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Mikhail Tal vs Lajos Portisch
"Knightmare" (game of the day Oct-21-2018)
Biel Interzonal (1976), Biel SUI, rd 14, Jul-30
Spanish Game: Closed. Bogoljubow Variation (C91)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: 37...Bxg5 38. Qg8+!
Jan-01-03  pawntificator: Lajos shouldn't have been so greedy and tried to hang on to his extra material. 32...Bf4 might have afforded him better chances.
Oct-28-03  Open Defence: I came accross this game as a young girl, I didn't quite work out at first why Portisch resigned, then I saw the combinations, absolutely amazing!! Paul Morphy would have been proud of this one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Open Defence> The following Portisch-Tal game might also interest you.

Portisch vs Tal, 1964

Oct-28-03  Open Defence: thanks Benzol, that's quite an interesting game too
Apr-20-07  wolfmaster: 37... Re7 38.Qxe7!! Bxe7 39.Ngf7#!
Dec-15-07  BlackNightmare: three words: OH MY GOD!
Sep-13-08  pom nasayao: the rare smothered mate is inevitable after 38. Qg8+
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Tal was really something, wasn't he?
Nov-23-13  jerseybob: With 27..d4? Portisch seemingly tries to "play like Tal", but Tal rarely left pieces hanging at the end of his combos(29.Qe4!). 27..Bc5 seems perfectly OK.
Nov-23-13  parisattack: Poor Portisch Lajos - he always 'seems' to be on the wrong side of such games. One might not suspect he was on the right side of quite a few - such as Portisch vs Petrosian, 1967.

I always thought Portisch missed going higher (he was in the Top 10 for many years) because he never found a solid answer to 1. e4. I imagine he'd do better in these times where 1. d4 dominates.

I interviewed Portisch in 1972 and found him a pleasant and most gracious gentleman.

Nov-24-13  Granny O Doul: This game corresponds with the circle of ownage once pointed out by Victor Korchnoi: Keres > Korchnoi > Tal > Portisch > Keres.
Mar-01-16  b.firm: Black seemed to have an advantage poaition, but white was able to manage it to a well-mated combination supported by 2 knights and a little pawn.. great!!
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

Black could pin the e-pawn with 32...Qf6!

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <offramp: Black could pin the e-pawn with 32...Qf6!>

But after 33. N3d4, white is an exchange up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: 15 years after becoming world champion, Tal could still sling the wood pretty good.
Oct-21-18  clement41: What a thrilling game!
No doubt Tal knew he was deviating with 9 d4 instead of the principled 9 h3 but then managed to get away convincingly with the "refutation" 9...Bg4
Oct-21-18  ughaibu: Offramp: 32...Qf6, 33.exd7 Qc6, 34.Ne7?

I don't see a clear win against 37...Rg8. For example, 38.Qg8 Qg8, 39.Nhf7 Qf7, 40.f7 N8d7, 41.Ne6 Be7, etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: The best GOTD pun we've had in quite some time!
Oct-21-18  LewisKing: Agreed..I also wondered why Portisch didn't play 37...Rg8. Even if there were time pressure, that seems an easy move to find, and I'm not sure how Tal forces a win after that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <LewisKing: Agreed..I also wondered why Portisch didn't play 37...Rg8. Even if there were time pressure, that seems an easy move to find, and I'm not sure how Tal forces a win after that.>

After 38.Qg6 it is over.Not even 38-Qb7+.39Kg1 can change the outcome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If play had continued
38. Qg6 Qb7+
39. Kg1 ...

click for larger view

Black could safely play

click for larger view

White has a mate in 7:
38.Qc7!! Rf8
39.Ngf7+ Rxf7
40.Qxc8+ Nxc8

click for larger view

42.Rxd7 Be7
43.Rd8+ Bxd8

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: According to Stockfish the losing move is 32 ...Nb8.

After Nb8:

1) +4.95 (24 ply) 33.Qb7 Bb2 34.Rd1 Qf6 35.Ng5 Nc8 36.bxc4 bxc4 37.Qf7+ Qxf7 38.exf7+ Kf8 39.fxe8=R+ Kxe8 40.Re1+ Kd8 41.Re2 Ba1 42.Nxh7 Nd7 43.Ng5 Nc5 44.Ne6+ Nxe6 45.Rxe6 Kd7 46.Rxa6 Bf6 47.g5 Be5 48.Kf3

Instead, 32 Qf6 holds with a sligfht advantage for white:

1) +0.50 (19 ply) 33.Rxc1 Rxe6 34.Qb7 c3 35.N3d4 Re5 36.Rxc3 Rxf5 37.Rc8+ Nxc8 38.Qxc8+ Qf8 39.Nxf5 Qxc8 40.Ne7+ Kf7 41.Nxc8 Ke6 42.Kg3 Ne5 43.f4 Nd3 44.Kf3 Nc1 45.Nb6 Nxa2 46.f5+ Ke5

On 37, .. Rg8 Stockfish gives the refutation as 38 Qc7!

Mate in 6:

1) mated-in-6 (20 ply) 38...Rf8 39.Ngf7+ Rxf7 40.Qxc8+ Nxc8 41.exf7 Nd7 42.Rxd7 Be7 43.Rd8+ Bxd8 44.f8=Q#

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Breunor> thanks for clearing that up.
Oct-22-18  SChesshevsky: Another answer to 37...Rg8 might be 38. Rd8 and if queen takes 39. Qg6 and eventually black checks seem to run out.

32...Qf6 is an excellent try but probably not near the first thing to look for after Tal sacs for an attack. Especially if time is a consideration. Plus given his style preference, Portisch probably wasn't thrilled with getting into a tactical battle with Tal in the first place and might rather try to hold than get into more complications.

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