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Mikhail Tal vs Leonov
"Know It Tal" (game of the day Nov-02-2010)
Riga (1949), Riga URS
Caro-Kann Defense: Exchange Variation (B13)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-02-10  Elsinore: Was 12. Qc7 the right move? Tal moves up his F pawn to support the knight, black takes and now Tal has a stronger center. If black had just taken at move 12, Tal takes with pawn, but his center isn't as strong. Why did black wait until the f pawn was moved up to take?
Nov-02-10  arsen387: what's the winning continuation in case of 20...f5?
Nov-02-10  Sularus: <arsen387: what's the winning continuation in case of 20...f5?>

21. exf6 (ep)
Now if 21. ... Nxf6, 22. Qg6 and white has threats like 23. RxN
24. Qh7+
25. Rf1

If 21. ... gxf6, 23. Ng4 maybe.

Nov-02-10  arsen387: <Sularus> <If 21. ... gxf6, 23. Ng4 maybe.> then what if 23...f5. Just can't see forced winning lines there
Nov-02-10  gmalino: <Elsinore> if 12. ...Nxe5 13. dxe5, forking Q and N and therefore winning a piece.
Nov-02-10 I have always felt that the exchange Caro-Kann was one of the more difficult CK variations for Black to meet. He loses his good bishop early; in my opinion Black must make a bid for counter-play early or he will be stuffed on the k-side. In this game Tal had a pull all the way through; Black never seems to seek activity, he's just reacting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: The first time I saw which game is meant just by looking at the names in the GOTD :). I have a book which covers all winning miniantures played by classical world champions till 2002 (with the exception of Kramnik), and this game is the first in the Tal section. That is, the earliest recorded winning miniature by Tal.
Nov-02-10  kevin86: Black was not long for this world-when the Tal attack began.

How about "Don't ask,don't Tal"?

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <kevin> Brilliant pun!

It always amazes me how Mikhail Tal conjoured up his explosive winning attacks from seemingly ordinary positions.

<CG> I'm sure you must have already honoured Tal in a week of GOTD or POTD, but it would be great to see one (again)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 21 Bb5!? looks like it's worth a shot.

click for larger view

Black has a lot of thinking to do now. The position is complicated, with no readily apparent path forward.

Nov-02-10  David2009: Tal vs Leonov, 1949 White 19?

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After 19 Rf6! Crafty End Game Trainer defends with 19...gxf6. "The way to refute a sacrifice is to accept it" (A N Other [Steinitz?]), <Jun-09-05 The Careful Cat: Hi, With a little help from Fritz I have been able to do some convincing analysis. 19.Rf6! now 19..gxf6 is best met by 20.Bxh7+!(removes a key defender of the crucial f6 square)...20...Kxh7 21.Ng4 Qf8 forced else mate follows very soon. 22.Rf1 now, to prevent the WR landing on f6 Black has no choice but to play ...f5.22...f5 23.Nf6+ and the R will come into play against the BK by Rf1-f3-g3-g8. In view of this white has an easy win.> I agree with everything in <The Careful Cat>'s excellent analysis except the word "easy" in his final sentence! Against Crafty EGT I eventually found a win: 19...gxf6 20.Bxh7+ Kxh7 21.Ng4 Qf8 22.Rf1! (this is a fine and unexpected move) f5 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Rf3 Bd7 25.Rg3 Qg7! (stops Careful Cat's plan, now White is on his own) 26.Qh4! Ree8 27.Nxe8 (the Q won't run away: White needs the extra exchange to win) Bxe8 28.Rxg7 Kxg7 29.Qf6+ Kh7 30.Qe7 b5 31.Qb7 Rd8 32.Qxa6 Kg7

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(Black is paralysed and cannot beak out) 33.Qb6 Ra8 34.a3 Rc8 35.Qb7 Rd8 36.Qe7 Rc8 37.Kf2 Ra8 38.Ke3 Rc8 39.Kf4 Rb8 40.g4 fxg4 41.Kxg4 Kh7 42.Kh5 Ra8 43.Qf6 Kg8 44.Kxh6 Kf8 45.h4 b4!? 46.axb4 Bc6 (inconsistent) 47.Qh8+ Ke7 48.Qxa8 1-0

Crafty EGT link to first diagram (White to play, move 19):

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I got the sides mixed up in my earlier post. Corrections below.

