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Mikhail Tal
Number of games in database: 2,839
Years covered: 1949 to 1992
Highest rating achieved in database: 2705
Overall record: +1137 -301 =1308 (65.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      93 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (343) 
    B46 B43 B82 B32 B40
 Ruy Lopez (255) 
    C92 C95 C93 C96 C84
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (163) 
    C92 C95 C93 C96 C84
 Caro-Kann (104) 
    B14 B17 B18 B12 B10
 French Defense (96) 
    C07 C18 C09 C05 C16
 English (94) 
    A15 A14 A17 A13 A16
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (346) 
    B43 B40 B22 B92 B52
 King's Indian (115) 
    E94 E92 E98 E69 E62
 Queen's Pawn Game (82) 
    E10 A46 E00 A40 A41
 Nimzo Indian (80) 
    E48 E52 E53 E46 E24
 English (79) 
    A15 A14 A10 A13 A17
 Modern Benoni (77) 
    A56 A64 A61 A62 A79
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Tal vs Larsen, 1965 1-0
   Tal vs Hjartarson, 1987 1-0
   Tal vs Smyslov, 1959 1-0
   Tal vs Karpov, 1987 1-0
   Tal vs Miller, 1988 1-0
   Tal vs Hecht, 1962 1-0
   Tal vs Sviridov, 1969 1-0
   Tal vs Koblents, 1957 1-0
   M Bobotsov vs Tal, 1958 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1960)
   Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Return Match (1961)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Portoroz Interzonal (1958)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Zurich (1959)
   Bled (1961)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Tallinn (1973)
   Palma de Mallorca (1966)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1971)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Tal Fever by chocobonbon
   Match Tal! by amadeus
   Tal's Tournament and Matches 1948-1975 by WCC Editing Project
   Mikhail Tal: Selected Games by wanabe2000
   Mikhail Tal's Best Games by KingG
   Tal king of chess by LESTRADAR
   The Magician, supplemental by Yopo
   remembering Tal by Yopo
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by MoonlitKnight
   tal best games by brager
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by newfiex
   Tals Amazing ATTACKS!!! by Zhbugnoimt
   Road to the Championship - Mik Tal by Fischer of Men
   TAL by chessdeviant

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Mikhail Tal
Search Google for Mikhail Tal

(born Nov-09-1936, died Jun-28-1992, 55 years old) Latvia
[what is this?]
Mikhail Nekhemievich Tal was born in Riga, Latvia (annexed by the USSR in 1940). At 6, he learned chess from his father, a medical doctor (source: Tal interview in <Chess Life>, May 1967). He won his first Latvian Championship in 1953, and earned the title of Soviet Master the following year. In 1957, he became the youngest-ever Soviet Champion. In 1960, following a string of victories in strong tournaments (including a second consecutive Soviet Championship, the Portorož Interzonal and the Candidates in Yugoslavia), he became the youngest World Chess Champion with a match victory over Mikhail Botvinnik. This record was broken by Garry Kasparov in 1985. Suffering from poor health, he lost the rematch the next year. He never qualified for a title match again.

Tal continued to struggle with health problems for the rest of his career, which was often marked by inconsistent results. On a number of occasions, however, he was still able to achieve world-class successes. He added four more Soviet Championship victories to his resume (in 1967, 1972, 1974, and 1978), equalling Botvinnik's all-time record of six. In 1979, he won joint first place at Montreal with Anatoly Karpov, briefly climbing back to second place in the world rankings. In 1988, he won the World Blitz Championship. He died of renal failure in 1992, at the age of 55.

Paul Keres was a font of inspiration for him and Tal won three Keres Memorials 1977, 1981, and 1983. Renowned for his aggressive, sacrificial playing style, Tal was also a noted chess journalist and author. In his autobiography, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, he annotates 100 of his greatest games.

A list of books about Tal can be found at

Wikipedia article: Mikhail Tal

A chronological list of Tal's Tournaments and Matches 1949-1973: Game Collection: Tal's Tournament and Matches 1949-1973

 page 1 of 114; games 1-25 of 2,839  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Tal vs J I Zilber 1-033 1949 RigaC07 French, Tarrasch
2. J Klavins vs Tal 0-118 1949 RigaC10 French
3. Tal vs M Strelkov 1-016 1949 RigaC10 French
4. Kholmov vs Tal 0-121 1949 RigaD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
5. Tal vs Ripatti ½-½41 1949 RigaB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
6. Nevitsky vs Tal 0-143 1949 Semi Finals Youth ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
7. Tal vs Leonov 1-025 1949 RigaB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
8. Tal vs C Weldon 1-065 1949 VilniusB40 Sicilian
9. A Parnas vs Tal 0-129 1949 RigaC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. Tal vs Pliss 1-037 1950 RigaC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
11. K Klasup vs Tal ½-½41 1950 RigaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Tal vs Miglan 1-021 1950 URS jrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
13. Tal vs N Darsniek 0-126 1950 RigaC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
14. Jullik vs Tal 0-139 1950 RigaA16 English
15. Tal vs Sodell 0-123 1950 URSC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. Pakala vs Tal 0-129 1950 RigaD02 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Tal vs J Klavins 1-054 1950 Latvian jr ChampB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
18. Leonov vs Tal 0-134 1950 URSE17 Queen's Indian
19. Liepin vs Tal 0-144 1950 RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
20. Ivanov vs Tal 1-025 1950 URSC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
21. Lavrinenko vs Tal 0-138 1950 RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
22. Gutnikov vs Tal 0-122 1951 LeningradC47 Four Knights
23. Tal vs J Klovans ½-½40 1951 RigaD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
24. Birjanis vs Tal 0-135 1951 RigaA91 Dutch Defense
25. Tal vs T Zeids 1-029 1951 RigaD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
 page 1 of 114; games 1-25 of 2,839  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Tal wins | Tal loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 106 OF 106 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-31-14  Petrosianic: <- Smyslov ?>

