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Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"Winawer Winnowed" (game of the day Nov-19-2010)
Botvinnik - Tal World Championship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 1, Mar-15
French Defense: Winawer. Classical Variation (C18)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-09-15  Rama: I happen to be reading the book, and if you can find a copy I recommend it.

I Like the French, either side of it. But here in the Winawer I'd play 5. ... cxd4, 6. axb3 dxc3, 7. bxc3 Qc7 which now has some real bite. (Alekhine, notes on openings, NY24)

For black in the French, I'd say any time he can gain control of d4 he should.

Oct-17-15  Joules: This game is featured in 'Lisa: A Chess Novel' by GM Jesse Kraai. The quote <keypusher> mentions is in the novel. Along with notation from a few of these 1960 games in an appendix, in a central chapter of the book the two protagonists actively discuss and analyze this game.

The novel is about a young 13 year old Bay Area girl and her chess teacher, a fictionalized GM Igor Ivanov - Igor Ivanov vs Karpov, 1979. The novel, published in 2013, after Ivanov's death in 2005 is an excellent read for chess lovers. It gives an old patzer like me insights into experiencing the game at levels I can only dream about. Reviews at Amazon are quite good, The author's website describes more.

Apr-01-16  Conrad93: < The main move was 11. Ne2 of course. I think Tal was trying to hit the "random" button with his play in this game. On the face of it the move does seem crazy, just a few moves later black's bishop goes to a4 and the king is running for its life. >

Anyone who has played the PPV of the French would never suggest that 11. Ne2 is random. White wants to keep the option of playing f2-f4, and 11. Ne2 also has the bonus of protecting the c3 square in case of any checks.

Apr-01-16  Conrad93: I think Tal was the best French Defense player in the 60's besides maybe Kortchnoi.
Apr-01-16  N0B0DY: Probably your best comment ever, <C93>. <N0B0DY> likes it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <N0B0DY: Probably your best comment ever, <C93>. <N0B0DY> likes it.>

Nobody should, certainly. And just below that he says no one should be surprised by 11.Ne2, when it's clear that Rookfile is talking about 11.Kd1 (and Tal's general approach in this game).

I don't think anyone can be that clueless by accident. On the other hand, it is April 1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: It seems strange that Botvirnnik would play 29...Pxc4 when Tal's obvious recapture 30. Bxc4 does an X-ray attach on black's queen and rook, thereby losing material.
Apr-01-16  Conrad93: <I don't think anyone can be that clueless by accident. On the other hand, it is April 1.>

Oh, looky here, folks! A pretentious twat.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Conrad93: <I don't think anyone can be that clueless by accident. On the other hand, it is April 1.> Oh, looky here, folks! A pretentious twat.>

Well, Conrad, could you make a P.T.'s day and explain how Tal was the second-best French Defense player of the 1960s? Seeing that he played it twice during the decade, got one draw and one loss with it, and then swore it off?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Give <donkrad> credit, gang--he knows all about pretentiousness, as well as having more than a passing familiarity with embodying traits of the other term....
Apr-02-16  AlicesKnight: On the chess theme, Botvinnik was not completely invulnerable playing Black in the French Winawer - cf. Alexander-Botvinnik, 1946, a celebrated win by the English code-breaker.
Apr-02-16  Conrad93: <Well, Conrad, could you make a P.T.'s day and explain how Tal was the second-best French Defense player of the 1960s? Seeing that he played it twice during the decade, got one draw and one loss with it, and then swore it off?>

Not sure where you are getting your information from, but he played it more than twice.

Apr-02-16  Conrad93: <: Give <donkrad> credit, gang--he knows all about pretentiousness, as well as having more than a passing familiarity with embodying traits of the other term....>

Your username and comments would suggest your you are an expert in pretentiousness and attention-seeking.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: A quick search of where Tal played Black in the French turned up the following 3 games from 1960-1969: Fischer vs Tal, 1960, Vasiukov vs Tal, 1961, and Portisch vs Tal, 1961. What am I missing?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Perfidious = pretentious?

