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Mikhail Tal vs Zwaigzne
URS (1952)
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E27)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
May-25-04  ToTheDeath: Young Tal demonstrates some cute back rank tactics here.
May-25-04  morphynoman2: It could be called "Variations on a Philidor's Theme"
Jun-03-04  notsodeepthought: ? why does it win? 29 ... Q:f8, how does white continue?
Jun-03-04  who: R:c8 and white wins a rook for a queen, and threatens mate when he takes, so that he doesn't even lose a knight
Jun-03-04  who: actually he doesn't even lose a rook, and he still gets mate
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: Black sells out in the opening to triple on the weak c4 (Ba6, Nc6-a5, Qd7-c6). It wins a pawn, but the price is too high: the slow-moving Knight gets stranded far from the action, and never moves or contributes again.

With Black essentially a piece down, White offers a Knight, and his Queen twice. Black is trapped between Philidor and Weak Back Rank, and has about as much freedom to respond as a pinata.

Knight: 26 ... Qxg5?? 27. Qf7+ 1-0

27 ... Qf8? 28. Qa2+ 29. Nf7+ 31. Rxf8+ reducing to canonical Philidor 32. Qg8+ etc.

30. Ne5 cleverly defends White's own weak back rank, freeing his Rook to sortie 31 Rf7.

Queen: 34(38). Qxe6?? 35(39) Rxf8 1-0. Both times, Qd8 is Black's only move that protects his own Rook.

37. Nh6 utterly traps Black's King (by denying h6), locking in the Weak Back Rank theme. Clever point 1: It also prevents defending g7 by Rg8. Clever point 2: 36 ... Rxf7? Any upward Rook move exposes Black's weak back rank, hence 37. Qxf6! and Black has three problems: (a) recover Queen, (b) save Rook, (c) defend back rank. Rxf6 loses to (c), gxf6 loses to (b). One move can't cover three flaws!

39. Qe5 threatens mate at g7, and Black can't defend g7 from below. An over-eager Rook trade gets Black's Queen forked, so Black wants a Queen move that also stops mate: 39 ... pin-Q 40. break-pin R-block-g7 and 41. Qe7 is an insidious triple-fork: g7 and d7 (threatening 43. Qc8+), and skewers h7 (hence 42 ... gxh6 becomes impossible). Black's Rook can't save both g7 and either one of d7,c8.

Apr-10-07  Crowaholic: Black is forced to play 29..Qxc7+ followed by Qxc7 gxh6. White cannot mate now but should easily win some pawns.

After 29..Qf8? there is 30. Rc8 Rf6 31. Qd8! and White has a mate in two - mostly rampage on the eighth. If Black plays gxh6, the continuation is a bit more difficult to see, it's Qxf6+ Kg8 and Rxf8# (or Qxf8#).

Apr-10-07  Chicago Chess Man: This would be a great game for a beginner to study
Apr-22-13  vinidivici: Tal is Man
May-15-14  pilobolus: What a game!!
Jul-16-19  nikromos: 41. . . Qf8 seems to hold. Tal missed 40. Kh1, just crushing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <nikromos>
I agree 40. Kh1 crushes, but on 41...Qf8, what if White still plays <42. Qd7> similar to the actual game? How does Black hold?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <nikromos>
On second thought, it should be <40. Kg1>, because 40. Kh1 allows the reply <40...Rf1+> 41. Kh2 Qf8.
Jul-16-19  dumbgai: 40...Rf1+ is not a legal move due to the R on f7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <dumbgai>
You're right, that was some kind of hallucination with the R on f7 disappearing in my mind. I stand corrected.
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