Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Malmö Candidates Reserve Playoff Match

Mikhail Tal3/6(+1 -1 =4)[games]
Ulf Andersson3/6(+1 -1 =4)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Malmö Candidates Reserve Playoff (1983)

Eight players, two directly seeded (Robert Huebner and Viktor Korchnoi) and two from each of three interzonal tournaments, had qualified for the Candidates quarterfinal matches to be held in 1983. However, should any of the eight players have to withdraw, one had to have reserves. There had to be a playoff between the third placed in the interzonals: Mihai Suba from the Las Palmas Interzonal (1982), Boris Spassky from the Toluca Interzonal (1982), and Tal/Andersson from Moscow Interzonal (1982). Tal and Andersson had shared the third place in Moscow, and FIDE decided that there should be a playoff between them first. (1) Two months later it was announced that the playoff would take place in early January in Malmö, Sweden, in the Rosengårds Centrums Fritidsgård. (2) It would decide who would be the substitute for Garry Kasparov and Alexander Beliavsky (who had qualified in Moscow), whereas the playoff with Tal/Andersson, Suba and Spassky would only happen in case of a withdrawal by Huebner and/or Korchnoi. (3)

The match was organized by Malmö Schackförbund and the chess clubs in the area. It was sponsored by Malmö Municipality, the newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet, OK, Sydkraft, Solidar, HSB, Domus, and Hotel S:t Jörgen. The hotel hosted three distinguished guests: Tal, Tal's second, and the match referee Nikolaj Sacharov. (4) According to Lars Grahn, Sacharov was also "assigned by the Soviet authorities to keep an eye on Tal". (5) The drawing of colors was on 1 January, and it was not clear by then who would win the match in case of 3-3 (6 games). The Swedish Chess Federation had announced that Andersson would win, thanks to a better tie-break score in Moscow, and this was the general belief. (4) The match started on 2 January. It was partially financed by about 200 spectators, who paid admission to watch every day. The fans could play blitz chess, and listen to Harry Schussler who was explaining the moves. Tal won Game 1, after Andersson (with only 15 minutes left on the clock) played 23...Ne8? instead of the natural 23...Ng4 (24.f4 g5!). (6) In Game 2, Andersson played aggressively out of the opening, but ended up defending. This position occurred:

click for larger view

Andersson found 23.Ke1!! A genius move, according to Tal. (7) Stockfish agrees, and also agrees on the remaining moves that were played: 23...h6 24.Ne4 Re8 25.Nxf2 gxf2 26.Rxf2 Be6 27.Rf4 Re7. Tal's draw offer was accepted. Game 3 was a short draw. Game 4 was adjourned on 6 January with Andersson a pawn up in a winning position. Game 5 was a draw, and Game 4 was resumed on 8 January. Andersson lost his advantage with 51.Bf1? and had to accept the draw. (8) Later in the day, he and Tal played in a blitz tournament. (9) Andersson apparently thought he would win the match if he could win Game 6 the next day. (10) Tal played fast, made a mistake with 25...a5? and Andersson ground him down in the endgame. Andersson was visibly happy, and was congratulated by Rolf Martens. Everyone was happy for him, including Tal! (11) But it soon became clear that it was Tal who had the better tie-break score in the Interzonal. (4) He was declared the winner. Tal perhaps knew about the tie-break score and would not have played blitz games the day before the last game if there was something at stake. (10) Andersson's last game victory was exciting, but the match had already been decided.

Malmö, Sweden, 2-9 January 1983

Elo* 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 GM Tal 2620 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 3 2 GM Andersson 2630 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3

IM Jon Loftur Arnason wrote in the Icelandic newspaper Vísir that the truth was not revealed until the awards ceremony. The Soviet referee (Sacharov) objected to the Swedish calculations and insisted that Tal should be given the victory. The tie-break in Moscow, with 47 points for Tal and 46.5 points for Andersson was argued for on stage. In the end, it was decided to divide the prize between the competitors. But the Swedish calculation had to give way, so that Tal could 'warm the bench'. Perhaps Andersson believed that he would be considered the winner in case of a tie, as a board meeting and the Swedish media had interpreted it. Clever tactic on part of the Soviet Union to tell the truth only at the awards ceremony! (12)

None of the eight Candidates players withdrew. Andersson went on to win the Hoogovens (1983) tournament which started five days later. Tal won the Tallinn Keres Memorial (1983) in February.

Suggested reading: the magazine Schacknytt should have more about the match.


(1) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 88 (October 1982), p. 249.
(2) Also called RoCent:
(3) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 88 (December 1982), p. 318.
(4) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 89 (January 1983), pp. 3-9.
(5) Lars Grahn's blog at
(6) Ove Kinnmark in Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 89 (January 1983), p. 4.
(7) Mikhail Tal in Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 89 (January 1983), p. 6.
(8) Ulf Andersson in Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 89 (January 1983), p. 8.
(9) Standing behind the grandmasters: Bo Plato, Gunnar Klasen, Dragutin Dolenec (in checkered shirt) and Nikolaj Sacharov.
(10) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 89 (January 1983), p. 8.
(11) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 89 (January 1983), p. 9.
(12) Jón Loftur Árnason in Dagblaðið Vísir, 15 January 1983, p. 20.