Only in the delusional world of <donkrad>....

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The inference we may certainly draw is that Tal neither played the French particularly often in the sixties nor with great success, whether one classifies the game with Vasiukov as a French or a KIA.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <beatgiant >. Well, I missed the Vasiukov game, because I was only looking at 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5. But Tal definitely played the French there...anyway, I remembered Tal writing in his autobiography that the Portisch game led to him abandoning the French.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <catlover> <It seems strange that Botvirnnik would play 29...Pxc4>

29...Ne7 30. cxd5 Nxd5 31. Bc4 doesn't work for Black either. Otherwise Botvinnik has to drop the d-pawn, leaving him two pawns down in a worse position.

Mar-21-17  lentil: I HAVE NO CLUE.
Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: ...And I must scream.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I would imagine that part of Botvinnik's match strategy was "do not get involved in tactical shoot outs with Tal." But as the world champion, his amour propre would probably urge him to try to beat Tal in a mle.
Nov-10-17  ughaibu: There appear to be two strategies for saving Conrad93's comment. 1. that the French Defence is played from both sides of the board, so a player facing the French is still a French Defence player. 2. if a player ever plays the French in a serious game, then they are a French Defence player, and the best of all such players is the best French Defence player.
Nov-12-19  King.Arthur.Brazil: I don't know why, but some comments are unclear, so let me humbly shed some light, please. About 11.♔d1 leaved the black without any threat, because none of the moves 11...♕xe5 or 11...♕xc3 are checks. 11.♘e2 would lead white with a pin ♘ and he could fear to come upon a "prepared openning" from Botvinnik, so he threw the opponent studies away. The first, he could answer with 12.♘f3 or 12.♗b5+, while the second he could play 12.♖b1 winning a tempo and keeping the initiative. Botvinnik himself begin to think was he who fel into a "prepared oppening", so carefully answered 11...♗d7 which allowed 12.♕h5+ ♘g6 and Tal obtained a pin with ♘. Therefore, Tal win the initial battle and Botvinnik began to feel unconfortable, with 13.♘e2 just threatening 14.♘f4. Black makes his counter-attack 14...♗a4+ and 15...♕xe5 however the plain 15.♗g5 16.d4 keep the black ♔ in the center, without castling, and Tal prepares to take his ♖ to e3, that's why black advanced 18...e5. Maybe, Bot could try to blockade the center, with 9...e4, but after 20. ♘f4 ♕f7 21. ♖g3 and the helping 22...♘6-e7 could not be played because of 23.♗xe7! ♔xe7 24.♘xg6+ win the ♘. 19...♕f7 intended to play 20... ♘f4, getting rid from the pin. Tal win a tempo and open the "e" file. After all, in position 24 it seems Black is laced, then 25.♕d1 open fire into the new target, the Black ♔, which Bot seemed to avoid as much as possible. This justifies a tendency of exchange pieces to reduce the pressure and power of Tal. The 29.c4! is a dinamite which explodes the door. Now, black cannot play 29... ♘e7 due to 30.♗xe7 ♕xe7 31.cxd5, when if the 31...♗ moves, 32.d6+ win the ♕. Imagine Bot's situation. He tried to find a less demage move, with 31...dxc4 loosing the quality. After 32.h5 Black has no good place for his ♘. It could follow 32...♘f8 33. ♗f4+ ♔b7 34. ♖d8 ♕xg2 35. ♖b8+ ♔a6 36. ♕e2+ ♕xe2+ 37. ♔xe2 and white wins this final easily. A strong beginning of the match.
Nov-12-19  Carrots and Pizza: I have the book Tal wrote on this match. It is one of the best chess books I've ever read, and like many of you, I have a lot of chess books. This game is fantastic. White plays more rook moves than I can even count.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <Carrots and Pizza> Yes, that book is one of my all-time favorite chess books as a well. Tal was an exceptionally gifted writer.
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