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Janis Klavins vs Mikhail Tal
Riga (1949)
French Defense: Rubinstein Variation (C10)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-22-04  Knight13: Instead of 9. Kf1?, 9. Bd2 is better. Also, 16. Ke1 is better. Good game.
Oct-22-04  Swindler: But then 9....Qxd4 is possible, though it seems hard to save Whites game. Ugh, White just get steamrollered! Maybe 5.Nxf6 is better, what does theory say?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <Swindler> Theory says 3 ... de 4. Nxe4 is wonderful for White Opening Explorer and 6 ... c5 should lead to 7. d5 = Pillsbury vs Schwarz, 1900
Jan-12-05  mdz: 9.Bd2 Q:d4 is NOT possible: 10. Qa4+ wins (10...Nc6 11.B:c6+ bc 12.Q:b4 or 10...Bd7 11.Q:b4) So 9.Bd2= seems best.
Jan-12-05  notsodeepthought: <mdz> In your line, after 10 Qa4+, ... Bd7 looks ok for black, since 11 Q:b4 would be followed by 11 ... Q:e4+
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <notsodeepthought>
I think <mdz> is correct, because 9...Qxd4 10 Qa4+ Bd7 11 Q:b4 Qxe4+ 12. Qxe4. The d-pawn isn't there anymore ;)
Jan-15-05  notsodeepthought: <beatgiant> Ooopps - thanks, serves me right for not using a chessboard when analyzing...
Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: I think white is OK after 13. Kg2 instead of b4??
Jun-07-08  TheKingOfSpades: one of my favorite miniatures, Tal's relentless attacks puts Klovans in a situation where he can lose the queen or lose the game. Klovans picks game.
Apr-23-09  True2theGame: Another brilliant beat down from the black side of the French Defense. I dont like the French myself but Tal put on a clinic here. I did'nt look too deeply into the position, but 9.Ke1 seems disasterous with an already isolated d pawn. 9.Bd2 drops material immediately, but Ke2 was at least play-able...
Apr-23-09  wanabe2000: <True2theGame> I don't like the French Defense either and welcome it OTB.

Tal would have been 13 or 14 years old and Klovans about the same at the time of this game. Tal had a (+6-3=3) against Klovans. Klovans would be Latvian Champion in later years and I don't think Tal played the black side of the French Defense very often. Research shows (+56-7=34) playing the white side. A nice miniature!

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Is 15.♖b1 protecting the c1-bishop better than 15. ♖a2?
Premium Chessgames Member
  torrete64: Guess a move score 16 out of 21. I can't comprehend Tal's play in this game :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

According to <Hilary Thomas>, Tal's opponent in this game is Janis Klavins (Kliavan), not Janis Klovans:

-Hilary Thomas "Complete Games of Mikhail Tal 1936-1959" (Batsford 1980), p.3


This seems to be a mixup based on how close the two players' names are.

See also this game- Tal vs J Klovans, 1955, where there is overwhelming evidence that "Klovans" has incorrectly been listed as Tal's opponent. Again, it should be Janis Klavins.

I already submitted a correction slip for Tal vs J Klovans, 1955, and I will do so for this game as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

I have submitted a correction slip for this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

More evidence this game was actually played against Janis Klavins.

In the "Mikhail Tal - 8th World Champion" (PC-CD) database, Khalifman et al give the opponent as "Klianvish," which is another version of Janis Klavins.