*FIDE Rating List January 1983 (

Original collections: Game Collection: 1983 match:Andersson-Tal by User: capybara and Game Collection: Malmö Candidates Reserve Playoff 1983 by User: Tabanus. Game dates are from Morgunblaðið (Iceland) and El Mundo Deportivo (Spain). Thanks to User: OhioChessFan for improving the English.

 page 1 of 1; 6 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Tal vs Andersson 1-0411983Malmö Candidates Reserve PlayoffE39 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation
2. Andersson vs Tal ½-½271983Malmö Candidates Reserve PlayoffA33 English, Symmetrical
3. Tal vs Andersson ½-½201983Malmö Candidates Reserve PlayoffE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
4. Andersson vs Tal ½-½601983Malmö Candidates Reserve PlayoffA15 English
5. Tal vs Andersson  ½-½221983Malmö Candidates Reserve PlayoffB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
6. Andersson vs Tal 1-0511983Malmö Candidates Reserve PlayoffD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus:, improved Google translate:

After the final match, Dragutin Dolenec was given the task to ask Tal if he would like to comment on one of the games for Tidskrift för Schack. He did so willingly. In addition to being the match referee, Sakharov had been commissioned by the Soviet authorities to keep an eye on Tal. Sakharov had contact with Dragutin during the match, had been invited to lunch, had met his wife at her hair saloon, and had so much confidence in Dragutin that he gave the green light with special precautions. After the analysis, Dragutin should immediately bring Tal to St Jörgen hotel where Tal, Sakharov and Tal's second resided.

Dragutin would translate Tal's comments to Swedish, but was a little unsure about which Slavic language they could use. Dragutin was not good in Russian and tentatively tried in Polish. Tal interrupted him immediately and explained that they could make it all in Serbo-Croatian, the general language of the former Yugoslavia. This solved the problem. It turned out that Tal spoke Serbo-Croatian fluently after his many and long visits to Yugoslavia.

They sat down in the kitchen and Dragutin started the tape recorder. Tal wanted to comment on the second game against Ulf and went through all the moves and analyzes without a board. (The comments are in TFS No 1/83.) The neighbor on top floor, Pepe, was a chess interested musician and when he learned that Tal was visiting he asked to sit down and listen. Present were also Dragutins wife Marija and his brother Vladimir.

A small buffet turned up. Tal explained that he was not hungry, but that he was willing to quench the thirst with the rum that was in the house. This became his food during the evening, pure rum and cigarettes. He was a chain smoker.

Dragutin: "But Mischa, should you drink so much rum with only one kidney?" Mischa: "Thank you, but don't worry about it. When the doctors took my one kidney they explained that I had only ten years left to live. Now I have lived fifteen, so I've already cheated them. I have a wife who is a doctor and she is also treating me. "

When Mischa suddenly felt like singing Russian folk songs, Pepe hurried upstairs and fetched a guitar. Mischa told me about a restaurant visit in Moscow with him and his second wife, where there was already sitting his first wife with her new husband. It became obvious that Mischa still had strong feelings for his first wife, he became melancholic and burst into the Russian folk song "Night in Moscow". According to Dragutin, Mischa had a beautiful voice and everyone at the table was touched.

As the night continued towards five in the morning, Mischa was tired. He wondered if he could lie down on the sofa in the living room. He kept the suit on. He was aware that he should be at the hotel a few hours later, because then the Russian ambassador would appear. Dragutin disconnected the telephone, so that Mischa could get to sleep undisturbed.

Mischa did not need any alarm clock, he was up at eight and Dragutin drove him to St. Jörgen. On the way there, Mischa would collect the prize money and he did so in a small bank office in Lantmanna street. Here comes an unshaven Mischa with rumpled suit and passes up a check. He could not identify himself - the passport was in the hotel - but Dragutin assured that it really was the Soviet ex-World Champion Mikhail Tal. They found the newspaper and the bank staff could compare the smiling man before them with the same man in the newspaper photo. This was ID good enough. Mischa got a bankroll that he did not care to check. He stuffed it into his jacket pocket, and it was obvious that money did not interest him.

Meanwhile, Sakharov and Tal's second were desperate. They had knocked on the door of Mischa's hotel room but got no reply. They assumed he was still sleeping and went on to breakfast. After breakfast they knocked again on the door, and when they received no response, they proceeded to the reception where they prayed that someone in the staff would open the door. Inside, they saw a clean bed. It was obvious that Mischa had not spent the night in his room. Panic broke out, the ambassador was coming. They phoned home to Dragutin, but the phone was not plugged in. They called to Marija's hair salon, but nobody was working there so early.

When Dragutin showed up at the hotel with his newfound friend, he got a good scolding in all sorts of Slavic languages. Mischa also got a scoop: "Your wife has called twice last night and was very worried." Mischa smiled.

It turned out afterwards that the tape recorder had not worked as it should. In the absence of evidence, a cassette tape, we have to believe Dragutin at his word when he says that Mischa had a beautiful singing voice.

Sep-11-16  siggemannen: <Tabanus>, thank you for providing this lovely story

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific tournament only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC