The "Special": Mikhail Tal

by ChessBase
1/9/2023 – Mikhail Tal's meteoric rise shook the chess world in the late 1950s, taking him straight to the very top. His victory over Botvinnik in the 1960 match won him the world title. In the process, the 'Wizard from Riga' thrilled fans with his unprecedented combination style – “There are two kinds of sacrifices - correct ones and mine!” For CBM 211 we invited our authors to comment on their favourite Mikhail Tal games. The total of 21 encounters, the last played in 1991, show the eighth World Champion above all, in his element - as a brilliant tactician. A little-known game from the National Open in Chicago 1988 is presented by Yannick Pelletier in CBM 211 - you can watch his analysis in abridged form here. Enjoy!

Mikhail Tal (2630) – Robert Forbis (2035) (National Open Chicago 1988)

Yannick Pelletier comments

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Bc4 Nd7

This Dragon side line is dubious. The whole knights manoeuvre on the queenside eliminates White's bishops, but then what?

10.h4 Nb6 11.Bb3 Na5 12.h5 Nbc4 13.Qe2 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Nxb3 15.axb3 Bd7 Black completes development, when White already knocks at the black castle's door.

16.0–0–0

e6 Hardly better is 16...a5 17.f4 b5 18.f5 , when White is ready to rip the pawn shelter apart.

17.f4 Qb6 18.f5 The engine is critical of this attacking move, claiming that White should have played the usual King move to b1 first.

18...gxf5 19.exf5 Kh8!

A very cool reaction by the American amateur, who is doing a good job containing White's attack so far.

20.Rhf1 Bxd4? This can be considered a nervous reaction - the urge to simplify matters by exchanging pieces. It seems clear that Robert Forbis thought he was forcing the exchange of queens as well, and overlooked his opponent's 22nd move. 20...Rg8 is stronger, keeping the Dragon bishop.

21.Rxd4 e5

22.Qh6! The endgame after 22.Rd3 Qxe3+ 23.Rxe3 Bc6 gives Black counter-chances.

22...Qxd4 23.Qf6+ Kg8 A key moment in this game.

24.Nd5?

Tal probably failed to resist this other nice sacrifice. Unfortunately, the idea is flawed.

White could win with the sophisticated sequence 24.h6! Qg4 25.Rf3! Rfc8 26.Ne2! Variation diagram:

White creates the irresistible threat Rg3, and Black cannot escape:

24...Rfe8? Black has 2 ways to defend and hold the game. 24...h6! 25.Qxh6 Qxd5 26.Rf3! f6 27.Qg6+ Kh8 28.Qh6+ (28.Rg3? Qg8!–+) 28...Kg8 and White should give perpetual check; and 24...Rfc8! e.g. 25.h6 Rxc2+! 26.Kxc2 Bxf5+ 27.Rxf5 Qe4+ 28.Kc1 Qe1+ 29.Kc2 Qe4+ 30.Kc1=

25.Qg5+ Kh8 25...Kf8 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.Nf6+ Kh8 28.Qxh7#

26.h6! e4 26...Rg8 27.Qf6+

27.f6 Rg8

28.Qg7+! Robert Forbis probably missed this resource - the hidden point of 24.Nd5. Otherwise, he would have tried and looked for a better answer than 24...Rfe8. In any case, he put up a good fight against the Magician of Riga! (28...Rxg7 29.hxg7+ Kg8 30.Ne7#) 1–0

The complete analysis by Yannick Pelletiert can be found together with 20 other Tal games - annotated by our authors - in ChessBase Magazine #211. 

ChessBase Magazine #211

 Order now in the ChessBase Shop !

ChessBase Magazine trial subscription with 33% savings advantage and thank you bonus!*

Try out ChessBase Magazine now! Order the ChessBase Magazine taster package!
Read ChessBase Magazine for 6 months (= 3 issues) for the special price of only 39.90 € (instead of 59,85 € for buying them individually). As a thank you, you will also receive 3 months ChessBase Premium Membership free of charge. 

*Bonus for new subscribers only, i.e. there was no CBM subscription for 12 months! 

Highlights of CBM #211

Analyses, videos, training exercises. From brilliant games of the eighth World Champion Mikhail Tal to current games of the new Bundesliga season: a rich training programme awaits you in ChessBase Magazine #211! Here are the editors' recommendations:

Bundesliga season 22/23: Stars up close - Eljanov, Van Wely, McShane, Jones, Kasimdzhanov, Cheparinov, Meier and many others comment on games from the first rounds - "Special" on Mikhail Tal: exclusive collection of 21 commented games + contributions on strategy and endgame - "The Scotch Gambit": Daniel King presents another gambit idea: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5. 0-0 (video) - "How to deal with opening surprises": Jan Markos continues his training series for tournament players (video + collection of exercises) - "Jumping across the centre line":over 50 tactics exercises + three selected combinations in video format with Oliver Reeh - Endgame good, all good: Karsten Mueller's new video series "Fundamental Endgame Knowledge" (Part 1: Rook vs. Pawn) – King’s Gambit: Take it easy! Sergey Grigoriants promotes 1. e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Ne7!? - Gambit time in the French Advance Variation: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.0-0!? and many more.