Dec-27-14  davide2013: It seems that Chessbase has a different game, also if the result is the same, but in Chessbase Tal missed the winning checkmate. [Event "Riga-ch Juniors"]
[Site "Riga"]
[Date "1949.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Klavins, Janis"]
[Black "Tal, Mihail"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C10"]
[PlyCount "74"]
[EventDate "1949.??.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.03"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 When I saw this line, I couldn't believe Tal was able to win a game in just 18 moves! 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nxe4 6. Bxe4 c5 7. c3 $2 $11 (7. Nf3 For Stockfish this is a better move.) 7... cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Kf1 $2 (9. Bd2 $11 Bxd2+ (9... Qh4 10. Bf3 Bxd2+ 11. Qxd2 O-O $11) ( 9... Qxd4 $4 ♗lack cannot play this move. 10. Qa4+ Nc6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. Qxb4 $18) 10. Qxd2 Nd7 $11) 9... Nc6 10. Nf3 Qc7 11. g3 Bd7 12. a3 Bd6 13. b4 e5 $2 $16 14. dxe5 $2 $11 (Stockfish 5 64: 14. Bb2 O-O 15. Kg2 Rfe8 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Rc1 Bc6 18. Bxe5 Bxe5 19. Bxc6 bxc6 20. Qc2 Rac8 21. Rhe1 f6 22. Nxe5 Rxe5 23. Rxe5 Qxe5 24. Rd1 Qe7 1.03/26) 14... Bxe5 15. Ra2 Bh3+ 16. Kg1 Rd8 17. Qe2 $4 $19 Nd4 $1 $19 (Stockfish 5 64: 17... Nd4 18. Qe3 Qc4 19. Qe1 Qxa2 20. Nxd4 Rxd4 21. Bg2 Be6 22. Bxb7 f6 23. Be3 Rd3 24. h3 O-O 25. Rh2 -6.29/39 ) 18. Nxd4 Bxg3 $4 $18 ♔lavins - Tal, ♖iga-ch Juniors 1949 (Stockfish 5 64: 18... Qxc1+ 19. Qd1 Qxd1# -#2/120) Stockfish 5 64: 19. Rc2 Bxf2+ 20. Kxf2 Qd6 21. Bf5+ Kf8 22. Bxh3 Qxd4+ 23. Kg2 Qd5+ 24. Qf3 Qxf3+ 25. Kxf3 b6 26. Rc7 a5 27. Be3 h5 28. Bf1 Kg8 29. Bc4 Kh7 30. Rg1 Rhf8 31. Bxb6 axb4 32. axb4 Rd6 33. Bc5 Rf6+ 34. Ke3 Re8+ 35. Re7 Rxe7+ 36. Bxe7 Rb6 37. Bxf7 g6 9.12/33 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: as was so typical of Tal, there are wonderful complications in this game. The final position is a brain teaser...

18.Qd1?? Nxf3+ 19.Qxf3 Qxc1+

18.Qe3 Qc4 19. Qe1 Qxa2 20. Nxd4 O-O and black is up the exchange and white's rook is stuck in the corner. The ensuing bloodbath will not be fun for white. For example.. 21.Bf5 (white must break his bind) Bxd4 22.Bxh3 Rfe8 23.Qd2 Bxf2+! 24.Qxf2 Rd1+ 25.Bf1 Re2 26.Qf3 Rxc1 27.Qxb7 (seeking relief with a mate threat, but now black has a fantastic reply.. ..Rxf1+ 28.Kxf1 Qc4!! (black now answers a check with a rook block / discovered check winning the Q. Additionally he threatens Rd2+ and Qc1#. White has nothing better than to give up his Q for the R ) 29.Qc8+ Qxc8 30.Kxe2 Qc4+ 31.Ke3 Qc3+ 32.Ke2 Qe5+ 33. Kf2 Qd4+ 34. Kg2 Qe4+ 35. Kg1 Qf3! 36.a4 Qd1+ (the ending is completely lost) 37.Kg2 Qe2+ 38.Kh3 Qe6+ 39.Kg2 Qe4+ 40.Kg1 Qd4+ 41.Kf1 Qxb4 42. Rg1 Qxa4 43. Kg2

18.Qe1 f5 19. Bb2 (The B can't move off the h1-a8 diagonal) ..fxe4 20. Bxd4 Bxd4 21. Qxe4+ Kf8 22. Re2 Bf6 23. b5 Rd1+ 24. Re1 Rxe1+ 25. Nxe1 Qe7 26. Qb1 Kf7 27. Qb3+ Be6

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