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Yuri Averbakh vs Mikhail Tal
"A Wizard is Never Late" (game of the day Dec-09-2012)
USSR Championship (1958), Riga URS, rd 4, Jan-??
Benoni Defense: Classical Variation. Czerniak Defense (A76)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-09-12  Sacsacmate: In the final position after 35. Rd1
I am just tempted to look into 36. Qb5 after that suppose 36. Qb5 Rf8+ 37. Bf8 Qe4+ 38. Bg2 Qh4 Was it not worth a try for a player worth Averbakh’s salt ?! (even against Tal) In another line
36. Qb5 Rf8+ 37. Bf8 Qb5 ab5 looks very drawish even after Bh4 black is 2 pawns up. I hope I am not missing something very obvious !
Dec-09-12  Sacsacmate: ok I saw posts of <Honza Cervenka> <al wazir> & <maxi> only now. But I agree with <al wazir> & <maxi>.
Dec-09-12  Abdel Irada: After looking at the final position for a bit, I think <Honza Cervenka> is uncharacteristically mistaken: The bishop ending seems extremely difficult if not impossible to win.

Perhaps keeping queens or rooks on offers better chances to bring home the full point.

As for the opening: I was surprised by Averbakh's 15. Bxd6 grab. Even without calculating, intuition would suggest that if you already have a piece pinned and under pressure, putting another piece on a perilous square on which it's defended only by the pinned piece is likely to be inadvisable.

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  beatgiant: After 36. Qb5 Rxf1+ 37. Bxf1 Qe4+ 38. Bg2 Qxh4 with two pawns up the better position, with the queens still on thus minimizing the drawish effects of bishops on opposite colors.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: In "The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal", Tal & Koblents indicate the line <36.Qb5 Rxf1+ 37.Bxf1 Qe4+ 38.Bg2 Qxh4> "and wins", as mentioned by <Sacsacmate> above. This fits in with <Abdel Irada>'s observation that Black might have better winning chances by keeping the queens on the board.

Even so, it seems a position that involves a good deal of technique. But you know those GMs.

It might be possible that Averbakh was pressed for time and simply missed 36.Qb5. It is a paradoxical defensive move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: This was sure no Phony Benoni
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: As for the ending with bishops on opposite colors proposed by <Honza>, it does look to me like Black wins.

For example, suppose we reach a position like the following:

click for larger view

Black plays <1...a6> 2. bxa6+ Kc6 followed sooner or later by ...b5 etc. After Black gets passed pawns on both sides of the board, White won't be able to cope.

Dec-09-12  sfm: <beatgiant: As for the ending with bishops on opposite colors ... it does look to me like Black wins. 1.-,a6 2.bxa6+,Kc6 followed sooner or later by ...b5 etc.> White wins on the spot with 2.-,Bd5+ :-)
That is a tactical thingy, but whenever you play b5-b5 to hunt the bishop it will make tricks like that (or just take that b-pawn) - unless you have your bishop on b8 to catch the running a-pawn. If so, White may go for the lonely kingside pawns.
I am absolutely convinced that it is a draw (but OK, I have been wrongly convinced before...)
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <sfm>
Good point about the tactics. But, there are other ways. Consider the following situation:

click for larger view

1...Bb8 2. Kg4 a5 3. bxa6 (e.p.) b5

White seems to be in trouble here. Can such a breakthrough be prevented indefinitely?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <beatgiant> Perhaps White has enough resources in the position you give above?

