again threatening mate on g2
Queen makes this move to shield the King to the escape square of h4

45.Rxg4 Kxg4
White is slightly better in material and has the Queen and can win

Mar-27-14  Robespierre: This game was far past my analytical abilities, so I was pleased simply to get W's & B's 40th moves! ;-))
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonalley: <cheapo/phony> i also went for 40.Q-K3 which seemed to win at least the rook: after 40....RxP 41 P-N3+, K-R6 42. Q-B2 ... (or) 40 ... NxKP 41 P-N3+, K-R6 42 Q-K2, KxP 43. Q-N2+, K-R5 44.R-R7 etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Jimfromprovidence> Good call! I also went for 41. Qe3+ Kh4 42. Kg2 and my spirits sank when I saw the game continuation was 41. Qf4+ instead.

Fritzie confirms that 41. Qe3+ is stronger. One fun line runs 41...Kh4 42. Kg2 Rxe4 43. Qf2+ Kg5 44. Qxc5+

click for larger view

Now 44...Kh6 allows the amusing 45. Qc1+ when black must lose material. If 45...g6 46. Qc6+ picks up the black rook. Alternately 45...Qg5 46. Rh7+ picks up queen for rook.

So black has to go back into his foxhole with 44...Kh4. Then we have a little bit of queen triangulation to clear the f file it's all over. 45. Qf2+ Kg5 46. Qd2+ Kh4 47. Rf1

click for larger view

Rh1+ is coming and it's going to hurt. A lot. Fritzie points out that white can also win by exchanging off all the pieces and running the a pawn. 47...g3 48. Rf4! Rxf4 49. Qxf4+ Qg4 50. Qxg4 Kxg4 51. a4

click for larger view

Nasty. I would have taken the queen with 48. Rh1+ but then I'm neither Fritz nor Tal...

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: I prefer this move order based on 41.Qf4+:

40.g3+ Kxg3 41.Qf4+ Kh4 and now white has <42.Rh7> Qxh7 43.Qh2+ Kg5 44.Qxh7

click for larger view


Mar-27-14  chupawan: "LimSJ: would 42...Kg5 lead to a draw? "

No. 43.Qxc5 check ends even sooner

Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: White is a pawn up, but a knight down, so needs to use his positional superiority to gain a significant advantage...

<40 g3+ ...>

40 ... Kh3
41 Qd2 Kxg3
42 Qf2+ Kh3
43 Qh2#

<40 ... Kxg3>
<41 Qf4+ ...>

41 ... Kh3
42 Qh2+#

<41 ... Kh4>

At this point, I thought that white had better than 42 Rh7 Qxh7 43 Qh2+ moving into a winning (but difficult) end game.

42 Qf2+ Kg5
43 Qxc5+ Kh6
44 Qxc7 Qe5
45 Qc1+ g5
46 Rf5 Qd4+
47 Kh2 Rg6
48 Qc2

But, after looking at the alternative for a while, I think that the Q v R+N end game is better for white...

<42 Rh7 Qxh7>
<43 Qh2+ >


Completely missed <Once>'s line. But didn't go for the game continuation as it was definitely not the best line for black!

Mar-27-14  zb2cr: Missed this one. I went for the idea of 40. Qe3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Got 40. h3+! and saw that after 40...Kxh3 White had at least a draw by perpetual check.

However, missed finding the win(s) due to a few blind spots in my visualization. Here's my biggest misses:

1. Didn't see mate-in-three after
41. g3! Kh3 (diagram below)

click for larger view

41.Qd2! Kxg3 42.Qf2+ Kh3 43.Qh2#

2. Didn't see the stronger 41. Qe3+! Kh2 42. Kg2! line (diagram below) analyzed above by <Once> and <Jimfromprovidence>.

click for larger view

Here Fritz 12 analyzes 42...Rxe4 (42... g3 43. Qxg3#) 43. Qf2+ Kg5 (43... g3 44. Qxg3#) 44. Qxc5+ Kh6 45. Qc1+ g5 46. Qc6+ Qg6 47. Rf6 (+11.88 @ 20 depth).

3. Didn't see 43. Rf4+!leading to an easy winning skewer. Instead, miscalculated with 43. Qf4+? (diagram below).

click for larger view

Here White has nothing better than a draw by perpetual after 43...Kh3 44. Qf1+ Kh4 45. Qf4+ Kh3 46. Qf1+ Kh4 47. Qf4+ =.

