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Jon Kristinsson vs Mikhail Tal
"Mikhail to the Chief" (game of the day Aug-13-16)
Reykjavik (1964)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Kan. Knight Variation (B43)  ·  0-1
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sac: 15...Nxe3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-01-05  WorldChampeen: 14. ...Qc6 , right into a Knight gosh, that's why he's called the Magician of Riga...

May-01-05  Catholic Bishop: nice double penetration of the bishop pair
Dec-16-05  Eatman: Well Qc6 was pretty much forced (since Nc4 was hanging) Tal had to foresee what was going on a move earlier at least. It seemed white were doing okay and started the pawnroller on queenside, but Tal managed to disturb white's king in time.
Sep-20-07  DiscerningKing: Interesting Game .. Needs to be posted as "A GAME OF THE DAY!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: White's 17.Kh2 looks like an inexplicable blunder to me. Why not 17.Na5 to save the knight (17...Nc4+ 18.Kh1 Nxa5 19.b4 Bd4 20.bxa5 Bxa1 21.Rxa1 would leave Black with R+N vs. Q+2P)? Even 17.Rf2 to try to save the exchange seems to leave White an advantage (the knight at e3 can't retreat)...
Mar-23-08  kereru: 10...Ne5 isn't the best move if Black want to play for a win. Kristinsson was one of the weaker players in the tournament and when he saw a chance to "force" a draw with the great Tal by 13.Ndxb5 axb5 14.Nxb5 Qc6 15.Na7 Qc7 16.Nb5= (16.Nxc8!? is unclear) he grabbed it. Of course any normal GM would have grudgingly accepted the draw, but Tal was not a normal GM.

15...Nxe3?? is objectively terrible, White only has to save the knight with 17.Na5 or 17.Ne5 and Black has no compensation for his substantial material deficit. He can give a discovered check and he can win the exchange, but that's all.

White panicked at the threat of a discovered check. After 17.Kh2?? White still has a decent game, but the position is unclear, just how Tal likes it. Tal simply outplayed him after that, winning with an ingenious king's side attack.

Jul-23-08  mate2900s: wow this is why we love chess
Feb-13-11  kereru: Proof that there *is* such a thing as bluff in chess.
Aug-13-16  Delboy: Most players would be happy to leave just one such game to posterity. Tal however played so many amazing games that this one might not even feature in his '100 most memorable' ones collection. Thanks, CG, for unearthing and celebrating it today
Aug-13-16  newzild: "There are two kinds of sacrifices: sound ones, and mine."

Kristinsson must have been a pretty weak player, because even I saw that 17. Kh2?? was a blunder.

You really have to admire Tal's balls.

Aug-13-16  RealCS: I always wonder a out games like this... did Mikhail actually had all of that in mind, or was it just move by move pragmatism? Who knows.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <newzild> -- By no stretch of the imagination can Jristinsson be called a 'weak player': he went on to win the Icelandic championship twice in the 1970s, and that is a very competitive event. Iceland has more GMs per head of population than any other country. However, he was pretty young and relatively inexperienced when this was played -- in his first master tournament, facing a legendary world champion. Errors are understandable.

The material balance of R/B/N vs Queen is a fascinating one. In theory, the pieces should win - but if they lack coordination and the Queen takes the initiative, it can be better. I once drew with a GM with such an active Queen; Kasparov won some games with the Q.

Aug-13-16  mel gibson: Silicon brains seem to pick up mistakes.
22 f5 ?

should have been
22 f4xe5

Then the game turns into a very tight one & probably a draw - at least according to DR4 64 bit.

Aug-14-16  newzild: <Domdaniel>

Yes, I read that in his bio too. But he won those championships in the 1970s - this game was played in 1964.

Quite a lot of water under the bridge between those dates and plenty of time from him to improve from being a "pretty weak player" to IM strength.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The bishops take this one over.
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