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Tal vs Botvinnik 1960
Moscow

No sooner did Mikhail Botvinnik regain his title, the chess world became entranced by charismatic young Latvian named Mikhail Tal. Tal won the 1958 interzonal tournament at Portoroz, then helped the Soviet Union to retain the Chess Olympiad; before going on to win the 1959 Candidates Tournament with 20 out of 28 points--a point and a half ahead of second place Paul Keres.

 Tal Botvinnik 1960
 Tal and Botvinnik, 1960
Tal often sacrificed material in search for the initiative in chess. With such intuitive sacrifices, he created vast complications, and many masters found it impossible to solve all the problems he created over the board, though deeper post-game analysis found flaws in some of his conceptions. Although this playing style was scorned by ex-World Champion Vasily Smyslov as nothing more than "tricks", Tal convincingly beat every notable grandmaster with his trademark aggression.[1]

Lev Khariton relates the electricity of the match:

This match played in Moscow in the spring of 1960 is forever engraved in my memory. Hundreds of chess fans who had failed to buy an entrance ticket stayed outside the Pushkin Theater watching on a big demonstration board the games of the match. I will never forget the famous 6th game in which Tal right after the opening moves sacrificed a knight. It was a challenge to Botvinnik, to all his followers who were trying to put the game into the Procrustean Bed of cold logic and algorithms. As if nothing had happened, Tal was pacing to and fro on the stage, and his famous opponent , who had scored victories over such legends as Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine, confronted with a surprise sacrifice was taking all possible pains to refute Tal's daring decision. All in vain! Botvinnik had already few minutes left on his clock when Stahlberg and Golombek, the arbiters of the match, transferred the game backstage. The spectators were so excited that the atmosphere in the playing hall was more reminiscent of a football match! Tal won this game, and in spite of Botvinnik's stubborn resistance, he won the whole match.[2]
The match was conducted in Moscow from March 15 to May 7, 1960. After 21 games, at the age of 23, Mikhail Tal became the 8th World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 123456789101112131415161718192021
Botvinnik0½½½½0011½0½½½½½0½0½½
Tal1½½½½1100½1½½½½½1½1½½

FINAL SCORE:  Tal 12½;  Botvinnik 8½
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Botvinnik-Tal 1960]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #6     Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960     0-1
    · Game #1     Tal vs Botvinnik, 1960     1-0
    · Game #9     Tal vs Botvinnik, 1960     0-1

FOOTNOTES

  1. Mikhail Tal article at Wikipedia
    2 Mikhail Tal, the Chess Player Ahead of Chess by Lev Khariton

 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Tal vs Botvinnik 1-032 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchC18 French, Winawer
2. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½44 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchA61 Benoni
3. Tal vs Botvinnik ½-½37 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
4. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½40 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE27 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation
5. Tal vs Botvinnik ½-½43 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
6. Botvinnik vs Tal 0-147 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
7. Tal vs Botvinnik 1-052 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
8. Botvinnik vs Tal 1-041 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE10 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Tal vs Botvinnik 0-158 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
10. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½60 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE88 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.d5 c6
11. Tal vs Botvinnik 1-072 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchA05 Reti Opening
12. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½72 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
13. Tal vs Botvinnik ½-½16 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchA30 English, Symmetrical
14. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½22 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
15. Tal vs Botvinnik ½-½41 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
16. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½41 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
17. Tal vs Botvinnik 1-041 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
18. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½76 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
19. Tal vs Botvinnik 1-041 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchA87 Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation
20. Botvinnik vs Tal ½-½27 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
21. Tal vs Botvinnik ½-½17 1960 Tal - Botvinnik World Championship MatchE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-11-10  Petrosianic: <This story is not true.>

Well, SI wrote it in 1960, so no time for Tal to set the record straight. I wonder where they ever got it in the first place. And I'm more curious as to what happened to Botvinnik's wife, and why she died in (I guess) her 40's. That's pretty rough. Did he ever remarry, I wonder?

Apr-11-10  Petrosianic: In light of Bronstein's earlier comment, here's a comment from Al Horowitz, who picked Tal to win:

<Tal plays Bronstein's style, only much better, and absolutely without Bronstein's weaknesses.>

Al opines that it was Bronstein's tendency to tire and blunder that kept him from winning the 1951 match, although to give Botvinnik his due, he hadn't played a game in 3 years when that match started.

Apr-11-10  A Karpov Fan: these games are amazing
Aug-25-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Newsreel footage with Russian commentary:

http://www.britishpathe.com/record....

Feb-12-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <Lev Khariton> that was spot on.
Apr-21-11  bronkenstein: <Tal plays Bronstein's style, only much better, and absolutely without Bronstein's weaknesses.>

IMO Bronstein (esp @ his peak ) is much more complete and well rounded player than Tal of the 1960 .

