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 three decades. His articles and reviews have appeared on several web sites and magazines.


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