<21...Bb5!?> looks like it's worth a shot.

click for larger view

<White> has a lot of thinking to do now. The position is complicated, with no readily apparent path forward.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: 11 years old? Misha, Misha Misha!
Nov-02-10  lostgalaxy: Elsinore: Was 12. Qc7 the right move? Tal moves up his F pawn to support the knight, black takes and now Tal has a stronger center. If black had just taken at move 12, Tal takes with pawn, but his center isn't as strong. Why did black wait until the f pawn was moved up to take?

Think it's because of the fork mate. Queen and Knight forked.

Nov-15-10  Elsinore: <lost galaxy> Yeah, I didn't see the queen supporting the pawn if Nxe5. I guess I'm the opposite of the pun. :)
Feb-07-13  chessRage: It seems 12.. Qc7 and 13.. Nxe5 are inaccuracies. After that, black surrenders the center.

After 15.Qh5, there s big space for white in the kingside to do anything he wants.

Feb-18-15  phil6875: Nobody else has mentioned that Tal could have played Bxh7+ on move 19 then played Rf6. A possible variation,

19. Bxh7+ Kxh7 20. Rf6 g6 21. Qh4 Kg7 22. Ng4 h5 +4.45

So, after 18...Qe8 Leonov was already lost.

Oct-29-15  JIRKA KADLEC: 19. Rf6! Qf8 20. Bxh7+! ( 20. Rf4? Bd7 21. Ng4 Bb5! ) 20... Kxh7 21. Raf1!
Dec-16-17  WorstPlayerEver:

click for larger view

Position after 14... Nh7

SF now persists in playing moves like 15. Nd2/Na3, planning Rf2/Raf1, while Tal simply plays the A0 move for this position: 15. Qh5

We see the bad bischer c8, the encapsulated Rook a8, the awkward Knight h7, the Black pawn structure e6 vs e5

Exactly the position where SF needs a helping hand, I thought. In this case the hand of Tal. Which is truly weird because Tal was only 13, maybe 12.

And I had also trouble finding the 19. Rf6 move with SF. It gives 19. c4, which probably wins also, but 19. Rf6 simply is a crusher. Flip back and forth; SF will see it, but play the game all over again and SF will play 19. c4 again.

So and so SF has a lot of trouble finding the right moves from the position above. It gives 15. Qh5 Rf8

Which is better for Black but not sufficient, I think.

Apr-19-18  Justin796: Tal reminds me of Lenord Nemoy in the 1378 Renaissance Olympics in Bulgaria before Tal ate some chestnuts that were accused of being lazy...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: They commemorated this game with a 1995 stamp celebrating this position.

click for larger view

However, they got it wrong. See if you can spot the error.

(I believe such errors make the stamp more valuable but you have to ask yourself, how did they make a mistake like that. Surely someone would have spotted it?)

If you are interested in chess stamps. I'm not really unless it is something like this. Then here:

The Tal stamp in question is on page 100 where they point out the error.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <See if you can spot the error.>


The designer of the stamp must have been the only person in the USSR who did not play chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Fusilli,

There is probably a technical reason how it happened. Unless it has some hidden meaning.

click for larger view

The position is close to being illegal, but the black c-pawn could have (and must have) taken a Knight on d3 and promoted to a light square Bishop on d1.

Or done on purpose as a one off and only to be used as a code. 'If you receive a letter stamped with two Black light squared Bishops then run for it because you been rumbled.'

Jul-16-23  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I don't think the combination is sound.

For example:

19...gxf6 20. exf6 Rc7 21. Qxh6 Nxf6 22. Qxf6 Qe7 23. Qh6 f5

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <N.O.F. NAJDORF> There are already many kibitzes above about 19...gxf6 20. Bxh7+ Kxh7 21. Ng4, so you need to study those first before trying to refute the combination.
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