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Anatolij Bannik vs Mikhail Tal
Riga (1955), 12
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Yugoslav Variation (E65)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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sac: 18...Nxg3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-10-05  marekg248: <RodSerling> A game from "Life and Games" is this one Tal vs Bannik, 1962 <<Neurotic Patzer> "Not sure, haven't got passed the third game yet."> The same goes for me, but Tal's games are pretty complicated, for example very first one from the book Tal vs I Zilber, 1949 Oh my oh my...
Dec-10-05  dr.noooo: the key move in the combo is queen to h6, with such an air conditioned igloo of the poor kings its not too hard to find the other moves, all forced.
Dec-10-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessgames.com: <Neurotic Patzer> Sunday is intended to be the hardest day of the week. You can read more about the daily puzzles here: Daily Puzzle F.A.Q.

<Kola> You're right, that was careless joke that started on the Kibitzer's Cafe. We just wanted to stress that accounts are being distributed on the basis of luck, not on the basis of who can and cannot afford it.

<Endgame puzzles> You haven't seen any in a while, because we're saving them up for another endgame week coming soon.

Dec-10-05  TTLump: I saw the initial sacrifice, and was able to visualize the combination up to move 24.Qf2, but I never once considered 24...Qh6! OTB I doubt I would have played 18... Nxg3, not being able to see through to a clear advantage in exchange for the knight.

I have to wonder if even the great Tal saw all of the variations through to the end when he made the move 18... Nxg3. It seems more likely that he made this move based on speculation rather than a precise analysis of the position. With this in mind I went looking for the "best" line with the help of ChessMaster 7000 and found that both players made numerous mistakes during the ensuing skirmish.

First of all, 21... Re3 is a better move than 21... Re5. I think someone suggested this already in an earlier post. Here is a likely continuation: 21. Qxb7 Re3 22. Qg2 Qh4+
23. Kg1 Rg3
24. Nd5 Rxg2+
25. Kxg2 Qe4+
and we arrive at roughly the same configuration as with Re5 (assuming best play by both sides of course), but we get there a lot quicker and with far fewer complications (but perhaps it is the complications that Tal thrives on!)

Secondly, white's move 25.Qxa7 is almost a blunder, instead he should have played 25.Qf6 which still favors black, but there is no forced mate after this, and white can keep his chances alive. What they arrive at after the fireworks is a position where black has a pawn and a queen for a knight and a rook. Here is a possible continuation: 25. Qf6 Rg5+ 26. Kf2 Rf5+
27. Qxf5 gxf5
28. Nd5 Qh4+
29. Kf3 Kh8
30. Nf4 Qg4+
31. Ke3 Re8+
32. Kd2
and black has roughly a 2 point material advantage, but no dramatic winnning combination in sight and I like white's pawn structure compared to black's, and white should be able to make black's life miserable by harassing his queen with the two rooks.

Thirdly, black basically lets white off the hook following 25.Qxa7? with ... Qg5+?, a surprising lapse given the person pushing the black pieces. 25... Rh1+! was the best move in this position, as follows: 25. Qxa7? Rh1+!
26. Kg2 Rh2+
27. Kf3 (not Kf1, else Qh3, followed by Qg2# or Rh1#) 27. ... Re8
28. Qg1 Qh5+
29. Qg4 Rh3+
30. Kf2 Qxg4
31. Rg1 Rh2+
32. Kf1 Qf4+
33. Ke1 Qxc1+
34. Nd1 Rhxe2+
35. Kf1 Qxd1#

Finally, after Black lets white off the hook with 25... Qg5+, white still manages to lose in grand style, by playing 29.Qe7? instead of the more solid 29.Qe3. Here is a possible continuation based on this move: 25 through 28 are pretty much forced... 25. Qxa7 Qg5+
26. Kf2 Rh2+
27. Ke1 Qxc1+
28. Nd1 Qc2
and then instead of 29.Qe7, ...
29. Qe3 Qxa2
30. Qf3 Qa5+
31. Nc3
and White holds it together for a little while longer.

For all its flaws, this is certainly one of the most brilliant and beautiful combinations there are.

Dec-10-05  THE pawn: I saw the combination until move 22, then I stopped, not knowing what to do...
Dec-10-05  TTLump: <EmperorAtalhualpa: ... I guess what I have learnt from this puzzle is that even if you don't foresee an entire winning combination, it does make sense to make a sacrifice if it looks "right" ...>

I respectfully disagree. In my early days of tournament chess, I fell in love with the idea of the dramatic sacrifice and often made speculative sacs in tournaments because it "looked right". It hardly ever worked out for me, especially if I was playing someone on the same level or better than me (once out of every 10 tries, maybe!), but when eventually I did start having some success with it, I was attempting them far less frequently and I noticed that I was almost subconsciously being more discriminating by forcing myself to visualize the resulting positions where I could see a clear advantage, BEFORE committing to the sacrifice.

The other thing about sacrifices is that even in situations where tbey are feasible, there is often another, safer and slower, but less risky way to win. You have heard the old golfing saw "Drive for show, Putt for dough", well there ought to be a similar one for chess, "The sacker looks great, the plodder gets mate".

The kind of positions that we see in these puzzles are relatively rare in actual games, but we get a false sense of the frequency of their occurrence because we are looking at them every day. I wish CG would occasionaly include some "mundane puzzles" where the best move turned out to be a combination to win a pawn or to achieve a slightly better strategic position.

I suppose it is possible that someone could have the "gift" of instinctively knowing when a sacrifice is sound without being able to actually "see" the final position, but I wonder how many GMs would tell you they had this gift as opposed to mentally visualizing the actual position? Perhaps Tal was one that had the gift?

