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Mikhail Tal vs NN
URS (1963)
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Polugayevsky Variation Simagin Line (B96)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-08-06  whatthefat: 13...Qxe5! is best, but white at least retains attacking chances, or a draw in some lines. Tal must have used this fact to justify (and perhaps safeguard) the combination. The best line for both sides runs 14.Bd3! Be7! 15.Bxe7 Kxe7 16.Rhe1 h5! 17.Qb4+ Qc5 18.Qh4+ and now:

a) 18...g5 19.Qh3 Kd8 20.Qxe6 where white has compensation but the game is unclear. It's a position where I'd have my money on Tal!

b) 18...Nf6 19.Qg3 Kf8!? (19...Rg8 20.Re5 and white has full compensation, and stands well) 20.Rxe6 Nbd7 21.Qf4 Kg8 seems to leave black with some advantage as I can't find a good way forward for white. 22.Be4!? might offer good chances though.

Nonetheless, an extremely brave combination, crowned by the stunning 16.Bc4!! Tal must have been on fire that day, as he had to see all the way to the finish to be prepared to give up such material!

Jan-08-06  ughaibu: Here's one from Chessbase:
[Event "CUB-ch6"]
[Site "Cuba"]
[Date "1965.??.??"]
[Round "0"]
[White "Jimenez Zerquera,Eleazar"]
[Black "Garcia,Gilberto"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "B96"]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qc7 10.Qe2 Nfd7 11.0-0-0 Bb7 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Qg4 Qxe5 14.Bxb5 h5 15.Bd3 Kf7 16.Rhf1+ Nf6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Bg6+ Kg7 19.Bxh5+ Qg5+ 20.Qxg5+ fxg5 21.Rf7+ Kh6 22.Rxb7 Kxh5 23.Rd8 g4 24.Kd1 Kg6 25.Rbxb8 Rxb8 26.Rxb8 Kf7 27.Rb7+ Be7 28.h3 gxh3 29.gxh3 Rxh3 30.Ra7 Rh2 31.Rxa6 Bg5 32.Ne4 Be7 33.Rc6 Rh4 34.Rc4 Rh2 35.a4 e5 36.a5 Rh1+ 37.Kd2 Ra1 38.b4 Ke6 39.Nc3 Bg5+ 40.Kd3 Re1 41.Rc6+ Kf5 42.a6 e4+ 43.Kc4 Ra1 44.Rc5+ Kf4 45.Ra5 1-0
Jan-08-06  syracrophy: I wanna notice some points of this instructive miniature:

10...Nfd7?! <Useless and a loss of time.The knight its being attacked, but the best way of defending was attacking. Correct was 10...Bb4! and now its impossible 11.exf6?? because of 11...Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Qxc3+ winning the rook>

12.Nxe6?! <This sacrifice its tentative, but a correct game by black will show that this sacrifice is incorrect. Correct was 12.a3>

13...Qb6? <The worst way of protecting the e6-pawn, that leads to a drastic refutation. The correct move was 13...Qxe5! and white has no compensation for the piece sacrifice>

In this game, black's decisive mistake was <13...Qb6?> that subestimaed white's espectacular mating attack

Jan-08-06  KingG: <The worst way of protecting the e6-pawn, that leads to a drastic refutation. The correct move was 13...Qxe5! and white has no compensation for the piece sacrifice> I wouldn't say that. After 14.Bd3!, White has definite compensation. Whether it is quite sufficient or not, i'm not sure yet, but Black has to be extrmely accurate to maintain any advantage.

I'm currently trying to analyse this game, and once i've finished, i'll post the analysis here. So far it seems that 14...Be7! is the best defence, as after 14...Nf6 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Kb1!(preventing 17...Qg5+ ), and now after 17.Rhe1, Black is in big trouble no matter what Black plays on his 16th move.

Jan-08-06  HannibalSchlecter: This is one of the most brilliant games by Tal I have ever seen. One magic trick after another.
Feb-22-06  dakgootje: Yes indeed a brilliant and truly beautiful game by Tal. But imagine you are given the chance of playing great Tal and you get slaughtered this way...
Feb-22-06  Jim Bartle: I'd would have played it out to mate and then asked him to autograph the scoresheet.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: So typical of Tal's play, sac'ing pieces left and right!

<Jim Bartle> Since the game was played out to mate, does that mean you're NN?

Feb-22-06  Jim Bartle: Unmasked at last! Yes, I have lost brilliant games to all the great masters over the centuries.

(Sort of like the Rowan and Martin joke:

Rowan: You know overpopulation is a big problem. Do you know a woman gives birth every 8 minutes in this world. What should we do?

