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Boris Spassky vs Mikhail Tal
"Tal in Tallinn" (game of the day Jul-01-16)
Tallinn (1973)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Leningrad Variation. Averbakh Gambit (E30)  ·  0-1
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Given 28 times; par: 45 [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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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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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"
Premium Chessgames Member
  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".


Jul-01-16  waustad: I'll leave this to look at again in the morning. Wow.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Doesn't black have a much, much easier win with 20...Bxa1 ? After 21. Rxa1 (21. Qb8 Rxc6) Qc3 21. Qd8+ Kh7, black is up a ♗. No wizardry needed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mike1: 20 Bxa1. 21. Rxa1 Qc3. 22 Qd8+ Kh7
23. Be4+ and black will need some help
Jul-01-16  cunctatorg: Tal's play at this masterpiece reminds of Kasparov's play at his best!!

By the way Tal had to avenge his many losses to Spassky and after all Boris was going for it by keep playing the Leningrad variation of the NID for so many years!...

Jul-01-16  The Kings Domain: Brilliant attacking game by Tal. The sacrifices come like punches to the gut that barely relent. Spassky must have felt as dazzled and dazed as anyone who studies and appreciates this topnotch game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Karpov was not the world's greatest gambiteer but he played the opening in a very similar way to Tal in Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978.

It was a Nimzo-Indian and in this position,

click for larger view

...Karpov played 6...b5.

I believe Tal was on Karpov's team for part of that match. Who wasn't? The game ended up as a thrilling draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black is about to use white's rooks as an aid to walling in white's king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <mike1: black will need some help>. Oops. Thanks.
Jul-01-16  morfishine: Too famous of a game to pollute with yet another lame "tal" play on word

really pathetic


Jul-01-16  Willber G: <mike1: 20 Bxa1. 21. Rxa1 Qc3. 22 Qd8+ Kh7 23. Be4+ and black will need some help>

Surely 22.Qd8 NxQ

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Tal played this game like Spassky at his best. His play was absolutely sound here and wery powerful.
Jul-01-16  mruknowwho: Mike1 is correct. After 20...Bxa1? 21.Rxa1 Qc3?? 22.Qd8+ Kh7 23.Be4+!, Black is in trouble. <Willber G> mike1 wrote 20...Bxa1 like a White move so there is an illusion that there is a knight that can take the queen. (No disrespect intended for mike1.)
Jul-01-16  Willber G: Yep, my mistake.
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