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Mikhail Tal vs Bent Larsen
Portoroz Interzonal (1958), Portoroz SLO, rd 15, Aug-30
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B94)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-24-02  refutor: who says that intimidation isn't part of chess? playing against tal, bent larsen looks like a patzer :)
Jul-24-02  bishop: If there is one move in chess that is usually a source of problems for the Black pieces it is ...g5?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I think he should have played ...h6 and then saved the ...g5 move for later in the game, after he played ...Bd7 and ...O-O-O.

The ...h6 and ...g5 manuveur can break a pin, it's true, but there's no sense in compromising your pawn structure unless you have a very good reason.

I think Larsen was being overly optimistic.

Aug-09-03  rembrandt phoenix: white's strong attack at the queenside is perhaps a result of a refuted strategic advance by the black queen; as a result white finds a better way of handling the situation.
Aug-09-03  mkdir: Tal was terrorizing the top GMS in late 50's and 60's with his breath taking sacrifices...many existing theories about material equality were thrown out of the window...TAL could be the most liked one among the world champions...
Aug-09-03  PVS: <TAL could be the most liked one among the world champions...>

If you consider standing with the chess public, he might be number one.

Aug-22-04  Jack Rabbit: 12 -- g5? seems to the move that put the game beyond hope for Black and 11 -- Ne5?! is dubious.

Black appears to be trying to use the Sicilian to launch a Kingside attack; that's a very faulty plan. Inseat of 11 -- Ne5?!, he should have simply played 11 -- O-O and followed it with moves like -- Qc7, -- b5 and -- Nb6.

It still wasn't too late to castle on Black's twelfth move, but after 12 -- g5? bringing the King to saftey on the Kingside is out of the question.

Tal's sacrifice 19 e5! shuts the Queen out of the defense in the center and Queenside as White initiates play there. The game is easily won for White from that point on. For example, if instead of 20 -- O-O-O Black plays 20 -- Nxe4, then White wins a piece 21 Qd7+ Kf8 22 Qxb7 (forking the Rook and Knight) 23 -- Ng3+ 23 Kg1 Bc5+ 24 Rf2 Bxf2+ 25 Kxf2 and Black still cannot save the Rook and Knight simultaneously.

Aug-22-04  Ernesto7: Tal was in my opinion one of the few GMs who liked to have fun with the game...seeing how to blast away defences and winning i yeah whoever played him was intimidated. He had the same effect Morphy had.
Nov-23-04  shortsight: Tal is incomparable, not even Morphy! Tal's the flawed god, but though imperfect in play, who's not fear of the god?!
Dec-01-04  Ernesto7: i think that all of the "post-game analysis" by super strong computers and GM's in comfy chairs is all well and good,but I hate when they say that Tal's play was shaky and that he "got lucky"...a quiet room amongst friends is a much easier place to find the rigth move than under time pressure against the migthy Tal.All of these factors must be considered and after all the analysis has been layed out ,whatever the errors,only the victory is opinion is this:If Tal won,the sacrifice worked.
Dec-19-04  shortsight: yeah, i totally agree with u, ernesto7. i sometimes played risky sacrifical lines as well, even though i saw the loophole, for i believe that over the board game, with time limit, tal's styles is the most feared by any opponent. and even computer might lose too if they ever pitted it against tal. the reason is that, even computers were setup to run overnight, just to calculate the solutions. in classical time control, who knows computers might fall just as their human counterparts did most of the time against tal. and if all the respected GMs spent months to refute tal's play just to obtain satisfaction, why not play tal over a single game for months. i believe tal would be able to uncork much more astonishing fireworks, that none of us would ever imagine! and whoever the GMs are/were, their games if analysed to such details as tal games, i believe their games contain as much error as tal, if not more! in short, the rest of the GMs are/were just jealous of tal's ingenius ability. each and everyone just come out with the solutions, just wanna proved that they are just as brilliant.
Dec-19-04  cade: Chess is a sport. Beating your opponent is all that matters. I hate all these weak players armed with powerful chess programs talking about how such and such grandmaster move was wrong.

Those kind of people ruin the beauty of chess. They also misunderstand the competitive nature, the strongest computer move is not always the strongest move over the board.

Dec-20-04  drukenknight: You dont ruin chess by continuing to study and improve upon what was played.

It is funny, on the one hand, you deplore them taking the "beauty" out of chess, but on the other hand, you argue that chess is competitive by nature.

If chess is competitive, why should the past games not be questioned and criticized?

Premium Chessgames Member
  pilobolus: I ma sorry. I don't understand how
white wins?
Dec-20-04  TheSlid: <pilobolus> White picks up the rook on h8 after the exchanges on d7
Jan-09-05  mynameisrandy: With regards to the subject of finding the right move over-the-board against Tal: I think it's noteworthy that Tal's favorite champion was Lasker. Lasker saw chess as a mental struggle with important psychological elements. He played the move that made you most uncomfortable. Tal took the same idea and changed it a bit. He found the attack that would blow you away the most and bet that you wouldn't be able to recover in time. As he was one of the best tacticians in chess history and felt most comfortable in wildly complicated middlegames, this plan was perfectly sound OTB. No human alive could handle the middlegames he created as well as he could.

The trick was figuring out how to take the initiative from him. Once you did that he tended to be less interested in the game and he would not approach the game with quite the same energy and creativity.

Jul-05-17  veerar: <mynameisrandy> And Gligorich,once mentioned,in his Book covering all WC matches,till the Spassky-Fischer one (included),that Tal admitted, he did not like closed positions,after losing a game,to the former.
Jul-05-17  veerar: In the Sicilian, Black develops/EXPANDS, on the Q side,while the White, attacks on the K side.It is also essential for Black to get b5 and d5,quickly,as d5 is considered the "freeing move" for Black in this Defence.Kasparov's famous pawn sac on d5 against Karpov,is an example.So also Fishcer's d5 against Maroczy Bind,position in a US Championship/Tourney game.
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