Dec-10-05  Antipholous: I don't know how someone was suppossed to see that far ahead. Wow...that was an incredibly difficult puzzle. I did notice that taking at g3 was a good move, but there's no way I could see that far ahead.
Dec-10-05  aginis: yeah Tal was a tactical genius.
he personifies chess at its best, the more modern theoretical approach is too serious. Tal doesn't play by a script of "correct" moves he just plays the position. Can anyone find a Tal game in the database *without* a sacrifice?

Dec-10-05  aw1988: Voila: K Klasup vs Tal, 1950
Dec-10-05  aginis: and its a draw what a surprise
Dec-10-05  aw1988: Well, you didn't tell me to find a game without a sacrifice where he wins.
Dec-10-05  pawn52: <RodSerling> This particular game is not found in the book, but you can find the one that is in the book here:

Tal vs Bannik, 1962

Dec-10-05  Hudson Hawk: Well I felt stupid and smart at the same time. I didn't pay attention and tried to solve for white and I was having all kinds of problems because no matter what I did I couldn't find a response to Nxg3. So I sort of solved it... on accident.
Dec-10-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <TTLump "The sacker looks great, the plodder gets mate.">: Very astute comments. I agree on all points. I think, however, that attacking geniuses like Morphy and Tal knew when to calculate and when to play by intuition. GMs rarely admit that they were following a hunch or that they failed to calculate completely before a winning sacrifice. Certainly intuition can be refined by practice, but some of it is probably innate.
Dec-10-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <aginis: <chessgames.com> its been a really long time since you've posted a bust puzzle (one where the solution is any ok move and not the obvious looking sacrifice).

Also most puzzle are attacking combos, some defensive combos might be nice as a change of pace.>

Total agreement here. I have posted suggestions similar to yours and sent messages to CG along similar lines, but so far no response.

CG changed the caption from "White/Black to play and win" to "W/B to play." But in fact, the puzzles are still almost always sacrificial attacks that lead to mate or overwhelming material advantage.

A sacrificial attack is like a chocolate eclair in a meal or a home run in baseball. Sure, it's great, but would you like to eat nothing but chocolate eclairs? Would you watch baseball games if every hit were a home run?

Dec-10-05  Neurotic Patzer: I don't see why you think Tal had speculate anything as the variations arising from Nxg3 are very narrow and very easy to calculate. Specially for a world champion, I assume.
Dec-10-05  brainzugzwang: <al wazir: 28...Re8 wins just as surely as the move Tal played.> You mean instead of Tal's 28...Qc2? You've rightly corrected me a few times on this board, but if 28...Re8(??) in the game continuation, I see 29.Qxf7+ Kh8 30.Qxe8+ Kg7 31.Qf8++. Yes?
Dec-10-05  TTLump: <Neurotic Patzer: I don't see why you think Tal had speculate anything as the variations arising from Nxg3 are very narrow and very easy to calculate. Specially for a world champion, I assume.>

narrow and easy to calculate? Then I guess must be a Chess moron!

Dec-11-05  THE pawn: Is there a game, if only one, where tal sacrifices a piece and doesn't win?
Dec-11-05  Petrocephalon: <THE pawn> Here's one: Tal vs E Bhend, 1959

There are probably many.

Dec-11-05  Petrocephalon: There's a bit of a story to the Tal vs Bhend game. That game was the first round of the tournament, yet despite the loss, Tal went ahead with another risky, speculative in his very next game against Kuppers. I believe that tournament (Zurich '59) also featured the famous Tal-Keller game.
Dec-11-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Tal wouldn't have seen all these moves -it is clear that the position cries out for the sac (Tal's intuition-calculation was better than -well (obviously) far better than mine so I was a bit lucky but it certainly looks strong) - I saw the initial idea immediately but I thought that:

18...Nxg3 Qxb7 meant that 19. Nxf1 wasnt very exciting. I also tried tosoveitwith a White (queenside) rook on d1

but I was looking at 18....Nf4 gxf4 and tring to get win by getting rook over to the King -even looked at f5 as possible move...I then decided Nxg3 was the move but I didn't see the defence White came up with - but I doubt Tal saw much of it either...

Itis impsiosbe eenofr Super GM to calculate all these variations easily OTB -he would have see a lot of course.

And he lost plenty of a games (and like the rest of us he miscalculated and suffered from "chess blindness" on occasion) and he fell victim to attacks himeslf -all GMs do.

Dec-11-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < TTLump> <others> It would be possible to calculate 18. ... Ng3 19. fxg3 Qxg3+ 20. Kh1 Rce8 21. Qxb2 Re5 [here I just thought it was a forced win for Black and then decided to look at 18. Nf4 which isn't quite as silly as it looks!!] then Rh5+ 22. Kg1 Qe3+ 23. Qf2 but here I missed 24. Qh6! and also that if 24. ...Qg2 Rg5 -but had Ibeen concentrating on the initial sac I would have probably got that far but as someone suggested White didn't need to play 24...Qxa2 as Qf6 seem stronger. So Tal probably knew he at least had a draw. Chess is a game - a gme where the tension of actual play takes a part as much as assessment and caculation - if Tal or anyone could calculate everything perfectly every time they would lose interest in Chess - if they calculate with great accuracy most of the time and or have a great feel for chess and win many games and lose quite a few - they retain the excitement of the game - and some true sacs are impossible to easily calculate completely - they have to be assessed.
Dec-11-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <brainzugzwang: if 28...Re8(??) in the game continuation, I see 29.Qxf7+ Kh8 30.Qxe8+ Kg7 31.Qf8++. Yes?>

Yes, of course. I don't know what I was thinking. Maybe that Tal had three rooks.

Dec-15-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Tal's 18...Nxg3!! is the start of a winning demolition of pawn structure combination.
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