The Dutch Defence with Mikhail Tal

 Aaron Jagt  6/19/2004  13 comments 

Here is an interesting game I have learned a lot from. I have done my best to make the game clear to lower strength players, while relying to some extent on Tal's own analysis. You can play through the game while reading the analysis.  Don't go too fast though! Stop and think about the game every other move or so.

Koblents (white) vs. Mikhail Tal (black)

1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5

By transposition, the Dutch Defence.  This line side-steps possible 2. Bg5 and Staunton Gambit lines, which can arise if white plays the immediate 1... f5. However, black must be prepared to play the French Defence after 2. e4.

3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 0-0 6. 0-0

Both players castle to the Kingside, black clamping down on the e4 square, and white getting ready to try and take it away.

6... d6 7. Nc3 Qe8 8. Re1 Qg6

Black breaks the opening rule; don't move your Queen in the opening!  However, in this case it is not incorrect, for the following reasons: 1. Black has already castled.  2. The only piece that can attack Black's Queen is White's KN, by moving it to h4.  This move misplaces the knight on the rim, so sooner or later White will have to lose a tempo by moving the Knight back.  3. Finally, Black's plan is to attack White on the Kingside. Simply developing your pieces without a plan in mind is to invite disaster. Following this, therefore, Black develops his Queen to a square where it is on the same file as White's King. Also possible was Qh5.

9. e4 fxe4

White continues his plan of taking the centre from Black, but this also opens up Black's Rook.

10. Nxe4 Nxe4 11. Rxe4 Nc6

White's Rook cannot be taken, because Nh4 traps Black's Queen.

12. Re3

This stops black from playing e5, opening up the dark squared Bishop. If instead, say, 12. b3 e5 13. dxe5?? Qxe4! Black wins the Rook because after 14. Nh4, Black's queen can run to d4, where it is protected by the Knight.

12... Bf6 13. d5 exd5 14. cxd5 Ne5 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Rb3

Black and White are developing following their respective plans. White means to attack the queenside, via Be3 and Rc1. Note that all of White's pieces would then be able to run to the help of their king, while still aiming their guns at the queenside.

16... Bf5

Tal, always ready to sacrifice, moves out the dark-squared Bishop despite the attack on the b7 pawn.  Note that Bc2 forks the Rook and Queen.

17. Rxb7 Bc2! 18. Qd2

White's Queen has to move, but where to?  If the Queen moves to the e-file, it will eventually have to move again when black moves his a8 Rook to the e-file also.  If Qf1, once again Black's Rook is on the same file, and the f pawn is pinned.  Thus the best square for the Queen is d2, even though this blocks in the c1 Bishop and through it the a1 Rook.

18... Rae8 19. Rxc7 Bd3

Covering the f1 square, increasing the threat of an eventual Re1+.

20. Qb4!

The only move to save the game!  Black was threatening Bd4 followed by Rxf2 and Re1+.

20... a5 21. Qa4

Again the only move; White must cover the d4 square.

21... Bxg3

Saccing the Bishop so as to get it out of the way of the e8 Rook without losing a tempo.

22. hxg3 Re1+ 23. Kh2 Be4 24. Be3

Of course not 24. Bxe4?? Qh5+ 25. Kg2 Qh1#

24... Qh5+ 25. Bh3 Rxe3

25... Bg2 fails to Qg4. In Tal's own words regarding the position: 'White's position seems helpless--- all Black's pieces are aimed at White's King, but suddenly White's Rook comes unexpectedly into the fight.'

26. Rxg7+!! Kxg7

If Kh8, after Qd4 Black will be mated.

27. Qd4+ Kg8 28. Qxe3 Bf5 29. g4 Bxg4 30. Rg1! Rxf2+

At first it seems white has overlooked this possibility, but he has calculated that he can survive.

31. Kh1

Not Qxf1 Qxh3#!!

31... Qxd5+ 32. Bg2 Qh5+ 33. Bh3 Qd5+ 34. Bg2 Qd2

A last trap. If 35. Qe8+ Kg7 36. Qe7+ Rf7, Black wins because of the threat of Qh6+.

35. Qxd2 Rxd2 36. Bf3 h5 37. Bxg4 hxg4 38. Rxg4+ Kf7 39. Ra4 ½-½

Draw by Agreement.


 refutor 6/19/2004

where and when was this game played?

 Tulkos 6/21/2004

Riga 1957
This is a training game, Tal played it with his trainer Koblents to help prepare for a tournament.

 ReyFeroz 6/21/2004 

muy bueno !

 cleverman 6/21/2004 

Yay! Its here! Awesome!

 nasmichael 6/27/2004 

Solid discussion and review by Aaron, and it is the type of assistance newer players need, at the speed that helps the new players, so that ideas sink in.

Good addition to the journal. Thanks Aaron.

 MiguelVilla 7/4/2004 

Time for the attack, thats what Tal liked to have and this game shows that.
Kudos to Tal -and Tulkos for the analysis!

 Gary 7/7/2004 

Nice piece.

 Spohn 11/6/2004 

So can anyone explain to me why black doesnt bring in the harvest with 24...Rxa1 before throwing an attack that only gets him a draw?

 Brian Frew 11/7/2004 

I enjoyed this Aaron, thanks. Good fighting stuff.

 Open Defence 2/14/2005

Spohn, if I am not mistaken, after 24..Rxa1 25Bxe4 gives White the attack with those Bishops trained on the King

 SharpNova 2/21/2005 

Alexander Koblents

 raleighgranprix 4/12/2005

The one thing is in your notes you say White is getting into a position as well to make a Queen-side attack; but at that point, Black already has so much pressure on the King-side; I believe I would keep the pieces nearby, maybe exchanging, to relieve that pressure. A graceful game by both sides & good notes.

I'm trying to learn it and it is especially applicable in the Queen's Gambit, White attacks Q-side, Black K-side, I suppose.

 Ashmaster 8/22/2007 

very nice game and comments

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