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Mikhail Tal vs Bent Larsen
"A Bent Pin" (game of the day Apr-28-10)
Tal - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1965)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Tal Variation (B82)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

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Given 94 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

Annotations by Iakov Damsky.

explore this opening
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sac: 16.Nd5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 11 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-31-04  aw1988: 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3!? (one of the sharpest variations) 8...O-O Later 8...e5 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. f5 Qa5 was also played, but after 11. O-O-O and Bc4 the game usually developed in White's favour. 9. O-O-O Qc7 10. Ndb5
There was more venom in 10. g4! Nxd4 11. Bxd4 (11. Rxd4?! e5 12. Rc4 Bxg4!) 11...e5 12. fxe5 dxe5 13. Qg3!, for example: 13...Bd6 14. Be3!, or 13...Nxg4 14. Nd5! with some initiative (Sax-Kasparov, Niksic 1983), therefore Black should consider 13...Qa5!? 14. Bxe5 Be6 with double-edged play (Timman-Salov, Wijk aan Zee 1997).
Dec-31-04  aw1988: 10...Qb8 11. g4 a6 12. Nd4 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 b5!?
'A very important moment. It appeared to me that after this White's attack would develop more quickly and that essential was 13...e5! 14. g5 Bg4 15. Qg3 exd4 (15...Bxd1? loses to 16. gxf6 Bxf6 17. Nd5 etc.) 16. gxf6 (16. Rxd4 Be6 17. f5 is refuted by the elegent 17...Nxe4! 18. Rxe4 d5! - G.K.) 16...dxc3 17. fxe7 cxb2+ 18. Kb1 Bxd1 with quite good chances of a successful defense, since the position is greatly simplified.' (Tal) This is indeed the safest way to equalize: after 19. exf8Q+ Qxf8 20. Rg1 (20. Bc4 Bh5 21. Qh3 g6) 20...g6! 21. Qd2 Bh5 22. Qd5! Qh6! and 23...Rf8 White can count on no more than restoring material equality. 14. g5 Nd7 15. Bd3 (15. a3 is unfavourable in view of 15...b4 16. axb4 Qxb4 17. Qh5 Nc5! 18. Rg1 Rb8 19. b3 Bb7!) 15...b4 If 15...Bb7?!, then 16. Qh3 is strong.

Now after the quiet 16. Ne2 e5 (or 16...a5) 17. Be3 exf4 and ...Ne5 Black has no reason for complaint.

Dec-31-04  aw1988: 16. Nd5?!
An extremely risky and, apparently, even a losing move. 'The auditorium went still: what was this - ultra-boldness, recklessness? No one found an answer to these questions, it was simply not possible. The sacrifice provoked numerous arguments, whole forests of variations... At any event, Tal's boldness in such an important game is a unique phenomenon in the praxis of leading grandmasters!' (Koblents) I would place this sacrifice higher than 16. Rxe6+ in the preceeding game with Portisch. There it was possible to work things out at the board, whereas here it proved possible to find a refutation only by the year 2000. And even today it is not altogether clear whether a grandmaster of Larsen's standard - say, Leko - would be able to solve the resulting problems. Blows such as 16. Nd5?! are periodically landed by Shirov, and with him this usually works! In short, in this game, for the umpteenth time, Tal posed problems that were ahead of their time in complexity.
Dec-31-04  aw1988: 16...exd5 17. exd5 The two mighty bishops are trained on the most vulnerable points, and if White should succeed in including his heavy artillery in the attack, he will win quickly. Besides, to avoid the typical 'Lasker' sacrifice (17...Nc5? 18. Bxh7+! Kxh7 19. Qh5+ Kg8 20. Bxg7!) Black must immediately erect a barrier in the path of the d3-bishop. 17...f5?!
The wrong pawn! Instinctively one is drawn into making this move, but only 17...g6! could have cast doubts on White's bold conception, as is confirmed by the all-seeing machine:

1) 18. Qh3?! Nf6! 19. Qh6 Nh5 20. Be2 (20. f5 Bxf5! 21. Bxf5 Re8 and wins - Burgess) 20...Re8 21. Bxh5 Bf8! and wins; 2) 18. h4?! Nc5 19. h5 Nxd3+ 20. Rxd3 Bf5 21. hxg6 fxg6! 22. Rxh7 Kxh7 23. Re3 Qd8! (23...Ra7!? - Dvoretsky; this is simpler than 23...Qc7 24. Qe2 Ra7! 25. Bxa7 Bd8! 26. Bd4 Kg8 27. Qh2 Qh7) 24. Qe2 Bxg5 25. fxg5 Qxg5 and wins; 3) 18. Rde1! (the most menacing) 18...Bd8 19. Qh3 Ne5! (but not 19...Bb6? 20. Bxg6! fxg6 21. Re7) 20. Qh6 Bb6! 21. fxe5 (21. Bxb6? Nxd3+ 22. cxd3 Qxb6 23. h4 Bg4) 21...Bxd4 22. Re4! Bf2! (22...Qa7 23. Rh4 f5 24. exf6 Be3+ 25. Kb1 Rxf6! 26. Re1 Bf5 27. Rxe3 Rf7 28. Re1 Qf2, and in this variation by Burgess Black has the advantage: 29. Rc1 Bxd3 30. cxd3 Qd2 31. Rh3 Re8 32. Qh4 a5) 23. e6 (23. Rf1?! Qa7 24. e6 fxe6 25. dxe6 Bb7 26. Rxb4 Rae8 and wins) 23...fxe6 24. dxe6.

