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Mikhail Tal vs Alexander Koblents
? (1965)
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Tal Variation (B82)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: From a definition perspective, I think 20. Qxh7+! could meet the definition of both a deflection (a.k.a distraction) and a decoy tactic. The combination requires the deflection of the Bishop from g6, but it also requires the decoy of the Bishop to h7 to force the mate-in-three.

At the terms are defined as follows:

<Decoy: A sacrifice with the purpose of luring an enemy piece to a particular square.

Deflection: A tactical maneuver intended to remove an enemy guard. See also Distraction.

Distraction: A tactical motif, typically with the purpose of driving an opponent's piece from its defending position.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Monday (Very Easy)

Tal vs Koblents, 1965 (20.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Down N+2P. The Black Kg8 has 1 legal move, h8, x-rayed by Bc3 and the battery Rh3 and Qh5. White could play 20.Qxh7#, if not for Bg6, so removal of the defender 20.Rxg6 is the obvious candidate, but there is something better. The sequence is forcing, removing the need to evaluate the safety of the White Kc1.

Candidates (20.): Qxh7+

20.Qxh7+ Bxh7 21.Rxg7+ Kh8 22.Rhxh7#

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 22.Qxh7+ is smooth i.e. grasp burying the frozen king.. Bxh7 Rxg7+ Kh8 Rxh7#. There's no stand on which he can support Qxa2: the shake down Rh3 revitalizes the mate talk. Oh blent stuff it was mixing the pieces with appliance in a sacrifice crushing him.
Feb-01-10  goodevans: I note some earlier posts cast doubt that this was a real game.

I it is a real game then I would imagine that Tal would have been disappointed that his opponent played 19 ... Bxg6. This leads to a pretty mate-in-3 but I reckon he'd have probably preferred to have been given the opportunity to play <19 ... fxg6 20 Qxh7+ Kf7 21 Qxg7+ Ke8 22 Rh7>.

Feb-01-10  randomsac: There was just too much firepower bearing down on black's king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Having seen the mate-in-three, it's a bit easier to figure out that Tal's 19. g6! wins with a mating attack:

<19. g6!>

19... fxg6 20.
Qxh7+ Kf7 21. Qxg7+ Ke8 22. Rh7 .

19... Qa1+ 20. Kd2 fxg6 21. Qxh7+ (but not 21. Rxa1?? gxh5 ) 21... Kf7 22. Qxg7+ Ke8 23. Rh7 .

Yet Tal apparanently didn't see everything in this game, as when he played the surprising 16. Rd3?!

His opponent, who was also his trainer, failed to see that the follow-up 17...Qa4! (instead of 17...Qxa2??) would have kept Black with a winning position. For example, one point of 17...Qa4! is that after 18. Rh3 Bxe4 the try 19. g6?? no longer works due to 19...Qxc2#. Fritz 10 evaluates 17...Qa4! 18.Rh3 Bxe4 19.Bd3 Bxd3 20.cxd3 Qxf4+ 21.Kb1 Qf5 22.Bxg7 Rfc8 (-3.31 @ 19 depth, 2-cpu).

Feb-01-10  remolino: 20.Qxh7+ etc.

Koblentz was Tal's second and played many serious and training games with him. He had the pleasure of being the victim of tens or hundreds of beautiful sacs and combinations from Tal.

Feb-01-10  JG27Pyth: <"...Now I felt the game was in the bag if I didn't botch it. I'd won dozens of skittles games in analogous positions and had it down to a science: pry open the h-file, sac, sac, ... mate!">

-- Bobby Fischer

I love the N-sac rook lift in this game -- pure tactisitional(*tm) Tal chess.

Feb-01-10  Chessforeva: 3D:
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Mate in three leading off with a queen sac. Typical Monday-typical Tal...

A flash finish!!

Feb-01-10  lzromeu: Bad monday for me. Rxg6 goes to nothing. I missed it in a couple of seconds
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is a knight and two pawns down.

Black threatens 20... Qa1+ 21.Kd2 Qxg1 and 20... Bxh5, although taking the queen would be fatal after 21.Rxg7+ Kh8 22.Rxh5 Nf6 23.Bxf6.

Black's LSB covers the weak spot g7. Therefore, distract it with 20.Qxh7+, which forces 20... Bxh7 21.Rxg7+ Kh8 22.Rhxh7#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Sneaky: <whitebeach: The strangest thing is why Koblentz played it out to mate. Was he in deep time trouble so soon? Was he simply in shock? Was he perhaps hitting the vodka a little early?> I often see questions like this on the site, and yes sometimes it's due to time trouble, or "shock", but usually the answer is much simpler: he did see it coming, but he thought it was rather pretty. So knowing that he was lost anyhow, he was gracious enough to let Tal continue to combination to the end.>

Another example: Timman vs Short, 1990

Feb-01-10  Brandon plays: Monday's puzzle seems rather easy. Qxh7 Bxh7 Rxg7 Kh8 Rxh7#
Feb-01-10  Kasputin: Did Tal ever play any positions that didn't look like this? Kidding of course.