1...Bb8 2. Kg4 a5 3. bxa6 b5 4.Be2 Kxb3 5.Bxb5 c4 6.Bxc4+ Kxc4 7.h4 Kd3 (7...gxh4 8.a7 Bxa7 9.Kxf4 =) 8.hxg5 Ke3 9.g6 and White is fine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Eggman>
Another good point. I don't have any other ideas for a Black win. Now I'm really curious what <Honza> saw here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <maxi: In spite of what <Honza Cervenka> says, it is not clear to me how Black can win in this position. After 36.Qb5 the game goes on.>

Maybe that my estimate of Bishop ending after 36.Qb5 Qxb5 37.axb5 Rxf1+ 38.Bxf1 Bxh4 as "easily won for black" was a bit too optimistic as it is not so easy to create passed Pawns on both wings here but never mind! Black can play also 36.Qb5 Rxf1+ 37.Bxf1 Qe4+ 38.Bg2 Qxh4 and with black's two extra Pawns the result is hardly in any doubt.

Dec-09-12  Abdel Irada: I tested a few lines, and although I sought ways to enforce ...a6, ...b5, etc., I was unable to find anything that held up against all defenses.

My chess program (Sigma Chess 6.01 on a very old Mac) seems to evaluate the bishop ending around -2.5, and prefers to keep rooks on, when it calls the position about -2.8.

(Mind, I'm careful not to take the word of any program that thinks my rating is 2835. That I could get to that rating against it (starting from 2000 five months ago), even playing two-minute games with a 12-second increment, doesn't speak well of the application's strength.)

I, too, would like to know what <Honza> had in mind. I have a great deal of respect for him as a player, but I can't help wondering if he's been a bit hasty this time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Abdel Irada><I, too, would like to know what <Honza> had in mind. I can't help wondering if he's been a bit hasty this time.>

I was hasty with my conclusion here. After quick view of the position I was thinking that black can simply create another passer on the QS in the way which <beatgiant> mentioned above and win easily but I have to admit that it doesn't work.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: Ya know.. there's a funny thing about Tal. He really WAS a wizard. He said.. "There are two kinds of moves. The right moves, and then the Tal moves." or something to that effect. He came up with stuff that was sometimes unbelievable. Sure, 20 years later with computers and GM's all over his games, refutations, errors, and improvements are found. But over the board, facing him, was something totally different. He was cunning, and it was not so easy to solve the problems he presented with the clock ticking. I know. He beguiled me one time, and then i watched him do it to 40 other people. Then went on from there to win the world blitz championship in Chicago. He was a monster. Player after player would go down before him. His positions would keep improving, and theirs would collapse. No matter how many goof we find, he was a great champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: I think the quote is closer to "there are three kinds of sacrifices: sound, unsound, and mine."
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Here is the actual quote: 'There are two types of sacrifices-sound ones and mine.'

Dec-09-12  Shamot: Can anybody explain the idea behind 31...Rd2, please? What happens if white takes the rook with queen?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: If 32.Qxd2, 32...Qc6+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: I looked at that, myself. I think if white takes the rook, then black can play Qc6+, and white can't defend via f3.
Dec-09-12  waustad: After looking at 32.) Qxd2 I saw the finish fairly soon, but I'd never think of 31.) ... Rd2 myself.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <DrGridlock> Thanks for the info on the opening.
Dec-10-12  Cibator: <isemeria>: Against 15.Bg5, P H Clarke (in "Mikhail Tal's Best Games of Chess") gives 15. ... Qd7 16.Bf3 h6 17.Bh4 Nb4 18.a3 Nc6 "with too many threats", including ... g7-g5-g4, ... d5, and ... Nd4.

If, in this line, 16.f3, then 16. ... h6 17.Bh4 Nf4 and 18. ... d5.

As for the finish, PHC has 36.Qb5 Rxf1+ 37.Bxf1 Qe4+ 38.Bg2 Qxh4, and "the two extra pawns guarantee victory", with no further analysis given. But I'd have to agree with Honza that Black ought to win from there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Tal does it again! The modern Morphy?!
Jun-18-17  RKnight: Another way for Averbakh to try and save the game seems to be 35 Qe5+ Kh2, 36 Qf4 Qd5+ (36...Qxh3 37 Qxd2), 37 Bg2, though the pseudo-sac 37...Qxb2! 38 Kxb2 Be3+ might be too much, and exactly the sort of line Tal would play.
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