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Tal 
 
Mikhail Tal
Number of games in database: 2,810
Years covered: 1949 to 1992
Highest rating achieved in database: 2705
Overall record: +1126 -298 =1287 (65.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      99 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (342) 
    B46 B43 B82 B32 B40
 Ruy Lopez (252) 
    C95 C92 C93 C96 C84
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (161) 
    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 (343) 
    B43 B40 B92 B22 B52
 King's Indian (111) 
    E92 E69 E98 E66 E62
 Queen's Pawn Game (80) 
    E10 A46 E00 A40 A41
 Nimzo Indian (79) 
    E48 E52 E46 E53 E24
 English (78) 
    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 Hecht, 1962 1-0
   Tal vs Miller, 1988 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)
   Zurich (1959)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Bled (1961)
   Palma de Mallorca (1966)
   Tallinn (1973)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   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
   The Magician, supplemental by Yopo
   Tal king of chess by LESTRADAR
   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
   Road to the Championship - Mik Tal by Fischer of Men
   TAL by chessdeviant

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 2,811  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. Nevitsky vs Tal 0-143 1949 Semi Finals Youth ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
4. Tal vs M Strelkov 1-016 1949 RigaC10 French
5. Kholmov vs Tal 0-121 1949 RigaD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Tal vs Ripatti ½-½41 1949 RigaB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
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, 12...cd
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. Tal vs J Klovans ½-½40 1951 RigaD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
23. Birjanis vs Tal 0-135 1951 RigaA91 Dutch Defense
24. Tal vs T Zeids 1-029 1951 RigaD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
25. Tal vs Gradus 1-024 1951 RigaC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
 page 1 of 113; games 1-25 of 2,811  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 108 OF 108 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones, and mine> - Mikhail Tal.
May-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I will not hide the fact that I love to hear the spectators react after a sacrifice of a piece or pawn. I don't think that there is anything bad in such a feeling; no artist or musician is indifferent to the reactions of the public> - Mikhail Tal.
May-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <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.
May-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I go over many games collections and pick up something from the style of each player> - Mikhail Tal.
May-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The cherished dream of every chess player is to play a match with the World Champion. But here is the paradox: the closer you come to the realization of this goal, the less you think about it> - Mikhail Tal.
May-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A lot of people have said that if Tal had looked after his health, if he hadn’t led such a dissolute life... and so forth. But with people like Tal, the idea of “if only” is just absurd. He wouldn’t have been Tal then. I can’t imagine him without a cigarette in his mouth—he’d smoke five packs a game! He never needed a lighter—he’d finish one, and light the next one from it.

Most of his illnesses were inherited. When it came time for us to marry, a doctor from the Riga Special Clinic, where Dr. Nehemiah Tal once worked, told me that I shouldn’t marry a man with that kind of health. He was always ill. And in the last years of his life, all his illnesses got worse. There were three whole years in which his temperature simply never went down. I have no idea how a man playing with a constant temperature of 38-39 degrees could become World Blitz Champion in 1988!

And on May 28, 1992, at the Moscow blitz tournament, he became the only player to defeat Kasparov. I’m told he even left the hospital to play. The strongest chess-player in the world still lost to a dying Tal> - Sally Tal, wife.

