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Mikhail Tal vs Zbigniew Szymczak
Lublin (1974), Lublin POL, rd 3, Jul-??
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-05-06  chessic eric: To me finding Bh5 is not that difficult (getting to such a position is an entirely different matter!). One had only to notice that if only the Queen rather than the bishop were on f7 black would suffer an epaulette mate. After this, the idea to remove the bishop from that square is logical, and the choice of h5 is easy since it leaves the g6 square as a second option for the queen, and allows the bishop the opportunity to go to g4 or f3 for a king hunt if one hadn't calculated the several mates on the board.

Jacob Aargard discusses in his book "Excelling at Chess" that good chess players are able to take concepts and transform them into elements of the position. In this case, the concept is "epaulette mate" utilizing white's f4 pawn, and from Tal's 35th on he translates that possibility into reality by forcing the black king towards it. Only in a Tal game can white's f4 pawn be worth more than black's rook and knights!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I only saw the perpetual check at h8 and e8-I also missed that black would blunder by taking the pawn at e6---not my day. BUT it was Tal's
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: <patzer2>I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets chess blindness. after 37...♕c7 38 ♕g6+ is not mate as the king can escape at f7
Jan-05-06  EmperorAtahualpa: I completely missed this puzzle. :( I really enjoyed watching this game though, BEAUTIFUL play by Tal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <kevin86> Seems to be some confusion here. That was 37...Qe7 (e as in echo not c as in charlie) leading to 38. Qg6#.

click for larger view

[After 37...Qe7, Find 38? (mate-in-one)]

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Kevin 86> Just to clarify, my solution after 37...Qc7 was 37...Qc7 38. e7! Ke6 (38...Qxe7? 39. Qg6#) 39. Qf7+ Kd6 40. Qf6+ Kc5 41. e8Q+ (also winning and apparently slightly stronger in this line is 41. Qd4+ as suggested by <FHBradley> and <sagahelten>).
Jan-05-06  olaf4lena: Missed it.
Tal is brilliant to spot the win at move 32 with the sac and another sac at 34. It is awe-inspiring to see the elegant disregard for material loss leading to a sure win.

Such depth of thought is seen only in the best of the best, like Capa and Alekhine. This game alone is enough to add Tal to my list of the best of the best!

Jan-05-06  Stonewaller2: Ho-hum, Tal to move and win, sac the . . . what? No sac? What's happening here?

Glad to see the theme was preserved with move 32.

What do you imagine was going through Black's head though after that one? And are they the same kind of thoughts I have when I miss a more elementary trap?

Jan-05-06  artemis: Here was my tree of analysis, after finding the Bh5 idea. 37. Bh5
a) 37. ... Qxe6 38. Qf8#
b) 37. ... Kf5 38. Bg6+ Kf6 39. Qf7#
c) 37. ... Kg7 38. Qg6+ Kh8 (38. ... Kf8 39. Qf7#) 39. Qxh6+ Kg8 40. Bf7# d) 37. ... Qe7 38. Qg6#
e) 37. ... Rc7 38. Qg6+ Ke7 39. Qf7+ Kd8 40. Qe8#
f) 37. ... Qc7 38. e7 with several options
f1) 38. ... Ke6 39. Qf7+ Kd6 (39. ... Kd7 40. e8=Q+ Kd6 41. Qe5+ Kc6 42. Qf7e6+ Qd6 43. Qe6xd6#) 40. Qf6+ Kc5 (40. ... Kd7 41. e8=Q#; 40. ... Kd5 41. Qd4+ Kc6 [ 41. ... Ke6 42. e8=Q+ Qe7 (42. ... Kf5 43. Qg6#) 43. Qe5 or Bg4 #] 42. e8=Q+ Qd7 [ 42. ... Nd7 43. Bf3 Kb5 44. Be2+ and black has 4 options 1) 44. ... Qc4 45. Q8xd7+ Ka5 (Kb4 46. Qxb7#) 46. and now my hands are getting tired. But I think that you all get the idea here, Black will be mated in at most 4 moves a bunch of different ways.) With Kc5 the variations are almost identitical to the Kd5 variations.
Jan-05-06  Fezzik: Patzer's analysis of 37...Qc7 is interesting. Nobody has pointed out that after 40....Kc5 in his line, 41.e8(Q) isn't even check as he claims. I stopped my analysis at 39...Kd6 because even if White has a mating attack, simply e8(N) was enough to show that the attack was correct. I doubt Tal went all the way to mate knowing that he had at least one way to win even in the 37...Qc7 line.

As to why Szymczak played a less testing line, we may never know. However, one plausible explanation is that he saw he was losing and decided to allow Tal to demonstrate the main idea rather than drag it out. Another is that, as a human being, it's easy to be dazzled and give up thinking if a player "knows" he's lost anyway.

