Tal's Janowski-Indian Games

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5!?

The Janowski-Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5!?) was a favorite of Mikhail Tal's during the 1960's and 1970's, when he used it as a way of avoiding the Saemisch and the Four Pawns Attack in the King's Indian. Basically, if White played an early Nf3, Tal would go into the King's Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 g6) but otherwise he chose the Janowski. I've collected Tal's games with the line, and he played enough of them that they basically represent an excellent introduction to the system. For those interested in learning more there is the short bibliography below (which may well be a complete bibliography on this otherwise quite obscure line).

Game One: 4.g3

Georgy K Borisenko - Mihail Tal [A53]

URS-ch32/Kiev 1964

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Bf5 4. g3

Alekhine's choice. White typically plays for a space advantage. Black plays to mitigate the power of the fianchettoed Bishop while seeking to weaken the dark squares.

4... e5!

Black must play actively. Too slow is
4... c6 5. Bg2 Nbd7 6. e4 Bg6 7. Nge2 e5 8. h3 Be7!? Schiller (8... Qb6?! 9.

5. Nf3

5. dxe5 dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8=
This basic endgame position is well known to be good for Black. The White
pawn at c4 limits the scope of the White Bishop, weakens the dark squares,
and presents a potential target of attack.
Black also gets good play after 5. Bg2 Nc6 (5... exd4?! 6. Bxb7 dxc3 7. Bxa8 )
6. d5 Nd4 7. e4 Bg4 8. f3 Bd7 9. Nge2 c5! 10. dxc6 Nxc6 11. Be3 Be7 12.

5... Nbd7 6. Bg2 c6 7. Nh4 Bg4

7... exd4!? 8. Nxf5! (8. Qxd4 Be6 )
8... dxc3 9. Nxd6+ Bxd6 10. Qxd6 cxb2 11. Bxb2 Qa5+ 12. Qd2 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2

8. h3

8. d5!? cxd5 9. Nxd5 Nxd5 10. Qxd5 Rb8=

8... Bh5?

This gets Tal into trouble. Much better is the thematic 8... exd4! 9. hxg4!? (9. Qxd4 Be6=) 9... dxc3 10. g5 cxb2 11. Bxb2 Ng4

9. Be3

9. d5

9... Be7

Forcing matters in a way that eventually presents
Black with counterplay.
10...

11. Nxg7+ Kf8 12. Bh6 Kg8 13. g4

13. e4!?

13... Bf8! 14. Nf5 Bxf5 15. Bxf8 Kxf8 16. gxf5 Rg8! 17. Kf1 Qa5 18. Qd2

18. d5

18... exd4 19. Qxd4 Qxf5 20. Qxd6+ Kg7 21. Qd3 Qxd3 22. exd3 Ne5 23. Rd1 Rad8 24. Be4 Kh6?!

24... Nxe4=

25. b3 Rge8 26. Rg1 Nxe4! 27. dxe4 Rxd1+ 28. Nxd1 Nf3!=

From this point on, Tal plays recklessly for advantage and risks losing the game, but manages to rescue it in the end.

29. Rg2 Rxe4 30. Ne3 Nd4 31. Rg8 f5 32. Rb8 Kg5 33. Rxb7 f4 34. Ng4 h5 35. Nh2 f3 36. Rf7 Rf4 37. h4+ Rxh4 38. Nxf3+ Nxf3 39. Rxf3 Rh1+ 40. Kg2 Ra1 41. a4 Rb1 42. Rf7 Rxb3 43. Rxa7 Ra3 44. a5 h4 45. a6 h3+ 46. Kg1 Kg4 47. Rg7+ Kh4 48. a7 Ra1+ 49. Kh2 Ra2 50. Rf7 c5 51. Rf4+ Kg5 52. Rf8 Rxa7 53. Kxh3 Ra3+ 54. f3= 1/2-1/2

Game Two: 4.f3

Yuri S Balashov - Mihail Tal [A53]

Moscow 5'/Moscow 1972

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Bf5 4. f3 e5 5. e4

White's alternatives are not better:

a) 5. dxe5 dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8 as
usual, Black is fine in this ending. 7. Bg5 c6 8.

