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 GM Viktor Korchnoi  -  GM Mikhail Tal; 
 Soviet (U.S.S.R.) Championships 

V. Kortschnoi (2650) - M. Tal (2700) 
The Soviet Championship 
  Erevan, U.S.S.R; (Russia) 1962. 

[A.J. Goldsby I]

(The ratings are just 'guess-timates.')

  One of the all-time great games.   

Many pundits say this could be Korchnoi's greatest game.   


(When it is finished, you will be able to click  HERE,  and see this game ...   DEEPLY annotated.  
 But in TEXT-format only.) 

1.d4 Nf62.c4 c53.d5 e64.Nc3 exd55.cxd5 d6;  
I think it is safe to say, that without Mikhail Tal's influence, almost no one would be playing the Benoni Defence today. (He was playing this opening when virtually no other GM would dare risk it!)

6.Nf3 g67.g3
The fianchetto variation. 

(A favorite of Victor's. And he has done very well with this line, as a whole.) 

     [ 7.e4!? ].  

7...Bg78.Bg2 0-09.0-0 Na6!?;  
This was all the rage back then ... 

     [ I think the main line today is considered to be:  9...a610.a4 Nbd7;  "~" etc. 
        This position offers chances to both sides. ].  

10.h3 Nc711.e4 Nd7;  
Black seems OK here.

White now chooses strong centralization.  
12.Re1 Ne813.Bg5! Bf614.Be3 Rb815.a4 a616.Bf1 Qe7;  

17.Nd2 Nc718.f4 b5?!;  
Several writers (and critics) have roundly condemned this move ... ... ... 
but it was not part of Tal's temperament to play passive defense. 

  '?' - GM Andy Soltis.   


White now gets a strong central breakthrough - and quickly parlays this into a Kingside attack.

19.e5!, "+/="  19...dxe520.Nde4 Qd821.Nxf6+ Nxf622.d6! Ne6;  

23.fxe5 b424.Nd5!,  
White's pieces swarm ... to the attack!  

     [ 24.Ne2!? ].  

24...Nxd525.Qxd5 Bb726.Qd2 Qd727.Kh2!,  
A multi-faceted move. 

     [ White could try:  27.g4;  or  27.Bg2!? ].  

White continues to ignore material considerations, and play for piece activity and a K-side attack.  
27...b328.Rac1! Qxa429.Bc4 Bc830.Rf1 Rb431.Bxe6! Bxe6;  

32.Bh6 Re833.Qg5 Re434.Rf2 f5;   
"From here on White conducts an instructive attack on the dark squares."  -  GM Andy Soltis.     

35.Qf6 Qd736.Rxc5 Rc437.Rxc4 Bxc438.Rd2 Be6;   
Black thinks he has managed a defense. Now comes a repetition of moves designed to make the time control, and allow White to search for the win during the adjournment break.  

39.Rd1 Qa740.Rd2 Qd741.Rd1,  
The actual adjourned position.   

     [ 41.h4!? ].  

Now watch what White does with his King here.

42.Rd4! Qd743.g4! a544.Kg3! Rb845.Kh4 Qf746.Kg5 fxg4;  

47.hxg4 Bd748.Rc4! a449.Rc7 a3; (counterplay?)  
Black hopes to distract White with his Queen-side pawn play.   


Now for a  VERY  snazzy finish to this great game.  
50.Rxd7! Qxd751.e6 Qa752.Qe5! axb2;   53.e7 Kf754.d7!Black Resigns, 1-0.  
(If now...Qxd7; then simply Qf6+ and mates.)   

A great game with an unbelievable finish to this masterpiece. 
 GM A. Soltis comments this looks ...  more like Tal magic  ...  than a Korchnoi game!!!    
Soltis also rates this game in the  'TOP 50'  of the 20th Century. (!!) 

Other than the 44th move, {here} my annotations (exclams) exactly match those of  GM Andrew Soltis.  

   Copyright () A.J. Goldsby I.  Copyright (c) A.J.G; 2002.  

  (Code initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8.0. 

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  Copyright   A.J. Goldsby, 2009.  All rights reserved.