Raymond Keene

Candidates | 17 March 2016

The Candidates tournament to determine the challenger later this year to world champion Magnus Carlsen is now well underway in Moscow. Early indications favoured the former champion Viswanathan Anand, the new young talent Sergei Karjakin, and Lev Aronian, Olympiad gold medallist, all of whom scored in the opening rounds. The main victim of their initial surge was Vesselin Topalov, the former Fidé champion, whose conduct in his games at the start was unrecognisably supine. This week’s puzzle features his loss to Anand.

An instructive element of the official website (moscow2016.fide.com) is a potted history of previous Candidates tournaments and their winners, including such luminaries as David Bronstein, Vassily Smyslov, Tigran Petrosian and Mikhail Tal. All of these, with the exception of Bronstein, went on to win the title, and all four faced the Red Czar of Soviet chess, Mikhail Botvinnik, in their championship quests.

This week’s game is a stirring win by Tal from his powerful performance in the 1959 Candidates. Notes are based on the new book Tal: Move by Move by Cyrus Lakdawala, published by Everyman Chess.
 
Tal-Gligoric: Candidates Tournament Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade 1959; King’s Indian Defence
 
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f3 0–0 6 Be3 e5 7 Nge2 c6 8 d5 cxd5 9 cxd5 a6 10 Qd2 Nbd7 11 g4 h5 12 h3 Nh7 13 h4 This move constitutes a serious inaccuracy. White should play either 13 Rg1 or 13 0‑0‑0. 13 … hxg4 14 fxg4 (see diagram 1) 14 … Nhf6 Gligoric missed a promising opportunity with 14 … Nb6! when Black threatens … Bxg4 and also … Nc4 when White has only unpleasant options.



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