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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Mikhail Tal
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 1, Mar-15
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bishop Attack Classical Defense (E48)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-29-04  ughaibu: Well, this one's nothing to write home about. I wonder what someone as apparently soul-less as Botvinnik would place as the criteria by which to assess a game as "good"?
May-11-05  Runemaster: <Ughaibu> Logical execution of a plan arising from the features of a position, I would guess.
May-11-05  Runemaster: Actually, I quite liked this game. Black looked more active in the earlier part, but he never really had much, and then White got a better endgame.

At my own lower level of competition, I have won a lot of games like this. To smoothly win without too much apparent effort is to me a nice quality in a chess game and I know when I'm playing well (for me) because the wins come out in something like this style.

May-11-05  Runemaster: I know about Tal's poor health, but I think this game is a good illustration of Botvinnik's achievement in the 1961 match (a bit like how Kramnik won the match against Kasparov in 2000).

Playing over the 1961 match (like the 2000 one), you can see clearly how B had worked out his best - maybe only chance - against Tal. B's opening preparation leads regularly to queenless positions that Tal was not so comfortable playing.

May-14-05  keats: no one like botvinnik in end game
May-14-05  ughaibu: No one like Tal either: Botvinnik vs Tal, 1961
Mar-12-08  DemarcatedCreator: wow 19. b3!
Mar-23-08  Knight13: <DemarcatedCreator: wow 19. b3!> What? That move gives White's dark-squared bishop a door out and restricts Black bishop's scope. No idea why you said wow.
Jan-17-09  Rubenchik: Tal should have played 22. ... c5, and the black is better (Botvinnik): b3-weakness
Queen side
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <22...c5 23.Bd4 Rxd2+ 24.Rxd2 cxd4 25.Rxd4 Rxd4 26.exd4 Bxb3 27.Rc1 g6> is good for Black.
Premium Chessgames Member

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After 38.g3. The game continued 38....Ke7 39.Nxf5+ and Tal soon resigned.

If 38....Bd3, then 39.Kd2 c4 (39...Ke7? 40.Nc8+ Kd7 41.Kxd3 Kxd8 42.Kc4 ) 40.Kc3 wins; 38....Bh3 39.Ke2 Ke7 40.Nb7 c4 41.Na5 c4 42.Kd2 Bg2 43.Nc6+ and Nd4 wins (Shredder).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: Tal is my favorite player, but i must say that he was never a true world champion. look at the position around move 20, and only black can win. No GM should lose a position like that
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: <Zhbugnoimt> I would suggest that you do some reading up on Tal's major health issues during this period of his life.
May-26-14  Petrosianic: Tal's health issues are well known, and definitely affected his performance at Curacao. But they've become an all purpose excuse for any poor performance he ever had in his life (not by Tal himself, who didn't make excuses).

But case in point, in 1979, when Tal had the 2nd best Interzonal performance of all time, everyone was pumped up that Tal was finally back and ready to make another serious run at the title. Then when he was unceremoniously beaten by Polugaevsky in the quarterfinals, people just assumed "Tal is in bad health again", even though there was no evidence to suggest it other than that he had done badly.

Then when chess databases were developed, it became possible to look up lifetime records, and you could see that Tal scored +2-8=24 against Polugaevsky. He never did very well against him. Suddenly that match made more sense.

May-26-14  RookFile: The position around move 20 is tricky. As ugly as white's game appears, he is threatening 21. f4! Ng6 22. f5, winning.

After Tal's 20....Nd3 21. Bxd3 Rxd3 22. Bb2 white threatens 23. Bd4! and the d3 rook drops. That is why above, you see Bovtinnik recommending 22.....c5 for black. Maybe white plays 23. Bxf6 there but it's not as good as the game because he doesn't get to fix black's pawns with b4 next.

Sep-18-17  Toribio3: The pawn structure of Tal is very weak. It is not worth fighting for!
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