1923 - 2012
Notes in parenthesis by Gligoric.
"In classical variations of the Ruy Lopez I liked the ideas of Smyslov who habitually found various ways of brining the black rook to e8 as soon as possible, thereby fortifying his main bastion - the e5 square. I used to apply these ideas in my own practice and develop them further thus making my own modest contribution to improvements in Black's play. I carried on playing Smyslov's variations even when he himself, probably disappointed by the continual problems he faced as Black, had long abandoned them and turned his attentions to something different."
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 h6 Diagram "Smyslov's move, which can be explained logically : 'if White can afford to lose a tempo with h2-h3, why can't Black do the same?' The idea of this move is to take away the g5 square from the white knight (and later the bishop as well) relieve the rook from the need to protect the square f7 and as soon as possible, and transfer it to e8 thereby reinforcing the e5 point. It is important to maintain the pawn on e5 so as not to open lines and diagonals for the well-deployed white pieces. Several years later, GM I. Zaitsev discovered that Black can transfer the rook to e8 even without Black's preventative 9th move, but in some positions Smyslov's move has to be played eventually by Black anyway, so the Breyer, Smyslov and Ziatsev (employing the manoeuvre ...Nc6-b8-d7, ...Rf8-e8, ....h7-h6) variations have become part of a thorough strategic conception in the opening. Although these continuations appeared much later than the classical Chigorin variation 9....Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7, they became one of the main methods of defence in modern tournament practice, The move played, in this the first game in the match, was no surprise to Tal, because I had already employed the same defence in two earlier tournament games against him - at Moscow and Budva in 1967."
10.d4 Re8 11.Nbd2 Bf8 12.Nf1 So far the set pattern of the Smyslov Defence. Black has the choice now of playing his bishop to d7 or b7. The first keeps control over f5, the latter prepares d6-d5 and is more favoured nowadays. ["Instead of this standard manoeuvre, transferring the knight to an active position on the king-side, White can leave the knight on d2. from this square it also protects the e4-pawn, and White can exploit the two saed tempi to further his development and gain space on the queenside by 12.a3 Bb7 13.Ba2 Na7 14.b4 exd4 15.Nxd4 c5 16.Nf5 g6 17.Ng3 c4 18.Bb1 Nc6 19.f4 a5 20.Bb2 Qb6+ 21.Kh2 Bg7 22.Nf3 axb4 23.axb4 Rad8 24.Qc2 Nd7 1/2-1/2 (57) Byrne,R-Gligoric,S Sousse 1967 with the intention of proceeding with 14.b4, 15.Bb2 and probably 16.c4. ; This is exactly how (albeit by a different move order) my encounter with Tal in Moscow 1967 continued, but I immediately took some counter-measures in the centre 12.a3 Bb7 13.Ba2 d5 and after 14.exd5 (also possible is 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Nxe5 Rxe5 16.f4 Bc5+ 17.Kh1 Mantanovic - Gligoric, Skopje 1968 later I discovered that the exchange sacrifice at e4 gives Black a sufficiently solid position) 14...Qxd5 15.Ne4 exd4! 16.Nxf6+ gxf6 17.Rxe8 Rxe8 18.Qd3!? f5 and Black had a good position."]
12...Bb7 [" 12...Bd7 was played more often. From this square the bishop can cover both flanks and the b5 and f5 squares. However, the bishop is more active on b7 and creates a threat of attacking the centre with ..d6-d5. The idea of this counterattack was realised in the game Stein-Spassky Interzonal tournament, Amsterdam 1964, but was later forgotten, and I revived it three years later and made it one of my main weapons (with the black pieces in open games) in the World Championship cycle of 1967-68."]
13.Ng3 Na5 "Since the e5 square has been consolidated, Black can start coordinating his queenside pawns." [Not Portisch's experimental 13...Qd7 refuted by Geller in the Moscow Grandmaster's Tournament of 1967 by 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Nh5 ]
14.Bc2 Nc4 Diagram "Black still has time for ...c7-c5; his first task is to bring the knight into the game so that it can either take part in a counterattack in the centre or else remain (in accordance with the theories of Philidor and Breyer) behind its pawns to protect the most sensitive squares."
