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Tal - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1965)

Mikhail Tal and Lajos Portisch qualified from the Amsterdam Interzonal (1964) to meet in this quarterfinal match. (1) The match would be 10 games in length, and adjourned games would be played off after every two days. Tal's second Alexander Koblents advised him to avoid playing the King's Indian, believing that Portisch would prepare thoroughly against it. Both agreed that Tal should only open 1.e4. (2) Tal had better recent results before the match, and might therefore be considered the favorite, but Portisch's biographer Egon Varnusz notes that "On the other hand their styles conflicted as fire and water and this gave the young Hungarian champion a certain and by no means negligible chance." (3)

Bled, Yugoslavia (Slovenia), 26 June - 10 July 1965 (4)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 GM Tal 1 0 1 1 1 5 2 GM Portisch 0 1 0 0 0 2

Tal believed the 5th game marked a decisive turning point in the match. Trailing by one game, Portisch sealed 41.e4! in this adjourned position, with good winning chances:


click for larger view

This position was analyzed for two days, and was even published in Riga Shakhmaty before the ending was played out. Portisch missed a win, and according to Tal, played without energy in games 7 and 8, allowing Tal to win both, and the match.2 Tal now advanced to the Tal - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1965).

(1) Wikipedia article: Candidates Tournament.
(2) Mikhail Tal, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal (Cadogan 1997), pp. 297-299.
(3) Egon Varnusz, The Selected Games of Lajos Portisch (Arco 1979), p. 61.
(4) Games dated from Alexander Khalifman (ed.), Mikhail Tal Games II 1963-1972 (Chess Stars 1995), pp. 101-107; Di Felice, Chess Results 1964-1967, p. 206.

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Tal-Portisch 1965), by User: Hesam7; Introduction written and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project.

 page 1 of 1; 8 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Portisch vs Tal ½-½831965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalA38 English, Symmetrical
2. Tal vs Portisch 1-0271965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalB10 Caro-Kann
3. Portisch vs Tal 1-0441965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalE52 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with ...b6
4. Tal vs Portisch 1-0321965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalC11 French
5. Portisch vs Tal ½-½561965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalE56 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6
6. Tal vs Portisch  ½-½401965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
7. Portisch vs Tal 0-1411965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
8. Tal vs Portisch 1-0471965Tal - Portisch Candidates QuarterfinalC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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