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Mikhail Tal
Number of games in database: 2,833
Years covered: 1949 to 1992
Highest rating achieved in database: 2705
Overall record: +1133 -300 =1304 (65.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      96 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (342) 
    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 (95) 
    C07 C18 C09 C05 C16
 English (94) 
    A15 A14 A17 A13 A16
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (345) 
    B43 B40 B22 B92 B52
 King's Indian (114) 
    E94 E92 E69 E98 E62
 Queen's Pawn Game (82) 
    E10 A46 E00 A40 A41
 English (79) 
    A15 A14 A10 A13 A17
 Nimzo Indian (79) 
    E48 E52 E46 E53 E24
 Modern Benoni (76) 
    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?]
   Zurich (1959)
   Bled (1961)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Portoroz Interzonal (1958)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   Palma de Mallorca (1966)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   Tallinn (1973)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1971)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Tal Fever by chocobonbon
   Match Tal! by amadeus
   Tal's Tournament and Matches 1949-1973 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
   tal best games by brager
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by newfiex
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by MoonlitKnight
   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 2,833  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Tal vs Ripatti ½-½41 1949 RigaB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
2. Tal vs Leonov 1-025 1949 RigaB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
3. Tal vs C Weldon 1-065 1949 VilniusB40 Sicilian
4. A Parnas vs Tal 0-129 1949 RigaC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
5. Nevitsky vs Tal 0-143 1949 Semi Finals Youth ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
6. Tal vs J I Zilber 1-033 1949 RigaC07 French, Tarrasch
7. J Klavins vs Tal 0-118 1949 RigaC10 French
8. Tal vs M Strelkov 1-016 1949 RigaC10 French
9. Kholmov vs Tal 0-121 1949 RigaD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
10. Tal vs Sodell 0-123 1950 URSC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
11. Pakala vs Tal 0-129 1950 RigaD02 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Tal vs J Klavins 1-054 1950 Latvian jr ChampB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
13. Leonov vs Tal 0-134 1950 URSE17 Queen's Indian
14. Liepin vs Tal 0-144 1950 RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
15. Ivanov vs Tal 1-025 1950 URSC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. Lavrinenko vs Tal 0-138 1950 RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
17. Tal vs Pliss 1-037 1950 RigaC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
18. K Klasup vs Tal ½-½41 1950 RigaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Tal vs Miglan 1-021 1950 URS jrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
20. Tal vs N Darsniek 0-126 1950 RigaC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
21. Jullik vs Tal 0-139 1950 RigaA16 English
22. Tal vs J Fride 1-040 1951 RigaB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
23. Tal vs S Giterman 1-063 1951 LeningradD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
24. Tal vs M Pasman ½-½56 1951 RigaC74 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
25. J Klovans vs Tal 0-140 1951 RigaC52 Evans Gambit
 page 1 of 114; games 1-25 of 2,833  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  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Happy birthday to the hero and idol of my youth.
Nov-09-14  TheFocus: Happy Birthday to one of my heroes!
Nov-09-14  crazyim5: Happy birthday to one of the greatest of all time!
Nov-09-14  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
Dec-12-14  isemeria: Last weekend we were on holiday in Riga. So I took the opportunity to visit the cemetery where Tal is buried. It's called Jaunie ebreju kapi (New Jewish Cemetery), and it's located about 9 km northeast from the Old Town. The grave itself is not marked in any special way. Luckily we found it rather quickly behind the main building at the entrance.

It was nice to notice that someone had brought flowers to the grave not so long ago. Actually it seemed that there were flowers by more than one person. So he's really not forgotten by any means.

The text in the gravestone is in Russian and says simply: "Grandmaster, world champion of chess". See for example the image in Wikipedia:

Tal is pictured as an old man, with casual shirt and jacket, and a cigarette in his mouth. I think it's great that picture shows the man he was, and not some idolising image.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: In the 1970s Tal figured out a clever efficient of playing chess.

As white against a weak opponent he would play for a win.

As white against a strong opponent he would see what happened on the board. His reputation and his title of ex-world-champion tended to insure him against defeat, especially as his rating grew: if his position looked bad he would offer a draw.

As black he would simply play a few moves and offer a draw.

Using this method he racked up huge non-losing streaks and his rating skyrocketed!

Very clever.

Dec-15-14  1d410: Tal was a visionary, basically smarter than every opponent he faced anyways.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <As long as my opponent has not yet castled, on each move I seek a pretext for an offensive.

Even when I realize that the king is not in danger.

~Mikhail Tal>

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <isemeria: Last weekend we were on holiday in Riga. So I took the opportunity to visit the cemetery where Tal is buried. ... The text in the gravestone is in Russian and says simply: "Grandmaster, world champion of chess". See for example the image in Wikipedia...>

I am glad you found it quickly; graves can be very hard to locate, sometimes.

Tal's memorial is tastefully done. Unlike poor Johannes Zukertort whose restored gravestone I rightly lambasted at this Johannes Zukertort page.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I've been pouring through The Life & Games of Mikhail Tal. What a treasure trove of great anecdotes and great games.
Dec-25-14  TheFocus: Tal's Final Interview:

Dec-25-14  john barleycorn: <TheFocus> nice find. thanks for the link.
Dec-26-14  TheFocus: <The first essential for an attack is the will to attack> - Tartakower.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Does anyone else think that Tal looks as if he could be a sixth Marx brother? I think he looks a bit like a cross between Harpo and Chico.

*** ***
<Check It Out: I've been pouring through The Life & Games of Mikhail Tal....>

Did you mean "tearing through"? As in reading quickly?

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