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Mikhail Tal vs Viktor Korchnoi
Moscow (1971), Moscow URS, rd 13, Dec-12
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Euwe-Keres Line (C07)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-24-05  notyetagm: In his new book "Secrets of Attacking Chess" GM Marin says that a major reason why Tal lost so often to Korchnoi was that the Wizard would get a pawn on e5 and then overestimate his attacking. This game is a case in point. Tal's kingside "attack" goes nowhere and Korchnoi just mops up pawns to win the endgame.

Dec-17-08  PugnaciousPawn: Wow! Rarely do you see such resounding defeats in grandmaster play. Korchnoi was a true master of the French!
Jan-11-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The key move for better or worse might be 23.Qf4!?, which allows 23...f5! exploiting the pinned e-pawn, and 34...Nf6, again exploiting the pinned e-pawn. This certain supports GM Marin's thesis as quoted by <notyetagm>.

So does White have better? I'm looking at 23.Bb1 (threat: Qe4),Bc6 (or Nf8!?; Be4!?,Nd7; Bb1 repeating).

Jan-05-17  A.T PhoneHome: If 33. gxf3, 33... Qg5 forces the trade of Queens.
Feb-14-21  Gaito: Korchnoi seemed to have the knack to lure Tal into the sort of positions where the latter often went astray and blundered. In Korchnoi's book "Chess is my Life" (page 64) he wrote the following paragraph: "...I had noticed the stereotyped nature of Tal's attacking play back in 1957. Tal had, and still has, many fans. His uncompromising style of play delights chess enthusiasts, and they are won over by his desire and ability to take risks and even bluff his way through. At the same time, Tal's skill in building up his game is inadequate, and is often based on routine assessments and routine methods. I consider the genuine masters of attack to be Alekhine, Keres and Spassky" (end of quotation)
In this game, Tal started to go astray from the following position:


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White could have obtained an equal game by 26.a4!, but for some reason he made up his mind to exchange rooks on d8: 26.Rxd8+??, and after 26...Qxd8 he had a strategically lost game, with zero counterplay and two advanced pawns that were vulnerable. Korchnoi was quick to take advantage of that fact, and from then on he was on the driver's seat throughout the rest of the game. A sample variation with 26.a4! might have been something like this: 26...Be8 27.Qh4 Ne7 28.Qxc4 Rdxd6 29.exd6 Qxd6 30.a5 Rxb2 31.Qxe6 Qxe6 32.Rxe6 Rxc2 33.Rxe7 Bxh5 34.Rxa7 (see diagram below):


click for larger view

Black has an extra pawn, but White has a distant passed pawn which clearly compensates for his small material deficit. A draw could be a likely result.

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