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Mikhail Tal vs Evgeni Vasiukov
"A Hippo in the Marsh" (game of the day Nov-06-2006)
USSR Championship (1964/65), Kiev URS, rd 4, Dec-30
Caro-Kann Defense: Karpov. Modern Variation Kasparov Attack (B17)  ·  1-0


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Given 13 times; par: 84 [what's this?]

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sac: 19.Nxg7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-11-05  fgh: Impressive win by Tal. Well conducted attack as well as the endgame.
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  aw1988: But is the sacrifice sound?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: <aw1988>:

Quoth the Magician: <Some sacrifices are sound; the rest are mine.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  aw1988: Is it definitely unsound then?
Nov-06-06  makaveli52: im scared. I was just reading the life and game of mikhail tal, and ended on this game. Then i log on click on the game of the day and its the exact same game. The final position is set up on the board behind me. Freaky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whatthefat: <ryanpd>
The nice follow up is:
<"And the following day, it was with pleasure that I read in the paper how Mikhail Tal, after carefully thinking over the position for 40 minutes, made an accurately-calculated piece sacrifice...">
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wild Bill: <aw1988: <Is it definitely unsound then?>>

No; in fact, this one may be sound.

Please keep in mind that Tal's writings are peppered with wit and impish humor. He's very entertaining.

His remark that I quote was just a flippant way of dismissing his critics who found flaws in his sacrifices after extensive analysis.

Tal took a very practical approach to the game and his tactics: if the move confounds one's opponent at the board, it is a good move. In the story Tal tells of his game with Vasiukov, recounted for us be ryanrp, Tal basically came to the conclusion that that he couldn't figure out all the variations, then neither could Vasiukov.

Objectively speaking, <19. Nxg7!> could not have won the game by itself. Black had not yet made a fatal mistake. Fritz, the freeware version (4.01) calls the position before the sacrifice equal; after <25. Kh1>, Fritz still calls the position level, but I am inclined to call it a slight advantage for White in that he has an extra pawn, but Black has the initiative.

Black makes a mistake on his 28th move (<28. -- hxg6>), when he does better with <28. -- Rxe1+ 29. Rxe1 hxg6 30. Kxh2 Bxc4 31. b3 Bg8>, which my silicon sidekick says is equal. After <28. -- hxg6 29. Bxfg+>, Fritz evaluates the position as .

Returning to <19. Nxg7>, the alternatives were <19. Bd3 Nf4 20. Nxf4 Bxf5 21. b4 e5> with equality and <19. Bxd5 exd5 20. b3 Rad8 21. Rxd5 Bb7 22. Rd2 Rfe8 23. Qd1>, which Fritz also calls equal (here I am inclined to agree).

Nov-06-06  Confuse: to understand the name given to this game, check out <ryanpd> comment on page 2

good stuff =)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Moonlit> This particular Soviet final actually began in late 1964 and ended in 1965.

In his work, Tal's 100 Best Games, Bernard Cafferty remarked that on seeing Vasiukov play the Caro-Kann, Tal chose a line which required a great deal of experience to meet successfully, and that in the early middlegame Vasiukov's lack of feel for the opening soon showed, though I don't recall where Cafferty felt Black might have improved. (Obviously old age on my part-haven't looked at that book in many moons)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: In addition to the spectacular Knight sacrifice, this game is wonderful for its instructive technique in winning a Rook plus Bishops-of-Opposite-Color ending.
Nov-06-06  think: what is wrong with 19. ... Bxc4?
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  kevin86: With so few pieces on the board,Tal manages to tie his opponent in knots. The rook is attacked,the bishop "pinned" and nothing can be done to stop white's pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  aw1988: <think> 19..Bxc4 20. Rc1!
Nov-06-06  Morphystyle: Shredder 8 gives 19. Bd3 as +.5 and its second choice is Tal's Nxg7 with -.09. The only real improvement after the sac for black would be 28...rxe1 (+.15) 29. Rxe1 hxg6 30. Kxh2 with Bxc4. This leads to a symetrical pawns structure with material equality with seems difficult to convert to a win. Awesome game.
Nov-06-06  dehanne: It's easy to get a hippo out of a marsh. Just put Wayne Newton at the shore and make him sing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Andrew Chapman: < makaveli52: im scared >Yes, when we realise there is somebody out there who is able to arrange meaningful coincidences to get our attention for one reason or another, then we have reason to be afraid because for a start he must be a whole lot bigger than us. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom as the bible says. But the Saviour is kind and merciful thank God.
Nov-06-06  makaveli52: <Andrew Chapman> I pray that Tal is the savior
Nov-07-06  think: 19. ... Bxc4 20. Rc1 Bxe2 21. Rxc7 Bxc7 and black is up a rook. What am I missing?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrocephalon: think: perhaps 19..Bxc4 20.Qd2, threatening either Qh6 (or Rc1 or Nxe6).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Andrew Chapman: <I pray that Tal is the savior>The Saviour had to be without sin which would rule him out as also you and me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  aw1988: How does one drag a hippo out of the marsh?

And please, no religious topics...

Sep-07-07  PolishPentium: Your friendly neighbourhood PP would like to suggest 25... Bxc4. Does not Black then win at least the exchange? Failing that, then, it seems to this duffer that 26 ... Rxe4 would also be better than what was played over the board. Comments, anyone?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Billy Vaughan: <Andrew Chapman>I would think that an omnipotent, omniscient deity would have better things to do than choreograph everyday coincidences.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <PolishPentium: Your friendly neighbourhood PP would like to suggest 25... Bxc4. Does not Black then win at least the exchange? Failing that, then, it seems to this duffer that 26 ... Rxe4 would also be better than what was played over the board. Comments, anyone? >

Tal wrote that 25....Bxc4 fails to 26. Qg5, with the threats 27. Bxf6+ and 27. Rd7. If 26....Rxe4 27. Rd7 wins, says Tal.

Sep-20-08  pom nasayao: White's 57. Bg5 is very sly. Black may think o the immediate mate at his d8, but Tal has other tricks under his sleeve--the move f5.
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