Kindred’s Special: The Mythical Sicilian Gets Trampled Once Again

The following game from the 1974 Hastings Tournament in England between Mikhail Tal and Michael Stean once more shows the Sicilian Defense to be risky against a sharp attacking player.  It reinforces my earlier column as advocating the classic King Pawn Openings for the learning amateur.

White:   Mikhail Tal    vs.    Black:   Michael Stean

Opening:  Sicilian Defense  featuring the Najdorf Variation*

1.  P-K4  P-QB4  2. N-KB3  P-Q3   3. P-Q4  P:P   4.  N:P  N-KB3   5.  N-QB3  P-QR3*  6.  B-KN5   P_K3  7.  P-B4   QN-Q2  8.  Q-B3   Q-B2  9.O-O-O   P-N4

This is considered one of the main lines for Black with hundreds of games being played where 10. P-K5 or 10. B-Q3 became standard continuations.  However, in the hands of a tactician like Tal, one never can be sure when and if he uncorks a bizarre sacrifice.  In this case, it was not a new idea, having been played in a Soviet team tournament but one which Tal decides to try, thus giving master Vitolinsh’s move an international flavor.

10.  B:P!!?

The adventure starts and perhaps it startled the Englishman.  For two pawns he gets quick deployment of his forces hopefully before Black can consolidate.  Note that White has six developing pieces in play whereas Black, because of his pawn moves, has only three pieces developed and his King far from able to develop immediately.

10. …   P:B  11.  N/4:NP  Q-N1  12. P-K5   B-N2

Tal suggested possibly 12…R-R4 an improvement but if  12. … P:P?  13. Q-B6!  B-N2  14. N-B7ch K-K2  15. Q:N mate.

13. Q-K2  P:P  14. Q-B4   B-B4   15.  B:N  P:B   16. R:N!!

This often seen classic sac deprives Black his last defensive resource.

16. … B-K6ch  17. K-N1  K:R  18. R-Q1ch  B-Q5  19. P:P  P:P   20. N:B  P:N   21.  Q:QPch  K-K2  22. Q-B5ch  K-B3  23. R-B1ch  K-N3  24. Q-K7  P-B4  25. Q:KPch  K-N2  26. Q-K7ch  K-N3  27. P-KR4  R-R4  28. P-R5ch  K:P  29. Q-B7ch  K-R5  30. Q-B6ch  K-N6  31. Q-N5ch  K-R7  32. Q-R4ch  K:P   33. R-B2ch  K-N8  34. N-K2 mate

A sizzling and original type position at the end!  Beauty on the board!!

White:  Nona Gaprindashvili   vs.   Black:  Servaty

Sicilian Defense  Excelerated Dragon*

1. P-K4   P-QB4   2.  N-KB3  N-QB3   3. P-Q4  P:P   4.  N:P  P-KN3*  5.  P-QB4  B-N2  6.  B-K3   N-B3   7.   N-QB3    N-KN5  8.  Q:N  N:N  9. Q-Q1  P-K4

David Bronstein’s idea.  Another adopted idea had been 9…. N-K3  that was met by Korchnoi with 10. Q-Q2  P-Q3  11. B-K2  Q-R4  12. QR-B1  B-Q2  13. O-O   B-B4  14.  B-R6! with advantage.

10. N-N5!  O-O  11. B-K2!?  Q-R5?

Here the best move is 11. Q-Q2  with Q-R5 by Black as best.  However, the B on K2 makes all the difference.  He should have played …Q-N3  trying to keep the Q5 square under control, a basic idea of Bronstein’s P-K4 defense.

12. N:N!  P:N  13. B:P  Q:KP  14. B:B  Q:NP?!

Speculative but hope springs eternal, doesn’t it.  Black realizes he would have to play an inferior ending after …K:B so gets tempted with this pawn snatch.

15.  Q-Q4!!

Central Queen deployment adds to square count but is much more clever than just that.  Necessary to put up a fight is by 15… Q:P and bring the Queen back to help defend the position.  But White would still be winning.  16…Q:P  17. B:R  K:B  18. R-K1  Q-R3ch  19. K-Q1  Q-N2  20. Q-Q6ch K-N1  21. B-B3  Q-B1  22. R-K7! infiltrating the 7th rank followed by B-Q5 etc.

15. … Q:Rch  16. K-Q2  Q:R   17.  Q-B6!!  Resigns. (1-0).

A triumph of Spirit over material gain.








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