Random Posts

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Barrel Full Of Surprises

     In 2003, David Bronstein gave an interview on a Russian website and when asked, "...where did the art of chess go?" he replied, "The art apparently existed before Botvinnik introduced the system for preparation in chess in his 1936 article. The Soviet chess school was, after Botvinnik, based on research. What did they research? The opening. They were doing very much what Lobanovsky was doing before his soccer matches. However, in soccer they can change their original plan at any moment while chess players can’t — they are hostages of choice." 
     Fortunately for fans, Bronstein went his own way and when in 1968 he met Tal at the USSR Team Championship in Riga they produced a wild game that must have been fun to watch. 
     Paul Keres was critical of the players because of the fact that they spent so much time on the early stages that both of them ran into time trouble which resulted in sloppy play in the second half of the game. He asked, "What good is it to play the first part of the game well and then spoil it by playing lightening chess in the second part?" He added that he thought it would be better to play the first part somewhat less deeply so that there would be time to play the second part in an acceptable manner. 
     The USSR Team Championship consisted of two divisions, one for the teams representing several Soviet republics and one for teams representing various sports clubs and the two divisions played their matches on alternate years. In 1968, the twelve best sports clubs met in Riga, Latvia. Each team was made up of 10 players, five men, two women, two boys and one girl. 
     With the exception of the Botvinnik and the three players participating in a tournament in Palma (Korchnoi, Spassky and Petrosian) all of the big name GMs were at Riga. 
     Check out some of the participants: Efim Geller, Vladas Mikenas, Isaac Boleslavsky, Georgy Lisitsin, Anatoly Karpov, Alexander Beliavsky, Rafael Vaganian, Lev Polugaevsky, Leonid Stein, Vasily Smyslov, Oleg Romanishin, Vladimir Tukmakov, Mark Taimanov, Evgeni Vasiukov, Eduard Gufeld, Anatoly Lein, Ratmir Kholmov, Vladimir M Liberzon, Anatoly S Lutikov, Leonid Shamkovich, Nona Gaprindashvili, Mikhail Podgaets, Igor Zaitsev, Vladimir Bagirov and Alexey Suetin, just name a few!
     Naturally, most of the attention was on the top boards, but as is often the case, many of those games were, in fact, non-games where the players just went through the motions. Happily for chess fans, Bronstein and Tal played a real game and Bronstein even opened with a King's Gambit. The result was a game that had a barrel full of surprises.

