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Mikhail Tal vs Boris Spassky
"Benoni Republic" (game of the day Sep-21-2015)
URS-chT Juniors (1954), Leningrad URS, Aug-??
Benoni Defense: General (A60)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-07-07  Vollmer: I think in the Benoni there is exd5 (not cxd5)
Oct-29-08  jerseybob: It's a Benoni by transp. To Vollmer's post, exd5 is sometimes seen in the Benoni, when that capture is possible, but cxd5 is more common.
Nov-21-09  talisman: some kinda ballgame!
Jul-03-11  Zugzwangovich: Honza Cervenka's comment is spot-on. After 36.Rf1 Black threatens mate in two beginning with Bxh3, but if he plays 36...Bxh3 White plays 37.Qxf7 and it's the Black king that is in deep kimchi. So Spassky plays 36...Kh6 to escape the check and re-threaten mate. Tal's only defense is 37.Qd1 to threaten a queen trade, and so Spassky plays 37...Qf6 to avoid the trade. The move 37.Qc4 has nothing to do with the position and Tal certainly would never have played it, even if he was only 17 at the time.
Jul-04-11  Zugzwangovich: To amend my earlier comment, the Black king is not in deep kimchi after 37.Qxf7(or Rxf7), but White breaks the attack by trading off all the major pieces.
May-13-12  celso chini: Spassky and The Magician Tal! Their games take my breath away! Artists, gentlemen, and fine contenders! Abraço a todos from Brazil!
Mar-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: The underpromotion! The Queen sac plus underpromotion combo isn't something you get to see every day
Mar-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: after 37... Bxh3 white trades queens and then picks off the Rook on d7.
Mar-16-15  shivasuri4: <HeMateMe>, 37...Bxh3 38.Qxf3, Black has no reason to play 38...exf3. He would rather play 38...Rxf3.
Mar-16-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Yes, he would play 38...Rxf3, and lose the Bishop sitting on d7.
Mar-16-15  shivasuri4: You said 37...Bxh3, right? There isn't a bishop on d7 anymore.
Sep-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: According to the database, Tal had started to play the Benoni in 1953, meaning that Spassky chose to play Tal's own weapon against him. Interesting bit of psychology. The sacrifice of Rook & 2 pawns for 2 Bishops is a tiny one for Black. Did anyone else wonder if the players were both briefly foundering after 23...Qa8? It seemed as both stumbled about until Spassky found 31...Qe5, a move that looks very good to me, as Black will probably capture both passed pawns in the long run if the Queens come off.
Sep-21-15  der623: This is the second time I have seen a game where Spassky used someone's weapon against him. I think everyone knows of the famous King's Gambit game against Bronstein (The end of which was portrayed in the James Bond film From Russia with Love).
Sep-21-15  Abdel Irada: <Alex Schindler: The underpromotion! The Queen sac plus underpromotion combo isn't something you get to see every day>

There are times when you just have to trade in your Ferrari for a Yugo.

Sep-21-15  vsiva1: This is not Automatic promotion of pawn to queen but it is Great Knight. Yes, it is true presently that smaller KNIGHT HERE IS BIGGER THAN MIGHTY QUEEN; i.e. Lesson is all small people would get due chance depending upon situations. If Spassky did't take Knight, Tal could have won the game.
Sep-21-15  goodevans: I'm not at all sure when Spassky started winning this. After 23 moves it looks to me that Tal has quite an edge.

<shivasuri4: <HeMateMe>, 37...Bxh3 38.Qxf3, Black has no reason to play 38...exf3. He would rather play 38...Rxf3.> Now the d-pawn becomes a bit of a monster so this is not good for black.

Sep-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Not a bad country game. Black sacrifices the queen, and minor promotes to a knight...pure Tal...but it was against Tal!
Sep-21-15  patzeroni: Hi folks,

i've been following chessgames.com for more than one year now but never dared posting a comment as i don't have an engine to support my ideas.Today it seems really strange that nobody considered 37.RxBd7 RxR (forced imho) followed by 38.Qc6 and Black seems in trouble as the d-pawn threatens to queen. Is that correct or did i overlook something? Thanks in advance!

Sep-21-15  The Kings Domain: Good game. Black's comeback from a shaky middlegame was swift as it was decisive.
Sep-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <patzeroni> I would say don't worry about posting analysis that you've created without a computer - it's how you get better! Even if it's corrected, you then see deeper in to the position.

In your line 37.Rxd7 Rxd7 38.Qc6 after 38...Rd8 39.Qc7 Bf6 it looks as though white is simply operating a bishop down and his pawns will eventually be captured.

Sep-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: High-quality, entertaining game and fairly good pun.

I don't want to hear any complaints from you-know-who! :)

Sep-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <der623: This is the second time I have seen a game where Spassky used someone's weapon against him. I think everyone knows of the famous King's Gambit game against Bronstein (The end of which was portrayed in the James Bond film From Russia with Love).>

Here is a link to the referenced game from the 1960 Soviet Championship: Spassky vs Bronstein, 1960

Sep-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <patzeroni: Hi folks,
i've been following chessgames.com for more than one year now but never dared posting a comment as i don't have an engine to support my ideas. Today it seems really strange that nobody considered 37.RxBd7 RxR (forced imho) followed by 38.Qc6 and Black seems in trouble as the d-pawn threatens to queen. Is that correct or did i overlook something? Thanks in advance!>

<Check It Out: <patzeroni> I would say don't worry about posting analysis that you've created without a computer - it's how you get better! Even if it's corrected, you then see deeper in to the position. In your line 37.Rxd7 Rxd7 38.Qc6 after 38...Rd8 39.Qc7 Bf6 it looks as though white is simply operating a bishop down and his pawns will eventually be captured.>

Very good comment, <Check It Out> (both the advice on not being afraid to post a comment and your analysis), but I have one further thought. The line you give certainly looks winning; nevertheless 38. … Bd4 (instead of 38. … Rd8), going aggressively for a direct attack on the White king, looks even stronger (and more in keeping with Spassky's style - both typically and in this particular game).

Sep-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It was possible for Spassky to play 25...Bxd6 with an small plus. Gremlins were at work, because he did not see that after 25...Bxd6 26.Rfd1 Qf8 (not 26...Qb8 27.QxQ and Black loses) Black is safe and even has a small advantage. Spassky played instead 25...Kg7 and after 26.Rfd1 it is White who has the advantage.

Later Tal made several blunders and ended up losing the game. Crazy kids!

May-11-18  Duskrunner: My first post! I've been using this game as the basis for my book, and I've been studying it for a few months now. My observation is to @goodevan's question: when did Tal start to lose this game? My belief is that the answer is 9.e3.

I don't pretend to believe that Spassky saw the unusual promotion this early on. What I believe is that Spassky saw Tal's plan, and was able to manipulate it by giving Tal exactly what Tal wanted - albeit at a time of Boris' choosing. Tal's advanced D-pawn was skilfully "threatened" but "for some reason" Boris could never get it to fall. Boris offers a queen exchange but Tal sees this as desperation and repositions, keeping pressure on the rook. Its only when Spassky releases his bishop that things must have clicked for poor Mikhail.

Spassky was never under any real threat, but had been making plays as though he was, secretly steering Tal's attack while creating false vulnerabilities such as the discovered check sequence, and the "desperate" queen offer. Tal's offensive style is still in its raw state, and Boris plays with subtlety and deftness, keeping his eyes on the real prize - beating the player across the table. Highly instructive game!

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