Jan-01-05  aw1988: Here Black can play for a win in two ways:
24...Bb7 25. e7 Bxe4 (25...Re8? 26. Re6!) 26. exf8Q+ Qxf8 27. Qxf8+ Rxf8 28. Bxe4 Be3+ 29. Kd1 Bxg5 with an extra pawn, or 24...d5 25. Re2 (25. e7? Re8 26. Re2 Qb6 and wins) 25...Qa7 26. Bxg6 (what else?) hxg6 27. Qxg6+ Qg7 28. Qxg7+ Kxg7 29. e7 Re8 30. Rxf2 Rxe7 with a technically won game. After missing this far from obvious chance, Larsen also stumbles on the next move, and as a result he suffers a catastrophe.
Jan-01-05  aw1988: 18. Rde1!
18. Qe3!? was interesting, although hardly any better. 18...Rf7?
18...Bd8! was essential. In my monograph on the Sicilian Scheveningen (1984) written with Alexander Nikitin, it is indicated that after this 'the combination 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qh5 is decisive, when against the threat of 21. Qh5+ Kg8 22. g6 no satisfactory defense is apparent.' Or 20...Kg8? 21. g6! Nf6 22. Qh6 and wins! But to a computer from the early 21st century everything is apparent! After 20...Rg8! 21. Bxf5 Nf8 it is hard for White to find sufficient compensation for his material deficit, for example:
Jan-01-05  aw1988: 22. Bd3 (22. Be6 with the idea of f4-f5 is hardly any better) 22...Kh8 23. Re8 Qe7 24. g6 (but not 24. Qh6? Bf5! 25. Bxf5 Bxg5! and wins) 24...Nxg6 25. Rxg8+ Kxg8 26. Bxg6 Qg7 27. Bxh7+ Kf8 28. Re1 Bd7 29. Bf5 Bb5 with advantage to Black. After 18...Bd8! Tal gives 'the very curious variation 19. Qh5 Nc5 20. Bxg7! Nxd3+ 21. Kb1! (not 21. cxd3? Qc7+) 21...Nxe1 (21...Nxf4 Qh6) 22. g6 Kxg7 23. Qxh7+ Kf6 24. g7 Rf7 (?? - but 24...Re8 25. Qb4+ Kf7 26. Qh5+ Kf6 27. Qxe8 also does not help - G.K.) 25. g8N mate!' and 21...Kxg7? 22. Qh6+ Kg8 23. g6 Qc7 24. Rhg1 is also bad for Black. However, the machine quickly finds 21...Qc7! 22. Bxf8 Nxe1 23. Rxe1 Qf7 24. Qxf7+ Kxf7 25. Bxd6 a5 and Black's chances in the ending are at least equal.
Jan-01-05  aw1988: I had meant to type analysis for the full game, but I grow weary of this. That is the useful analysis, after 19. h4! white is winning.
Jan-01-05  aw1988: I mean to say the rest is not necessary, as we are discussing why Nd5 is losing. I did the opening because I thought I had the energy to do the full game, but apparently not. P.S. "and wins!" should be "and wins.".
Jan-04-05  Hesam7: Is this the tenth game of 1965 match?
Jan-04-05  sneaky pete: <Hesam7> Yes, it is.
Jan-04-05  aw1988: Oh damn, I forgot to continue posting. One minute.
Jan-04-05  aw1988: Sorry, no I didn't. Gah. Someone slap me.
Feb-18-05  Granite: <aw1988> *SLAP*
Feb-18-05  aw1988: Ow. Needed that.
Mar-14-05  THE pawn: <aw1988> wow, thanks for the analysis.
Apr-10-05  bishopmate: someone tell me what's wrong with 13..e5 followed by bg4
Apr-10-05  aw1988: Nothing, that was in fact the best move.
Aug-04-05  hayton3: If 16.Nd5 is unsound and a losing move, as Kasparov states, then the Normandy Landings of June '44 were unsound, Admiral Nelson's strategy at Trafalgar was unsound and Alexander the Great’s daring frontal assault at Arbela when he was outnumbered threefold by the Persians was definitely unsound. In chess, as in war, nothing ventured nothing gained. Retrograde, ‘scientific’ analysis in the comfort of one’s sofa misses the point of wresting the initiative and using the element of surprise to overwhelm your opponent in the heat of battle. In the light of this, Mr. Kasparov, 16.Nd5!? is the winning move.
Aug-04-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <Retrograde, ‘scientific’ analysis in the comfort of one’s sofa misses the point of wresting the initiative and using the element of surprise to overwhelm your opponent in the heat of battle. In the light of this, Mr. Kasparov, 16.Nd5!? is the winning move.>

Yes, Kasparov is probably unaware of that. D'oh.

Aug-04-05  hayton3: In response to your sarcasm, Kasparov branding 16.Nd5 "the losing move" is tantamount to saying Rxd5 is "the drawing move". My point is that the act of picking holes in the great games of your great predecessors is barely disguised chest beating.
Aug-04-05  aw1988: A game analysis is MEANT to uncover the truth.
Aug-04-05  hayton3: Truth in chess, as in many matters, is subjective. How many times has the truth changed around countless chess openings and positions? Why is one opening fashionable one decade and not the next, but in favour again twenty years later? It would seem that 'Truth' is the Holy Grail of chess, always strived for, never attained.

My original point, which is hardly original, is that Kasparov can be seen to be too eager in hosing down great moves and games with his own brand of analysis in his series: "My Great Predecessors". Are we to assume that he is the gatekeeper to the chess hall of immortality? If so he should allow admission to both 16.Nd5 as well as his own Rxd5 even though the 'truth' of these moves should reserve them for a less illustrious after life.

Aug-04-05  aw1988: It doesn't matter what you think of Kasparov. Analysis is the best possible move one can come up with. Chess changes, and it takes the openings with her. Drop it already.
Aug-04-05  hayton3: Sorry <aw1988> I don't understand your last post.
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