Tal vs Filip – the art of defence and counterattack

5/6/2009 – Last week a former World Championship Candidate Miroslav Filip, died in Prague. He was a world force in chess in the 50s and 60s, defeating no less than three world champions. In his Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos discusses the renowned 1962 black-piece win against Mikhail Tal in Curacao. He also corrects some inaccuracies in an earlier blurb on Garry Kasparov. 9 p.m. ET.

Dennis Monokroussos writes:

The late Miroslav Filip (1928-2009) isn't well-known to contemporary chess fans, and that's partially the fault of his fairly solid style. Perhaps it's true, as one recent obituary article suggests, that after achieving his greatest successes he became a more safety-first player, someone who hated losing more than he liked to win. Possibly so. Nevertheless, anyone who qualifies for two Candidates events, as Filip did in 1956 and 1962, deserves to be remembered by chess fans.

Therefore, we'll take a look in our ChessBase show for this week at one of his best-known games: his win over the great Mikhail Tal in the 1962 Candidates tournament in Curacao.

(This picture is from the post-mortem of the game in question.)

Tal, just one year removed from the title, had a very good score against Filip in their previous encounters, and with the white pieces went for the attack. The aim was justified, but Filip kept his cool. Normally Tal wore his opponents out in the complications, but not this time. Filip gave as good as he got, and when Tal went awry he took over, winning with a powerful counterattack. It almost looks easy, but considering how many players over the years buckled when Tal attacked, it turns out to be an impressive achievement.

In addition to the game's historical value, it's also a nice model of some typical Sicilian themes, so I believe viewers will benefit from that aspect of the show as well. To tune in, just show up on the Playchess server at 9 p.m. ET tonight (Wednesday night; or, if you're across the pond, use 3 a.m. CET Thursday morning as your reference). Once there, go to the Broadcast room and either double-click on my handle (Initiative) or find Tal-Filip under the Games tab. Hope to see you there!

Addendum/errata to the Akopian-Kasparov show a couple of weeks ago:

(1) I wrote in my blurb that their career score in tournament games was +1 -0 =3 in Akopian's favor. That's true, but it's also misleading, as the "+1" – the game I presented – was from a rapid event. Their classical score is simply =3.

(2) Using Wikipedia before finding the quote, I claimed that Kasparov labeled "most" of the participants in the 1999 World Championship event in Las Vegas "tourists". In fact Kasparov's comment was made before the quarter-final matches, and only applied to three of the eight remaining players (Movsesian, Nisipeanu, and... Akopian). The full quote can be found here.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007

Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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