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Mikhail Tal
Number of games in database: 2,803
Years covered: 1949 to 1992
Highest rating achieved in database: 2705

Overall record: +1120 -298 =1279 (65.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 106 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (337) 
    B43 B46 B32 B82 B96
 Ruy Lopez (253) 
    C95 C92 C93 C96 C84
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (162) 
    C95 C92 C93 C96 C84
 Caro-Kann (104) 
    B18 B17 B14 B12 B10
 French Defense (95) 
    C07 C18 C09 C05 C16
 English (94) 
    A15 A14 A13 A17 A16
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (328) 
    B43 B40 B46 B92 B22
 King's Indian (111) 
    E69 E92 E98 E62 E66
 Modern Benoni (84) 
    A56 A64 A61 A70 A62
 Nimzo Indian (81) 
    E48 E56 E52 E46 E53
 English (80) 
    A15 A14 A10 A13 A17
 Queen's Pawn Game (73) 
    A46 E10 A40 E00 A41
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 Jack Miller, 1988 1-0
   Tal vs Karpov, 1987 1-0
   M Bobotsov vs Tal, 1958 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960 0-1
   Tal vs Sviridov, 1969 1-0

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Bled (1961)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   Zurich (1959)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Palma de Mallorca (1966)
   Reykjavik (1964)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   Tallinn (1973)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   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-ented Indeed is an Understatement by fredthebear
   Tal's Tournament and Matches 1949-1973 by jessicafischerqueen
   Mikhail Tal's Best Games by KingG
   Mikhail Tal: Selected Games by wanabe2000
   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 Retarf
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by newfiex
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by nakul1964
   The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by MoonlitKnight

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 six, he learned chess from his father, a medical doctor (source: Tal interview in <Chess Life>, May 1967). Tal won his first Latvian Championship in 1953, and earned the title of Soviet Master the following year. In 1957, aged twenty, he became the youngest-ever Soviet Champion. In 1960, following a string of victories in strong tournaments (including a second consecutive Soviet Championship, the Portoroě Interzonal and the Candidates in Yugoslavia), Tal 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, Tal lost the rematch with Botvinnik in 1961. 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. Tal 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 and becoming only the third player after Fischer and Karpov to reach a rating of 2700.* In 1988, Tal 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


Last updated: 2018-07-24 17:47:20

 page 1 of 113; games 1-25 of 2,803  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Tal vs J I Zilber 1-0331949RigaC07 French, Tarrasch
2. Kholmov vs Tal 0-1211949SimulD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
3. Tal vs M Strelkov 1-0161949RigaC10 French
4. A Nevitsky vs Tal 0-1431949Semi Finals Youth ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
5. Tal vs Ripatti ½-½411949RigaB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
6. Tal vs Leonov 1-0251949RigaB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
7. A Parnas vs Tal 0-1291949RigaC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. Tal vs C Weldon 1-0651949VilniusB40 Sicilian
9. J Klavins vs Tal 0-1181949RigaC10 French
10. Lavrinenko vs Tal 0-1381950RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
11. Ivanov vs Tal 1-0251950URSC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
12. K Klasup vs Tal ½-½411950RigaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Tal vs Pliss 1-0371950RigaC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
14. Jullik vs Tal 0-1391950RigaA16 English
15. Tal vs N Darsniek 0-1261950RigaC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
16. Tal vs Miglan 1-0211950URS jrC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
17. Tal vs J Klavins 1-0541950Latvian jr ChampB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
18. Pakala vs Tal 0-1291950RigaD02 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Tal vs Sodell 0-1231950URSC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
20. Liepin vs Tal 0-1441950RigaB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
21. Leonov vs Tal 0-1341950URSE17 Queen's Indian
22. Tal vs S Giterman 1-0631951LeningradD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
23. Tal vs J Fride 1-0401951RigaB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
24. Tal vs V Veders 1-0341951RigaC13 French
25. Tal vs Gaiduk ½-½411951LeningradC07 French, Tarrasch
 page 1 of 113; games 1-25 of 2,803  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 111 OF 112 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-27-18  Caissa04: Mikhail Tal, we all love him but he is the first WC to have more draws that wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Smyslov: Overall record: +911 -305 =1373 (61.7%)*
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Thereís a book out about Talís complete games. I dunno the title. I think itís in three volumes.

I ainít seen it. But I bet itís rubbish.

Two thumbs down.

One star out of 5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  swampdragon: Tibor Karolyi has a three volume series of best games published by Quality Chess. He's a good annotator, but it's nowhere near a complete games collection.
Aug-11-18  Howard: There was a 2-3 volume set which came out at least 30 years ago, that gave all of Tal's games from the day he was in diapers, but it's long out of print. The annotations were very sparse though.

That "diapers" remark, incidentally, might not have been an exaggeration. On the cover of the first volume, it gives the starting year as....1936! That's the year he was born!

