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Mikhail Tal vs Jan Hein Donner
Hoogovens (1968), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 12, Jan-24
French Defense: Winawer. Classical Variation (C18)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Tal sacrifices everything but the kitchen sink. Then he rips that out too - and tosses it into the mix. Next goes the refrigerator, the stove, the dishwasher, plus dozens of smaller kitchen doo-dads. (The blender, the toaster, the mixer, the electric carving knife, etc.)

A real "barn-burner," as we used to say.

May-25-06  Nikita Smirnov: Never seen Tal play the nor the French nor the Winawer.
May-25-06  whatthefat: <Nikita>
Then you should definitely study these:
Tal vs Botvinnik, 1960
Tal vs Botvinnik, 1961
May-29-06  blingice: Nice game, although Tal really doesn't sacrifice that much (not like a Morphy game, where he doesn't get the material back). All that Tal loses is two pawns, which his opponent has in doubled formation.

<LIFE Master AJ: Tal sacrifices everything but the kitchen sink. Then he rips that out too - and tosses it into the mix. Next goes the refrigerator, the stove, the dishwasher, plus dozens of smaller kitchen doo-dads. (The blender, the toaster, the mixer, the electric carving knife, etc.)>

Question: if you sacrificed "everything but the kitchen sink", then how could you sacrifice all of those other things? Wouldn't you have already sacrificed them?

Thanks for your time.


blingice, Grammar Police Department of <>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: < <Nikita Smirnov> "Never seen Tal play the nor the French nor the Winawer." >

Tal played the white side of the French ... almost more times than I can count.

Here is a real shocker! I put in the moves 1.e4. e6; and asked ChessBase 9.0 to search the Mega-2005 db for all the games where Tal played the BLACK side of the French Defense. (It came up with 13 examples!!!)

The first was:
Alexander Arulaid - Mihail Tal;
[C06] / URS-ch sf Vilnius, 1955.
(Drawn in 41 moves.)

The last game was:
GM Lembit Oll (2600) - GM Mihail Tal (2525)
Seville Open, (R7) / 1992.
(White won this game, I think it is annotated in ChessBase magazine # 29.)

Jun-02-06  whatthefat: <LMAJ>
Tal himself admitted to not feeling comfortable on the black side of the French defence. Quoting the man himself:

"One of my most unsuccessful openings. Almost all the games in which I chose it ended in my defeat - fortunately, there weren't all that many of them. Those I can remember now were with A. Bannik (USSR Championship, Riga 1958) and L. Portisch (at the European Team Championship, Oberhausen 1961). At that point my 'French Career' came to an end, I feel the losses were not accidental. Black, in the French, has to play with great accuracy, and this is a quality I never had a great measure of, neither now nor in my earlier days."

As a result, he tended to save it for special occasions, when he had a specific line prepared, or when he wanted it to have a psychological effect.

Jun-02-06  Jilted Rook: <whatthefat> Interesting quote, from perhaps the man with the most interesting chessical/lexical insights, along with Tartakower of course :)
Jun-02-06  PolishPentium: It took your humble correspondent a distressingly long while to realize that the Black e-file peon cannot capture the White R after 30...RxB Rd5+, as that of course leads to the loss of his Dame. Nonetheless, isn't resignation a little premature here? After 30...Nb6, Tal seems to run out of checks>>> Once again, as usual, PP must be missing something wiser folk can detect immediately. Some assistance with the analysis would be appreciated...
Jun-02-06  borisbadenoff: <PolishPentium PP must be missing something wiser folk can detect immediately. Some assistance with the analysis would be appreciated...>

Of course you miss the simple trap

31. Ba3 Nc4 32. Rxd5 exd5 33. Qxa6

31. Nc4 is needed everyother move leads to a quick mate because of the threat Qf7+ Qc7#. Not necessarily in 2 but maybe in 4-9 moves

A combination from Nb6 to mate in 12

Kd8 34. Qf6 Kd7 35. Qf7 Kc6 36. Qxe8 Kc7 37. Qf7 Kc6 38. Qe6 Kc7 39. Qxd5 Kb6 40. Qxc4 a4 41. Qc6 Ka5 42. Rc5#

Aug-10-06  AdrianP: Hartston mentions this game in his discussion of the 'good bad bishop'. Compare the position after move 10 - where White is in serious danger of being left with a bad bishop v good knight, not to mention the problems with his doubled pawns - with the position after move 17, where the dark square bishop dominates the whole board. Fittingly it is this piece which delivers the coup de grace on move 30.
Sep-02-06  Nikita Smirnov: I haven't seen Tal writing any books about the French defense.Not even in the C book of Informator.
Jun-17-07  sanyas: <blingice> A belated LOL.
Sep-08-07  sanyas: I'm guessing the finish is 30...♖xe7 31.♖xd5+ ♔e8 (31...♔c8 32.♕f8+; 31...♔c6 32.♖xa5 ♕xa5 33.♖xc4+ ♔b5 34.♕e5+) 32.♕h8+ ♔f7 33.♕xh7+ ♔f6 34.♖f5+ exf5 35.♕h6+.
Sep-08-07  Some call me Tim: <sanyas> Yes Tal says 30...Bxe7 31. Rxd5+ "is decisive." Your analysis proves it!
Sep-08-07  Some call me Tim: <LIFEMasterAJ> And do not forget his most famous Winawer as Black--against Fischer at Leipzig Ol 1960. Possibly the greatest draw of all time. Tal wrote that he and Koblencz hit upon the idea of using the French against Fischer in this game but it still took him 10 minutes to make his first move at the board. He also said he used the French "very, very rarely and without great success" but used it here to create an "unpleasant surprise" for Fischer. For this he gave himself an exclamation point for 1...e6 joking that it really deserved half an exclamation point for the surprise value. That game still befuddles me in its tactical complexity. It is a great credit to the abilities of both players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I agree with just about everything that was said above. (After my comment.)

The French was not "a good fit" for Tal's style, yet he did OK with it here.

Mar-15-08  madmilz123: wow, thats all i can say
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <madmilz123> I like this one too!

Tal vs J H Donner, 1973

Aug-29-10  sevenseaman: Tal got one on his teeth.
Apr-26-12  screwdriver: <sanyas: I'm guessing the finish is 30...xe7 31.xd5+ e8 32.h8+ f7 33.xh7+ f6 34.f5+ exf5 35.h6+.> How do you get Rook f5+? I can't see how a rook gets to f5.
Mar-22-15  zydeco: Tal questions Donner's plan with 7....b6, which leaves the kingside underdeveloped.....although says that the plan might have worked if Donner had played 12....Ne7 13.Bxc5 and then 13....Nd7 to push back against the dark-squared bishop.

Tal suggests 16....Qc4 as a better defense.

I like Tal's note to the (hard-to-spot) 23.Nd2!: "White prevents the intrusion of the enemy knight to c4, prepares the analogous maneuver Nb3-c5, and frees the third rank for his queen. Can one ask more of one move!"

Jun-10-17  Kale1970: Tal vs J H Donner, 1968.
Your score: 52 (par = 35)
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Kale1970>
The forum will fill up fast if everyone starts posting their "guess the move" scores here.

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