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Bent Larsen vs Mikhail Tal
Tal - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1965), Bled YUG, rd 7, Aug-02
Catalan Opening: General (E00)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-19-05  Poisonpawns: Strange game,strange moves 14.Bf1!? I guess Larsen realized that his bishop would be worse than tals and wanted to trade it.Good idea,i guess but look at the squares around his King now.Black seems to be winning here at several points.I dont know how Larsen escapes at move 37. white seems totally lost.Larsen does a good job creating perpetual and mate threats.For instance if 37..Kf8? white mates in 6 after 38.Rb8 on 38..a2 39.Ne7+ Kh7 40.Rg8 Nd4+! 41.Ke4 Re2+! 42.Kd3(kxd4? mate in 4)Nf5! 43.Ra8 Rxf2 44.Nxf5 Rxf5 45.Rxa2 Rxd5+ with a superior rook endgame for black but this is very hard to find at the board.Very good game I would love to see more detailed analysis because it seems like the win for black is there,but great defense by Larsen.
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/ 81. P-g5 K-f3 82. N-h7 (these two white moves are "only moves" as are many others in whites fine defense)

Jan-31-10  waddayaplay: Tal and his second thought the ending with R+P vs N+P could be won. They had found the exact same position in Averbakh's end game manual where the result is given as a draw, but thought they had found a refutation. However, it wasn't so easy to refute. (Life and games of Tal, p.301)

Fundamental chess ending (2009), p. 262, confirms it is a draw and gives the following position, at move 58, as an important drawing formation (per Averbakh).

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Jan-15-12  Karpova: The interesting story goes on - the 8th game was adjourned in a drawish position and after this draw (resumed after adjournement of game 8), the question arose what to do in case of the score remaining level after games 9 & 10 also?

Mikhail Tal: <Thus we were back where we started, and everything depended on the last two games. And if the score should be 1-1? The seconds and the chief controller, the likeable and witty Austrian Dorazil, discussed this, for the moment theoretical but perfectly real possibility. They could not come to an agreement (playing to the first win was not practised at that time in the Candidates matches, and first occurred 9 years later in a Ladies' Match) and so Dorazil made the following suggestion:

'It will all be very simple. I will stand Larsen and Tal side by side, and give each of them a sheep's bone, and then bring in my dog. The one he goes up to will go through to the final!!'

The controller's decision was 'accepted' with delight, and play continued.>

From pages 301-302 in Tal, Mikhail 'The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal', London, 1997.

In the end, this was not necessary since Tal won game 10. Game Collection: WCC Index [Tal-Larsen 1965]

Sep-13-15  machomortensen: Larsen gave 28.-,Dd4 29.Sxc8,Dxe3 30.fxe3,Txc2 31.Tb8,Kg7 32 Sxd6,Txd2 33.Se8+,Kg6 34.Tc6 with a draw as 34.-,Tf2 is met by 35.e5! ("Schack Kalender 1965 - 1966" (S))
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  Plaskett: The ending is looked at in some detail by Dvoretsky.
Jun-13-17  Straclonoor: After 51th white move Lomonosov TB7 gives - draw
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  Honza Cervenka: What's wrong with 29...Rxe3? After 30.Rxc8+ Bd8! 31.Rxd8+ Kg7 32.fxe3 Qxb6 or 32.Nbc4 Re1+! 33.Rxe1 Nxc4 black keeps material advantage.
Aug-23-18  Olavi: In the Life and Games of Mikhail Tal he remarks that they took turns blundering.
Aug-23-18  Boomie: <Honza Cervenka: What's wrong with 29...Rxe3?>

So unusual to answer a Honza question instead of the other way around.

29...Rxe3 is winning. So what did Tal miss? Perhaps the nuance of Qb5 with Nd2 threatening mate on f1.

For example, 32. Nbc4 Re1+ 33. Rxe1 Nxc4 34. Nf3 g4 35. Re4 h5 36. Ne1 Qb5

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And strangely, the threat of Nd2 is decisive.

Aug-24-18  WorstPlayerEver: Weird enough both players follow the same line as SF9. Curious.

48... Ra7 seems the only way to keep the d6 pawn:

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49. Nf5 Ra6 50. Kf4 Kg6 51. Ne7+ Kf7 52. Nf5 Rb6

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Seems Black can't get through, because they can't defend both pawns and make progression.

Aug-24-18  WorstPlayerEver: Kinda figured out 40... a2 is actually a blunder.

40... Rxf2+ 41. Kg5 Nd4 and Black is winning.

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Aug-24-18  WorstPlayerEver: PS NB 42. Rg8 now is met by 42... Rf5+ 43. Nxf5 Nf3+ 44. Kf4 Kxg8

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A very nice tactic!

Aug-24-18  WorstPlayerEver: If White keeps their King in the center, ironically, a3-a2 is decisive; Rg8 is now worthless, because Black has Rxf6 for free

40...Rxf2+ 41. Ke4 a2

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