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Lev Polugaevsky vs Mikhail Tal
Riga Interzonal (1979), Riga URS, rd 2, Sep-06
English Opening: Symmetrical. Three Knights Variation (A34)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Given 4 times; par: 39 [what's this?]

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sac: 23...Rdf3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-06-03  ughaibu: This is the kind of Tal game I particularly like. He always seems to have another piece ready to make another move.
May-13-03  ughaibu: It surprises me that Polugaevsky didn't want to play 12.c4 He can answer 12....Nc1 with Qh5 followed by taking the knight. Later on 25.Qd1 also doesn't impress me, why not Qe2? If Tal plays Nd4 in response the knight interferes with the queens attack on e4, if instead Tal plays Nc1 (which doesn't look like a Tal move I admit) then Qb5 looks like the fighting option. Here is the identical game, the only difference I can see being the venue: Polugaevsky vs Tal, 1979
May-13-03  Cyphelium: ughaibu> It surprises me that Polugaevsky didn't want to play 12.c4

12. bxc4 Nf4 13. Q wherever and hxg5 seems to win a piece for black.

> Later on 25.Qd1 also doesn't impress me, why not Qe2?

There is another threat apart from the attack on e4: 25. Qe2 Nd4 26. Qd1 Qxd1 27. Rxd1 Rf2+ 28. Kh1 Nf3 with mate.

May-13-03  ughaibu: Cyphelium: As always, thanks for the lesson.
Sep-05-04  iron maiden: Tal absolutely destroyed the field at this Interzonal, scoring 14/17 and winning by 2.5 points. It was probably his last truly great victory.
Sep-05-04  Tal ty forthememores: Yes, if I'v ever seen Tal play greater chess after this one, I must be reminded. He looked good that's for sure. It's a shame he only had 13 years left after this...
Feb-24-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Tal at his best
Oct-15-06  talisman: one of the few times tal beat him.less than a year later polugaevsky would end tal's championship hopes for good.candidate matches were not kind to tal.he started to even his score w/ spassky in later years, but what was it about korchnoi and polugaevsky...he had big time trouble w/ both of these guys.
May-23-07  Clubfoot: He was ready for Polu in 1980 but bad luck took him out: he lost two members of his family on the eve of the match and kind of sleepwalked through it.
May-23-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <talisman> with two top-class masters, at times it's inexplicable; one I've never quite figured out is Korchnoi's poor record vs Keres, the only win coming at the very end of Keres' life in March 1975.

<Clubfoot> Interesting; I'd never known that, and it's difficult to imagine being capable of playing at anything like 100% of one's normal level in the face of such adversity.

Oct-08-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: What would have followed 21. Rxf2?

(Please, don't be something ridiculously obvious...)

Oct-08-07  euripides: <Jim> from my memory of Speelman's notes on this game it's <21.Rxf2> Rxf2+ when either 22.Qxf2 Qxe4+ or 22.Kxf2 Rf8+ are nasty.
Oct-08-07  laskereshevsky: at first sight i think is OK to play 22...♖xf2+ 23.♕xf2 ♕xe4+ and depending from the white's moves u have only to choice betw. 24...♖f8, and 24...♕xb1 with the threats ♕xb5 and ♖f8....
Oct-08-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Aha...I kept looking at Rd8-d3, attacking the queen, which has few squares to retreat to...
Oct-12-07  QuidProQuo: <euripides: <Jim> from my memory of Speelman's notes on this game it's <21.Rxf2> Rxf2+ when either 22.Qxf2 Qxe4+ or 22.Kxf2 Rf8+ are nasty.>

I belive that's wrong, go back to the drawing bored and check notes!

Jun-15-08  dTal: After losing to Polu in the candidates match that Clubfoot refers to above, Tal knew his chances to become WC again were more or less over. He smiled sadly and said now I am "polu tal" meaning something like "semi tal" when translated literally from the Russian. (From Kasparov's MGP) The greatest talent in Chess history was also probably the classiest WC. Nobody could withstand him when he was in health and form. Nobody.
Aug-13-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobsterman3000: That d3 knight was a killer. It decided the game almost single-handedly...

Aug-13-08  ughaibu: You're joking. This game might have the greatest proportion of surprising moves against routine crap of any other game, even including Tal's.
Aug-13-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Clubfoot: He was ready for Polu in 1980 but bad luck took him out: he lost two members of his family on the eve of the match and kind of sleepwalked through it.>

Well, maybe. This game was his first win over Polugaevsky in 20 years. Polu had beaten him five times in between. Seems like Polugaevsky was just a bad matchup for him, as Korchnoi was.

Aug-13-08  HannibalSchlecter: Wham! Don't mess with Tal!
Aug-13-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: dTal is correct. There is no way, for example, Botvinnik would have won the return match in 1961 if Tal had been healthy.
Aug-13-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <andrewjsacks: dTal is correct. There is no way, for example, Botvinnik would have won the return match in 1961 if Tal had been healthy.>

Here is what Tal had to say.

<I was unprepared for the change which had taken place in Botvinnik. He arrived for the 1961 match extremely self-disciplined and aggressive, readily going in for a stormy position if it looked favourable for him, which he had not done in 1960. In the main one must look to the form of the winner to find an explanation for the result of the match.

In conclusion, I should remark that the defeat did not provoke a crisis in my game, although I have read this on a number of occasions. Three months later I succeeded in taking first place in a strong tournament.>

-- <My Life and Games>, p. 175.

Aug-14-08  Tessie Tura: <'In the main one must look to the form of the winner to find an explanation for the result of the match.'>

Tal also said: ‘This year on stage when I lost the title, he looked like a giant to me.’

A real sportsman. Tal wasn’t the kind of man to make excuses for himself, but that doesn’t mean that others can’t do it on his behalf. Between the two championship matches he had to deal with the attention focused on the new champ, finished up his studies, became a father, had more health problems, and started chainsmoking in earnest. Otherwise he had nothing on his mind. :) On top of this he was ill during the match. As Botvinnik always said, a player has to be in sound health to stay at the top.

This is not to take away from Botvinnik’s comeback. He came prepared and was in great form.

It’s also true that Tal thought he’d finished the old guy off last time and underestimated him accordingly. Bad move.

Mar-02-09  M.D. Wilson: What I find amazing is the fact that Tal's two wins against Polugaevsky in this database were 20 years apart (1959-1979). Incidently, these two years (1959 and 1979) were both memorable for Tal.
Oct-12-09  hedgeh0g: Could Tal really calculate that deeply when he sacrificed? It seemed like he almost always had an answer for every defense his opponents conjured up.
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