14 July 2007

Wo Ist die Wahrheit?

Wahrheit commented against The Alternative Winawer, 'I love it when World Champions disagree! It seems that the more you look into these games the more questions there are and the less clear it all becomes, which is the nature of chess and why we stay interested in it.'

The Winawer post mentioned the Fischer - Tal draw from the 1960 Leipzig Olympiad. This is one of my favorite draws of all time. Fischer included it in 'My 60 Memorable Games' (no.23), and Tal included it in 'The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal' (no.36). It opened my eyes to how two World Champions can disagree on the most critical moves.

Tal gave his 1...e6 a '!', and commented 'What is this, immodesty? [...] The choice of such a variation must have been an unpleasant surprise for Fischer, since positions of this type have occurred in his games very rarely, and a study of his games showed that the American Champion feels much less confident in unfamiliar positions.'

After 5...Ba5, he commented, 'Back in 1954 the 9th game of the Smyslov - Botvinnik match [...] created the firm opinion that the system with 5...Ba5 was unfavorable for Black. Five years passed, and in one of the 1960 chess bulletins a note by IM Konstantinopolsky appeared, in which new plans found for Black in this variation were described. I remember how, before my match with Botvinnik, Koblentz and I spent some considerable time playing through these variations, though at the time we were unable to test them, since in the 1960 match Botvinnik did not adopt this system.'

After 5...Ba5, Fischer commented, 'A dubious alternative to 5...Bxc3+.' Often a man of few words, he gave no further explanation.

The diagram shows the position after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 6.b4 cxd4 7.Qg4 Ne7 8.bxa5 dxc3 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7.

(After 10.Qg7-h7(xP))

Tal varied from Botvinnik's continuation by playing 10...Nbc6. Of Botvinnik's move he wrote, 'Botvinnik played more passively 10...Nd7, and fairly quickly found himself in a dificult position.'

After 10...Nbc6, Fischer played 11.Nf3 and noted that '11.f4 bolsters the center but shuts in the Queen Bishop and weakens the dark squares.' Tal: 'The analysis in Konstantinopolsky's article was devoted to the continuation 11.f4. We can refer directly to this article anyone wishing to "have a wander" through a maze of innumerable complications.' Fischer saw the positional drawbacks; Tal saw the tactics.

The game continued 11...Qc7 12.Bb5. Fischer: '!; Harmoniously pursuing development without losing time.' Tal: 'After this move White cannot count on obtaining an opening advantage.' Where is the truth?

To play through the complete game see...

Robert James Fischer vs Mikhail Tal, Leipzig Olympiad Final 1960

...on Chessgames.com.

1 comment:

Robert Pearson said...

I note that Tal only used the French five more times in his entire career (and two went 1. d4 e6), losing four! (According to chessgames.com) Apparently it didn't suit his style.

Nice to see that someone can use my 'handle' in a sentence! Not sure how many of my readers ever looked that up...