Remembering Mikhail Tal

by Nagesh Havanur
11/9/2017 – November 9th is the birthday of Mikhail Tal, one of the most fascinating and adored World Champions. Tal loved to play chess, whether it was blitz, simultaneous events or games with classical time-control, and his imagination led to countless wonderful games. On the occasion of the birthday of the "Chess Magician" Prof. Nagesh Havanur shows brilliant games and a haunting elegy to pay a short tribute to Tal. | Photo: Unlikelylads / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Misha on a Magic Carpet

Misha Tal reveled in simultaneous displays. They gave him an opportunity to travel, see places and meet people. The public adored him and he enjoyed their adulation. In such events his play was uninhibited and he moved pieces with gay abandon. For him chess was fun. Take a look at this miniature he played when he was past his prime. A brilliant miniature!

Tal-N.N, Buenos Aires Simuls. 1987

The English Opening Vol. 1

Williams main teaching method behind this set of two DVDs is to teach you some simple yet effective set ups, without the need to rely on memorising numerous complicated variations.


Mikhail Tal at a simultaneous event | Photo:

Often Tal inspired his opponents, who put up a spirited fight before going down in flames. The following game is special and deserves a place in anthologies.

Tal-Miller, L.A. Simuls 1988

Master Class Vol.2: Mihail Tal

On this DVD Dorian Rogozenco, Mihail Marin, Oliver Reeh and Karsten Müller present the 8. World Chess Champion in video lessons: his openings, his understanding of chess strategy, his artful endgame play, and finally his immortal combinations.


Finally, here are two glimpses of Tal:

Tal facing a young Gary Kasparov

Tal-Kasparov, Moscow Blitz 1992

The Sicilian Rossolimo for White

The Rossolimo Variation 3.Bb5 is considered to be one of the strongest replies to 2…Nc6 in the Sicilian Defence. The fact that the move has been played by practically all the top players proves its popularity and strength. But the most interesting aspect of playing 3.Bb5 is that we force sharp, attacking players who love to have the initiative to forget about the Open Sicilian and to adjust themselves to a new world, one full of positional ideas, manoeuvres and nuances.


The second is a haunting elegy:

The maestro is gone, but the magic lingers.

Prof. Nagesh Havanur (otherwise known as "chessbibliophile") is a senior academic and research scholar. He taught English in Mumbai for three decades and has now settled in Bangalore, India. His interests include chess history, biography and opening theory. He has been writing on the Royal Game for more than two decades. His articles and reviews have appeared on several web sites and magazines.
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chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 3/30/2018 03:58
By way of post script I shall mention the following. I was able to contact Ms Kasey Emmel, his daughter. She replied, “Jack Miller was my father. He was the president of the San Diego Chess Club during that time. But I don’t know if he is the Jack Miller who played that game or not. His friend James Woodward might know. I think you might find him on Instagram. He is a photographer in San Diego.” I have just joined Instagram. If I succeed in getting any info. I shall let the readers know.
Edward Labate Edward Labate 1/17/2018 06:31
Jack Miller was a member of Labate's Chess Centre, being a regular tournament player and great customer (lotsa of chess books!). This game WAS played at 2424 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, CA. Additionally, there were no other So. CA Tal exhibitions, that being one of MY conditions to host Tal in the first place. Chicago's Richard Verber, the organizer of Tal's 1988 American tour, agreed as long as I offered to host Tal TWICE!! Hell, I would have hosted Tal daily, he being the most beloved chessplayer this planet has ever seen. In summation, Tal did NOT give an LA exhibition, but only 2 in So. CA, in ANAHEIM, @ Labate's Chess Centre!!
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 12/2/2017 03:44
Tal visited Edward Labate’s Chess Center to give a simultaneous display in 1988. In an interview in Yasser Seirawan’s magazine, “Inside Chess” (20th April, 1988) Tal mentions his admiration for Labate’s chess collection. But did he play the game with Jack Miller here? The same issue also carries the game with Jack Miller and gives the venue as L.A. Incidentally Tal remembered this game on his return from the USA and showed it to David Bronstein who insisted on having the whole score for posterity. Tal obliged. The story was recounted by Genna Sosonko in “64 Review”, 03/2011 and it carries a facsimile of the score sheet in Tal’s own handwriting giving L.A. as the venue. Jack Miller (1937-2012) who played this game is no more. My efforts to contact his children on this score have not borne fruit so far. I shall still be glad to set the record straight if a good document or testimony confirming Labate’s claim can emerge at this stage.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 11/11/2017 12:12
except against korchnoi .....tal's record is brilliant .... a colourful life.....spectacular, unduplicable chess!!!!
MJFitch MJFitch 11/10/2017 10:40
Edward Labate Edward Labate 11/10/2017 06:34
For years, it's bothered me that this game has been listed as Los Angeles. I hosted Tal for two simuls in Anaheim, CA. Anaheim, CA is in Orange County, not Los Angeles County
SCORP SCORP 11/10/2017 04:51
Free chess lessons by a GM? " |". I need training in teaching. 1 week project. 3 students. 1800+ only.
andreadangelo andreadangelo 11/10/2017 11:14
Tal was Tal he was dying and beat the world chess champion 20 years younger we all miss The magical of Riga
Rambus Rambus 11/10/2017 01:31
Physically, he looks more like 95 than 55, with a brain aged 25! Both videos are really sad.