Aug-11-18  parisattack: The Complete Games of Mikhail Tal by Hillary Thomas, 3 volumes. In the so-called 'Batsford Whites' series.

My two favorite Tal books are: Life and Games of Mikhail Tal by Tal and Tal's Winning Combinations by Tal and Khenkin.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<offramp> Thereís a book out about Talís complete games. I dunno the title. I think itís in three volumes. I ainít seen it. But I bet itís rubbish. Two thumbs down.>

If you don't know the title of the book and haven't seen it, why would you bet it's rubbish and give it two thumbs down before you even look at it? Is it just because it's about Tal's games and you don't like Tal's games? Which, BTW, is your prerogative.

But maybe you should buy the books per <parisattack>'s link above and look at them before you decide to comment on them.

Aug-11-18  john barleycorn: <AylerKupp: ...

If you don't know the title of the book and haven't seen it, why would you bet it's rubbish and give it two thumbs down before you even look at it? ...>

There is nothing wrong with being opionated as long as you are right. So, where was <offramp> wrong then? I guess you <AylerKupp> have seen as much of that mentioned Tal trilogy as <offramp> did.

Aug-11-18  john barleycorn: *opionionated
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Nice gem here by our resident genius want2B <porta-jon barleycorn> who manages to misspell 'opinionated' not once, but twice

Very good little boy, lets just misspell the correction too

If you are going to critique at least know how to spell

What a dunce

Aug-11-18  john barleycorn: <morfishine> not bad for someone who has me on ignore. Your crookedness is inversely proportional to your IQ.
Aug-11-18  john barleycorn: < Leave poor morfishine alone please. He can't take the heat.>
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: *opinionated
Aug-11-18  john barleycorn: <OhioChessFan: *opinionated>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Charlie Durman: Looks like Misha's page is imploding with Wankas ...

How sad am I to see this .....

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <john barleycorn: <OhioChessFan: *opinionated> noted.>

For pete's sake!

It's opnionoted.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <offramp> LOL and that is noted!

I was just in the process of deleting my post for being "off-topic" when I read yours

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<john barleycorn> There is nothing wrong with being opionated as long as you are right.>

I disagree, but not for the reason you may think. I don't think that there's anything wrong with being opinionated even if you are wrong. It shows that you are capable of critical thinking. And, after all, I'm opinionated all the time and I have been wrong many times (hopefully less than 50% but I think that it is a close call). The only thing I consider wrong is to present an opinion and try to pass it off as a fact, alternative or otherwise, which it isn't.

So I have no problem with <offramp> presenting his opinion, I'm just pointing out that he has no apparent basis on which to form an opinion. Which is fine also, although I personally try to avoid doing that. I prefer to have a basis for an opinion but I also recognize that basis can be wrong. So I actually look favorably to someone pointing out <why> my basis is wrong. I will sometimes, even often, agree with them, and then change my opinion. That's one way I learn.

So in this case with <offramp>. I didn't say that he was wrong although it can certainly be justifiably interpreted that way. I was just perplexed that he would form an opinion on a book without looking at it, so it was more of a curiosity on how he could do that rather than a criticism. For example, as I pointed out, if he has not in the past been favorably impressed by Tal's games then it would not be unreasonable for him to think unfavorably on a book about Tal's games. And, even though I'm biased since Tal is my all-time favorite player, others have commented (including Tal himself!) that many of his sacrifices were unsound and only succeeded because of less than best play by his opponents. So if <offramp> shares that opinion, then I would say that there's a justified basis, even though I might disagree with him, for him to consider and bet that a book of Tal's games was rubbish.

But he didn't and hasn't said what his reasons are (and he doesn't have to) for thinking that a book on Tal's game is rubbish; it's just his opinion. So I just don't know. It's often said that "curiosity killed the cat" and to that I can only respond "Meow!".

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Charlie Durman> Looks like Misha's page is imploding with Wankas ... How sad am I to see this >

And yet in spite of your sadness you decided to contribute to the implosion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: My think everyone is entitled to have his own opinionion.

Food for sought.

Aug-13-18  john barleycorn: <morfishine: <offramp> LOL and that is noted!

I was just in the process of deleting my post for being "off-topic" when I read yours>

<I was just in the process ...> hahaha was that the last thing you told your supervisor before losing your job?

Aug-13-18  john barleycorn: <moronovich: My think everyone is entitled to have his own opinionion.

Food for sought.>

Can one smoke those onions?

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Happy birthday to the Wizard of Riga.


Caissa smiled upon you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: He lived long enough to see the Baltic shelf achieve their independence from the USSR. I'd drink to that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diocletian: Happy Birthday to Tal the magician.

click for larger view

Tal, Black to move
Solution: A Ostrauskas vs Tal, 1955

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