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Lev Polugaevsky vs Mikhail Tal
Polugaevsky - Tal Candidates Quarterfinal (1980), Alma-Ata (Almaty) URS, rd 7, Apr-10
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Classical System Misc. Lines (E98)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-14-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I don't understand why Tal played 25...Kh7 and 26...Kh8 instead of the immediate 25...Kh8. The advance 25...g4 would have been more his style. Nor do I understand why he took the pawn at a5 on move 28 and not on any of the previous four moves. Why did he take it at all?
Jun-21-06  Xuorarch: My guess is that moves 24 through 26 are waiting moves. Both players have decent positions, so they're each waiting to see if the other tries something that's perhaps too risky (like 24...g4, which perhaps he was trying to avoid to get out of the books).

If Black plays 24...Qxh5, then 25.Rc8 Qxe1 26.Rxe1 Rxc8 27. Nxa7 and White is ahead material with the initiative, and Black's kingside attack won't be as viable without a queen. If 24...a6 25.Na3 Qxa5, then 26.Rc8 Qxe1 27.Rxe1 Bxc8 and then perhaps 28. Qb6 cramps up Black's queenside, though material is even(27...Rxc8? 28.Qxb7 and Black's a6 pawn will fall as well, and White will dominate the queenside).

A good reason I think Tal sacrificed his queen on move 28 is because White's queen will be less active on d1. I mean, it's not like it did him any good in the long run anyways. The ultimate reason he tried to sacrifice his queen is because he's Tal, and he (maybe) figured he could get a bishop and rook for her, but instead he simply lost the exchange.

Apr-09-14  zanzibar: There is some questions about the accuracy of the score here... but when I quickly played this game over and saw:

28...Qxa5?! 29.Rc8!

I thought, "What the heck?!". Polugaevsky isn't afraid of getting "down to it" with Tal, that's for sure. How often does one get to play moves like 29.Rc8 ... 30.Rxa8 against Tal and live to talk about it?

(The actual move in the score that's uncertain is 35...Rg6 vs 35...Rg8, Carolus gives the latter. Is this game covered in OMGP by Kasporov? What does he give?)

Jun-17-14  Howard: No, this game is not in Kasparov's MGP, but the 2nd game of the match is though.

At the beginning of 1980, Tal was ranked second (!) in the world right behind Karpov. Korchnoi was third and Portisch was fourth.

But 1980 was a poor year for Tal, due to health problems plus the deaths of his brother and mother. His rating plummeted by over 100 points that year, so that at the beginning of 1981 he wasn't even in the top 10 anymore.

On the other hand, the Jan 1, 1981 list had a new name in the top 10---a certain 17-year-old who went on to become extremely well-known.

Jun-17-14  Petrosianic: <But 1980 was a poor year for Tal>

Not to mention that his lifetime record against Polugaevsky was +2-8=24. So, if you're looking for excuses, you're overlooking the elephant in the living room.

Jun-17-14  Howard: Never knew that ! Thanks for mentioning it. Tal's record against Korchnoi, by the way, was even worse.

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