Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Mikhail Botvinnik vs Mikhail Tal
Botvinnik - Tal World Championship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 12, Apr-12
Tarrasch Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D32)  ·  1/2-1/2



explore this opening
find similar games 43 more Botvinnik/Tal games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can step through the moves by clicking the < and > buttons, but it's much easier to simply use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 31...Reh4 wins. It is strange that Tal should have missed that, but he seemed intent on a draw in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: Is it definitely a win? I can imagine some painful squirming: 31..Reh4 32.gxh4 Qg4+ 33.Kh1 Qf3+ (to prevent f3 or f4) 34.Kg1 Rxh4 (threatening Rg4#) 35.Qd7 Qf4 36.h3 Qf3 (or is ..Qxd2 a win?) 37.Qe7 Qxh3 38.Qxg4+... or am I missing a haymaker?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I was thinking 31...Reh4 32.gxh4 Qg4+ 33.Kh1 Qf3+ 34.Kg1 gxh4 35.Re1 Rg6+ 36.Kf1 h3 and here I thought mate was unavoidable...
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: Right of course, 34..gxh4 is much more logical... and now the threat is ..Rg1+. Cool!
Feb-14-09  whiteshark: <31...Reh4 wins>

click for larger view

What a pity! In ♕♖♖ middlegames it's often possible to sac a rook to get the opponents King.

Feb-14-09  whiteshark: Besides, <33...Rb6> would have been a nice 'defelectionary' move

click for larger view

with the idea of <34.Qd3 Rbb1 35.Rdf2 Rxf1+ 36.Rxf1 Rb2 37.Rf2 Rxf2+ 38.Kxf2 Qxh2+ 39.Kf1=>

click for larger view

At least it would have avoided the upcoming ♕ endgame torture.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The idea with the unusual plan initiated by 12..a5 was to develop the queens rook via the 3rd rank. Bad for White would have been 18 Nb4..Rh6 19 Qxd5..Qh4. Botvinnik avoided the complications that arise after 28 dxe..Nf3+ 29 Kf1..Nxe5 (29..Qa6+ leads to a perpetual). Botvinnik offerred a draw when he played 29 Qc8+ which Tal declined due to Botvinnik's time pressure. Instead of 31 Rf1? Tal recommended 31 Qb1..Qh3 32 f3..Re3 with Black having some pressure. Tal had calculated 33..Rb6 34 Qd3..Rbb1 to a draw but did not play it because he had forgotten that he was a pawn down. Tal felt that 41 Kg2 followed by 42 h4 would have given White better winning chances. Tal complicated his effort to draw by not playing 54..Ke7 and by then helping to activate White's King but in the end the game ended peacefully.
Oct-30-09  WhiteRook48: I probably would have tried 31...Rh3...
Dec-24-14  DrGridlock: 31 ... Rexh4 (missed by Tal) does indeed win immediately.

The rook is immune to capture since after 32 gxh4 there follows:

32 ... Qg4+
33 Kh1 Qf3+
34 Kg1 gxh4

and now to avoid mate by 35 ... Rg6 white must find a way to interpose something (only his queen works) on the g-file. 35 Re1 (or anywhere along the first rank, to give the king an escape on f1) leads to a forced mate in 9 or 10.

White's alternative at move 32 to gxh4 is f3, which also leads to white sacing his queen to avoid mate. In one variation:

32 f3 Qe3+
33 Kh1 Qxd2
34 gxh4 Qe2
35 Rg1 Qf3+
36 Rg2 Re6
37 Qb1 Re2
38 Qg1 Qe4
39 hxg5

Mikhail Botvinnik - Mikhail Tal (variation)

click for larger view

Black has "herded" (and pinned) white's pieces into the squares h1, g1, h2 and g2.

Tal gave some insights into his oversight:

"But now after Reh4!, the game could be over very quickly. One psychological detail is interesting: the continuation Reh4 was examined by me a move ago. Then it gave Black nothing as White's King could get over to the queenside. But now Black, simply having forgotten this move, focuses his attention on another possibility."

Position after White's move 31 would make a good Wednesday puzzle.

Jan-20-15  ColdSong: That queens'ending must be winning here and there.
Sep-27-15  rookpawn101: 31. Rf1? Re1?

One of the few double blunders we have seen the world championship matches.

Mar-29-16  QueensideCastler: After 49. Kxg4 it's draw according Lomonosov Tablebases | 49...f6 or 49...f5 is enough for draw.
Jan-15-21  Tom Barrister: As many have posted here, 32 Rf1 Reh4 wins for White. As has been pointed out elsewhere, 32 Qb2 leads to an even position.
Nov-28-22  Helios727: Oops. Tal claimed that the sideline 58...Qh7+ 59.Ke5 Qh5+ 60.Kd6 Qh2+ 61.Qe5 is a win for White. However, the Shredder endgame database says it is a draw. The drawback is that Black would have to play the exactly correct move on moves 61 and 62 to hold the draw.

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.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

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 game 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.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
31...Reh4!! -+
from Missed chances by Honza Cervenka
semi tarrasch tal vs botvinnik
from drawing games by nic dadamo
Queen vs Queen
from Endgames World champions - part two by Alenrama
World Championship Game #12
from Road to the Championship - Mik Tal by Fischer of Men
game 12
from Tal-Botvinnik 1960 by PM Peedro
from World Champion Maches Vol. 1 by Nikita Smirnov
31...Reh4!! wins!!!
from zz03_Heavy pieces in action: pure QRR middlegame by whiteshark
Match Botvinnik!
by amadeus
Match Tal!
by amadeus
48a_ QUEEN endgames - all the single Ladies
by whiteshark
Round 12, Tal leads 7-5
from 1960 World Chess Championship by Penguincw
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. a3 d5
by JohnM
Spes ultima dea.
from Still learning. by hoodrobin
♕♙♙ ⚔ ♛♟ | Draw
from 7-Piece Lomonosov Tablebases by QueensideCastler
Botvinnik - Tal World Champship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 12
from Bot_vin_nik Blinked at Fredthebear by fredthebear
Botvinnik - Tal World Champship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 12
from Talented Indeed is a FTB Understatement by fredthebear
Match Botvinnik!
by chessgain
Game 12
from Tal-Botvinnik (Tal) by Qindarka
Queen vs Queen
from Endgames World champions - part two by brucemubayiwa

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC