Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Chessgames premium membership fee will increase to $39 per year effective June 15, 2023. Enroll Now!

Mikhail Tal vs Zwaigzne
URS (1952)
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E27)  ·  1-0



explore this opening
find similar games 2,913 more games of Tal
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You can get computer analysis by clicking the "ENGINE" button below the game.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Young Tal demonstrates some cute back rank tactics here.
May-25-04  morphynoman2: It could be called "Variations on a Philidor's Theme"
Jun-03-04  notsodeepthought: ? why does it win? 29 ... Q:f8, how does white continue?
Jun-03-04  who: R:c8 and white wins a rook for a queen, and threatens mate when he takes, so that he doesn't even lose a knight
Jun-03-04  who: actually he doesn't even lose a rook, and he still gets mate
Feb-10-07  Gilmoy: Black sells out in the opening to triple on the weak c4 (Ba6, Nc6-a5, Qd7-c6). It wins a pawn, but the price is too high: the slow-moving Knight gets stranded far from the action, and never moves or contributes again.

With Black essentially a piece down, White offers a Knight, and his Queen twice. Black is trapped between Philidor and Weak Back Rank, and has about as much freedom to respond as a pinata.

Knight: 26 ... Qxg5?? 27. Qf7+ 1-0

27 ... Qf8? 28. Qa2+ 29. Nf7+ 31. Rxf8+ reducing to canonical Philidor 32. Qg8+ etc.

30. Ne5 cleverly defends White's own weak back rank, freeing his Rook to sortie 31 Rf7.

Queen: 34(38). Qxe6?? 35(39) Rxf8 1-0. Both times, Qd8 is Black's only move that protects his own Rook.

37. Nh6 utterly traps Black's King (by denying h6), locking in the Weak Back Rank theme. Clever point 1: It also prevents defending g7 by Rg8. Clever point 2: 36 ... Rxf7? Any upward Rook move exposes Black's weak back rank, hence 37. Qxf6! and Black has three problems: (a) recover Queen, (b) save Rook, (c) defend back rank. Rxf6 loses to (c), gxf6 loses to (b). One move can't cover three flaws!

39. Qe5 threatens mate at g7, and Black can't defend g7 from below. An over-eager Rook trade gets Black's Queen forked, so Black wants a Queen move that also stops mate: 39 ... pin-Q 40. break-pin R-block-g7 and 41. Qe7 is an insidious triple-fork: g7 and d7 (threatening 43. Qc8+), and skewers h7 (hence 42 ... gxh6 becomes impossible). Black's Rook can't save both g7 and either one of d7,c8.

Apr-10-07  Crowaholic: Black is forced to play 29..Qxc7+ followed by Qxc7 gxh6. White cannot mate now but should easily win some pawns.

After 29..Qf8? there is 30. Rc8 Rf6 31. Qd8! and White has a mate in two - mostly rampage on the eighth. If Black plays gxh6, the continuation is a bit more difficult to see, it's Qxf6+ Kg8 and Rxf8# (or Qxf8#).

Apr-10-07  Chicago Chess Man: This would be a great game for a beginner to study
Apr-22-13  vinidivici: Tal is Man
May-15-14  pilobolus: What a game!!
Jul-16-19  nikromos: 41. . . Qf8 seems to hold. Tal missed 40. Kh1, just crushing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <nikromos>
I agree 40. Kh1 crushes, but on 41...Qf8, what if White still plays <42. Qd7> similar to the actual game? How does Black hold?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <nikromos>
On second thought, it should be <40. Kg1>, because 40. Kh1 allows the reply <40...Rf1+> 41. Kh2 Qf8.
Jul-16-19  dumbgai: 40...Rf1+ is not a legal move due to the R on f7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <dumbgai>
You're right, that was some kind of hallucination with the R on f7 disappearing in my mind. I stand corrected.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Philidor's tonado
from games of brilliant attack and sacrifice by tacticalmonster
Tal's free knight helps decide this heavy pieces duel.
from QR Tactics by Crowaholic
burimsul's favorite games
by burimsul
Tal being Tal
from Malfurion's Instructive Tactics/Endgames by Malfurion
Interesting Back Rank Tactics
from spikester2848's favorite games of Mikhail Tal by spikester2848
Regi Sidal's Favorite Games & Bacon
by regi sidal
Very Early Tal
from andrewjsacks' Games of Note by andrewjsacks
Very Young Tal
from andrewjsacks' Remarkable Games by andrewjsacks
NID Saemisch (E27) 1-0 Impressive Philidor's Legacy 3 vs 2 attk
from Youngbloods Like to Listen to Fredthebear by fredthebear
Tal's Festival of Reduced-Material Fireworks
from sorokahdeen's Games I don't Understand Yet by sorokahdeen
by danijem2
98_E24-E29_Nimzo-Indian w/ 4.f3 & Saemisch
by whiteshark
Latvian Junior Championship 1952
from Tal's Tournament and Matches 1949-1973 by jessicafischerqueen
NID Saemisch (E27) 1-0 Impressive Philidor's Legacy 3 vs 2 attk
from Spearheads D (Batteries involving the Queen) by fredthebear

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC