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Ratmir Kholmov vs Mikhail Tal
Blitz 5 Minute Game (1963) (blitz), Moscow
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Traditional Line (B92)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-19-13  morfishine: Here, the idea is simple: Block the White Queen from defending

After <40..Re5 41.gxf3 Qxh3+ 42.Kg1 Re2> White cannot prevent mate at g2

True, White can play a spite check, but after: <41.Qb8+ Kh7> he's in the same dilemna; So White is forced to surrender Queen for rook and is soon lost:

<40...Re5 41.Qb8+ Kh7 42.Qxe5 Nxe5 43.Rac1 g5 44.c4 g4 45.hxg4 Nxg4 46.Kg1 Qf2+ 47.Kh1 Ne3 48.Rg1 Qh4#>

PM: For your interest, Fischer considered this victory against Kholmov one of the most important in his chess career: Kholmov vs Fischer, 1967 Kholmov, who was optimistic early in this game, was later heard muttering "He sees everything"


Sep-19-13  bubuli55: 40... Re5 41. gxf3 Qxf3+ 41. Kg1 Rg5 42. Kh2 Qg2#

If 41. Kh2 Re2+ 42. Kg1 Qg2#

If White Q+ on back rank, Black has Kg7


Sep-19-13  bubuli55: Oops. I didn't think 41... Qxh3 was necessary :)
Sep-19-13  bubuli55: Just when I was about to take full credit for myself it got wiped out. I didn't cover 41. Qd8+ in my analysis. Because then Qxh3+ would have been necessary. I have to remind myself that the beauty of solving these puzzles is finding the correct moves for both sides. :)
Sep-19-13  bubuli55: Or 41. Qd8+ Kh7 :)
Sep-19-13  Stormbringer: The rook move popped out at me straight away and I'd have played it in blitz, but gxf3 was a rude shock. In blitz I might have gone for mate on h5 instead of g2.
Sep-19-13  cyclon: 40. -Re5 ( 40. -Re1+? 41. Rxe1 Qxd6 Black fights only for draw ) 41. Qxe5 ( 41. gxf3? Qxf3+ 42. Kg1 Rg5+, or 42. Kh2 Re2+ both mates ) -41. -Nxe5 maybe intending 42. -Nd3 Black has winning chances.
Sep-19-13  cyclon: One slight add concerning the White's Queen control over g5-square; if White plays ( 40. -Re5 ) 41. Qd8+ Kh7 42. gxf3, Black ignores BOTH -42. -Qxh3+ and -42. -Qxf3+, but plays -42. -Re2 instead after which mate is unstoppable.
Sep-19-13  framsey: Re5, blocking Queen's defense of the mate threat on h2. Qxe5 loses material to Nxe5. gxf3 loses to Qxf3+ followed by a R check and mate on g2.
Sep-19-13  mistreaver: Thursday. Black to play. Medium. 40?
Ahh, it took me too long to figure it out:
40 ... Re1+
41 Rxe1 Qxd6
42 gxf3 Qg3
and i think it is probably won for black, altough some technique will be required. ---
Ahhh, silly me.
Sep-19-13  Andrijadj: Re5, too obvious and practically the only move (unless you're going for the repetition). Entire sequence forced too. I don't like this puzzle.
Sep-19-13  coolknight: A "medium" Tal puzzle, the Queen and Knight on the hunt, though the knight is en-prise. One wonders which Tal move would win it.

40. ..Qh2 is covered by the white queen. With strong connected rooks on the 1st rank, it seems hard to get any attack that way. There seems no direct forcing move, so maybe this is about resisting the temptation to make bold moves, like yesterday's GM Anand game where the Queen sac meant loss, and the quieter Bishop x pawn was the answer. Hmmm, so is there a good strengthening move? Let's get the Rook into the game..

40. ..Re5 and black threatens Qh2 mate

If 41. gxNf3 Qxf3+ 42. Kg1 ( 41. Kh2 Re2+ and mate next move ) Rg5+ and mate in 2

If 41. QxRe5 NxQe5

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Extricated elephant e5 aloof rook bag honor exactly?

Misgivings it a d5 d6 d7 in get rooke8 doodles in a bit d4 hook queen saved crazy reveres e8 come down e5 see suffix he king fragment back bull shin key bold be in fact oh ipso (recinds ado ado f3 is scageing) lengthened having you need gg f3 thin picking g8 safe coral in effect rook seemed cough up ride en famile f3 eg big e5 rushki a fog cuff f3 at kind be queen d6 b8 edifice ogle as bod docks d6/

Me of more minded a g3 hedge off a g2f3 mission aborted cabled free e5 success left received as crept mar over a bade g5 in the wings flag a 41.gxf3 ar good queen at tergid hive seet ie h3 since of mind hold a 41...Qxh3+ suffice thigh king I jog over to 42.Kg1 shining light ha I boot ok 43...Qxf3+ pardon the frase "ever the redoubt re5"

flurry accolade faced clue g5+ mate in 2 go queen double in ok rob enough Qxe5 in da question d6 ar sure key confide cruised off? Minding dredge pawn f3 or each clink to knight fad downed free dips a f3 light knight afraid be to every ray bank knight g3 believing hood castles also curious queen beck,

and call be effect. Laced alive in cuffed queen fag devious a g5 knight deems aka it now in mack free the dutifuls f3 old dang-gash I move to dig,

changing rook can evermore dash delve too mission (fan flared queens a fickle d6)

thinking about it double in dig free knight doctor incede ar lucky break queen co-habit eddy cave pawns g2xf3 batter driving demanded rook e5 g5 re on dug queen diminish fab engaging rook pawn bind being bad cold knight dank enter hut nearly knight fetch fluffing king he giving pawn got horse guest faffer king ghosting along in duffed fond queen better pawn he differ hope dancing get to h3 check queen knight fan hone king ha gem eschewed queen check rook eachhoof in dipoff re scour engorged 40...Re5 interfere line of sight am g3 and ok d6 between advaantage off re you have a 41.Qb8+ or straight injection be cuff a 41.Qxe5 he lump in either ways light has to rights a dam near mission smoked queen down impossible task I would suggest awkward curious again bail out goes a 41.gxf3.