Black to play and win.

11... Bxg1! 12. Rhxg1 (12. Bxe6 Bd4!-+) 12... Bxh3 13. g4 h5 14. Rg3 hxg4 15. fxg4 Nbd7-+ 0-1 Visier Segovia,F-Tal,M/Palma de Mallorca 1966 (15)

b) 5. d5 e4 (5... Nh5!? 6. g3 Be7 7. e4 Bc8 is unclear but avoids the draw of 6.g4!?) 6. Bg5 (6. g4!? forces a draw after 6... Nxg4 7. fxg4 Qh4+ 8. Kd2 e3+ 9. Kxe3 Qg5+ 10. Kf3 Qxg4+ 11. Kf2 Qh4+ 12. Ke3 Qg5+=) 6... exf3 7. gxf3 Be7 8. e4 Bg6 9. h4 h6 10. Be3 Nbd7= Doncheva-Shikova, Bakia 1992. Also interesting for White is 6.Be3!?

Tal also experimented with the idea of gaining time on the Queen by ...g6 and ...Bg7 after 6... Be6 7. Nd5!

(Probably better than 7. Bd3 Nc6! 8. Qe3 Nb4!? (8... Ne5 ) (8... Nd7 ) 9. Nd5! Nxd3+ 10. Qxd3 Nd7 11. Qc2 g6 12. Bd2 Bg7 13. Bc3 Bxc3+ 14. Qxc3

O-O 15. Ne2 Re8 16.O-O c6 17. Ndf4 Qb6+ 18. Kh1 Qc5 19. Rac1 Rad8 20. Rfd1 Nf8 21. Rd2 f5 22. Ng3 Qe5 23. Nxe6 Nxe6 24. Rcd1 Qxc3 25. bxc3 Nc5 (25... f4!=) 26. exf5 Re3 27. Rc2 Rde8 28. h4 Re1+ 29. Rxe1 Rxe1+ 30. Kh2 Kf7 31. fxg6+ hxg6 32. Kh3 a5 33. Rd2 Re3 34. Rxd6 Rxc3 35. h5 gxh5 36. Nxh5 Rxc4 37. g4 Ke7 38. Rf6 Ne6 39. f4 Ng7 40. f5 Nxh5 41. Re6+ Kf7 1/2-1/2 Balashov,Y-Tal,M/Moscow 1971 (41))

7... Nc6 8. Qe3 (better
8. Qc3)
8... Be7 9. Bd3?! Ne5 10. Ne2 Nfd7 11. b3?! Bh4+! 12. Ng3 (12. g3 Bf6 )
12... c6 13. Nc3 Bg5 14. Qxg5 Nxd3+ 15. Ke2 Nxc1+ 16. Qxc1 Qh4
17. Qd2

7. Qd2

7. Qf2!? Be6 8. Be3 Be7 9.

7... Be6 8. b3 g6 9. Bb2 Bg7 10. Bd3

10. Nge2

10... Ne5

10...

11. Nge2 c6 11... Nfd7
12. Rd1

A risky attempt to keep an initiative. 13... Ne8!?

14. Qxd6?!

White seems to trust his famous opponent's tactical instincts. Better was 14. bxc4 Nxc4 15. Qc1 (15. Qc2 Ne3 with compensation ) 15... Qb6 16. Ba1 Ne3 17. Rd3 Bh6 18. Na4! Qb4+ 19. Bc3 Qxa4 20. Rxe3 which should favor White.

14... Qa5 15. b4 Qb6 16. Na4?!

