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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Tal
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 1, Sep-07
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Traditional Line (B92)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-20-05  paladin at large: Why doesn't Tal play 29......Nxf2?
Dec-20-05  KingG: It was more important to stop Rb1-Rxb7.
Dec-20-05  delterp: I see a slightly different line:
29 ...♘xf2 30 ♗f3 f5 31 d6! ♗xd6 32 ♗xb7 and 33 ♗xa6 queening the a pawn without much trouble.
Dec-20-05  Saruman: <delterp> is right.
Aug-17-06  Runemaster: I think this gme illustrates yet again Smyslov's fine positional understanding.

With 15.Qd3, he offers to accept doubled pawns, but clearly realised that Black would be forced to unblock them to stop White doubling on the 'c' file. That then exposed Black's 'b' pawn as a weakness, as it remained for most of the game.

Oct-28-08  ughaibu: What's wrong with 27....Rd4?
Feb-27-09  DrGridlock: <ughaibu: What's wrong with 27....Rd4?>

Nothing is wrong.
Rybka scores it .84 for Rxd2, .84 for Rd4.

Rybka gives the line 27 ... Rd4, 28 bc2 bd6, 29 g3 bc7, 30 bd3 kf8, 31 rc1 nd7, 32 nc4 b5, 33 axb6 nxb6, 34 nd2 a5.

In either case, Smyslov has an advantage. Tal probably liked the asymetries of sacrificing the exchange for a pawn, instead of allowing white to maintain his d and e pawn dominance in the center. Kind of a slow death by strangulation in the rd4 line, which isn't Tal's style of defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the first round - this was the first meeting between the two greats. 11..Nbd7 looks more logical than 11..Qc6.

Smyslov after 15 Qd3!:

"The correct way of handling the position. The exchange of queens on d3 favors White, as he gains the possibility of rook operations on the c-file. With the advantage of the two bishops and strong Q-side pressure, he can be hopeful of success in the endgame."

If 27..Rd4 Smyslov gives 28 f3 with the central pawns giving White a clear advantage.

<delterp: I see a slightly different line: 29 ...xf2 30 f3 f5 31 d6! xd6 32 xb7 and 33 xa6 queening the a pawn without much trouble. >

In this line 32..Bxh2 looks complicated. Smyslov's explanation is similar to <KingG>.

If 31..Bd8 Smslov gives 32 Bxa6..bxa 33 Rb8.

Smyslov after 34 f4:

"The white king has taken up a good post, from where it restrains the advance ..c4, and in certain variations defends the a5 pawn. White can now begin active measures on the K-side, so as to open a file for his rook."

I think Smyslov is my favorite endgame player - he makes it look so simple.

Nov-11-13  zydeco: Tal had a habit of losing in the first round of tournaments. This kind of queen exchange (15.Qd3!) is almost a speciality of Smyslov's (see also 26.Qh4 in his 1948 game against Reshevsky) where it's more important to force off queens than to worry about the aesthetics of a dislocated pawn structure.
Nov-11-13  Strongest Force: <zydeco> only a handful of masters can/could turn almost undetectable mistakes into wins.
Nov-11-13  RookFile: A profound and outstanding game by Smyslov.
Nov-11-13  hcgflynn: What was the point of 45. - c4+? And why not 50. - Bxa5?
Nov-12-13  zydeco: <hcgflynn > I think Tal assumed that he wouldn't be able to hold the pawn for very long and he wanted to give his bishop a square at c5 where it could help support the blockade.

After 50....Bxa5 I think white tries 51.Re7 and then 51.....Kf4 52.Kc4 or 51.....Nd6 52.Rd7 and, without the bishop on c5, white chases the knight out of d6.

Nov-20-15  Mehem: <What was the point of 45. - c4+?> The point was to keep away white King from a4 and thus defending the pawn a5. Neverthless, it looks like a losing decision; after 45... Kh6 46.Ka4 Bg5 I can't see any straight way to win this ending.
Aug-28-16  Tal1949: Playing 'tricks' against Smyslov was never going to work. Come on Tal- respect your opponent!

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