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Mikhail Tal vs Dragoljub Velimirovic
YUG-URS (1979), Teslic BIH, May-??
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. General (A30)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-14-03  Tecumseh: 15.Nxf7!?

A pawn for the piece. Calculated, speculative or intuitive?

Sep-14-03  John Doe: Intuition, not all moves were forced; there is no way Tal saw the win all ther way, but he also didn't see a loss either.
Sep-18-03  drukenknight: is 25..c4 any better?
Sep-23-05  ConfusedPatzer: And what exactly is the difference between speculative and intuitive?
Sep-23-05  Granite: 15. Nxf7 seems pretty obvious by that point, it's that or try to take the e4 to get some compensation but the f-pawn has the advantage of drawing out black's king and gives more counterplay. It doesn't seem to be that great of a move at first glance, just a complicating one where Tal would feel more at home and his opponent wouldn't. I personally have no idea if it was sound or not, but it's hard to dispute the result after the fact!
Sep-23-05  THE pawn: I just don't know what could have been done for white after 15.Nxf7?!

My computer gives this line as best for white -0.12 f3 exf3 Qxf3 Qd3 So there is a small advantage for black and somehow tal's magic has found a way to win the game.

Apr-05-06  outplayer: This is one of the most difficult games I have ever seen. 5...Be6?! is a Black dubious move. After 14...Qf5 the knight his nowhere to go. Sacrificing it is an intuitive move. 15.d6!?= What does happen after 15.f3? Qxg5 ? 21.b4!! is amazing.
May-25-06  LIFE Master AJ: What to say?

The game starts out innocently enough. (1.c4 and 2.b3)

Then Tal ... becomes Tal! (Of course he sacrifices something!!! So why not a Knight on f7?)

May-25-06  whatthefat: <Granite: It doesn't seem to be that great of a move at first glance, just a complicating one where Tal would feel more at home and his opponent wouldn't.>

Normally this would be the case, but against Velimirovic, you have to wonder.

May-25-06  LIFE Master AJ: Of course, one of Velimirovic's many nicknames was "The Tal of Yugolsavia." (If I have the translation correct.)
Aug-19-06  whatthefat: An observation on this game:
On glancing at the position before white's 19th move, White seems to me to be just losing.

It's only upon really absorbing the position that the underlying themes become apparent. Rf4 will gain a tempo on the queen, allowing the other rook to join in on the game. Qh5+ is possible, and the pressure on f6 makes ...Kg8 difficult. Thus black's king is stranded in the centre. Now, the possibility of the white e- and g-pawns running up the board makes the kingside rather hazardous, so where is the black king to live? Velimirovic opted for the queenside, only to meet with Tal's 21.b4!

For me at least, it's amazing to think that these themes of attack came so readily to Tal - he seems almost to 'feel' them. How else to explain the decision of 13.Ng5 and the resultant sacrifice? And how else to explain the way Tal's 'absurdities' on the board seldom completely buckle under detailed analysis? His feeling for the initiative, and the attack, always seems to have counted for something that - by calculation alone - is very difficult to prove.

Aug-19-06  talisman: <LIFEMASTERAJ> you hit the nail on the head w/2.b3...tal playin the opponent.someone who wants to go at it even more than tal so tal keeps it quiet knowing this guy has no patience. V played against this line the yr.before.
Aug-30-06  Dres1: Now that i look a second time.. i think black is better off playing immediately 13...Qf5, i mean 13...d5 seems to just open the center for the soon to be stranded black king... am i missing something here??
Sep-09-06  whatthefat: <Dres1>
The problem with 13...Qf5 is 14.Nb5! and now if 14...Qxg5, then not 15.Nc7+ but 15.Nxd6+! and 16.Nxf7 forking queen and rook.

Although it's a very difficult game to analyze, I don't think all is bleak for black after 13...d5. Play is more or less forced up to the 20th move, but 20...Ke7 and 20...Kf7 (offering a draw, though I wonder whether Tal would have even taken it!) were certainly viable options.

Aug-27-08  Avarus: Those rooks get into the game out of nowhere! Compare the positions after 18...Qxe4 and 27.Qh3 - was black having a coffee or what? (no offense to Vel)
Aug-28-08  sicilianhugefun: reminder for black: never leave your F7 square unguarded.. how would it be like if Tal went face to face with alekhine?
Aug-28-08  sicilianhugefun: Alekhine, Tal, Kasparov are deadly exsplosives who created marvelous fireworks that made the chessworld sank into deep astonishment for all eternity
Mar-27-09  Crocomule: 21. b4!.. Portisch Bled '65 23. b4!
Mar-27-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  kamalakanta: Kasparov comments this game in Vol. II of "My Great Predecessors" (page 466).

Instead of 20...Kd6!, Kasparov points out Black could have played 20...Kf7.

Also, after 22.Rac1, Dvoretsky suggests 22...Re8 instead of the move played, 22....Rc8.

Even so, after 23.Rf5, Kasparov indicates that after 23...Nd7! (instead of the move played, 23...Qg4?!) 24.bxc5 Kb8 "the Black King would have been assured of escaping from all dangers, and the extra Knight would have told."

So, yes, the sacrifice might have not been 100% foolproof, but to solve all these problems with Tal sitting across the board from you is no easy task! Even if you are Velimirovic!

Mar-27-09  parisattack: <So, yes, the sacrifice might have not been 100% foolproof, but to solve all these problems with Tal sitting across the board from you is no easy task! Even if you are Velimirovic!>

I suspect a good percentage of Tal's sacs are 'unsound' qua Fritz or Rybka. But it is not just the sacrifice that attracts, also the beauty of the conception and - for me - how he conjured such positions, often from very simple openings.

Apr-26-09  Crocomule: So simple, yet so beautiful... one of his greatest games, in a year packed with great games.
Nov-03-10  sevenseaman: Sound or unsound is easier to analyse when not OTB. Tals main weapon is he washes you away in a deluge of doubt. His overwhelming record points clearly to that as a big factor.
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