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Mikhail Tal vs Paul Keres
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 2, May-03
Spanish Game: Closed. Borisenko Variation (C96)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I would like to know where white went wrong in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: I presume 36.♖e8 was played to prevent 36...♕a8.
Maybe 36.♖ec5 was a better way to stop the Queen infiltrating.
Jul-29-06  Maynard5: Tal made a series of miscalculations in this game, although there were several occasions where he could have held a draw. The initial thrust with 21. Qxb5 leaves him with loose pieces. In the position at move 25, White's game is not easy, since the queen must protect the rook on d4, but Black can create threats against the squares f2 and b2. White's decision to give up his queen on move 26 does not result in a loss, since he emerges with a rook, a knight and two connected, passed pawns.

The problem in the position at move 31 is that White's pieces are not well placed. The rooks are poorly coordinated, ahead of the pawns rather than behind them, while the pawn on f4 can become vulnerable. Best play in this position would probably be Ra3, followed by Rae3, doubling rooks on the e-file, and providing additional protection on the kingside. It is doubtful that Black can make any progress. Instead, the moves 35. f5 and 36. Re8 are reckless. White seemes to be trying for a mating attack on the eighth rank, oblivious to the threats against his own king.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 21 Qd3 is not exactly a mistake, but it commits White to giving up the e pawn for the b pawn.

Timman writes that White is better going into move 20 because of his better pawn structure, and that 20 Nc3 is a better choice. A Matanovic vs Gligoric, 1966

Tal gives even another option in his notes-20 Bxf6 Nxf6 21 Nd4 Qb6 22 Nf5 "and now Black won't have it easy either." Timman in "Curacao 1962, The Battle of Minds that Shook the Chess World"

Jul-15-07  JohnTal: I would have preferred 35 a4, followed by 36 b5 and 37 Rec4. Connecting his 2 R's and seeking to create a Q with his connected Q-side pawns would be my strategy.

35 f5 is a waste. I suspect my namesake was in time trouble as he hangs a Kt at move 40 - and faces 41 ...f6 punching out an R.

Even if Mischa plays 41 Rcd5, Keres would play 41 ...Qc7 -- play might follow 42 Kg1, ...Rc1+, 43 Kf2, ...Qc2+, 44 any, ... Qa4 crushing Mischa.

I don't know if my strategy would give Mischa fighting or drawing chances - I wonder if he was in time pressure and simply lost the will to fight in a difficult position. Or does Tal get frustrated in complex positions in which he cannot blast his way out of trouble with a spectacular sacrifice?

May-26-09  Albertan: Honza according to the analysis of Deep Rybka 3, Tal's position took a turn for the worse on move 33 when he played 33.Rc5. The program suggests an improvement is 33.a3 with this continuation possible: 33...Qg6 34.Re3 Qc2 35.Kh2 Rc8+ The program evaluates the position after 33.Rc5 to be in favor of Keres ( ).

The beginning of the end for Tal came on move 35 when he played 35.f5 . (Instead 35.Kf2 was a "better" idea with this continuation possible: 35...Rd3 36.Re3 Rd2+ 37.Re2 Rd4 however even after this continuation Deep Rybka evaluates the position after 37...Rd4 to be .)

Tal's big mistake in this came according to the analysis of Deep Rybka 3 came on move 36. The move 36.Re8?? is a blunder. It allowed 36...Qd3 (threatening 37...Qg3 and checkmate on the next move). For some reason (time trouble perhaps? Keres did not chose to win a piece by playing 38...Rxc3).

According to the evaluation of Deep Rybka 3, a better move for Tal on move 36 was 36.Rg4 after which the game might have continued: 36...Rb2 37.Rcc4 Qb6 38.Kh2 Qb8+ 39.Rg3 Rxb4 40.Rxb4 Qxb4 however this position is evaluated as being

Oct-04-11  Cemoblanca: 31.Ra5 is certainly not a big mistake, but I don't like this move!

After 31.Rad4!? white can create a respectable fortress or maybe even more, e.g. 31...Qa6 32.a4!? h5 33.Kh2!? Rb8 34.b4 [34.Rd2!? g6 35.Nc3 Kg7 36.h4 Rb3 37.Re5] 34...Qxa4 35.b5! Qb3 b6, etc.

33.Rc5?! This is a "I don't know what to do without my lady" move! ;0) [Perhaps it was better not to rush things, e.g. 33.Kh2!? Qg6 34.Re5 Qc2 35.Re7 Qf5 36.Re5 Qc2 37.Re7 Qf5 38.Re5 and it smells like a draw.]

34.Nc3?! [Here again 34.Kh2!?; or 34.Re7!? looks more natural.]

35.f5? [Better was 35.Rce5 Qa3 36.Ne2 Qxa2 37.Kh2! (37.b5 looks interesting, but it's not, because of 37...Rd5! 38.Kf2 Qa7+ 39.Kg3 Rxe5 and white loses "a leg", so to speak.)]

...and after 36.Re8?(?) it's over. [36.Rg4! Rb2 37.Ne4 Qxa2 38.Kh2 Qa7! with the idea Qb8+, e.g. 39.Rc1 Qb8+! 40.Ng3 Rxb4 41.Rc8 Qxc8 42.Rxb4 Qc7!, etc.]

Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Tal's comment is that after sacrificing the queen he had enough of an advantage to win.....but began playing terribly in the fifth hour.
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