Smyslov had a lot of sympathy around that time for having been excluded from the previous interzonal. It was said by some that he could have given the qualifiers from the Southeast Asian Zonal pawn and move, but he was sitting home and they weren't.

Oct-31-14  Zonszein: In his book Chess Is My Life Korchnoi tells about how Smyslov got a place in the team when it was supposed to be given to him (Korchnoi)
Oct-31-14  Petrosianic: How did he say it happened?
Oct-31-14  Zonszein: I don't remember exactly. I have the book somewhere. Just to say that Smyslov had a lot of "sympathy" from the Chess Federation (if we are to believe Korchnoi)
Oct-31-14  Zonszein: Those were hard times. I'm sure Smyslov is not to blame. There were a lot of talented players who's participation in international Tornaments depended on people who sometimes knew nothing about chess
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <BUNA> Thanks, that is very interesting. Probably worth pointing out that Spassky, Smyslov, and Tal all tied for first (along with Larsen) at the 1964 Interzonal, with Stein and Bronstein just a bit behind. But I suppose that did not figure in to the Soviets' decision whom to send to Tel Aviv.
Oct-31-14  Zonszein: Can anybody ask <keypusher> to unblock me and that I apologise if I said something wrong in the past? Thank you
Oct-31-14  Petrosianic: In the absence of a rating system in those days, I don't see how Korchnoi can say he was entitled to the spot. Unless he means that the team spots go to the highest finishers in the last Candidates cycle. In that case, the top 6 Soviets would have been:

1. Petrosian
2. Keres
3. Geller
4. Korchnoi
5. Tal
6. Stein

Oct-31-14  Zonszein: I don't remember which tournament he was referring to and the year, a reason to read the book again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: It's either Havana 1963, or the 31st USSR Championship 1963. From the book mentioned by <zonszein>:

<Korchnoi: After the championship, a special zonal tournament was arranged as a qualifying event for the interzonal.

It was to be made of the six highest placed in the championship, plus two personally invited players (on the basis of previous successes).

The seventh participant named was Smyslov, who had not taken part in the championship (it was for his sake that this whole system had been thought up), and for the eighth the chess federation nominated me.

Literally a few days before the start of the tournament there was a surprising turn of events.

Smyslov put in an application to the federation, requesting that he allowed to have one of the four USSR qualifying places and go directly into the interzonal. The federation rejected his claim.

He then turned to his friends with access to the government and leading party organs.

From there - from above came an order which was unconditionally accepted by the USSR Sports Committee, and the head of the Chess Federation (at that time Rodionov) was reprimanded.

From this incident the reader can gain an idea of the bureaucratic hierarchy of the heads of sport, in particular of Chess.>

Oct-31-14  ughaibu: But that's about a place in the interzonal, not on the Olympiad team.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Zonszein: Can anybody ask <keypusher> to unblock me and that I apologise if I said something wrong in the past? Thank you>

You are not blocked -- I apologize for whatever I did that made you think you were! I enjoy your posts.

Nov-01-14  Zonszein: You're right
I wasn't sure
And. <chancho> : thank you for your post
Nov-06-14  Owl: I'm Looking for Tal game
where Tal queen takes his opponent a8 rook but the opponent a8 rook is protected and the opponent takes back but Tal then uses his Bishop to check the opponent king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Tal vs B Brinck-Claussen 1-0 45 1966 Havana

<Owl> Perhaps it is this game you had in mind.

Nov-09-14  andrewjsacks: Happy birthday to the hero and idol of my youth.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy Birthday to one of my heroes!
Nov-09-14  crazyim5: Happy birthday to one of the greatest of all time!
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: I second that emotion :)
Nov-09-14  alfiepa: Thank you for ever Misha !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Rookiepawn: Simply the best.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Hard to believe that Tal has been dead for over 22 years. My battered copy of his best games is forever near to hand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Rookiepawn: A guy with aesthetics and sportsmanship in his mind. Not hating opponents, taking things personal, mixing chess with things that have nothing to do with it, whining all the time, changing rules, and all the neurothic, nerdy circus unfortunately so typical of many chess players.

Tal never needed to add extra chess aspects to his chess career, he could be repectful of any rival while crushing them OTB. Compare that with the chessplayers that try every trick to get their rivals off balance, mix politics with pieces and boo-hoo every second.

Nov-09-14  Owl: Yes That's it Thx.
There was Steinitz game very similar to that I am looking for. Wondering anyone got it too. Its similar to that in the Diagonal
Premium Chessgames Member
  juan31: Maestro M. Tal another inmortal thanks to his brillant work in the field of chess
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