Tal Wins A Model Benoni Attack - Gurgenidze vs. Tal, 1957
The Benoni is all about dark squares as Tal demonstrates!

Tal Wins A Model Benoni Attack - Gurgenidze vs. Tal, 1957

NM SamCopeland

In 1957, Tal won his first Soviet Chess Championship. In the process, he won multiple brilliancies, including the following one against future-GM Gurgenidze.

Tal employs his trusty Benoni Defense, an opening he nearly invented at the top-level, and which he played more capably than anyone. He had used it to deploy this brilliant queen sacrifice against Birbrager for example.

In this game, Gurgenidze makes one misstep when instead of eliminating Tal's knight, he tries to chase it back. Never one to retreat, Tal sacrifices the knight and lays claim to Gurgenidze's dark squares. A beautiful queen sacrifice that can't be accepted follows and Gurgenidze is soon so tied in knots that he can do little but watch as Tal delivers the final body blows.

Here are some of the lessons I really value from this game:

  • power of attacking a weak color complex
  • know your mating patterns (Boden's mate)
  • attacks can be patient (plenty of time to double rooks once Gurgenidze is tied down)

I've included my notes below. Tal didn't even include notes to the game in his collection of best games. Presumably for him the game was a bit "trivial". I quite wish I could win such trivial attacks.

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