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Leonid Stein vs Mikhail Tal
3rd Soviet Team Cup (1961), Moscow URS, rd 3, Dec-??
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B94)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-24-11  talisman: Never and i mean Never! play over this game at this time of year with any kind of eggnog....Merry Christmas everyone!
Sep-10-12  scorpion2a: Did Tal blunder on his last move???
Sep-10-12  scormus: I love it!

15 Bd5 .... Oh you don't want my B. OK then, have my N instead .... 17 Nd5. Win or not, saccing a piece on d5 against the Najdorf has to be the move for me.

Dec-25-12  leka: The finnish master Kaarle Ojanen elo rating 2563 world ranking 89th told me that Stein beat him in blitz 9 wins one loss.That gives Stein blitz rating 2916.Fischer in 1970 blitz got a 2991 elo rating in blitz.Stein could have been better.Stein played too fast like Morphy.Botvinnik teach Kasparov think first and then move otherwise you become a weak player like Taimanov Larsen
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <scormus> Black can't take the B on move 15 with the P if that's what you mean - the pawn is pinned.
Dec-25-12  morfishine: Stein plays like Tal in this game: every move answered smoothly and crisply

I will see if I can find Tal's notes on this game: He was such a notoriously hard worker, no doubt he identified where he erred. I'd like to know what he thinks on this issue....

Dec-25-12  Strongest Force: Leka, I wonder what rating . Fischer would have had at ICC. Nak has all-time high at 3750.
May-21-13  Conrad93: Great use of an exchange sacrifice.
May-21-13  ewan14: I think Stein had a plus score against Tal ! !

and also Spassky and , maybe , Korchnoi !

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <ewan14: I think Stein had a plus score against Tal ! !

and also Spassky and , maybe , Korchnoi !>

Tal and Spassky yes; Korchnoi no

May-22-13  ughaibu: Morfishine: where did you get the idea that Tal was a "notoriously hard worker"?
May-22-13  morfishine: <ughaibu> After reading "The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal" by Tal, and "Tal - Botvinnik 1960" also by Tal, this is the perception I was left with
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ughaibu: Morfishine: where did you get the idea that Tal was a "notoriously hard worker"?>

Surely he meant "notoriously hard drinker."

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher>: I can vouch for that.
May-22-13  ughaibu: Morfishine: thanks for the explanatory reply, however, a personal impression doesn't establish notoriety.

Keypusher: Tal's performance per unit alcohol appears to have been admirable, so I would suggest amending "notoriously" to 'famously'.

May-22-13  morfishine: <ughaibu> Well, thats my impression. While his drinking and love of beautiful women are clearly established, perhaps his work habits are not.

Tal was no "dummy" in the sense that he would think he could rely on talent alone to succeed. True, in tournaments, where breadth is key, talent can get one quite far; however, in match play, where the requirement is for depth, then one must knuckle-down to old fashioned home work. He knew this and was great at preparation and "hard work".

In hindsight, even he admitted he should have postponed the rematch with Botvinnik due to his sickness. But "chivalry" wouldn't let him. And so he played as he agreed and lost.

Whats remarkable about Tal is he climbed back to #2 in the World in 1980, 20 years after he was WC. You don't do that without a sound, focused work ethic; and yet he did it, despite how much he was supposedly drinking

May-22-13  vasja: Why not 30 Rxc5 ?
Aug-29-13  Conrad93: Vasja, nothing is wrong with 30. Rxc5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The fur was flying in this game. This game was called "a violent Sicilian" Is there any other kind? (Obviously I mean the opening and not the ethnic group)
Mar-16-14  Conrad93: Make this GOTD please.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: HI morfishine,

"Stein plays like Tal in this game: every move answered smoothly and crisply."

Because an 'astonished' Stein was following Tal's analysis which he had recommended when noting up a previous game. Tal had simply forgotten his own notes and walked into his own sacricial analysis!

'The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal." (page 230)

Tal does not mention the original game but it was possibly this game, played a year earlier, that Tal added notes to suggesting the continuation that Stein played in analysis.

Tal vs M Johansson Sr, 1960

or it may have been:

Tal vs A Kolarov, 1957

When Tal states in 'Life and Games' that the sac on move 10 may not be correct with best play. He may have noted up other variations in some Russian magazine.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Sally Simpson> From the book <Leonid Stein> by Gufeld and Lazarev (Moscow 1980), it may have been Ivkov vs Petrosian, 1961, which was a short, possibly prearranged draw. Afterwards, says the book, Keres demonstrated that Black could have refuted the attack played in that game with 14....b4. Tal's key recommendation in the line played in this game, the recommendation he forgot, was 14.Qg4. I'm pretty sure Stein was on his own after 14....0-0-0, so credit to him for a very pretty attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi K.P.

Possibly a wee bit of trepidation going on in Stein's mind as he was getting closer to move 14 and trying to figure what improvement Tal up his sleeve,

Meanwhile on the other side of the board Tal is possibly thinking:

"Hmmm....I think I've seen this somewhere before....never mind, I'll look it up after the game."

Aug-27-15  Ulhumbrus: After 17 Nd5!! ed 18 ed threatens the triple fork Nc6 attacking simultaneously the three targets Black's queen on a5, Black's rook on d8 and Black's bishop on e7. Black is able to move only one of these pieces with his reply
Mar-23-18  Retireborn: Convekta and Russbase both put this game in December 1961, as part of the final of the USSR team cup in Moscow; the top boards were effectively a 6-player rr between Geller, Smyslov, Korchnoi, Stein, Petrosian, and Tal.

Stein was playing for "Avangard" and Tal for "Daugava". I must admit I have never understood what these Soviet team names (Trud, Burevestnik, Spartak etc) actually represent. Well, apart from Geller (Soviet Army) of course.

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