Misha managed to ´complete´ his style , raising technique and positional strategy while still being able to play brilliant tactical game during his second peak , due to cooperation with Karpov ( they were toping the rating list together briefly at that time ) .

Horowitz was simply blinded by Tal´s winning streak and brilliant games i would say (not that he was alone :)

Apr-29-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: THE 2nd most famous championship of all time, 1960...without a 1960 picture.
Apr-30-11  kamalakanta: Many of us (myself included) were not aware of Nezhmetdinov's strong influence on Tal's "style" when looking at Tal's games in years past.

However, after looking at Nezhmetdinov's games, his influence on Tal becomes very obvious. He had a plus score (3-1) against Tal and was one of Tal's seconds during the match in 1960.

Apr-30-11  M.D. Wilson: <Although this playing style was scorned by ex-World Champion Vasily Smyslov as nothing more than "tricks", Tal convincingly beat every notable grandmaster with his trademark aggression.>

Ah, Korchnoi, as expected, owned Tal. Spassky wasn't a slouch, either. Almost everyone else, sure.

What I find more amazing is Botvinnik's absolute domination of Tal in 1961; he was like a man prepared, I mean, possessed.

Apr-30-11  M.D. Wilson: <bronkenstein: <Tal plays Bronstein's style, only much better, and absolutely without Bronstein's weaknesses.> IMO Bronstein (esp @ his peak ) is much more complete and well rounded player than Tal of the 1960 .

Misha managed to ´complete´ his style , raising technique and positional strategy while still being able to play brilliant tactical game during his second peak , due to cooperation with Karpov ( they were toping the rating list together briefly at that time ) >

The collaboration between Tal and Karpov in the 1970s hasn't been analysed in great depth, but it was a period of development for both players. Tal taught Karpov the essence of the initiative and when to play dynamically; Karpov's superlative technique and positional mastery helped to foster Tal's 1970s Renaissance, when he was stronger than ever before.

May-01-11  HeMateMe: What a terrific book, written about this match.
Aug-20-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Chessgames.com: for the picture above the caption reads "Tal and Botvinnik, 1958." Is this a mistake? They didn't play any kind of serious game until 1960.
Aug-20-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Eggman> Must be, though I remember reading a story in which Tal somehow managed to learn where Botvinnik was staying on holiday. When young Misha knocked on the door of the cottage, board in hand, Mrs Botvinnik explained that the elder Misha was napping.
Aug-25-12  Cemoblanca: Ahhh Misha! 1 of my favorite players of all time & "Super Nez" falls also into this category! Please play a lot of chess in heaven & don't forget to sacrifice! ;0) RIP!
Jun-25-14  ACMEKINGKRUSHER: I have just barely started reading TAL's book on the match. It is FABULOUS! I am quite pleased so far with it. Much better than Topalov's "cry-baby" book on his later match.
Jun-25-14  penarol: Perhaps I have not read too many chess books, but I think that Tal´s book on the 1960 match is the best chess book I have ever read. I also think that it is not the best book for a chess beginner. Of course that happens with many chess books.
Jun-26-14  Petrosianic: Everybody liked the book, but nobody actually has anything good to say about it. Talk about damning with faint praise.
Jun-26-14  Olavi: The book is graet, but unfortunately Hanon Russell's translation is poor. Or has a revision been published?
Jun-26-14  Petrosianic: Yes, but what's great about it? Nobody seems to know. Is it great analysis, great behind the scenes stuff, great insight, or is it just that the author is popular therefore the book must be good? Generally, if people like a book, they have lots of good things to say about it. If they just say "Yeah, it was good", but not in any specific way, I feel that they really DIDN'T like it much, but are just being polite.
Jun-26-14  Olavi: The personality, I would say. He is witty, modest, sarcastic at times, and he gives the impression of being honest. Well you never know about that...
Feb-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: By the way, do we know that the picture at the top is from the 1960 match? Looks like a team event.
Feb-20-15  Petrosianic: Tal and Botvinnik only played each other twice outside of their World Championship matches. I can't say 100% that this isn't one of those two games, but I have seen this picture used for this match before, and their ages seem more like early 60's than mid 60's. It could be from the 1961 match, but there's no reason to think that.
Feb-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Petrosianic> I googled and found some other 1960 match images that include the guy to Tal's left, so I guess you are right. (Does anyone know who the two men seated beside Tal and Botvinnik are?)

This is from the 1961 match (it's a less-retouched version of the one on the 1961 match page).

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

Feb-20-15  Olavi: A clear indication that this is from one of their matches are the clocks on the wall behind, showing the respective used time. They would not be there in a team match.
Feb-20-15  Olavi: Nor would the flags.
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