Jan-05-06  chessic eric: With the benefit of hindsight I took a look at ways for black to avoid Tal's onslaught. One idea is to play 16...c6 instead of 16...Bf8. Not only did black's 16th allow Tal's 17.Ne5, 16...Bf8 doesn't carry alot of sting given that moving the d-pawn amounts to a queen trade, not a discovered attack on white's a3 Q. Alternatively, rather than 18...gxh4 I liked 18...f6!?, which nets two of white's developed minors for the rook, fizzling the kingside initiative.

Any comments?

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Fezzik> You are correct about the line 37...Qc7 38. e7! Ke6 (38...Qxe7? 39. Qg6#) 39. Qf7+ Kd6 40. Qf6+ Kc5 41. e8Q , in that I got carried away and mistakenly annotated 41. e8Q as a check. It wins, but it's not a check as in the 41. Qd4+ line. As such, 41. Qd4+ Kb5 42. e8Q+ may be a slightly better continuation here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: This could have been a Sunday puzzle. Not that it's so hard, but just because it's hard to see. It's not the kind of move you would just guess by looking at the position. It shuts up all the people who take a wild stab at what the first move might be and then brag how they solved it in 0.1 seconds.
Jan-05-06  peyote: anyone else laugh when they get to play through a game by Tal
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Sneaky: This could have been a Sunday puzzle. ...> Yes, especially if given as 32...? Anybody who can regularly solve that is a combinative genius.
Jan-05-06  syracrophy: In past analysis, I wrote that <37.Bh5> was winning. But later, <al wazir> discovered that <37...Qc7!> stops the mate. And that's right. But I have analyzed the posibilities after <37.Bh5 Qc7 38.e7!>

<38...Ke6 39.Qf7+ Kd6 40.e8=N+!! Kc6 41.Nxc7 Nxc7> and white has a winning ending.

And there it is, After <39.Qf7+ Kd6> the clue is to under-promote to a knight <40.e8=N+!!> with a double-attack to the king and the queen, with a winning ending for white.

Jan-05-06  HannibalSchlecter: <peyote> "anyone else laugh when they get to play through a game by Tal" Oh yes! I laugh, clap and cheer when I play through a game by Tal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I solved this one completely. <hanniblaSchelchter> Tal was wonderful player - he could have stayed as long as Botvinnik but he got ill and aslo kept to his "creative style" (Botvinnik is also a great player of course - and aslo creative in his own way - both players were "true to themselves") - he (Tal) is also good in other than attacks and tactics -I also enjoy players such as Karpov etc for contrast - but my favourite is Tal -pity he was ill so much.
Jan-06-06  Stonewaller2: <Gypsy: Yes, especially if given as 32...? Anybody who can regularly solve that is a combinative genius.>

Au contraire, as I've pointed out most "Tal to move and win" puzzles are elementary: sac the ♕; if there's no ♕ sac, then sac the ♖. "The rest is technique." ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: <patzer2> oops,I just checked and it was I again who goofed-Obviously Q-echo-7 blocks the escape square at e7--after which Qg6 is mate.

A star for you and a dunce cap for me :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <kevin86> You're far from wearing a dunce cap. I also sometimes have trouble distinguishing small letters, especially as my eyesight weakens with age.
Oct-24-08  Crocomule: This is my favorite Tal game. Ever notice how many of his brillianies have unexpected bishop retreats?!
Apr-06-09  WhiteRook48: if this is sound...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Hmm. I see that Tal's sacrificial finish (yes, quite sound) in letting his opponent 'win' the Rd6 has already been analyzed in GOTD mode. Oh well: nothing to add, in that case.

Except maybe on the opening: it's a Gruenfeld. It starts as a normal Gruenfeld-English, and when White plays 7.d4 transposes to a rare line of the Gruenfeld proper -- rare because Qa4+ followed by Qb3 is an unusual plan in the 'real' Gruenfeld, though it makes sense in the move order followed here.

Also, Tal seems to have missed a very pretty win earlier in the game: 21.Qc3! (rather than 21.Nc5) and if
21...Bxe4 22.Be6! (much better than winning a queen for three pieces with 22.Nc6+ Kxf7 23.Nxd8+ etc) 22...Kh7 (to avoid discovered checks)
23.Qd4 Bc2

24.Rd2 is a mistake, allowing Black counterplay with 24...Nc6! 24.Nf7 wins the Queen, but Black gets some compensation and counterplay.

The point of 24.Rd3 is seen when White is able to give check on the b1/h7 diagonal with the Queen, eg: 24.Rd3 Bxd3 25.Qxd3+ Kh8 26.Qg6 Bg7 27.Nf7+ and mates. Or 24...Nc6 25.Qe4+ and a similar mate.

Apr-16-15  Lil Swine: Having come across this game by chance on this day, 4-16-15, I would ask that the next chess lover, whomever they be that happens to stumble upon this game like your truly, kibitz a message in reply.
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