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Mikhail Tal vs Miguel Najdorf
USSR vs. Rest of the World (1970), Belgrade SRB, rd 3, Apr-02
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation (B47)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-17-06  raydot: I'm always amazed when I come across a game such as this with no let me steal a little comment from "The Art of Positional Play" by S. Reshevsky. After move 14, Reshevsky's comment goes to the heart of Tal's genius in this particular game, one of the "USSR vs. the Rest of the World" series: "Black's two weak pawns, particularly the QBP, stifle his pieces. No great subtlety is needed here: the pawns are clearly vulnerable targets for which Black has no discernable compensation."
Dec-13-06  Paulvandyk: To steal another comment from "The Art of Positional Play", Reshevsky notes that "after 44 Re8, Black's position is hopeless."

Another way to win seems to be 44 h5+. If 44 ... Kg5, 45 Qd5+ Qe5 46 Qxe5#. Otherwise, 44 ... Kxh5 45 Qd5+ and either A) 45 ... Kg6 46 Qf5# or B) 45 ... Qg5 46 Rf5 winning queen for rook.

Jun-12-08  dTal: Yes, Tal had a keen positional sense. Of course this was sometimes overshadowed because he also happened to the best tactician in history, upto and since then...
Mar-22-09  Ulhumbrus: 11 Na4! is a resource which seems useful to know about. The threat is c4 and c5, and Black may lack time to answer it satisfactorily.
Jul-29-14  Eusebius: Wonderful consistent play by Tal.
Jul-29-14  tonsillolith: What about <39. h5>? Black can't move the g-pawn or capture the bishop without getting mated on g8. If Black plays <39...Bh5>, then White responds <40. Bxf5>, and then any way of blocking the check leads again to mate on g8. And Black doesn't have any back-rank shenanigans. Am I missing something?
Mar-04-18  morfishine: There's 45...g5

If <39.h5> Black can prolong the game, though he still loses: 39.h5 Qxd8 40.Qxd8 Bxh3 41.Kxh3 Rh1+ 42.Kg2 Rxh5


Mar-24-20  ronaldpatzer: If 10 ...Bxc6 11. Nd5 Bxd5 12.exd5 e5

whites plan here was to further weaken black's pawn structure on the queenside and, via the open files, to attack the pawns directly.

Black's two eak pawns particularly the c pawn, stifle his pieces.

Apr-02-20  RLipu: 43.h5+ seals the game on spot. ...k×h5(kg5 44.Rd5+) 44. Qe8+ followed by 45.Rd5+
Mar-20-22  blueofnoon: The reason this game does not get more kibitzes is it's not "typical Tal game".

In this game, he outplayed Najdorf without any sacrifice or risky move. This is a "boring game" if you will, a game you would expect from Karpov or Petrosian.

Of course, avid fans of Tal know that he was not just a tactician but also an amazing positional player.

It just does not match with his so-called public image.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Indeed, <blueofnoon>, if Capablanca had been active from 1960-1980, he would have played in the same style if not the same moves. What a pity that a WC match between Fischer and a (healthy!) Tal never happened.
Mar-21-22  blueofnoon: Haha, comparing Fischer with another chess player always invites controversy.

I cannot say who was better, Fischer or "healthy" Tal, but I would think the latter would be more "modern" player, with his wider opening repertoire and versatile playing style (as shown in this game).

Sure, he did not have same work ethic as Fischer's, but that relative short comings could be covered by engines and seconds today, just like Carlsen relying on Nielsen, Dubov etc.

To me, what separates the world's very best from other super GMs today is the ability to impose positional / tactical problems hard to solve over the board, which Tal really excelled.

So yeah, I think Tal's games are still very relevant today and it's surely worth studying them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Definitely, Tal's games remain relevant today and probably always will, which explains why everyone should curse his health issues, some of which were his own fault. Kidney problems, "cleft hand," morphine addiction, heavy drinking, chain smoker--how did he ever become a World Champion in the first place?!

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