David Bronstein - Mikhail Tal

Result: 1-0

Site: USSR Team Championship, Riga

Date: 1968

Falkbeer Counter Gambit

[...] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 Even though Bronstein had been playing the King's Gambit a lot at the time, this move already created a buzz of excitement, not just because of the opening, but because he was playing it against Tal, the world's greatest living tactician at the time. 2...d5 Another sensational surprise! Tal plays the Falkbeer Counter Gambit! What is white tp do? Accepting it is risky, but there is no good way to decline it! 3.exd5 e4 4.d3 ♘f6 5.dxe4 This is the oldest and most common move which is also probably the best. An interesting try though is 5.Nd2?!
5.♘d2 exd3 The only other try is 5...e3?! 6.♗xd3 And black's dilemma is how to take the P, or should he play 6...Bg4 first? The whole variation is largely untested.
5...♘xe4 6.♘f3 ♗c5 7.♕e2 ♗f5 It's well known that other moves favor white. This move weas introduced in the game Spielmann-Tarrasch, Mahrisch-Ostrow, 1923. 8.♘c3
8.g4 allows black a sacrifice that gives him a promising attack. 8...O-O 9.gxf5 ♖e8 10.♕g2 ♘f2+ 11.♗e2 ♘xh1 12.♕xh1 ♕xd5
8...♕e7 9.♗e3 This, too, is a well known position. 9...♘xc3 Already a mistake! Tal had no improvement in mind over lines known to be inferior for black!
9...♗xe3 10.♕xe3 ♘xc3 11.♕xe7+ ♔xe7 12.bxc3 ♗xc2 Or 12...Be4 13.♔d2 with equal chances.
10.♗xc5 ♘xe2 11.♗xe7 ♘xf4 Bronstein's next move may come as a surprise, but it's clearly the best and deserving of a ! 12.♗a3 ♘d7 This is based on a miscalculation that involves playing ...O-O-O.
12...♗xc2 This is absolutely out of the question. 13.♖c1 ♗g6 14.♖xc7 and white is already winning.
12...♘xd5 Way back in 1924 Tartakower, in Die Hypermoderne Schachpartie, pointed out that this is a mistake. It wins a P but at the cost of allowing white a lead in development and black having difficulty if he castles on either side. Nevertheless, this is black's best try. 13.O-O-O ♗e6 14.♘d4 with a fine position.
13.O-O-O After this Tal immediately realized he was in serious trouble because his intended 13...O-O-O would louse a pieces. As a result he spent a whole hour trying to figure out a way out of trouble, but there isn't one! 13...♗e4 Because he can't play 13...O-O-O his last move made no sense and now he's facing threats like 14.Rd4 or 14.Re1+ or 14.Nd4 so with 13...Be4 Tal tries to salvage something and get a somewhat playable game.
13...O-O-O Watch what happens now! 14.♖d4 ♘g6 15.g4 trapping the B. 15...♗xg4 16.♖xg4 ♘f6 17.♖d4 ♖xd5 18.♖xd5 ♘xd5 19.♗c4 ♘gf4 20.♖e1 f6 21.♗xd5 ♘xd5 22.c4 ♘f4 23.♖e7 ♖g8 24.♘d4 ♘g6 25.♘f5 ♖d8 26.♖xg7 ♘e5 27.♘e7+ ♔b8 28.b3 ♘d3+ 29.♔b1 ♘e1 30.♘d5 White wins. Bekker,S (2273)-Salimova,N (2265)/Wijk aan Zee 2018
14.♘g5 Perhaps this is not as strong as the other moves mentioned, but it, too, is a pretty good move. 14...♗xd5 At this point, like last move, white has a lot of good moves. Leading the list is 15.Re1, but the imaginative Bronstein plays a totally unexpected move. When Keres asked him why he didn't play 15.Re1 Bronstein replied, "I could not miss the opportunity to play a move like 15.g3 against Tal which I may not have again in my whole life." 15.g3 Technically this results in equality, but in practical play it introduces some wonderful complications! (15.♖e1+ ♔d8 16.c4 h6 17.cxd5 hxg5 18.♖e7 with a very strong position.) 15...♗xh1 16.gxf4 c5 White had a nasty threat in 17.Re1+ and this move blocks the B and gives him some chances for a successful defense, but playing th elong delayed 16...O-O-O was better.
16...h6 This is just to demonstrate the effectiveness of Re1+ 17.♖e1+ ♔d8 18.♘xf7+ ♔c8 19.♘xh8 winning easily.
16...O-O-O After this black has managed to equalize. 17.♘xf7 Black has two equalizing moves: 17...Rhe8 and 17...Bf3 17...♖he8 18.♘xd8 ♔xd8 19.♗c4 ♗f3 20.♖g1 g6