Martin: We've got to find that woman and stop her.)

Aug-13-06  KingG: <b) 18...Nf6 19.Qg3 Kf8!? (19...Rg8 20.Re5 and white has full compensation, and stands well) 20.Rxe6 Nbd7 21.Qf4 Kg8 seems to leave black with some advantage as I can't find a good way forward for white. 22.Be4!? might offer good chances though.> According to Kasparov, 19.Be4! is the best move, and he thinks White has compensation.
Nov-18-06  whatthefat: <KingG>
Thanks for that.
Dec-10-07  onemorechessplayer: All moves after 12-th are forced-Tal is just renewing the mate threat with sacrificing piece after piece. Truly beautiful and eyecatching! Real classic!
Aug-05-08  Sem: Downright murder, only you don't go to jail.
Nov-27-08  ChessYouGood: This game illustrates how deeply Tal understood openings and how deeply he understood the concept of initiative in chess.
Mar-24-09  WhiteRook48: sacrifices like a maniac
May-02-09  WhiteRook48: Tal is attacking like mad!
May-28-09  erwinkru71939: It´s a hearth attack. Full of sacrifice and wonderfull mate.
Apr-18-12  chaamjamal: I ran this through Shredder and right up to 13. Qg4 they were even but when black played Qb6 the advantage swung way over to white. If you change Qb6 to Qxe5 then the advantage goes to black.
Jun-23-12  screwdriver: No wonder there is a Tal Memorial Tournament played every year. I don't think any world champion attacked like Tal did.
Aug-04-13  Sem: Reminds me of Rudolf Spielmann who said: 'If I would get the positions Alekhine gets, I would also see these combinations. The only thing is: I don't get them.'
Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: I don't know how I've never seen this one. It's mindblowing how what looks like a vanilla sicilian position yields this one-sided massacre because of, as far as I can tell, the singular mistake of Qb6. The knight sac is speculative at best-- if you're Tal, you play it (maybe unless you're playing another very strong GM?), because there's a pawn on e6 and you do not accept pawns on e6. But it doesn't look that good until Qb6, and then the rest of the game is a foregone conclusion and Tal played it like a computer.
Mar-06-18  bkpov: Comparing Morphy to anyone is blasphemy. Tal was brilliant but see his record against Korchnoi and Petrosian.
May-24-20  carpovius: Amazing!
Mar-15-21  Gaito: Fifteen years ago on Jan-08-06, syracrophy wrote: "10...Nfd7?! is useless and loss of time...Correct was 10...Bb4!". I suspect that syracrophy was missing something, because 10...Bb4 seems to be a blunder, e.g. 11.exf6 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Qxc3+ "winning the rook". Possibly this kibitzer just overlooked that after 13.Qd2 Qxa1+ 14.Kf2 Black seems to have a lost position, even though he is an exchange and a pawn ahead (diagram):

click for larger view

White has many nasty threats, among others, 15.Bxb5+ winning the queen. If 14...O-O, then 15.fxg7 Re8 (if 15...Kxg7 16.Bh6+ wins outright) 16.Bxb5! Qxh1 17.Bxe8 Bb7 (diagram)

click for larger view

18.Bxf7+! Kxf7 19.Qf4+ Kxg7 20.Nxe6+ Kg6 21.Qf6+ Kh5 22.Ng7+ Kg4 23.Qf4 mate (diagram)

click for larger view

Mar-15-21  Gaito: Now the position where Tal sacrificed a knight:

click for larger view


The psychological aspect of the game is important. Here Tal played 12.Nxe6?!, perhaps relying that his opponent was an unknown amateur or maybe a patzer. The sacrifice is incorrect of course, and I really doubt that Tal would have played like that against Spassky, Fischer or Korchnoi, for example.

Tal's opponent is given as NN (meaning "no name", which implies that his/her name is unimportant), very likely a weak amateur. There is no information as to whether this game belongs to a simultaneous display, because if not, then how did NN earn the right to play a game against Tal? I suspect that Tal did not just play games against any unknown pedestrian happening to pass by and challenging him to a game of chess.

Good moves for White in the position of the diagram are, for example 12.Qh5 or 12.Qg4.

On Jan-08-06 (15 years ago) kibitzer syracrophy wrote that White ought to have played 12.a3. My humble opinion is that White need not be afraid of the move ...b4, so that 12.a3 is unnecessary. For example: 12.Qg4! Nxe5?! (or else 12...b4? 13.Nxe6! fxe6 14.Qxe6+ and mate follows) 13.Bxb5+! axb5 14.Nxe6! Qb6 15.Rhe1! Nxg4 16.Nc7 mate (diagram)

click for larger view

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