15.a4 ["White tries to exploit the fact that from b7 the bishop doesn't protect the b5-square, at the same time estimating that the opponent's counterattack in the centre is not quite correct. 15.b3 Nb6 16.Bb2 c5 17.Qd2 Qc7 18.Rad1 a5 19.Bb1 c4 20.Ba3 Rad8 21.d5 Ra8 22.b4 axb4 23.Bxb4 Bc8 24.Nh2 Na4 25.f4 exf4 26.Qxf4 Nd7 27.Nf5 Ne5 28.Re2 Nc5 29.Ng4 Bxf5 30.Qxf5 Ncd3 with strong counterplay 0-1 (62) Kavalek,L-Gligoric,S Sousse 1967. Since he subsequently convinced himself that 15.a4 doesn't destroy Black's plans, in the ninth game of the match Tal tried ; 15.Bd3 following the example of the 2nd game of the Korchnoi- Reshevsky match, played several days earlier 15...Nb6 16.Bd2 c5 17.d5 Bc8! (17...c4 18.Bc2 Nfd7 19.Nh2 g6 20.f4 exf4 21.Bxf4 Ne5 22.Qd2 h5 23.Rf1 Nbd7 24.Nf3 Nxf3+ 25.Rxf3 Ne5 26.Bxe5 Rxe5 27.Raf1 Qg5 28.Qf2 with decisive pressure along the f-file.1-0 (31) Matulovic,M-Minic,D Vinkovci 1968; 17...Na4? 18.Rb1 c4? 19.Bxc4 Korchnoi-Reshevsky, 2nd match game 1967) ]
15...d5! Diagram ["So this is played after all! Black's position on the queenside has been weakened and this counterattack in the centre is the only chance to keep the balance. for example, after 15...c5 16.b3 Nb6 17.a5 Black has a lot to worry about. Tal-Minic, Budva 1967."]
16.b3 [Stein,L-Spassky,B Amsterdam 1964 saw massive exchanges and a quick draw after 16.exd5 exd4 17.Rxe8 Qxe8 18.Qxd4 Bxd5 19.Nh5 Nxh5 20.Qxd5 Nf6 21.Qd1 Rd8 22.Qe1 Qxe1+ 23.Nxe1 etc. The text made Gligoric think for the first time n the game, but after a short time he continued to follow his game with Tal in the USSR v Yugoslavia tournament at Budva 1967. " 23...Nd5 24.axb5 axb5 25.Bd3 Nd6 26.Kf1 Be7 27.Be2 Bf6 28.Ra5 c6 29.Ra6 b4 30.c4 Ne7 31.b3 Ne4 32.Nd3 Bc3 33.Bf3 Ng5 1/2-1/2 (33) Stein,L-Spassky,B Amsterdam 1964 simplifies the game too much. Nor does the earlier; 16.axb5 axb5 17.Rxa8 Bxa8 18.b3 dxe4 19.Nxe4 Bxe4 20.Bxe4 exd4 21.Bc2 Rxe1+ 22.Qxe1 d3 23.Qd1 d2! 24.Nxd2 Na3 1/2-1/2 (24) Unzicker,W-Gligoric,S (2575) Lugano 1968 offer anything.]
16...dxe4 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 [When Tal subsequently lectured at the Central Chess Club on the match he was asked why he didn't try 18.Rxe4 as Stein- Reshevsky, Los Angeles 19668, his answer was "Reshevsky's reply 18. ....f5 would have suited me , but what winning chances does White have after, say 18...Bxe4 19.Bxe4 Nb6 20.axb5 axb5 21.Bxa8 Nxa8 22.Nxe5 Rxe5 23.Rxa8 Qxa8 24.dxe5 Qe4 ; How far can you go repeating moves? At Budva it was finally established that after 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 Qd5 20.Rg4 Na5 21.Bxh6 Nxb3 22.Rb1 bxa4 23.Nxe5 Gligoric weakened his king badly by 23...f5 was forced to give up the exchange and saved a half point only by a miracle. However, 23....Re6 would have repelled the attack, and 23. ...Qe6 would also have put an end to black's difficulties.]
18...Bxe4 19.Rxe4 Qd5! "Black centralises the queen, with gain of tempo, and indirectly protects the pawn on e5 due to the pressure on on the white b3-pawn."
