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Mikhail Tal
Tal 
 
Number of games in database: 2,805
Years covered: 1949 to 1992
Highest rating achieved in database: 2705

Overall record: +1121 -297 =1282 (65.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 105 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (341) 
    B46 B43 B82 B32 B40
 Ruy Lopez (253) 
    C92 C95 C93 C96 C84
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (162) 
    C95 C92 C93 C96 C84
 Caro-Kann (104) 
    B14 B17 B18 B12 B10
 French Defense (95) 
    C07 C18 C09 C05 C16
 English (92) 
    A15 A14 A17 A13 A16
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (342) 
    B43 B40 B92 B46 B48
 King's Indian (110) 
    E92 E69 E80 E98 E66
 Modern Benoni (82) 
    A56 A64 A61 A70 A62
 Nimzo Indian (79) 
    E48 E52 E46 E53 E56
 English (78) 
    A15 A14 A10 A13 A17
 Queen's Pawn Game (74) 
    A46 E10 E00 A41 A40
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 Koblents, 1957 1-0
   Tal vs Hecht, 1962 1-0
   Tal vs Karpov, 1987 1-0
   Tal vs Miller, 1988 1-0
   Tal vs Sviridov, 1969 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?]
   USSR Championship (1957)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   Reykjavik (1964)
   Zurich (1959)
   Bled (1961)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Palma de Mallorca (1966)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   Tallinn (1973)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1971)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Tal Fever by chocobonbon
   Match Tal! by amadeus
   Tal's Tournament and Matches 1949-1973 by jessicafischerqueen
   Mikhail Tal: Selected Games by wanabe2000
   Mikhail Tal's Best Games by KingG
   Tals Amazing ATTACKS!!! by Zhbugnoimt
   Tal-ented Indeed is an Understatement by fredthebear
   remembering Tal by Yopo
   Tal king of chess by LESTRADAR
   The Magician, supplemental by Yopo
   tal best games by brager
   Life and Games (Tal) by Qindarka
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by newfiex
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by MoonlitKnight


Search Sacrifice Explorer for Mikhail Tal
Search Google for Mikhail Tal


MIKHAIL TAL
(born Nov-09-1936, died Jun-28-1992, 55 years old) Latvia
PRONUNCIATION:
[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 http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...

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 113; games 1-25 of 2,805  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Parnas vs Tal 0-1291949RigaC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
2. Tal vs C Weldon 1-0651949VilniusB40 Sicilian
3. J Klavins vs Tal 0-1181949RigaC10 French
4. Tal vs J I Zilber 1-0331949RigaC07 French, Tarrasch
5. Kholmov vs Tal 0-1211949SimulD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Tal vs M Strelkov 1-0161949RigaC10 French
7. Tal vs Ripatti ½-½411949RigaB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
8. A Nevitsky vs Tal 0-1431949Semi Finals Youth ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
9. Tal vs Leonov 1-0251949RigaB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
10. Tal vs Sodell 0-1231950URSC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
11. Liepin vs Tal 0-1441950RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
12. Leonov vs Tal 0-1341950URSE17 Queen's Indian
13. Lavrinenko vs Tal 0-1381950RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
14. Ivanov vs Tal 1-0251950URSC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
15. K Klasup vs Tal ½-½411950RigaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Tal vs Pliss 1-0371950RigaC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12...cd
17. Jullik vs Tal 0-1391950RigaA16 English
18. Tal vs N Darsniek 0-1261950RigaC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
19. Tal vs Miglan 1-0211950URS jrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
20. Tal vs J Klavins 1-0541950Latvian jr ChampB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
21. Pakala vs Tal 0-1291950RigaD02 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Tal vs M Zvirbulis ½-½401951RigaB15 Caro-Kann
23. Berg vs Tal 0-1251951RigaA34 English, Symmetrical
24. Tal vs Gradus 1-0241951RigaC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
25. Tal vs T Zeids 1-0291951RigaD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
 page 1 of 113; games 1-25 of 2,805  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 110 OF 110 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: You might be interested in <jessicafischerqueen>'s excellent Tal collection:

Game Collection: Tal's Tournament and Matches 1949-1973

Aug-09-16  Olavi: He lost 12 games in 1973, the 13th is a clock simultaneous. The streaks fit easily in his record. The Leningrad Interzonal and the USSR ch were not among his best.
Aug-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Olavi: He lost 12 games in 1973, the 13th is a clock simultaneous.>

Thanks, <Olavi>. I missed one.

Aug-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Olavi....The first (undefeated run) ended in the Moscow 1973 team tournament, the second one started at the 1973 USSR championship and ended in the last or penultimate round of the 1974 championship....>

The latter unbeaten string actually ended with Tal vs N K Ivanov, 1974, played in an event which began the second week of October. The 1974 Soviet championship started the last day of November.

