Chess - The Scotsman 12/06/2012
BOOKS and songs were written about him, and the Tal Memorial, currently underway in Moscow, has further reminded us of the legacy of Mikhail Tal, the incomparable Latvian attacking genius (1936-1992).
Even to this day, the compliment: “You played like Tal” is regarded as the highest praise for anyone who wins a dazzling attacking game.
But this hype makes us forget just how fine a positional player Tal also was, as he would squeeze opponents almost effortlessly with just a few strategic manoeuvres and relentless pressure, much in the style of his fellow Russian world champions Anatoly Karpov and Vladimir Kramnik.
And we can all remember a youthful Kramnik, who had a style reminiscent of the later Tal after he had lost the world title.
In his pomp, Kramnik would ruthlessly bludgeon elite players who played the King’s Indian Defence with his pet-line of the Bayonet Attack – and that includes Garry Kasparov, who practically gave up the King’s Indian after one particular savaging with it from his nemesis.
But in round two at the Tal Memorial, the Russian former world champion rolled back the years with a model positional squeeze rather than blunt force against his fellow countryman, Alexander Grischuk.
Kramnik’s silent killer blow of 29 Qd1! forced an immediate resignation, as Grischuk position fell to pieces as he could not defend the multiple threats of the rook on b6 being en prise, Qxh5+ or Rd7.
V Kramnik - A Grischuk
7th Mikhail Tal Memorial, (2)
King’s Indian Defence, Bayonet Attack
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 d4 0–0 6 Be2 e5 7 0–0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 b4 Nh5 10 g3 f5 11 Ng5 Nf6 12 Bf3 c6 13 Bg2 h6 14 Ne6 Bxe6 15 dxe6 Nxe4 16 Nxe4 fxe4 17 b5 Rf6 18 Bxe4 Rxe6 19 Qa4 d5 20 Rd1 Kh7 21 cxd5 cxd5 22 Qb3 Rb6 23 a4 a6 24 Ba3 axb5 25 Bxe7 Qxe7 26 Rxd5 b4 27 a5 Qf7 28 h4 h5 29 Qd1! 1–0
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