20.Rg4 Na5 21.Bxh6 [ "The pawn at e5 is untouchable because of the unprotected state of the white queen at d1, while the intermediate moe 21.axb5 Nxb3 22.c4 Qxc4 23.dxe5 doesn't offer anything, because of 23...Rad8! 24.Qxd8 Rxd8 25.Rxc4 axb5! 1/2-1/2 (72) Minic,D-Gligoric,S Yugoslavia 1968"]
21...Nxb3 "This unusual position was seen in a previous encounter between the same opponent's at the USSR-Yugoslaia match-tournament, Budva 1967."
22.Ra3 [22.Ra3 A witty move found by Sosonko. Thus if 22...Bxa3 23.Rxg7+ Kh8 24.Ng5 Re7 25.Qh5 with a winning attack. However, there is a longer term risk - White's forces, especially the rooks, are out of contact with one another and unpleasant surprises on White's back rank cannot be rules out. However, risks have to be taken if you want to shake strong opponents and the fact that Gligoric took 35 minutes over his reply tells its own story.; "Tal had placed high hopes on this surprise move. White wants to retain the rook on the a-file at any cost in order to prevent the creation of a distant passed pawn there. In Budva, Tal played the more natural 22.Rb1 bxa4 23.Nxe5 When after the first game of our match, he was no longer so sure about the effectiveness of his novelty, in the fifth game Tal returned to to the move he played in Budva, but then I surprised him with 23. ...Qe6! (the previous year I had played badly 23. ...f5? weakening the kingside and after 24.Rg3 I had got into a difficult position and lost, while Tal knew of the move 23...Re6 which we had analysed together after the game, but following 24.c4 Qb7 (24...Qd8 25.Qf3 Rxh6 (25...Rf6 26.Qe3 ) 26.Qxf7+ Kh7 (26...Kh8 27.Ng6+ Kh7 28.Ne7 Qxe7 29.Rxg7+ Bxg7 30.Qxe7 ) 27.Rg6 Qh4 28.Nf3 Qh5 29.Ng5+ Kh8 30.Rxh6+! ) 25.Bxg7 Bxg7 26.Rxg7+ Kxg7 27.Qg4+ Kf8 28.Qh5 c6 29.d5 cxd5 30.cxd5 Rg6 31.Re1 Black is in dire straits; the move played in the fifth game takes away the g4 square from the white queen, protects the sixth rank and in good time removes the queen from the exposed d5 dquare, preventing her being ejected by force from the kingside); 22.Rb1 bxa4 23.Nxe5 Re6 24.Qf3 c5 while White lacks the time to create direct threats against the opponent's king. Black seriously undermines the white centre, so Tal opted for the following drawish outcome. 25.Bxg7 and a draw was agreed here. "]
22...bxa4 23.Rxa4 Rab8 [Gligoric rarely sacrifices pawns, but this is a fine move, freeing the queen from the defence of the knight. The correct reply now is 23...Rab8 24.Be3 the bishop having done a good task in weakening the enemy king position. Then Rh4, Ng5, and Qh5 would arise as ultimate threats. Instead Tal plunges into complications. (Yugoslav masters, after the game, recommended 24.Qf1 ) ; "Faith in the strength of the black position helped me to find this subtle move, albeit after a considerable amount of thought. 23...Nc5 is dubious because of 24.Ra5 With the text move Black defends the endangered knight at b3 which is exerting pressure on the d4 square, and moves over to a counterattack. He does not count up the pawn, because he can make use of White's weaknesses on the first rank and along the d-file."]
24.Rxa6 After 20 minutes thought. ["Consistent play, because 24.Be3 exd4 (or 24...c5 at once.) 25.cxd4 would not produce anything good for White."]
24...exd4 [More logical looks 24...Ra8 to get threats along the rook file at once. Gligoric, however, judged the queen rook to be badly placed and having no prospects.]
25.cxd4 [If 25.Nxd4 then 25...Nxd4 26.Qxd4 Qxd4 27.cxd4 with an extra pawn for White but the ending could hardly be won.; If in this sequence 25.Nxd4 Nxd4 26.cxd4 then 26...Qf5 The only point of playing this move would, therefore, be the hope that Black would err by ; 25.Nxd4 c5? when there follows 26.Rxg7+ Bxg7 (26...Kh8 27.Rg5 ) 27.Qg4 Qe5 (or 27...Re1+ 28.Kh2 Qe5+ 29.f4 ) 28.Nf5 with favourable complications.]