17.♗h3 is not as good as it may look because after 17...♗c6 18.♖e1+ ♔f8 19.♗xd7 ♗xd7 20.♗xc5+ ♔g8 21.♖e7 ♗e8 22.♖xb7 h6 23.♘e4 ♗c6 and black actually stands a bit better.
17...♗c6 18.♘xf7
18.♗xf7+ leads to a pretty mate after 18...♔f8 19.♖xd7 ♗xd7 20.♗xc5#
18.♗xf7+ unfortunately for white black has a satisfactory defense in 18...♔e7 19.♖e1+ ♔d6 and oddly black's K is quite safe.
18...b5 Nice! This saves the exchange.
18...♖f8 would lose outright after 19.♖e1+ ♘e5 20.♗xc5 ♖xf7 21.♖xe5+ ♔d7 22.♗xf7
19.♘xh8 bxc4 and white's N is trapped and after its capture he is a piece down.
19...♔e7 20.♘xb5 White still has a nice game: he has the two Bs and black's K is exposed, but even so he has allowed black to, practically speaking, equalize. However, here a psychological factor comes into play...after having had to conduct a difficult defense and saved a lost game Tal now relaxes and gets a lost position again! 20...♖hf8
20...♗xb5 This simplifying move results in a material imbalance, but at the same time would have given him excellent chances of saving the game. 21.♗xb5 ♖hd8 22.♖e1+ ♔f8 with an unclear position. In Shootouts with Stockfish white scored +1 -0 =3.
21.♘d4 Possibly overlooked by Tal. 21...♗b7 This is a forced retreat according to Keres, but defending the B with 21...Rf6 was better.
21...♖f6 22.♘xc6+ ♖xc6 23.♗d5 Oddly, Keres overlooked this pin.
23.♗b5 Suggested by Keres, this move results in a position in which the chances are equal. 23...♖d6
23...♖ac8 24.♗xc6 ♖xc6 25.♖d5 ♖a6 26.♗xc5+ ♘xc5 27.♖xc5 ♖xa2 and white is better, but black can still make a fight of it in the R and P ending.
22.♘e6 Bronstein misses an immediate win with 22.Re1+
22.♖e1+ ♔d8 (22...♔f6 23.♖e6+ ♔f7 24.♖b6+ winning material) 23.♘e6+ ♔c8 24.♘xf8 ♘xf8 25.♖e7 This is decisive...for example 25...♘g6 26.♖f7 ♗e4 27.♗e6+ ♔d8 28.♗xc5 etc.
22...♖f5 At this point both players were in time pressure with the result that inaccuracies creep in. 23.♖g1 After this white's advantage is minimal.
23.b4 As suggested by Keres. 23...♘b6 24.♗d3 cxb4 25.♗xb4+ ♔xe6 26.♖e1+ with a slight advantage.
23.♘xg7 As suggested by Komodo. 23...♖f6 24.f5 ♖d6 25.♖e1+ ♔f6 26.♘e8+ wins.
23...♗e4 24.♘c7 This isn't bad, but Bronstein missed an much easier win.
24.♖e1 ♗d5 25.♘xg7+ ♔f6 26.♘xf5 ♗xc4 27.♘d6 ♗e6 28.f5 ♗xf5 29.♖f1 with a fairly easy win.
24...♖d8 25.♖xg7+ Engines make the case for this move being a bad one because it gives Tal a chance to equalize, but th e"best" line results in a complicated win for white after 25.Re1.
25.♖e1 keeps the advantage, but after 25...♘f6 26.♘e6 ♖c8 27.♘g5 ♖xf4 28.♗d3 ♖h4 29.♘xe4 ♘xe4 30.♗xe4 ♔d6 white should win, but OTB it doesn't look like it will be so easy.
25...♔d6 would have equalized. 26.♘b5+ ♔c6 27.♘xa7+ ♔b6 28.♗e6 ♖xf4 29.♖xd7 ♖xd7 30.♗xd7 ♖f2 31.♗a4 ♖xh2 32.♘c8+ ♔c7 33.♘e7 ♔d6 34.♘g8 ♗c6 This position looks unclear, but in 10 Shootout games using Stockfish and Komodo all the games were drawn.
26.♖f7+ ♔g6 27.♖e7 ♘f6 28.♘e6 ♖c8
28...♖e8 is met by 29.♖g7+ ♔h6 30.♖xa7 with the advantage.
30.♖g1 Keres. This is not so good as taking the a-Pawn as after 30...♖g8 31.♖xg8 ♘xg8 32.♗xc5 ♗d5 33.♘d4 ♖h5 34.♗xd5 ♖xd5 35.♗xa7 The win would be a little more difficult.
29.b3 ♖h5 30.♘g5 ♗d5 Black is lost, but in time pressure anything can happen. 31.♗d3+ ♔h6 32.♗b2 c4 33.♗f5
33.bxc4 This was even better. 33...♗xc4 34.♘f7+ ♗xf7 35.♖xf7 winning easily.
33...c3 34.♗xc8 cxb2+ 35.♔xb2 ♖xh2 36.♖xa7 ♖f2 A flurry of time pressure moves is taking place! 37.♖a4 ♔g6 (37...♗g2 38.♗f5+⁠−) 38.♖d4 h5 39.a4 h4 40.a5 In the time scramble the Pawn race is exciting, but white has the win well in hand. 40...♗g2 The time control has been reached, but neither player noticed. 41.a6 ♘h5 42.♗b7 ♘xf4 43.♖xf4 Tal resigned.
43.♖xf4 ♗xb7 44.♖xf2 ♗xa6 45.♘h3 and white is free to start advancing his Ps.
Powered by Aquarium

No comments:

Post a Comment