Anyway, sac the queen at h7, play Rxg7+ then R(h)xh7 mate - then have a drink, a smoke, and chase some girls.

Feb-01-10  MiCrooks: Typical Tal in that he was able to mesmerize his opponent with an unsound sack (though I know Kasparov in his section on Tal wrote that though Tal had this reputation, on later analysis with strong computers it was just as likely that the initial analysis of the sack being unsound was wrong and that Tal's intuition was quite often right)

In this case, the Rook lift should probably lose. Black could ignore it and play something like Rfc8 making room for a knight to go to f8 for defense, but the direct bxc3 Bxc3 Qa4! leaves White struggling to justify his piece sack.

Koblenz must have simply missed that Bxe4 was not adequate enough defense when he played Qxa2. Easily enought to justify since computers miss it too and opt for this move until they get around 7 full moves deep into the resulting position. But since those moves were relatively forced (Rh3 Bxe4 g6 etc though h6 comes into play as well and needs to be looked at) you would expect a strong player to see it.

The subtlety of Qa4 is that on Bxe4 BLACK is now threatening to mate first on c2 turning the tables. There are many lines from here but all lead to a Black advantage. One key point is that Black often gets Qxf4+ in and then gets to f5 with tempo both guarding h7 and pinning the g pawn to the Queen.

Still, it was a beautiful ending combo by one of my favorite chess players of all time!

Feb-01-10  YouRang: Do I get extra credit for finding two solutions? My first try was to eliminate the defender with 20.Rxg6 fxg6 21.Qxh7+ Kf7 22.Qxf7+ Ke8 23.Rh7 which looks pretty terrible for black.

But it seemed kinda tricky for a Monday (it took me a minute to realize that 23.Rh7! was the right follow up, instead of 23.Qxg6+).

So, I thought I would see what would happen if I took Ph7 straight away with 20.Qxh7 Bxh7, and realized that white mates quickly: 21.Rxg7+ Kh8 -- and here, for some dippy reason, instead of 22.Rhxh8#, I saw 22.Rgxh7+ Kg8 23.Rh8# -- same result, one move longer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: <lzromeu>, I think ♖xg6 also forces mate:

20. ♖xg6 fxg6 (anything else, mate at h7).
21. ♕xh7+ ♔f7 (forced)
22. ♕xg7+ ♔e8 (forced)
23. ♖h7, and black only has spite moves left.

Feb-01-10  Uncle Mark: Great TAL !!!
but me too, knowing that there must be a easy one of monday, found it !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: There's another explanation for games being played out to mate ... or at least being recorded up to the mate. It used to be the fashion for players to "announce" that it is mate in X moves.

If the announcement was correct, the other guy would resign there and then. But how to record the end of the game? Sometimes, the moves would be recorded as if they had been played. Hence, the large number of older games that go to mate when you would expect the losing player to resign.

Just checked the ending with Fritz and it does look as if 20. Rxg6 also forces mate. But instead of mate in 3 with 20. Qxh7+, it's mate in 11. Here's one version:

20. Rxg6 Qa1+ 21. Kd2 Qd1+ 22. Kxd1 fxg6 23. Qxh7+ Kf7 24. Qxg7+ Ke8 25. Rh7 Kd8 26. Qxe7+ Kc7 27. Qxd7+ Kb6 28. Qxd6#

click for larger view

Of course, Fritzie is only prolonging the agony by giving away most of his pieces, but it is funny to watch.

Feb-01-10  cyclon: 20.Qxh7+, cuff-links, because of -Bxh7 21.Rxg7+ Kh8 22.R3xh7X.
Feb-01-10  wals: 15.Qh5 blunder (-0.51) better a3 (+0.29)
16.Rd3 blunder (-1.87) better Bxg7 (-0.51)
Black BLUNDER 17...Qxa2 (+12.94)
better Qa4 (-2.15)

Rybka 3 1cpu: 3071mb hash:

Feb-01-10  MaczynskiPratten: There are times when it is artistic to let the game be played out to mate. It's nice here (with quite an elegant final position). There are also times when it is artistic to resign because even one more move would be an anticlimax. A classic example being O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914.
Feb-01-10  hedgeh0g: Tal replaces the Black king's pawn cover with rooks!
Feb-01-10  David2009:

click for larger view

Tal v Koblenz, 1965, 19?

Have fun winning the position at move 19 against Crafty using the on-line link above. You are white, drag and drop the move you want to make. Take care!

For more of a challenge, try the position at move 16 using the link below:

click for larger view when I don't know what should happen with best play against Crafty.

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