25...c5? [Gligoric misses his second chance to take the a-file! After 25...Ra8 26.Rxa8 Rxa8 there are three unpleasant threats to meet - 27. ...Ra1, 27. ..c5 and 27. ...f5. White must answer 27.Kh2 when Black has the pleasant choice of trying one of the three first and then following up with the others in due course.]
26.Be3 Tal took 25 minutes on this and after Gligoric's 20 minutes over his reply. Tal expended a further 22 ninutes over 26. .., Rb4 so the spectators had ample time to study these crucial choices!.
26...Rb4 27.Rg5 Qb7 28.Rh6 [And this took Tal 52 minutes as he weighed all the consequences of 28.Rh6 g6 ]
28...Nxd4 [28...g6 was the crucial variation, as if 29.Rh4 then an ultimate Qh5 could be met with Bg7. Tal intended to reply ; 28...g6 29.Rhxg6+ and Gligoric feared this. What would then happen? After 29...fxg6 30.Rxg6+ and Black loses if he plays 30...Kf7 31.Qd3! Qe4 32.Ng5+ Kxg6 33.Nxe4 c4 34.Qd1! Rxe4 35.Qc2 ; However, by playing 28...g6 29.Rhxg6+ fxg6 30.Rxg6+ Bg7 Black can hold on. Then if 31.Ng5 Re7 (31...Nxd4 32.Qh5 Re4! 33.Rd6! Qe7 34.Rd8+ Qxd8 35.Qf7+ with perpetual check, but not) 32.Qh5 Qd5 33.Rxg7+ (the queen win 33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Ne6+ is unclear.) 33...Kxg7 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Qh8+ Qg8 36.Qf6+ Ke8 37.Qc6+ Kf8 and White can hardly do anything else but give perpetual check.; Not 28...g6 29.Rhxg6+ fxg6 30.Rxg6+ Bg7 31.Ng5 Rb6 32.Qh5 Rxg6 33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Qxg6 Qe7 35.Nh7+ Kg8 36.Bh6 ]
29.Nxd4 Rb1 30.Bc1 Qb2 Diagram
31.Qh5 ["This impulsive move is the reason for White's defeat. After 31.Nb3 White would have a dangerous initiative. a) 31...Qe2 32.Qd5 c4 (or 32...Re6 33.Rh4 Qe1+ 34.Kh2 Bd6+ 35.Bf4 Qg1+ 36.Kg3 Re3+ 37.Kg4! ) 33.Qf5 Qd3 (if 33...Qe1+ 34.Kh2 and Black can't save himself either with 34...Qe4 (34...Qe5+ 35.Qxe5 Rxe5 36.Rxe5 gxh6 37.Re8 cxb3 38.Bxh6 b2 39.Rxf8+ Kh7 40.Rxf7+ and White wins.) 35.Rh8+ Kxh8 36.Qxf7 ) 34.Rh8+ Kxh8 35.Qxf7 ; b) 31.Nb3 Qxb3 32.Qh5 Rxc1+ 33.Kh2 Bd6+ 34.Rxd6 Qb8 (34...Qb4 35.Rf6 with the threats 35...-- (35...-- 36.Qh6 ) 36.Qxf7+ ) 35.Qh6 g6 36.Rgxg6+ fxg6 37.Qxg6+ Kf8 38.f4 and Black will have to give up his queen, because of the poor position of his king.]
31...Qxc1+ 32.Kh2 Bd6+ 33.Rxd6 Qf4+ 34.Rg3 Qxd6 35.Nf5 Ree1 36.Qxf7+ Kxf7 37.Nxd6+ Ke6 38.Rg6+ Kd5 39.Nf5 Rb7 "Not allowing White to take on g7. Now the passed c-pawn becomes unstoppable.
40.Ne3+ Rxe3! The fastest way to victory.
41.fxe3 Rc7! [Denying White any last minute tactical chances which might have arisen after 41...c4 ]
42.Kg3 c4 43.Kf4 c3 44.e4+ Kc4 45.Ra6 [45.Ke3 didn't work because of 45...Kb5! ]
45...c2 46.Ra1 Kd3 [46...Kd3 47.Rc1 Kd2 48.Rxc2+ Rxc2! leaves White no chance because the black king will contain the white e-pawn.] 0-1