Mar-27-14  landogriffin: I also went for 41. Qe3+: same difference, no? Like <jimfromprovidence>, I liked the fact that it hit the Knight on c5! Disengaging tactical brain in 5...4... ...
Mar-27-14  JohnBoy: I had the game line in mind, but with 42.Rh7 (idea ...Qxh7 43.Qh1+ skewering the Q) rather than 42.Qf2+. This would also reduce to Q+PP vs. R+N+PP, but the great master sees that black's pawns are more vulnerable his way, and I continue to learn and serve like the dutiful acolyte.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Castleinthesky: I got the g3 and saw the rook-queen exchange, but was uncertain because I could not see a clear win. In real life, I probably would have screwed up the ending-that's why we have Tal!
Mar-27-14  peristilo: I played this differently. 40.g3+, Kxg3 41.Qe3+, Kh4 42.Rf2(mating next or winning at least a queen for a rook), g3 43. Rf4+, Qg4(better than Kg5). And here I took the queen, but Qg2+ and then Qf3 is stronger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The rook and knight ALMOST equal a queen, but it's the connectors that decide this game for white.
Mar-27-14  mkrk17: My god, what a long sequence of moves. No wonder he was world champion.
Mar-27-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: <Phony Benoni>,

I'm with <diagonalley>. Your line is very similar to the last line I proposed, the only difference being the square for the Black queen.

The key is a rapid g3+, which moots any attempts for Black's king to escape to the g-file for as long as the g3 pawn is defended; White just needs to get a heavy piece to the h-file to mate Black while dealing with Black's back-rank-check counters.

Mar-27-14  BOSTER: Tal began this adventure (or combo) with move 34.Ng4 sacrifice the knight to open "f" file (diagram).

click for larger view

Korchnoy accepted this gift and lost.

The Q. is what if black played 34...Re8 between move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a pawn for a knight.

Black threatens 40... Qxh6 and 40... N(R)xe4.

The risky position of the black king suggests 40.g3+ to resume the attack with the queen with tempo, 40... Kxg3 (40... Kh3 41.Qd2 Kxg3 42.Qf2+ Kh3 43.Qh2#) 41.Qf4+ Kh4 (41... Kh3 42.Qh2#) 42.Qf2+:

A) 42... g3 43.Rf4+ Kg5 (43... Kh3 44.Qg2#; 43... Qg4 44.Rxg4+ Kxg4 45.Qxc5 + - [Q vs R]) 44.Qxg3+ Kh6 45.Rh4 Nxe4 46.Rxh5+ gxh5 (46... Kxh5 47.Qh3+ and 48.Qxe6) 47.Qxc7 + - [Q+P vs R+N].

B) 42... Kg5 43.Qxc5+

B.1) 43... Kh4 44.Qf2+ Kg5 (44... g3 is even worse than A) 45.Qf4+ Kh4 46.Rh7 Qxh7 47.Qh2+ Kg5 48.Qxh7 + - [Q vs R].

B.2) 43... Kh6 44.Qf8+ Kg5 45.Qd8+ Kh6 46.Qh8+ Kg5 47.Rh7 traps the queen.

C) 42... Kh3 43.Qh2#.

Mar-27-14  TheBish: Tal vs Korchnoi, 1987

White to play (40.?) "Medium"

White is down material, a knight for a pawn. But one of those pawns provides the key move which sets up a winning tactic:

40. g3+! Kxg3

Or 40...Kh3 41. Qd2 Kxg3 (to avoid 42. Qg2#) 42. Qf2+ Kh3 43. Qh2#.

41. Qf4+ Kh4 (or 41...Kh3 42. Qh2#) 42. Rh7! Qxh7 43. Qh2+ Kg5 44. Qxh7 Rxe4 45. Qxc7 and White's connect passed pawns on the queenside will win out.

Mar-27-14  BOSTER: < Jim 41.Qe3+ >. < Once my spirit sank when I saw 41.Qf4+ >.

I guess if you knew the Chapukaitis 'rule
how to play when your flag is
hanging , you would never play Qe3+.

Mar-27-14  Patriot: White is up a pawn for a piece. Black threatens 40...Qxh6.

I would go with 40.g3+:

40...Kxg3 41.Qf4+ Kh4 42.Rh7 Qxh7 43.Qh2+ Kg5 44.Qxh7

40...Kh3 41.Qd2 Kxg3 42.Qf2+ Kh3 43.Qh2#

I also wondered about 40.Qf4 but it seems difficult after 40...Nxe4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <BOSTER: Tal began this adventure (or combo) with move 34.Ng4 sacrifice the knight to open "f" file (diagram).> Yes indeed, 34. Ng4! begins a deep combination which exploits the not so obvious error 33...g6? (33...Re8 =, 33...Qb2 = or 33...Nxe4 = were alternatives).

In addition to 34. Ng4!, Fritz indicates 34. Nh6+! also wins, transposing to the game after 34. Nh6+! Kg7 35. Nfg4! hxg4 36. Rxf7+ Kxh6 37. Qxf8+ Kg5 38. h4+ (+11.20 @ 20 depth).

Mar-28-14  LIFE Master AJ: An incredible game ...

POTD / Thursday; March 27th, 2014.

White to move: 40. '?'

Mar-29-14  LIFE Master AJ: I have started the process of thoroughly annotating this game ... I plan on (eventually) turning it into a web page.
Mar-29-14  capafischer1: vintage Tal.
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