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Boris Spassky vs Mikhail Tal
Tallinn (1973)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Leningrad Variation. Averbakh Gambit (E30)  ·  0-1
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Given 27 times; par: 46 [what's this?]

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sac: 15...Rxf3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: Good game.
Aug-16-04  NMTOR761: No it was bound to happen. look at Spassky Unizicker,this game is the improvement.
Nov-26-04  JohnBoy: <Whitehat1963> It looks like white looses his queen in any variation. If 39.Qe3 then 39...Ba6+ 40.Kd2 Rd7+ 41.Kc3 Rd3+, or if 39.Kd2 then 39...Rd7+ 40.Kc3 Rd3+. There are other possible finishes, but all amount to about the same thing.
Aug-04-05  mcgee: Amazing to think that Spassky had been champion only the previous year and that Tal can sprinkle virtually unstoppable magic all over the board from about move 7 onwards.
Aug-04-05  who: The continuation is
1)39.Kd2 Rd7+ 40.Kc3 Qd4#
2)39.Qe3 Ba6+ 40.Rc4 (40.Kd2 Rd7+)
3)39.Kd1 Rd7+ 40.Rd2 Qh1+ 41.Kc2 (41.Ke2 Qg2+) Be4+
Mar-29-06  HannibalSchlecter: Incredible play by Tal! He attacks like a tornado zooming through all sides of the board with devastating effect against top players! Viva Tal!
Mar-29-06  chesstoplay: or
39. K d2 R f2 +
40. K d1 Q h1 mate.

or 39. K d1 R f1 +
40. K d2 R f2 +
41. K d1 Q h1 mate.

Mar-29-06  chesstoplay: It works like a Rook and Queen roll basic checkmate.
Apr-07-06  Fast Gun: I believe that I am correct in saying that this game is Spassky's only loss with the Leningrad variation of the Nimzo, if I am wrong then I sure someone will correct me. This was one of Spaasky's pet lines that he worked on with one of his trainers Vladimir Zak:
Jun-15-06  Everett: Larsen vs R Garbarino, 1993

Larsen finds an improvement with 9.a3. Black must exchange bishop for knight or take away the a5 square for the black queen.

Jul-08-06  MrMelad: This game is on of 3 games given as a link from wikipedia's page on Tal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Tal's health while not the best, was ok compared to the late 60's. And his playing form was simply incredible during this time. He was also enjoying an unbeaten streak that to this day is still the standard for unbeaten streaks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I remember once, 20 years ago, I deeply studied this game, and used it as the basis to prepare for a game against a strong player. Unfortunately for me, he deviated early, so I did not get to trot out my 'home cooking'. I did however, manage to get a draw in the game.
Oct-25-07  isemeria: Beautiful game, one of my "canonical texts". If you feel bored with chess, this game is a good one to play over and enjoy.
Jun-02-09  erwinkru71939: Interesting game. I didnīt guess blackīs move 29 Bxf2+. This move allow the final blackīs attack.
Feb-26-10  xenophon: the opening of the day and one of my all time favourite games-there seems to be a logical iron flow-Spassky mustn't have know what hit him here.
Aug-28-11  DrMAL: Tal wrote in his book after 4.Bg5 "The gauntlet is thrown down" referring to Spassky's preference of sharp/complicated Leningrad and after 6...b5 "The challenge is accepted." He wrote about 13.bxa6?! "A risky move" perhaps being modest since, after 13...Nc6! black had a clear advantage.

On his sac 15...Rxf3! he wrote, "This combination leads by force to an advantage for black." Indeed, it was the only move to preserve his advantage from 13.bxa6?!

On 25.Qg3?! he wrote, "Qf3 was better, when black would not have exchanged queens, but would have kept his advantage by 25...Qd6 or 24...Qc7." Actually, white had several better moves such as 25.Rd1 or 25.h3 or 25.h4 but black would still keep considerable advantage.

After 28.Qb3? the losing move, he wrote, "On 18.Qg3 the blow at f2 is once again decisive." True, but, again, 28.h3 was better in fact now it was the only move to stay alive.

28...Rc7! was the strongest win 28...Rb6 also wins. Here, 29.Qg3 was perhaps most stubborn but white was lost anyway. 30...Qf5+ was equivalent to 30...Qf6+ (NOT a faster/clearer win merely an equal alternative) but 32...Qf5+ was slightly stronger than 32...Ba6+ played (both quickly win). 35.Kg1 was less accurate than 35.Kf2 but no matter, Tal had an easy win either way, fabulous game for him!

Nov-26-11  The17thPawn: I could well be high on Brandy and Benedictine but 12.) Rc1 seems a significant improvement to my chess eye as the queen must stay on the back rank and not step into a potential pin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Castleinthesky: A definite game of the day. Pun: "Caught by the Tal"
Apr-18-13  Travis Bickle: What a Fantastic game by Tal!!
Jan-12-14  Albion 1959: Spassky scored well with the Leningrad variation (Bg5). I can't help wonder why he never played it in his match against Fischer the previous year? To the best of my knowledege Fischer never had to face the Leningrad variation during his chess-playing career.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Apr-18-13
<Travis Bickle: What a Fantastic game by Tal!!>

Dr. Strangelove Dont Understand Kramnik Style Chess Bikkle - in this case - I - Professor Know All Richard Old Kiwi - agree with you...

Seriously though, Tal was the world champ about the time I started chess and I studied his games. That said Fischer was on the rise and we had his first book (before he was World Champion) but then in a few years Petrosian won. I think that I benefited later from studying Karpov as I used to sacrifice etc like Tal but Karpov's games helped me to get a feel for those aspects I have always found more difficult (strategic / tactical etc or dynamic to static etc)....

All that said Tal had a great ability to calculate dynamic attacks etc as you know............

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: What a great game by the Wizard of Riga. I don't think Spassky wasn't playing at all badly but he was completely overwhelmed at the end.

The position after 28 ... Qg5 was very tricky, W had to play h3 to give his K some air. After 29 Qb3? his goose was cooked, but it was a completely understandable choice OTB, considering where B's LSB was.

4.Bg5 didn't work here, maybe on this day nothing would have worked against Tal. But in tournaments with 3 points for a win nowadays it's well worth trying.

Sep-05-14  Garech: What an incredible game, I am amazed it had never been GOTD. I will think of a pun!


Premium Chessgames Member
  SimplicityRichard: Ahhhh..... I had never re-played this stupendous game before! What an amazing game; it leaves one breathless...s...s..s......

An attacking daimon at work; sheer dynamism. A perfect demonstration of "position before material".


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