Special: Mikhail Tal

Mikhail Tal is the hero of this issue. Our authors comment on their favourite games of the "magician". An exclusive collection of 21 brilliant games analysed in detail!

Top games and master analyses

Bundesliga 22/23: The starting signal for the new Bundesliga season was given in October. Participants from various teams comment on their opening games, including the stars from the cover – Pavel Eljanov, Loek van Wely and Luke McShane – as well as Nils Grandelius, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Ivan Saric, Ivan Cheparinov, Gawain Jones, Nikita Vitiugov, Erwin L'Ami, Dennis Wagner, Daniil Yuffa, Georg Meier, Jan-Christian Schröder, Thai Dai Van Nguyen and Michael Prusikin.
In addition, David Navara presents his game against Luke McShane in a detailed video analysis! And Rustam Kasimdhzanov reviews his Black win against Julian Kramer in the video as well.

Practical tips fort he tournament player: “How to deal with opening surprises?”

Jan Markos continues his video training series - Video + small collection of exercises.

Move by Move

Robson-So was probably the most spectacular game at the US Championship 2022. Test your attacking skills and play through the game move by move with the experienced trainer Robert Ris!

All in one

New opening ideas explained by means of a single game with detailed commentary. Alvar Alonso Rosell examines an aggressive approach for Black in the Modern Italian. Igor Stohl dissects the highly topical Ragozin Defence: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+.

Opening videos

Daniel King takes a close look at the time-honoured Scotch Gambit, which has recently been seen again in some top tournaments. Ruslan Ponomariov shows how he succeeded in the Spanish League against Alexander Fier with a rare Siclian with 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5. And Mihail Marin takes up an opening concept of Mikhail Tal's that used to be part of his own repertoire several years ago.

Daniel King: The Scotch Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.0-0
Ruslan Ponomariov: Sicilian 2.Nc3
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nf3 a6 5.Bd3
Mihail Marin: Saemisch Benoni
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5

New ideas for your repertoire

From the English Opening to the Catalan - ChessBase Magazine #211 offers 11 opening articles with new ideas - everyone will find something exciting here!

Szabo: Sicilian O’Kelly Variation Part II: 3.c4
Hera: Sicilian 3.Nc3 e6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Bd3
Kuzmin: Sicilian Paulsen Variation 5.Bf4!?
Braun: French Advance Var. 6.Bd3 cxd4 7.0-0
Grigoriants: King's Gambit 2...exf4 3.Nf3 Ne7
Lorenzini: Philidor Defence 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0-0
Srinath: Open Ruy Lopez Part I
Schandorff: Slav Excnage Variation with 6.Bb5!?
Papp: Gruenfeld 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4
Postny: Nimzo-Indian 4.f3 d5 with 6...c6
Sumets: Catalan 4...dxc4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.0-0 Rb8

New series "Fundamental Endgame Knowledge" – Part I: Rook vs. Pawn

New video training series for all those who want to put their endgame technique on a sound footing. Plus endgame highlights by Mikhail Tal including video introduction.

Topical opening traps

“Innocent moves and tempting lures” – Rainer Knaak takes a close look at eight traps from current tournament practice, three of which he also presents in video format.  From Veressov to the Sicilian!

Mikhail Tal in strategy mode

What aspects distinguished Mikhail Tal's style of play? Mihail Marin examines, among other things. "The fight for space" and "Pawn play". Including video introduction. In addition, his section again offers numerous training tasks using Tal's games as examples!

Modern Classics #02: Botvinnik-Tal (1960)

Dorian Rogozenco takes up this issue's special and shows the sixth game of the 1960 World Championship match between Tal and Botvinnik. "A very impressive and spectacular game!"

Tactics: "Jumping across the centre line"

Oliver Reeh's tactics contribution contains 38 games with many training questions. The IM goes through three of his favourite combinations with you in the interactive video.

ChessBase Magazine #211

 Order now in the ChessBase Shop !

ChessBase Magazine trial subscription with 33% savings advantage and thank you bonus!*

Try out ChessBase Magazine now! Order the ChessBase Magazine taster package!
Read ChessBase Magazine for 6 months (= 3 issues) for the special price of only 39.90 € (instead of 59,85 € for buying them individually). As a thank you, you will also receive 3 months ChessBase Premium Membership free of charge. 

*Bonus for new subscribers only, i.e. there was no CBM subscription for 12 months!

ChessBase Magazine one year subscription - plus original ChessBase USB stick with 128 GB *

Save twice with ChessBase Magazine: For the annual subscription to ChessBase Magazine you’ll pay only €99.70 per year (compared to €119.70 for the 6 individual issues).

* Bonus only for new subscribers, i.e. there was no CBM subscription for 12 months! As a new subscriber you will receive the original ChessBase USB stick with 128 GB

 


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.
Discussion and Feedback Submit your feedback to the editors