Aug-25-16  seeminor: The man himself talking about his life, taking audience questions. A remarkable find from 1988.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bb...

Aug-25-16  Bruce Graham: <seeminor> Thanks so much. A <remarkable find> indeed.
Sep-23-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Not necessarily the best, but certainly the most likable character in Chess. Ever.
Oct-07-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Tal said, <"The time that we don't have is more precious than the piece we do have.">

I think that would be a perfect epitaph for a man who lived life at a constant 90mph.

Nov-09-16  tjipa: Regards from Riga on Tal's 80th anniversary. Here we even have a brand new luxurious chess themed apartment building in the very centre of Riga, surrounded by its famous art nouveau architecture. Tal Residence it is called - so, if you have a spare million to spend, apartments are still available! It is also the place where Karpov and Sveshnikov played their rapid match in July, 2015. Karpov-Sveshnikov Rapid Match (2015)
Nov-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <tjipa> Cool! Here's a link to the Tal Apartments website.

http://www.talresidence.lv/en/galle...

Nov-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Happy birthday!
Nov-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Mikhail Tal!!

Player of the Day.

Nov-09-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Sorely missed. A great chess ambassador if there ever was one
Feb-20-17  drnooo: There is a picture on the Net in a slew of Tal photos which is NOT he. It is of Stanley Kubrick. Nobody has ever taken it down and corrected it, continues to float around after likely 10 years, showing you how little people really notice things.
Mar-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: We the living apologize for the disrespect of your memory recently displayed at the Tal Memorial. Please forgive us. We accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate.
Mar-08-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Thank you sincerely <seeminor>

<The man himself talking about his life, taking audience questions. A remarkable find from 1988 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bb...>

The show is riveting, cultured and so watchable the 75 minutes or so flew by.

Jun-16-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Johnnysaysthankyou: Chess is chess Ketchup. I'm sure Tal wouldn't mind :)
Jun-19-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: This is a pretty good book that kind of disappeared, <Attack with Tal>

<https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon...>

I found it at a used book store, years ago. Tal takes a long look at 15 or so games, zooms in on the attacking parts of the positions, second guesses the players, where needed. I remember playing through about half of the book, years ago. If you have time, Tal's stuff is always entertaining.

<https://www.amazon.com/Attack-Mikha...>

Jul-30-17  Roman Petrakov: In March of this year I was in Riga.
Of course, visited him in the central park and put a white rose)

http://s019.radikal.ru/i603/1707/f4...

Aug-02-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: I really enjoyed the video in Dionysus1's post above. For anybody interested in a biography of Tal and other Soviet GMs that goes beyond chess games and strategy, I highly recommend Russian Silhouettes, which I bought online tonight and can't put down: https://www.amazon.com/Russian-Silh... It's the best book I've read in a long time on any subject. The author (Genna Sosonko) has 3 other e-books on amazon, one of them with a foreword by Kasparov, and I'm sure I'll end up reading all four.
Aug-31-17  catlover: <ChessHigherCat> Did you ever read Tal's autobiography? You commented once that you had bought it, and I was just curious what you thought of it.
Aug-31-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Hi <Catlover: Did you ever read Tal's autobiography? You commented once that you had bought it, and I was just curious what you thought of it.>

I did buy it and started reading it, and Tal struck me as having a good sense of humor but it was really focused on tournaments and that's the competitive side I find least attractive about the game (the spider monkeys climbing up to the top of the post). Anyway, I'm sure I'll finish it reading it sometime, I almost always do.

I found "Russian Silhouettes" to be much more interesting. I downloaded Nabokov's "Luzhin Defense" last night and it seems like a great book, too.

Aug-31-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <CHC>, have just read <Smart Chip> and begun <The World Champions I Knew>--in time, I will likely read the other works by Sosonko as well.

It has been many years since I read Tal's autobiography--probably even before meeting him in 1988--but it was a pleasure to read.

Aug-31-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <perfidious> Thanks for reminding me about those other books. I tend to be skeptical of autobiographies and biographies written by ex-wives/family members/enemies because they're all too subjective, and on the other hand you can't believe anything by an author who just goes by hear-say, but Sosonko is just right because he knew everybody personally without being too emotionally involved to give an objective picture.
Sep-01-17  catlover: <CHC> What I liked about Tal's autobiography was how transparent he was at times. Sometimes when he miscalculated or just plain blundered and lost a game, he said that it would greatly affect his play in subsequent games. He might have a string of lost games against players he usually beat until he regained his confidence.

He described some wins that were revenge-driven, but also described a few situations in which he offered draws to people in games he thought he considered winnable because it felt like the right thing to do. In short, he came across as a passionate but surprisingly humble person.

Thanks for the recommendation of the Sosonko books.

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