16. Qxe5 Qxb4 (16... Ng4? 17. Qxg7+ Kxg7 18. Nd5++-) 17. Rd2! Bxe2 18. a3! Qb6 19. Kxe2

16... Qe3 17. Qd2 Qxd2+ 18. Rxd2 Rfe8 19. Nc5 b6 20. Nb3 Bb5 21. Bxe5 Rxe5 22. Nbd4 Bh6 23. Rd1 Ba4 24. Bc2 Bxc2 25. Nxc2 c5 26. b5 a6 27. bxa6 Rxa6 28. Rd8+ Kg7 29. Nc3 b5 30. a3 b4 31. axb4 cxb4 32. Nxb4 Rb6 33. Nd3 Ree6 34.

36. Ne2!

Likely a time-pressure blunder. 37. Nc1! Rxf3! 38. gxf3 Bxd8=

37... Rxd3-+ 0-1

Game Three: 4.Nf3!

Gennadi Zaichik - Mihail Tal [E61]

Moscow GM-Young M/Moscow 1972

Tal typically met 3. Nf3 with 3... g6 transposing to the King's Indian Defense, having avoided several sharp lines, including the Saemisch and Four Pawns Attack.

There are many alternatives for Black, including 4...e6!? (not covered below):

a) 4... h6 Schiller's
recommended line 5. g3 Qc8 6. Bg2 Nbd7 7.

b) 4... g6 is
the recommendation of Yrjola and Tella, with the idea of transposing to
the Classical KID after 5. Nh4 Bd7 6. e4 Bg7 7. Be2 e5 8. Nf3

c) 4... Nc6!? is something I have tried, when 5. Qb3?! (5. d5 Nb8! followed by ...e5, ...Nd7 or ...Na6, ...Be7, ...a5, and ...Nc5 is playable) 5... a5! 6. a3 a4! 7. Nxa4 (7. Qxb7? Na5 8. Qb5+ Bd7 9. Qg5 h6 10. Qh4 Nb3 11. Rb1 Rg8! ) 7... Na5 8. Qd1 Be6! (8... Nxc4?! 9. e4 ) 9. d5 Bd7 is interesting.

5. Bf4

Slowing Black's e7-e5 break.

7. Nxe4 Bxe4 8. Nd2 Bg6 9. e4 e5=

7... Qb6 8. Nd4 Ndf6 9. Be3 Qxb2 10. Nxf5 Nxc3 11. Qd4 Na4! 12. Qd3?!

12... g6 13. Ng3 Bg7-/+ 14. Rb1 Qxa2 15. Bd4 c5 16. Ra1 Nb2[] 17. Bxb2 Qxb2 18. Rb1 Qa2 19. e3 Qa5+

and Black is simply up two pawns.

21. Bd3

Janowski-Indian Defense Bibliography

Graham Burgess, 101
Chess Opening Surprises (Gambit 1998)

Recognizing that many players use the Janowski-Indian as a system for transposing
to the King's Indian, Burgess recommends 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Bf5 4. Nf3
Bg7 5. Ng5!? which will force through an early e4 and present the Knight with
other retreat squares than the more typical 5. Nh4, thus "surprising" Black with
a unique system that does not allow for easy transpositions to other lines.

Eric Schiller, The
Janowski-Indian Defense (Sid Pickard e-book)

There appear to be several older paper versions of this book on the market, but
his e-book is probably most useful since you will want to check his analysis
yourself rather carefully. This is the most complete coverage of the opening
available in print. The text files that make up the book are practically worthless,
but the PGN analysis is very useful and seems generally good.

Jouni Yrjöla and Jussi Tella's, An
Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black (Gambit 2001).

In Chapter 31 of this book (pages 240-252) the authors offer a basic repertoire
version of the Janowski. They generally make good recommendations but occasionally
leave out interesting ideas (such as 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Nf3 h6!? which
they do not mention but which Schiller offers as the main line). Overall, though,
I think this is an excellent book and they do a great job of representing this
system by focusing on Black's most active choices.

Norman-Janowski,
Hastings 1925

An early version of Janowski's Old Indian line.

Levitt-Day,
London 2005

A recent outing for the defense.