Kindred’s Special: Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch’s Open Defence Contribution to Opening Theory

The Open Defence to the Ruy Lopez opening was one I explored when getting interested in postal chess as it fit into my square count theory quite nicely and apparently became widely tested during the World championship matches, Smyslov-Botvinnik, Karpov-Korchnoi and Karpov-Kasparov and given much investigation in major tournaments.  It has received considerable investigation by Bent Larsen who wrote a pamphlet or book covering it, and had aimed it toward the amateur playing group as a hotbed weapon for adventurous souls.  During the 1960s and 1970s I had several occasions to meet it or play it myself in tournament and match games.

This variation was a favorite of my brother Raymond and it was tested a number of times in our private matches as well in a number of his postal tournaments.  I played Black against Denis Strenzwilk’s Ruy Lopez,  1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  Nxe4  6. d4  b5  7. Bb3  d5  8.  dxe5  Be6  9.  c3  Bc5* and shortly thereafter, my opponent erred and I went on to win a cleanup ending.

Different opinions through skilled analysis as well as my own thought process favored a sharp defensive setup called the Dilworth Variation* Play might continue 10. Nbd2 with 10…O-O  11. Bc2  Nxf2  12. Rxf2  f6  13. exf6  Bxf2/ch  14. Kxf2  Qxf6  15. Kg1  Rae8  where Black has advantage of attack against the weakened King position.

An interesting article by CCLA member Ray Reithel appeared in the magazine, The Chess Correspondent, that was on the Dilworth Attack which, at the time, had only scant review in magazine coverage for North American consumption.

Today, modern opening books print variations from game scores but often lacking is the perception of truly great players of what makes chess wisdom and it’s practicality worthy of being called science, art and sport.  Such a book was accomplished by GM Bent Larsen who, in tearing apart a classic struggle between Bobby Fischer and himself, perhaps has turned on the light for many aspiring young people and tickling the juices of oldsters as well.

1. e4  e5   2. Nf3  Nc6 3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  Nxe4  6. d4  b5  7. Bb3  d5  8. dxe5  Be6

In this position have seen top flight GMs among a cadre of annalysts who willingly gave their individual assessment of how the land lay for the coming battle.

Tarrasch comments:  Black’s position is better.  Look at his strong Knight on e4, his Queen-side pawn space advantage and central mobility, and I do see the e5 pawn as being weak.

Paul Keres comments:  The Knight on e4 is a potential weak target.  The Queenside pawns are potentially weak due to White’s potential in undermining them and forcing one or more open lines.  White has Kingside chances for attack because of his e5 pawn’s penetration into the center.

Writer Marin found Bent Larsen’s thoughts in his pamplet:  I thought that ordinary chess playing amateurs ought to seek  and play sharp opening positions instead of merely following well tracked  sources from literature.

9. c3  Bc5  10. Nbd2  O-O  11. Bc2  Bf5!?  12. Nb3  Bg4  13. Nxc5  Nxc5  14. Re1 Re8  15. Be3!

This multi-purpose move prevents ….d4 and forces the Knight to retreat.

15. …Ne6  16. Qd3  g6  17. Bh6  Ne7!?

A brilliant psychological profile of exacting willpower over an opponent.

18. Nd4  Bf5 19. Nxf5  Nxf5  20. Bd2  Qh4  21. Qf1 Nc5  23. g3  Qc4  23.Qg2

Fischer walks into a breakdown of communication between the wings.

23… Nd3  24. Bxd3  Qxd3  25. Bg5 c6  26. g4 Ng7  27. Re3  Qd2  28. b3  b4!

White’s attack is stalled.

Qh3  bxc3  30. Qh6  Ne6   31. Resigns.

A great fight between two giants of the chessworld.

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