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Lajos Portisch vs Vasily Smyslov
Hoogovens (1972), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 3, Jan-13
Zukertort Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A04)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: This game is not Smyslov's best performance. I don't like all black's opening line which looks to be clearly inferior although I know that sometimes it is used even by some GMs and that white's wins in practice are far from being a majority. But Portisch outplayed his opponent here quite convincingly and seemingly without any heavy effort.

By the way, it reminds me a little bit that discussed game Taimanov - Matulovic from last round of Palma de Mallorca itz tournament.

Jun-28-12  SimonWebbsTiger: Have been studying this variation recently because Caro-Kann and Slav fans like the 1. c4 c6 transpositions into the Reti. Leaving out b2-b3 is the sharpest - even gambit the c4 pawn - because of the standard possibility, used here, of Qd1-b3 attacking the b7 pawn. The other queen moves 6...Qc8/6...Qc7/6...Qd7 are all uncomfortable. (See Smyslov-Bronstein, Odessa 1974, for example.)

White doesn't have to capture and can play 7. Nc3. However, the queenless middlegame cum middlegame is also uncomfortable for black.

This particular classic encounter is analysed in depth by Egon Varnusz in his book "Selected Games of Lajos Portisch" (Batsford, 1979.) It is game 59, pp.141-144.

The position at 27. e4 is the position Varnusz uses most time on. Commentators recommended 27...Nc6, but he claims white had good winning chances with the following endgame strategy: 1) force the black pawn to capture on e4; 2) advance the q-side pawns to b4 and a4; c) exchange the bishop for knight (i.e. Bxc6) leaving black with a bad bishop.

Was a bit surprised there hadn't been more chat on this game.

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