Friday 4 November 2016

Well known to many

While looking at some QGA theory I came across a game between Taimanov and Polugaevsky from the 1960 USSR Championship. Graeme Buckley (author of 'Easy guide to the Queens Gambit Accepted') described the opening variation played in that game (after 4. ... Nbd7)  as 'well-publicised', which assumes that one should know enough to avoid it.
Having found the game I wondered how many players did in fact know the line (as Black) and was a little surprised with some of the names who played the 'wrong' side of the position. After White plays 8.e5 the score is 85% in Whites favour, yet Zsuza Polgar, Karpov and Gelfand have all tried to defend the position. I suspect that they may not have been aware of the Taimanov Polugaevsky game, and instead were caught by surprise, as they don't seem to have made a habit of playing this position. (Polgar did play this twice, but chose 8. ... b5 the second time around).
Given how good the line looks for White (although Black can vary earlier), it is no wonder that Buckley suggests 4. ... Nc6 as the most sensible way to deal with 4.Qa4+

Taimanov,Mark E - Polugaevsky,Lev A [D23]
URS-ch27 Leningrad (13), 1960

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