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Mikhail Tal vs Anatolij Bannik
USSR Championship (1956), Leningrad URS , rd 7, Jan-21
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C75)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-06-04  chess man: The pawns, the least of the pieces is the deciding factor of this game! But the queen of course helps too!
Mar-17-08  enoughsaid05: His sacrifices in the early part of the game is extremely crazy!!!
Jul-13-08  computer chess guy: What happens if Black takes the Rook on move 18 (18. .. ♗xf1)?
Aug-15-08  jerseybob: Well, Computer Chess Guy, what does your computer say? I know: you don't want to crash your hard drive! Tal had an ability to play seemingly irrational moves and make them work - and I say seemingly - because he sensed where weaknesses lay. Not that he was always sound - far from it - but let the opponent chew up clock time deciding that(see Tal's game with Portisch in the '64 Interzonal)! In this position, after 18..Bxf1 19.fxe5,Bishop moves where? If 19..Bc4 20.Qg4ch,Bg7(Kf7 21.Qg6ch etc)21.f6,Qf8 22.Qxc4ch wins,so to be totally safe 19..Ba6 20.Qg3ch,Bg7 21.f6,Qf8 22.Bf4,Rh7 and maybe a Korchnoi could hold this. Bannik backed off and lost.
Aug-15-08  computer chess guy: I agree, Tal was great at putting his opponents on the edge of disaster. Bxf1 looked playable on shallow analysis but I haven't done a real deep look.

<so to be totally safe 19..Ba6> 18. .. Bxf1 19. fxe5 Ba6 is not possible (there's a Black pawn on a6).

Aug-26-08  jerseybob: Ooops! Speaking of shallow analysis! Guess I misplaced the a-pawn while analyzing. I agree with you and still think the rook was snatchable.
Dec-08-15  zydeco: This is Tal at his most wizardish. Bannik was a very tough defender and keeps his cool through the opening and middlegame calculations. I think most strong chessplayers would evaluate the position around move 38 as a win for black: he's up a piece and has a fast-moving queenside majority. And then Tal's attack turns out to be unstoppable.

One mistake is that black should have played 38....c3, opening up a line for the light-squared bishop to defend.

46....d3 is definitely an alternative to the unsuccessful queen expedition, although it's getting hard to see how black makes progress.

The finish is 50....Qe4 51.Qxf8+ Kxf8 52.g7+ Kxg7 53.f8=Q+ mating.

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