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Mikhail Tal vs Lev Polugaevsky
Polugaevsky - Tal Candidates Quarterfinal (1980), Alma-Ata (Almaty) URS, rd 2, Mar-27
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Polugayevsky Variation (B96)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-15-04  themindset: wouldn't 11.Qe2 be better here?
Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: Tal miscalculates.
Jan-20-05  refutor: i've got a headache from analyzing this game with the help of Kasparov in OMGP vol. 3. i've spent a good portion of my evening looking at this game and the variations he gives are headspinning...
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: It was no easy matter replying to Tal's bad sacrifices. Perhaps I'm just imagining things but it appears that Polugaevsky did not fully neutralize White's initiative until 58...Ng5+.
Nov-20-12  SimonWebbsTiger: 19...Be6! is better (Kasparov)

26.Qd3! with winning chances (Lepeshkin, confirmed by the silicon)

30.Qh4= and 34...Rb8 (Kasparov)

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <SimonWebbsTiger>, 19...Be6 is impossible; did you mean 19...Bf6?
Nov-22-12  SimonWebbsTiger: confound my clerical skills! I did mean <19...Ba6> and not the impossible Be6.

As an aside, the entire line was anybody's guess as late as Nunn's massive work on the Najdorf. Kasparov and the Silicon seem to have settled matters now, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Polugaevsky must have got a shock when Tal played 10. ♗xb5+ - the most feared attacking player in the world playing what was probably a prepared novelty/TN early in the opening. Polugaevsky then had to refute the sacrifice over the board, with the clock ticking, which he did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Polugaevsky says that he knew Tal would have a novelty planned against The Polugaevsky Variation. This was game 2, and Tal produced his novelty in game 4 ( Tal vs Polugaevsky, 1980 ).

Polugaevsky thinks that Tal thought that his G4 novelty would win, after which Polugaevsky would stop using his Variation for the match.

So, reasoned Polugaevsky, Tal must have decided to play game 2 off-the-cuff, in his good old style. If Tal lost or drew, he would still be able to use his novelty in G4 (because Polugaevsky would carry on using his Variation). If he won, well, that's a win and he could use his novelty in the future.

In the end Tal ended up with a ½ point out of the 2 games.

In any case, Polugaevsky had been looking at possible early sacrifices on b5, and he was confident his Variation could withstand them all.

The Polugaevsky Variation is a fantastic fighting opening and it is a shame the Defence more or less died with him.

May-14-17  morfishine: Fantastic game, one could spend hours and hours going over the variations


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I know the Polu Variation. White should never play f6xg7. It always looks good, but it is always bad.
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

White now plays
This is a great example of <"Knight on d6 capturing unmoved bishop on c8">.
Here it is with check, and Black cannot recapture.
Black's best move is in fact

click for larger view

Does that ring any bells?

Miles vs Kasparov, 1986

click for larger view

15. Nxc8+ Kf6!

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