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Mikhail Tal vs Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush
"It's OK Tolush" (game of the day Nov-12-2010)
USSR Championship (1957), Moscow URS, rd 21, Feb-21
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-05-10  YoungFischerSnapper: I'm fairly new to chess, but why is this game touted as a classic match? It seems as if black is dominated fairly early on in the match with no real hope of winning. By 12. h4, white pawns have all the real estate and white pieces are more developed than black's. Did black really have a chance of winning past this move? Any lines? Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: White's 30th is an astonishing shot, and yet it is a logical move that must be played to sustain the attack. Opening the b1-h7 diagonal and freeing the e4 square is something you *must* do and face the consequences. If if doesn't work, the entire attack was probably unsound anyway.
Premium Chessgames Member
  laskereshevsky: The XXIV (24th) U.S.S.R CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP

Held in Moscow from

the 21th and last round.

Rank before the start:

KERES; 12.5

Pairing of the day:

Tal-Tolush 1-0
Bronstein-Kholmov 0.5-0.5
Antonishin (9 points)-Keres 0-1
Spassky-Stolyar(8.5) 1-0
Khasin(7)-Petrosian 0.5-0.5
Furman(9.5)-Boleslavsky 0.5-0.5
Korchnoi-Gurgenidze(7.5) 1-0

Final Rank:

TAL; 14

Nov-12-10  sshhhh: <YoungFischerSnapper: I'm fairly new to chess, but why is this game touted as a classic match?> You're right that white's position is already fairly comfortable by move 12, but there's some incredibly dynamic play to strip away everything in the way and convert that. 17.Bb1 is pretty brave, giving up a pawn and ignoring the fact that black might one day get some pressure down the b file, to keep the bishop on (what would become) the all-important b1-h7 diagonal, 19.Nf5 is a moderately simple tactic but it clears away an important defender, and 30.e5 is just beautiful. This isn't wild, unfathomable Tal, but fairly clear, instructive play that just slices through the opponent's position, and that sort of game can be very instructive. "Classic" is a difficult word but there are some things about this game that (I think) deserve the label.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White is the exchange ahead and a mate may be in the near future.
Nov-12-10  scormus: Yes, what a lovely controlled attacking game by the great genius. Tal's forces were all beating at Tolush's defensive door, but 30 e5 was the shot that broke through.

I remember when I was learning at school, KID was all the rage and then someone "discovered" the Saemisch and played it like that - castle long, go for broke on the Kside and ignore B's Qside play. For a while we thought the KID was busted. It's curious because the normal strategies are W play on the Qside, B on the Kside, and the Yugoslav-style attack soon went out of fashion. Even so, I had a lot of fun winning games against the KID with it. Later I gave up d4 for e4 and hoped B would play the dragon. I wish we'd done that WT vs. Pogo. Sigh .....

Nov-12-10  checkmateyourmove: Just plain nasty!
Nov-12-10  WhiteRook48: interesting game
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Cool game. I liked how Tal kept his LSB on the b1-h7 diagonal with 17.Bb1 instead of taking on c4. It's as if he foresaw the destruction this bishop would wreak on that diagonal.
Nov-14-10  David2009: Last Friday's GOTD (Nov-12-10)
Tal vs Tolush, 1957 is very interesting. Tal's build-up is very threatening, but it is interesting to use computer help to search for ways of strengthening Black's defences.

On Friday I explored alternative defences for Black using Crafty End Game Trainer. The position after 27 moves is

click for larger view

(Tal vs Tolush 1957, 28?).

The game line continuation was 28.Qh6 Neg6 29.Bg5 f6 30.e5! (a widely-admired move) Rxe5 31.Bxg6 Rb7 32.Ne4 and here Tolush played fxg5. Crafty EGT defends in the same way until move 32 when it plays 32...Rxg5. Playing White, I continued 33.Nxg5 fxg5 34.Bf5. Last Friday Crafty EGT had replied 34...Bxf5 35.gxf5 Rg7 36.Rh5 g4 37.Rh4 Qg5+ 38.Qxg5 Rxg5 39.Rhxg4 Rxg4 40.Rxg4+ Kf7 to reach the following very interesting R v N ending:

click for larger view

(White to play, 41?)

