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Mikhail Tal vs Florin Gheorghiu
Riga Interzonal (1979), Riga URS, rd 13, Sep-23
Sicilian Defense: Modern Variations. Anti-Qxd4 Move Order Accepted (B50)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-11-03  Alchemist: A triumph for the minor peices in the endgame. Sharp and fascinating sideline to the sicilian. I wonder if it's any good?
Jan-29-06  whatthefat: Joe Gallagher in "The Magic of Mikhail Tal" annotates the opening thus:

3...Nf6

What is the point of this move? Why doesn't Black just play 3...cxd4 and get on with whatever variation he is intending to play? Why allow White the additional option of 4.dxc5? Well, the move order with 3...Nf6 is designed to avoid the variation 3...cxd4 4.Qxd4 (the variation 3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3 is also ruled out). Black's point is that after 3...Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Qxd4 White has 'prematurely' blocked his c-pawn. This doesn't matter after 5...Nc6 6.Bb5, which just transposes to the main line of Qxd4, but is more relevant after 5...Bd7 or 5...a6 as against these moves White normally aims for a Maroczy Bind set-up. This, of course, involves an early c2-c4.

But why is Black even bothering to rule out a variation which is supposed to be harmless anyway? Well, the Romanian Grandmaster is a pretty nervous character at the best of times and I suspect that his choice was influenced by the following game, one of only two occasions where Tal played 4.Qxd4.

[The game Tal vs R Byrne, 1976 is given]

4.dxc5!?

In fact, most White players just play 4.Nc3 here but Tal decides to 'exploit' Gheorghiu's move order.

4...Nxe4

After the defeat suffered by Black in this game, 4...Qa5+ became more popular...

Apr-08-07  Grega: Is this variation (funny 3d move) playable and adaptable to the tournament play or is it useful only at blitz?

Have anyone tried this hypermodern variation anh what conclusions did he draw?

What do youguys suggest for improvement in the opening, because Gherghiu is already worser after 20 moves?

Apr-08-07  Grega: Man, there's a breathtaking sequel: I A Nataf vs M Vachier Lagrave, 2006
Apr-08-07  larsenfan: < Grega: Is this variation >

Grandmaster Suba has used this move order regularly for many yearse, so at least he thinks it is not just for blitz, take a look to his games if you feel like

Nov-03-10  sevenseaman: Tal makes his opponent work even for a scrap.
Jun-25-11  Al2009: Why 11. Nd4?
White doesn't need to sac the exchange.
After 11. Rd2! it seems that White is winning and Black is almost helpless against White's attack, and its huge development advantage. For instance:
a)11...Nb4 12. Bb5+
b) 11...Bg6 12. Bb5 b1) 12...Nxb5 13. Nxb5 (13...Qxd5 14.Nc7+ Rd8 15. Rxd5+ Kc8 16. Nxa8 ) b2) 12...Qb6 13. Re1! ( 13...e6 14. Bxd6 Rd8 15. Rxe6+! ) b3)12...Rc8 13. Rhd1

It seems that Tal could have won much before 64 moves....

Jun-25-11  SimonWebbsTiger: @Al2009

Tal annotated this game in Informator 28/407. He awarded 11. Nd4 an exclam and thought 11. Bb5 interesting

He gave 16. Bb5 Re7 17. Rd1 as better than 16. Bc4

Jun-25-11  Al2009: @SimonWebbsTiger

I got the Informator 28 and Tal's analysis.
However Tal did not analyse at all 11.Rd2! as I suggested, he just analysed 11.Kxc2??, and 11.Bb5 and (of course) 11.Nd4 as he played in the game.

But 11. Rd2! seems the best move

Jun-25-11  sfm: I love 58.Kg6!! For Tal's razor-sharp calculation a one-single-tempo win is no problem. From the comments I conclude that 10.-,Bxc2 in fact loses, fastest to 11.Rd2 Fine game, tough defense by Black, who "almost" made it.
Jun-25-11  SimonWebbsTiger: @Al2009

ah, great stuff.

I popped the silicon on (Fritz 12) and she liked 11. Rd2 too. She also suggested 12...Qb6 13. Ne5 Ba4 as a better defence than Tal's note with 13...Bh5. I'm sure a complete computer assisted analysis can discover more.

Mind you, that said, one has just got to love Tal -- he would play moves like 11. Nd4 and 13. Nxe7.

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