"mate n 4" fingers f3 or bet h3 and quicker demise a wave in blew queen see he folly jolly step a 41...Qxh3+ and re-instate rooke5 will cock a fabled g5 mate about now in district swarm over f3 etc done an dusted a deal high fives 45.Kh2 Qg2#

Sep-19-13  GrandMaesterPycelle: Got it. Relatively easy, just needed to make sure Re5 wins while Re1+ is just tempting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 41 Qxe5 Nxe5 white is up against it.

click for larger view

He has to worry about 42...Nd3, seeing 42...Nf2+.

But the tricky part of this puzzle is that he also cannot protect his c pawn, because if he tries 42 Ra3?, black has 42...Nf3!

click for larger view

Now black will eventually win one of the rooks with check, even if white plays 43 Rd8+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Well, I saw 40... Re5! ... and I sincerely believe I would have seen the rest of the combination even after I recovered from the surprise of 41 gxf3 (since I had not noticed that the knight was en prise).
Sep-19-13  randomsac: ...Re5 seemed really natural to play. <gawain> I had the same feeling. The board was simple enough that I felt like what's the worst that could happen? After this key interference, the board plays itself.
Sep-19-13  MiCrooks: I would like to know how far back Tal saw the possibility of this line?! I am looking at move 29 where he plays Kf8?! It's a move that doesn't hurt but seems to serve no real purpose other than waiting. Qxc3 regains your pawn with a likely draw but Black is a bit better. The immediate g6 is arguably a better move as Nh6+ serves no purpose. Then again I'm not sure that White's waiting move Kh2 is any better. But now Black plays g6 pretty much inviting White to come win his d-pawn giving White an advanced passed pawn in return for a loss of coordination of his pieces. You can feel some danger but at the Grandmaster level trying to win you have to take this pawn and make him prove it.

So after g6 N3 Ng5 attacking the Queen why not play Qf6? Every computer engine would play it seeing that at the end of the complications White still is a pawn up with good play. There are versions other than Kg8 but it is best. Taking the d-pawn allows White to maintain his pawn, trade down a few pieces, and have every hope of winning the endgame.

So White takes the d-pawn and Tal plays the move Qf4 pinning the Knight to the King...a move that doesn't hardly register on computers search horizon. White plays Qb6 defending the f pawn and Black continues attacking (what else) with h5. When I saw this move I immediately what? I can just push my d-pawn down his throat. That's more than worth the Knight and afterword's I am surrounded with my pawns. The computer thinks this for a bit as's why he thought White was winning in this line in the first place, but eventually a computer sees the danger...the terrific move Nf3+ and realizes he needs to start defending immediately. It still thinks it can survive with d6, but prefers Qd4 to oppose the Q right away. So h4 of course and then d7 no wait that loses at least a piece!

With this sequence of events outside of the event horizon of a normal computer program, and apparently a GM (okay it was blitz :() did Tal actually see this or did he figure like most great blitz players that even if I don't win it the time he eats up trying to defend is going help me win on time?

However it so many great Tal combinations this was so subtle and deep...did he tempt Kholmov or was he just shuffling his king to save time while he thought things out?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I was thinking of a deflection moves such as 40...Re1+ 41.Rxe1 Qxd6, but having a ♕ against ♖♖♙ usually doesn't work out.
Sep-19-13  Patriot: The first idea that comes to mind is 40...Re1+, an old removal of the guard trick. But I don't think it is best here because of material differences after 41.Rxe1 Qxd6 42.gxf3.

Instead, 40...Re5 looks like a very cool interference move. 41.gxf3 Qxf3+ 42.Kh2 Re2+ and mate next OR 42.Kg1 Rg5+ and mate next on g2. 41.Qxe5 Nxe5 leaves black clearly ahead. Both 41.Qd8+ Kg7 and 41.Qb8+ Kg7 seem to have no effect.

Sep-19-13  YoungEd: It's the first Thursday in a long time in which the YoungEd Express can whistle "woot, woot!"
Sep-19-13  YoGoSuN: LOL, I took five minutes and went for 42. Re2 after 41. Qxf3 instead of the much more direct 42. Rg5+ while Tal played the whole game in five minutes... man truly was a magician!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White interposed the threaten mate....which came a few moves later.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I;ve got a book by Tal and Kholmov -it's about - wait for it - checkmates!

Includes many ingenious combos leading to mate. I'd seen this before but I still went for Re1+ but I did briefly consider Re5 as it is still threatening mate.

This may have been one of the games Tal played when he - he had been in hospital, and left to play 5 minute chess - then he went back to hospital. Someone asked him about it and he wrote down either all or many of the games from memory. Incredible memory and visualization these great players have. And quickness of vision.

Practice helps of course.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: One of the great combinative games played in a 5 minute game!!
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