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Mikhail Tal vs Teodors Zeids
URS (1952)
Slav Defense: Geller Gambit (D15)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-26-05  Saruman: Tal didnt show 100% accuracy here since; 29.Nd5! mates in 3 moves. But the game should be remembered for its straightforwardness.
Jan-27-05  Saruman: 18.<f5> and <19.Nf6+> are certainly wo instructive moves. However I am slightly puzzled as to why Tal didnt finish up more quickly with 26.Qxg5.
Jan-27-05  JohnBoy: <Saruman> - you are correct that 26.Qxg5 is quicker. Sometimes we just follow what we already know works, rather than hunting for the most efficient path. Leko commented on this yesterday regarding his draw with Moro.
Jan-28-05  Saruman: <JohnBoy> Agreed 26.Qxg5! Is a bit too demanding task to deal with :-)
Mar-14-06  agressivechess: Is this the first time that Tal employs the Tolush-Geller gambit or was it named sometime after this game was played.I guess Spassky's discovery of 6.Qc2 was made after this game and definately looks more solid than 6.e5 but we are talking Tal here.
Nov-15-15  NeverAgain: This is Game 1 in P.H. Clarke's "Mikhail Tal - Master of Sacrifice" (1961). Here are the annotations, converted to algebraic (my copy, the 1991 Batsford edition, is still in descriptive).

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Tal's attacking style has not sprung from a continual use of gambits of the swashbuckling kind - the King's, Evans or Danish. On the contrary, his opening play tends towards simplicity rather than anything else. However, he was not always above more modern gambits.

If we can see in this game obvious signs of youthful directness, we should also note the force of the final assault, for it was such play that was soon to make him famous.

• 5.e4

Theory (i.e. the sum of our knowledge of the game up to the present moment) does not look upon this sacrifice as fully sound. But in the hands of a strong attacking player it can be a dangerous weapon, and Geller, for instance, has gained a number of successes with it. White gets a strong centre and can look forward to a long tenure of the initiative.

More usual is <5.a4>.

• 7...Nxc3?

This exchange should be withheld until White has played axb5 for reasons explained in the next note.

Of the several different defensive systems at Black's disposal the surest is <7...e6! 8.axb5 Nxc3 9.bxc3 cxb5 10.Ng5! Bb7 11.Qh5 g6 12.Qg4 Be7 13.Be2 Nd7 14.Bf3 Qc8!> (Szabo-Petrosian, Hungary-U.S.S.R. match, Budapest, 1955).

• 8...a6

A very unnecessary move which should have been speedily punished. Again <...e6> was in order, but after <9.Ng5> White's attacking chances are greatly increased by the fact that the long white diagonal remains blocked (by the c6 pawn).

• 9.Be2

Too simple. The thematic sortie - Ng5 - would have immedi­ately rendered Black's position on the K side precarious.

• 9...Bb7

Black seems blissfully unaware of the danger on the other wing. Now White might well create a multitude of possibilities by <10.e6>.

• 10.Ng5

And, of course, this is very good too. The Knight settles on e4, whence it continually menaces the enemy position.

• 10...h6

Unfortunately, if <10...e6>, then <11.Bh5 g6 12.B­f3> leaves Black's K side riddled with holes.

• 12.Ba3

White's attack has not gained any immediate success, but he has various positional plusses to his credit; the forthcoming exchange of Bishops accentuates Black's troubles by exposing the weaknesses on the black squares in his camp.

Nov-15-15  NeverAgain: • 12...Bxa3

There is no use trying to avoid the exchange by <12...c5>. For example, <13.Nxc5 Bxg2 14.Rg1 Bd5 15.Bf3 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 Qd5 17.Ne4>, and White seizes the vital squares just the same.

• 15.f4


click for larger view

Everything is ready for a straight attack, and it is remarkable how powerless Black is to stop it. For instance, the natural freeing move <15...c5> is too slow - <16.Nd6 Bc6 17.f5> with a winning position.

The only chance lay in <...f6> (or <...f5>) either on this or the next move, hoping to gain some space in which to maneuvre. Even in that case Black's game would be markedly inferior because after <exf6> his K side is weak, whilst his pawn majority on the other side is of no significance.

• 16...Nb6?

Transferring the Knight to quite the wrong side of the board; while this leads to some more material gains Tal quickly shows that these are entirely irrelevant.

• 17.Qd2! Nxa4
• 18.f5

The storm breaks. Relatively best is now <18...f6>, though after <19.exf6 gxf6 20.Rae1> White should win comfortably.

• 18...exf5


click for larger view

• 19.Nf6+

The point of this sort of sacrifice is that, if it is accepted, the doubled pawns (here tripled) prevent the defending pieces from coming to the aid of their King: <19...gxf6 20.Qxh6 fxe5 21.R­b3! f4 (or <<21...f6 22.Rg3+ Kf7 23.R­g7+>>) 22.Rh3 f6 23.Qh8+ Kf7 24.Rh7+>, etc.

• 20...Rfd8

White threatened <21.Rh5> followed by <Rxh6+>; this may now be defended by <...Qf8>.

• 21...Bc8

Black is without resource. What­ ever he does (within reason!), White adopts the same winning procedure.

• 23...Nxc3

A desperate throw which Tal ig­nores, thus adding insult to injury.

• 25...g5

Otherwise <26.Rxh6+> is decisive anyway.

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