White has delayed castling and this gives him an idea: to begin the attack on the Kingside immediately. Ofcourse, this requires sang froid and excellent calculation skills. If White wanted to, he could have played 16.Be4 (making …c5 difficult) with a slight positional plus.
The manner in which Portisch executes the attack is very direct and very impressive! Many of the world’s leading magazines of the time published this game and considered it one of the very best played that year.
Portisch’s idea is simple enough: to bring in his Rook to g3 via h3. Black responds correctly, counterattacking in the centre:
16… c5!? 17. Rh3 Bxf3!
The best chance! Black simplifies
18. Bxh6 !!
One of the best attacking moves ever played! White simply ignores Black’s last move and now threatens Rg3 with mating threats.
Losing immediately would now be 18… gxh6 19. Rg3 Kh8 (19… Bg5 20. gxf3) 20. Qd2 and Black must return his material and remain with a lost King position. Slightly more complicated is 18… Bg4 19. Rg3 f5 20. Rxg4! fxg4 21. Bh7 Kh8 22. Bxg7! Kxg7 23. Qg6 Kh8 24. Bg8!! and Black can not resist much longer.
BLACK DEFENDS RESOURCEFULLY:
18… Bxh4!? Preventing Rg3 19. gxf3 gxh6
Black seems to have things under control for the moment. If now 20.O-O-O then Black throws in a check with 20…Bg5 and gains a vital tempo for the defence.
20. Ke2 !!
A magnificent move saving a tempo for the attack!
White threatens to move his Queen Rook into the attack. Now insufficient would be 20… Kh8 21. Rah1 Bg5 22. Rxh6! Bxh6 23. Qd2 with a mating attack.
20… Nxe5 !!
Johannessen deserves great credit for his skill in defence and counterattack, forcing his opponent to play the best on each turn. He now reaps some dividends, for Portisch now plays a slight imprecison that allows Black a very subtle way to save the game!
Here White misses the well-deserved win: 21. Rg1! Kh8 (21… Bg5 22. dxe5 Qd4 23. Rxh6 Qxe5 24. Kf1 Rfd8 25. Qd2 Rd5 26. Rh5 f6 27. Rgh1) 22. Qc1 Qf6 23. dxe5 Qxe5 24. Be4
And Black is dead in the water and must resign.
INSTEAD, PORTISCH PLAYED THE NATURAL MOVE:
21. dxe5? Qd4!
Black brings his Queen into game with a deadly threat of taking on f2! White’s next moves are all forced
22. Rxh4! Qxh4 23. Rg1 Kh8 24. Qc1
This last move of Portisch threatens Rh1, which would win if it were White’s move; the Black Kingside is torn open and the h6 pawn is the only thing defending the Black King !
However, here Black has a miraculous way to save the game! Portisch’s imprecision on move 21 has allowed Black a very subtle resource. Do you see it?
Here Black misses his chance to save the game! Necessary is 24… c4! 25. Bb1 Rfd8 26. Rh1 (diagram,right)
26…Rd2!!! A magnificent move! 27. Qxd2 (Forced) 27… Qxh1 28. Qc2 Kg7 29. Qh7 Kf8 30. Qh8 Ke7 31. Qf6 Ke8 and White has nothing better than taking the perpetual check.
INSTEAD, JOHANNESSEN THOUGHT HIS POSITION WAS LOST AND RESIGNED HIMSELF TO DEFEAT! MORAL OF THE STORY: NEVER, NEVER LOSE HOPE!
24… f6?? 25. Rg6!
Black loses his Queen in order to avoid an immediate mate; moving his King to h7 would allow a deadly discovered check. BLACK RESIGNS! 1:0
A wonderful game filled with surprising twists and turns. Both players deserve credit for their ingenuity!
GM LAJOS PORTISCH
(April 4, 1937, Hungary)
Lajos Portisch is a legend in the chess world and –according to Bobby Fischer–one of the strongest GMs to have ever appeared in Europe. During his best years Portisch defeated virtually every world champion and was always a strong contender to win any tournament he participated in. For more than 20 years Portisch won atleast one major international tournament!
Known for his virtuosity in the openings, Portisch single handedly pushed opening theory further than any other player of his generation. His name is attached to virtually every major opening system. In the middle game his play was known for its efficiency and logic, and in the endgame there was no GM better. Portisch’s weakness was probably in the area of defence: at important points in his career he fell victim to risky, sacrificial attacks when his nerves would not hold out.
Portisch played in 20 Olympiads and participated in the Candidates countless times. In 1978 he lead the Hungarian team to a historic gold medal, ahead of the Soviet Union, at the Buenos Aires Olympiad. In Hungary Portisch is credited with being the role model for several generations of players.
Even at age 50 he was a strong contender. I played against Portisch on a number of occasions and I was always impressed with his attitude , regardless of the result. When he participated in the 1979 Montreal tournament of stars I asked him to give me an interview, which he agreed to. In this interview I asked him about his early life and how he got into chess. A very modest but cultured man, his answers fascinated me. This interview was later published in a book on the tournament.
Portisch had (and probably still does!) many friends and fans in Montreal’s Hungarian chess community. I remember, in particular, IM Laszlo Witt was a huge supporter of Lajos. When ever he would come to Montreal Portisch would be a welcomed guest!
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS