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Mikhail Tal vs Bukhuti Gurgenidze
USSR Championship (1968/69), Alma-Ata (Almaty) URS, rd 12, Jan-19
Caro-Kann Defense: Gurgenidze Counterattack (B15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: If 4.exd5, then 4...b4.
Dec-11-03  refutor: the 3. ... b5 move isn't that great...interesting doesn't necessarily mean good. there is a similar idea in some slav and semi-slav lines, but the difference here is that white can still push the c-pawn, whereas in the slav/semi-slav lines white's c-pawn has been switched off for black's d-pawn and that makes all the difference in the world with regards to queenside expansion. yes, i sound dogmatic ;) white shows a good way to play against it in Kupreichik vs J M Bellon Lopez, 1977
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Idea of this early advance of b-Pawn is to gain the square d5 for black Knight in lines similar to main line of Caro-Kann, but move 3...b5 also weakens black queenside.
Dec-11-03  talchess2003: Well I guess we can conclude that b5 has not enjoyed too much success ;P
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Is this the Gurgenidze variation?

The game is one of three in which Gurgenidze played this line at the(December) 1968 Soviet Championship.

In Round 10 Igor Zaitsev played against Gurgenidze:
<4.e5> e6 5.a3 a5 6.Nce2 Ba6 7.Nf4 b4 8.Bxa6 Nxa6 9.axb4 axb4 10.Nf3 Be7 11.h4 h5 12.Ng5 Bxg5 13.hxg5 g6 14.g4 h4 and drew.

In Round 12 we have Tal introducing <4.a3>.

In Round 18 Klovans followed Tal, but Gurgenidze varied with: <5...Nf6> 6.Nxf6+ exf6 7.a4 b4 8.Bc4 Bd6 9.Qe2+ Qe7 10.Qxe7+ Kxe7 11.Ne2 Be6 12.Bd3 Nd7 13.0-0 and eventually won.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Chessical> If I know, 3...b5!? is really a Gurgenidze's idea.
Dec-11-03  Resignation Trap: The Gurgenidze variation is 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 g6, as in this game:

Fischer vs Petrosian, 1970

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Like Rubinstein and Nimzowitsch, Gurgendize joins the select pantheon of players with more than one eponymous variation.
Dec-11-03  talchess2003: Yes, Gurgenidze is known for being original in the openings.
Dec-12-03  Shadout Mapes: In MCO, it says "3...b5?! 4.a3! and black's queenside is weak" (paraphrased).
Dec-12-03  refutor: <resignation trap> i have a question about your line there...can't white just play 4.e5 and get an improved advanced caro (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 g6 4.Nc3). you would *never* play 3. ...g6 after white has played e5 so why not punish black for trying it here. if there is no way for white to punish black, please let me know because i play the caro and i always like to try different things :) i assume it would be better to hold off on e5 until black has played ...Bg7 because in this structure he can develop his dark square bishop elsewhere?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Refutor> Your idea is a known line: 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 g6 4.e5 Bg7 5.f4 and now 5...h5, with Nh6, and Bg4; or 5...Nh6, Bg4, and Qb6.

GM Sveshnikov likes this approach.

Dec-12-03  refutor: <chessical> sveshnikov plays this as black!? that seems weak to me, but i guess if it's playable at the highest levels, it's playable at my level. white just seems better to me, but i'll take a look...thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Refutor> I did not make it clear in my last post that Sveshnikov plays the White side.

I also agree that White seems to be better in this line, although like the Modern Defence, it creates a complex position in which the better player will be at a "practical" advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: In application, White exerted pressure in a "push-hands" manner instead of swinging a hammer. The threats were worse than the executions. Gurgenidze kept having to go on the defensive, and allowed small cuts on his chess person to avoid the axe being swung into his chest.
May-25-06  LIFE Master AJ: Tal madness. (Actually - a compliment. He just keeps making moves that I don't even look at the first time around.)
May-25-06  LIFE Master AJ: Poor Gurgenidze is dragged ... groaning, to the gallows.
Apr-13-07  M.D. Wilson: 16. h4 is a simple, but overlooked, key move. By accepting the pawn, Gurzy sets himself up for a very strong Tal offensive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: The reason of 3...b5 seems to be a control of d5. Interesting idea but probably too much committal.
May-06-09  Crocomule: This is a typical Tal mystery; why would a GM - in a major event - abandon f7, and let Tal play Ne5?! It's essentially over by the 14th move.
Sep-27-09  WhiteRook48: 21...Kxh7 also loses to the arrangement of 22 Rh1+ Bh6 23 Rxh6+ Kg7 24 Qh4
Sep-27-09  tud: I like the idea oh h4 to open the way (g3, Kg2) for the rook to h1. Is this highly original even in 1969 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: After 34.Rd7 Gurgenidze saw that moving the c7 Knight leaves the e6 pawn hanging and protecting the knight with 34...Rf7 leads to 35. Rxc7 Rxc7 36. Qxe6+ Kf8 37. Qd6+ losing a piece.
Apr-14-20  carpovius: Chess fiesta!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: There's a funny note in Tal's <My Life and Games> after 21....Qxe5.

click for larger view

He spends time trying to find a mate after 22.Rah1, having already burned a lot of clock dealing with Gurgenidze's unusual opening idea. He finally decides that there's no mate after 22....f5 23.Qh3 Bg7 and writes <I was forced to turn to the prosaic.>

Only Tal could consider White's next two moves prosaic!

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