1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Tal didn't play the French very often but Fischer was known to have problems against the Winawer. Hence...
3...Bb4! Chess nomenclature has credited Polish Master Szymon Winawer with this move but Ignatz Kolisch introduced it, in 1861.
4.e5 [ This is the best try for an edge. Theory says other attempts are inadaquate : RR4.Bd2 dxe4 5.Qg4 Nf6! ( 5...Qxd4 6.0-0-0 Threat : 7.Bg5 Q moves 8. Rd8# ( 6.Nf3 is met by 6...Nh6! ) 6...h5 is playable.) 6.Qxg7 Rg8 7.Qh6 Qxd4 8.0-0-0 Bf8 9.Qh4 Rg4 10.Qh3 Qxf2 11.Be2 Rg6 12.g4 Qc5 13.Be3 Qe5 & White has nothing better than a perpetual on the Q with 14.Bd4 Qf4+ 15.Be3 Qe5 1/2-1/2 as in Kuntz - De Lagontrie : Cannes 1996; A lot of players try to avoid complications & doubled c-pawns with 4.Nge2 Play can go 4...dxe4 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Nxc3 Nc6! 7.Bb5 Nge7 8.Bg5 f6 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 f5 11.f3 exf3 12.gxf3 a6 13.Bxc6 Nxc6 14.0-0-0 Rf7 15.Bf4 e5!= Fejgelson - T. Petrosian : USSR 1979; In answer to 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 I recommend 5...Ne7 ( 5...dxe4 allows 6.f3 the very dangerous Winckelman-Riemer Gambit, which gives White sufficient attacking chances whether it is accepted or declined.) and White has little choice but to play 6.e5 transposing into main Winawer lines.]
4...c5 [ This threatens 5...cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nc6 and is the main/most aggressive move. There are several other tries here and each leads to a very different game : 4...Ne7 keeps options open but, as we'll see in the next game, it usually joins the ...c5 lines.; 4...b6 is very positional and not at all bad. In this variation, Black often seeks a trade of light-squared Bs & can meet a3 or Qg4 with a retreat to f8.; 4...Qd7 is similar to 4...b6 and the lines often transpose but here Black prepares to meet Qg4 with ...f5. See Olafsson - Petrosian : Bled 1961.; 4...Bf8?! tries to confuse White and is really 3...Nf6 4.e5 Ng8 in disguise! One of the reasons for the Winawer's popularity is that it suits many different styles.; [Ed. note - Black will sometimes play 4...f6 ; or 4...Nc6 ; the latter of which transposes to a line of the Nimzowitsch Defense (1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e5 Bb4).]]
5.a3 The most challenging move. [ 5.Bd2 ; and 5.Qg4 are playable but this is the overwhelming choice of GMs and must, therefore, be best!]
5...Ba5 This retreat has been tried sporadically (including by Botvinnik, himself) but never became popular. Modern analysis, however, shows that it is playable and may even be good! [ 5...Bxc3+ the main line, is more consistent and 4 games with it follow.]
6.b4! This is the only way to try and punish Black.
6...cxd4 [ 6...cxb4 7.Nb5 is weaker.]
7.Qg4! Ne7! [ 7...Kf8 is not so good because after 8.bxa5 dxc3 White has 9.a4 intending Ba3.]
8.bxa5 dxc3 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7 Nbc6 11.Nf3 Qc7 12.Bb5 Bd7 13.0-0 0-0-0 14.Bg5 Nxe5! 15.Nxe5 Bxb5 16.Nxf7 Bxf1! 17.Nxd8 Rxg5! 18.Nxe6! Rxg2+! 19.Kh1!! Qe5 20.Rxf1 Qxe6 21.Kxg2 Qg4+ [Ed. note - A great game that is in at least 4 of my 80-odd chess books : - pages 145-149 of Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games" (Faber and Faber, 1972). - Tal's notes are on pages 63-65 of Gligoric's "The French Defense" (RHM, 1975). - pages 58-59 of David Levy's "How Fischer Plays Chess" (RHM, 1975) - pages 254-257 of Burgess, Nunn & Emms's "The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games" (Carroll and Graf, 2004)] 1/2-1/2