May-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <And we can learn more from the games of Tal's later period than from the early Tal. But when they say "played in Tal style", they don't mean the Tal with the very long undeafeated series, wise, understanding everything and capable of everything, but the boy with the burning stare, hanging his knights on d5 and e6 in the Sicilian to the "oohs" and "ahs" of his rapturous fans> - Gennady Sosonko.
May-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <In one of his games he was in a must-win situation and played Black. He chose the Caro-Kann defense but could achieve only a draw. When a reporter asked about the choice of such a quiet opening and something sharp like the Sicilian defense Tal responded: ‘I play the Sicilian Defense when I need a draw, but when I want to win, I play the Caro-Kann defense!> - Gregory Serper, Chess Life, September 2007, page 33.
May-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <He led a very unusual life. He didn't think of anything. He lived here and now, and this enormous energy was always around him. The positive energy. Tal was one of the few completely positive people I knew, he wasn't contentious. Chess is very contentious game by its nature, and he wasn't> - Garry Kasparov.
May-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <We calculate: he does this then I do that. And Tal, through all the thick layers of variants, saw that around the 8th move, it will be so and so. Some people can see the mathematical formula, they can imagine the whole picture instantly. An ordinary man has to calculate, to think this through, but they just see it all. It occurs in great musicians, great scientists. Tal was absolutely unique. His playing style was of course unrepeatable. I calculated the variants quickly enough, but these Tal insights were unique. He was a man in whose presence others sensed their mediocrity> - Garry Kasparov.
May-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The difference between an IM and GM varies with each individual. One IM can be great tactically while another may excel in positional areas. For example, yesterday I played a simultaneous which had, among others, six national masters. One swindled me beautifully and others find nice tactical ideas. Clearly these masters were not weak tactically! There is no general difference. Grandmaster openings tend to be better, but overall the differences vary from player to player> - Mikhail Tal.
May-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I shall observe for the thousand and first time: years of analysis and minutes of play are not quite the same thing> - Mikhail Tal.
May-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <If you wait for your luck to turn up, life becomes very boring> - Mikhail Tal.
May-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It's funny, but many people don't understand why I draw so many games nowadays. They think my style must have changed but this is not the case at all. The answer to this drawing disease is that my favorite squares are e6, f7, g7 and h7 and everyone now knows this. They protect these squares not once but four times!> - Mikhail Tal.
May-28-15  john barleycorn: <They compare me with Lasker, which is an exaggerated honour. Lasker made mistakes in every game and I only in every second one!> - Mikhail Tal

One must love this guy Tal.

Jun-01-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Later, I began to succeed in decisive games. Perhaps because I realized a very simple truth: not only was I worried, but also my opponent> - Mikhail Tal.
Jun-01-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Modern chess has attained such a high standard that knowledge of a single skill turns out to be insufficient> - Mikhail Tal in “Tal v. Botvinnik”.
Jun-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Computers have rehabilitated Tal.

"Mikhail Tal was perhaps the most popular Chess World Champion, but he still has a reputation for brilliant but unsound sacrifices that succeeded only because his opponents couldn’t handle them. In a new interview, though, Vladimir Tukmakov explains that computers have "rehabilitated" Tal, showing his combinations usually worked."

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/tu...

Jun-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  docbenway: May-23-15 TheFocus: <He led a very unusual life. He didn't think of anything. He lived here and now, and this enormous energy was always around him. The positive energy. Tal was one of the few completely positive people I knew, he wasn't contentious. Chess is very contentious game by its nature, and he wasn't> - Garry Kasparov. This is an amazing, poetic quote, like something from Knut Hamsun. Thank you for posting it.
Jun-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It was a distinct pleasure to enjoy Tal's company for a morning and play some quick games.
Jun-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  nimh: What Tukmakov actually has claimed was that Tal's sacrifices at least guaranteed a draw. So for example when he had positionally outplayed his opponent, and it was a high time to take a decisive action, his sac actually lowered the evaluation from 0.90 to -0.20, it would be considered still 'correct' according to Tukmakov. I wouldn't say such moves are correct. It's just playing around with definitions or labels. It seems to me that it doesn't change much anything. There's no implication of fischeresque accuracy in Tal's sacrifical play by the article.
Jun-14-15  1d410: The whole point of the article is that one can play like Tal and not trust the evaluation.
Jun-14-15  1d410: at least if you are talented
Jun-30-15  Bruce Graham: Nice Tal tribute at Chessbase- including a simultaneous gem which should be at Chessgames as well: http://en.chessbase.com/post/tal-in...
Jul-18-15  HeMateMe: There's a Latvian in the newspapers almost every day, these days, in New York City:

<http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/kn...>

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