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Mind games and tactical gems
Compiled by whatthefat

This is a collection of 24 games both famous, and almost unknown. There is an emphasis on grand tactical battles and in particular Tal. A perfectly engineered tactical sequence is something awe inspiring; but I equally enjoy the use of psychology to outwit the opponent. All that matters in chess is to win the game, so playing to your strengths and your opponent's weaknesses can essentially be cleverer than to attempt objectivity. Hence, I've included some significant psychological duels in the collection, each time with a comment to indicate it as such. Explore and enjoy!

Lasker wins a lost position by the seemingly innocuous 33.Qe7!
Lasker vs Chigorin, 1896 
(D26) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 53 moves, 1-0

Reti turns down the draw, triggering a tactical storm!
Reti vs Alekhine, 1925 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 40 moves, 0-1

An unbelievable sacrificial sequence!
Alekhine vs Mendelevic, 1930 
(E43) Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation, 32 moves, 1-0

A 'Tal sacrifice' by Reshevsky decimates his opponent.
Reshevsky vs A Vasconcellos, 1944 
(C02) French, Advance, 26 moves, 1-0

An astouding blitz game. This is Tal!
J Szukszta vs Tal, 1956 
(E86) King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.Nge2 c6, 20 moves, 0-1

A real tactical slugfest.
Tal vs E Nievergelt, 1959 
(B63) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 37 moves, 1-0

Tal's unsound sacrifice pays off when Smyslov cracks.
Tal vs Smyslov, 1959 
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 41 moves, 1-0

More mind games from Tal!
Fischer vs Tal, 1959 
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 52 moves, 0-1

Tal makes a temporary queen sacrifice for a winning endgame.
A Nikitin vs Tal, 1959 
(B94) Sicilian, Najdorf, 44 moves, 0-1

Some head-spinning tactics, and Tal comes out on top.
J Klavins vs Tal, 1959 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 45 moves, 0-1

Tal plays the anti-positional 12. f4?! to irk Botvinnik.
Tal vs Botvinnik, 1960 
(B18) Caro-Kann, Classical, 41 moves, 1-0

An outrageous combination from Tal!
Tal vs NN, 1963 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 19 moves, 1-0

Down a whole rook, Tal confuses the game sufficiently to draw!!
Portisch vs Tal, 1964 
(A04) Reti Opening, 39 moves, 1/2-1/2

Tal can't resist starting a speculative attack with 15.c4
Tal vs Portisch, 1965 
(B10) Caro-Kann, 27 moves, 1-0

Brilliant 'Tal sacrifice' 16.Nd5!?! in the must win final game.
Tal vs Larsen, 1965  
(B82) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 37 moves, 1-0

Torn apart!
Kavalek vs Matulovic, 1966 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 32 moves, 1-0

The magician at work!
N Spiridonov vs Tal, 1970 
(E94) King's Indian, Orthodox, 36 moves, 0-1

Taimanov psychologically collapses in a good position.
Taimanov vs Fischer, 1971 
(E97) King's Indian, 42 moves, 0-1

An incredible stream of tactics.
H Pfleger vs Tal, 1973 
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

A young Kasparov on the rampage.
Kasparov vs S Palatnik, 1978 
(B04) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 37 moves, 1-0

A tactical feast.
Karpov vs Kasparov, 1986 
(D82) Grunfeld, 4.Bf4, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Tal is pressured in a simul, and the response is breathtaking!
Tal vs J Miller, 1988 
(C55) Two Knights Defense, 33 moves, 1-0

Speechless. I am without speech.
Bronstein vs Deep Blue, 1996 
(B20) Sicilian, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

A very long combination from Carlsen.
Carlsen vs D Rylander, 2003 
(A89) Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with Nc6, 33 moves, 1-0

Lasker's 14...Ng4? digs a hole he climbs out of
Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908 
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 41 moves, 0-1

25 games

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