Winning this ending is not easy. It is a strategic, rather than a tactical, puzzle - if you can spot the right strategic plan winning suddenly becomes straightforward. Rather than write more here, I will leave it for fellow kibitzers to explore. Link: (Tal vs Tolush 1957 endgame variation, 41?). It can be won!

AFTERWORD: Today Sunday the EGT has changed its play in the parent variation, now playing 34...c3!? to expose White's King before playing Bxf5. After 35 bxc3 Bxf5 36 gxf5 White now has to beware of ...Qa5 with dangerous checking threats in many lines. Perhaps the EGT's choice of move is constrained by the amount of resources available to it (presumably the more pople are logged on to the parent site the fewer resources it has). Link to the earlier position: (Tal vs Tolush 1957, 28?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: game sidelights lifted from GM Genna Sosonko's book "Russian Silhouettes"..

Tolush, after losing the game of his life in his best tournament in 1957, said to Spassky: 'You know, Borya, today I lost to a genius.'

Mar-27-11  noah913: Tal missed 36. Bxh7+! which wins on the spot. He also missed 40. Ra7!! which also kills Tolush. I found that on guess the move after staring at the board for 20 minutes.
Mar-27-11  talisman: <noah913> Man, you're pretty good!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: "Lord take me DOWNtown!/I'm just looking for Tolush"/


Apr-15-11  talisman: Lagrange...(got a lot of nice women down there!).
Aug-23-11  talisman: 17.♗ b1 looks "interesting"! for white!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <talisman> Tal's 17.Bb1 is standard in these Saemisch positions, as Black gets play down the b-file anyway. It's more difficult for him to generate play without the c4 square available. If the pawn at c4 were not on the board, then typical Modern Benoni/KID ideas such as ...c5-c4 and ....Nd7-c5 would come into view.
Aug-06-13  talljack: It's not clear to me why Black gave up his DSB with 20. ... Bg7. His position is too porous after this. Was it somehow forced? I don't see it.
May-11-14  notyetagm: Tal vs Tolush, 1957

click for larger view

16 ... b5xc4

click for larger view

17 ♗d3-b1!

click for larger view

<perfidious: <talisman> Tal's 17.Bb1 is standard in these Saemisch positions, as Black gets play down the b-file anyway. It's more difficult for him to generate play without the c4 square available. <<<If the pawn at c4 were not on the board, then typical Modern Benoni/KID ideas such as ...c5-c4 and ....Nd7-c5 would come into view.>>>>

Wow, that is ingenius. I cannot tell you how many times I have been @#$%ed by the standard Black plan of ... c5-c4, ... ♘d7-c5, ... ♘c5-d3 in these Benoni-type positions.

With a Black pawn blockading the c4-square, this simple and effective plan is not available to Black. A simple antidote to a simple plan. Ingenius!

May-11-14  Howard: You think this game is in the book Tal: The Magic of Youth, which just came out last month ?

Or is that a dumb question ?

May-15-15  Imran Iskandar: This game saw relentless aggression from Tal and ultimately, he prevailed. Tal's play is exactly how I want to win games.
Jun-15-15  Besheer: 30 the black move Qb3 .. then a 4 or 5 steps to win !!! Tolish wasn't playing the game .. he was in Tale hands !!
Dec-24-18  Mithun955: I think on 34th move rook f8 was better move. What do you say guys
Dec-24-18  John Abraham: Tal what a genius
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Tal wins in attacking fashion as usual, but built on a solid positional advantage right out of the opening. Black's 9...c5 condemns his own queenside strategy to a glacial pace, while white activates everything very quickly on the kingside. It soon becomes very obvious who is winning the race.
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