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Lajos Portisch vs Vasily Smyslov
Portoroz (1971), Portoroz YUG, rd 3, Apr-??
Dutch Defense: Semi-Leningrad Variation (A81)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-28-03  ughaibu: Is it my imagination or does Smyslov have a really bad position? So how does he win so easily? Can his moves really be so much better than his opponent's moves?
Apr-28-03  aulero: Very interesting fight!

In my opinion the key point of the game is "14.e4".

Portisch, a very fine positional player, tried to open the center in order to exploit the bishop pairs, but he probably evaluate wrongly the weakness of c4 square.

Smyslov, a giant of positional play, simply didn't miss to understand and exploit the c4 weakness: he outclassed Portisch with precise and very effective moves.

I think that the weakness of Black position was only apparent and Portisch was not able to react tactically when he discovered to be strategically lost.

Another peculiarity is the Smyslov's opening choice, very uncommon for him! It is possible that the strongest move of the game was 1...f5! Portisch surely expected something else.

According to the database, Smyslov played the Dutch defence only 6 times with Black winning four times and losing two.

This is from a world championship: Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Impressive performance of Smyslov.
Jun-28-06  Ulhumbrus: After 15 bxc4 White has an impressive looking centre, but one tiny little thing begins to spoil things for him: Black is able to attack the c4 pawn twice by 15...Nb6 and on 16 c5 Nc4 this N is placed so well that instead of having an overwhelming position White is embarrassed by the Knight. Then on 17 Bc1 Rad8 the White centre becomes a target instead of a weapon. With the d4 pawn pinned, the c5 pawn becomes a target for ...Nd7 and ...Nxc5. Perhaps it takes just a few little things to pass what would be an overwhelming advantage otherwise to the opponent instead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Something from teh archives of my chess club, this is a link to a photo from the match, unfortunately I don't know which game:

The arbiter (standing) was Vasja Pirc.

Jul-16-10  King.Arthur.Brazil: Well, see that after Nc4 begin all the problems for white. 20.dxc6 was answered by powerful Nxc5, then win e4 and c6, the white couldnt defeat the treats after Qxc6! 33.Qd3 avoids 33...Qe4! after e5! the game is over.But, white continues, so the final 37...Rd3, like a mate: if 38. Qb4?? Qe1+ and win the Rd1, or Qc2?? Qf3+ Kg1 Ne3 treats Qc2, Rd1 and Qg2++, no defence!!!
Oct-09-11  Everett: Suba puts it succinctly in his Dynamic Chess Strategy, c4 is weak if white fianchettoes the LSB and plays d4. This in part explains the resilient and harmonious KID and Dragon systems; both structures leave a pawn on d6 to start to counterbalance the absence of the bishop on the c8-a3 diagonal.

Portisch tries to cover it with b3, but Smyslov merely exchanges that off with ..dxc4.

After Portisch moves the Q, Smylov has Qf3+ picking up the rook on d1.

Oct-11-11  Shams: <Everett> Great comment. If others are confused, as I was: you mean the a3-f8 diagonal, yes? And the point that you are making is that the c5 square in KID and Dragon systems is not analogously weak, for Black, as c4 is for White in the scenario you describe, because Black deliberately leaves it on d6 rather than pushing to d5.
Oct-11-11  Everett: <Shams> yeah, <c8-a3 diagonal> I just broke the board into three pieces. Hilarious.

Back to the c4/c5 square, this is why there is such a raging fight over this square in Catalan structures, and part of the reason I am not fond of playing them. If it wasn't theory, I wouldn't trust the Q-side problems in those structures. In short, the resulting compensation for white is too subtle for me to handle well.

Another example of the c4 weakness is the fianchetto QID structures. With White's LSB on g2, Black playing Ba6, hitting c4, is an effective annoyance straight out of the opening. Of course it doesn't make these openings bad, it is just characteristic of why certain moves make sense in these scenarios.

Jul-16-13  Xeroxx: great game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Smyslov places his knight on c4, then supports it. The piece becomes the axis of almost all his subsequent play.
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