[Event "modern benoni: Illustrative Game"] [Site "https://lichess.org/study/UzxIPZeu/y61Y6er3"] [Result "*"] [UTCDate "2020.07.21"] [UTCTime "11:01:01"] [Variant "Standard"] [ECO "A78"] [Opening "Benoni Defense: Classical Variation, Czerniak Defense"] [Annotator "https://lichess.org/@/realhercules"] [Source "https://lichess.org/study/UzxIPZeu/y61Y6er3"] [Orientation "white"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. e4 Bg7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Nd2 Na6 11. Re1 Nc7 { It was the invention of this plan by Nezhmetdinov which inspired Tal to use the Modern Benoni. As we know now this is often a slightly dubious way of developing, but in this game it worked well. The main problem is that the knight takes two moves to get to c7, where it has little influence over the important squares in the centre. Generally speaking, it is more often better placed at d7 } 12. a4 b6! { The idea behind this move is to play ...Bc8-a6, as well as to prepare ...b6- b5 with ...Bc8-d7, ...Ra8-b8 and ...a7-a6. If Black had played 12...a6 White would have been able to secure himself a small structural advantage with 13.a5!?, although Black still has an interesting plan in 13...Bd7!? with the idea of ...Bd7-b5. } { [%csl Ga6,Yb8,Yd7][%cal Gc8a6,Ya8b8,Yc8d7] } 13. Qc2 { It seems that White should be able to find a better waiting move. The idea behind the text is to play Nd2-c4 without leaving e4 hanging, but it weakens White’s control over the kingside too much. 13.h3!? has been suggested as an improvement. } { [%csl Gc4][%cal Gd2c4] } 13... Ng4! { The knight is doing little on f6, as the pressure against e4 is only of fleeting importance. Instead the weakness of the dark squares on the kingside is important. Also the knight will find a good square on e5. } 14. h3? { White completely ignores the threats to his king. This game was played at the start of Tal’s career and sacrifices on f7, e6 and h7 (or f2, e3 and h2) were still allowed. In a fashion that seems unreal to today’s youngsters. Instead, 14 Bxg4!? was an interesting possibility. White would not usually want to part with this bishop, but here he does so as Black then has less control over e5 and problems in finding a good square for his own bishop after Nd2-c4 and Bc1-f4. } 14... Nxf2!! { A brilliant sacrifice that draws the white king into the open. } 15. Kxf2 { White cannot decline the sacrifice either. After } (15. Rf1 Nxh3+ 16. gxh3 Bxh3 { his kingside is torn apart }) 15... Qh4+ 16. Kf1 Bd4 17. Nd1 { The only way to defend against the mate. } 17... Qxh3!! { This queen sacrifice must have come as a surprise to White. But even after } (17... Bxh3 18. Bf3 Bc8 { Black would have a reasonable attack for his piece. So it is really difficult to spot exactly what was the reason for White’s mistake. }) 18. Bf3 { The only move. White has to cover himself against ...Bc8-g4-F. Of course not } (18. gxh3 Bxh3# { mate, while after }) (18. Bb5 Qh1+ 19. Ke2 Bg4+ 20. Kd3 Qxe1 { Black wins again }) 18... Qh2 { Black has sacrificed a piece for only two pawns. But once you stop and consider which pawns we are talking about, you realise the permanent danger in White’s position. The white king will never feel safe again. } 19. Ne3 f5 20. Ndc4 (20. Ke2 { is the computer’s move. Obviously this is very risky and in the 1950’s no one would consider such a move, but these days nothing is too strange for the well-educated tournament player. However, White’s position is falling apart all the same: } 20... Bxe3 21. Kxe3 g5 { would be one way for Black to continue the attack against the white king. }) 20... fxe4 21. Bxe4 Ba6! 22. Bf3 Re5? { This automatic move is rather careless as it allows White still to offer some resistance. Black has many better moves, one of which is 22...Qf4! winning at once. } 23. Ra3 Rae8 24. Bd2? { Now White collapses. After } (24. Rd3! { Black still has the edge and a strong attack, but the direct win is missing. } 24... Nxd5 { was given as winning in the four-volume collection of Tal's games published by Chess Stars, but did not take into account the only move } 25. Nxe5! { when the position remains unclear. One continuation is } 25... Nf4 26. N5c4 Qh1+ 27. Kf2 Qh4+ 28. Kf1 { when Black does not seem to have more than a draw. The preliminary 24...Rg5 is probably better. }) 24... Nxd5! { Not a very difficult combination. } 25. Bxd5+ Rxd5 26. Ke2 Bxe3 27. Rxe3 Bxc4+ { 0-1 On } 28. Qxc4 Qxg2+ 29. Kd1 Qxd2# { Mate } *