Tal the "Terrible" Chess
Champion Mikhail Tal was known for his extra-ordinary ability
to create complications over the board. He loved to sacrifice
material in the hope of building up a powerful attack against
the enemy king. Tal's combinations were usually based more
on fantasy than accurate calculations. Of course, Tal's tactical
ability was great, but what he perhaps banked on was the psychological
impact of an attack. It was not easy for his adversaries to
find the right line when Tal was making a series of lethal-looking
moves. The pressure was often more than the defenders could
handle. Finding the only line of defence in the face of an
onslaught by a tactical wizard often proved to be a daunting
task, which not many could perform accurately. But Grandmaster
Victor Korchnoi was an exception. His dogged defence would
frustrate even an attacker of Tal's calibre. Korchnoi is one
of the few players who had an overwhelmingly plus score against
the Latvian genius.
others didn't have Korchnoi's grit. A slight slip in defence
would allow Tal to pounce on the opponents with ruthless ferocity.
In postmortem, many of Tal's attacks were refuted.
Grandmaster Bent Larsen once called Tal a 'supreme positional
player'. That was definitely not the best way to describe
the Latvian grandmaster's highly incisive style.
Tal never enjoyed good health. A nagging kidney ailment almost
knocked him out of tournament chess. He won the world championship
when he was only 24 and played on for many years before his
death in 1991.
phenomenal rise coincided with Bobby Fischer's appearance
on the international chess scene in the late fifties. Not
surprisingly, these two met many times over the board and
often the result was a sharp and highly exciting encounter.
Fischer's versatility was up against Tal's tremendous imagination.
considered a highly gifted tactician, but nobody ever thought
that he could beat the great Botvinnik in a match. But he
is a typical Tal game.
Black - Bent Larsen [B94]
Portoroz Interzonal 1958
c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4
Qa5 8.Qd2 e6 9.00 h6 10.Bh4 Be7 11.Rad1 Ne5 12.Bb3 g5 13.Bg3
Bd7 14.f4 gxf4 15.Bxf4 Nh5 16.Bxe5 Qxe5 17.Kh1 Nf6 18.Nf3
Qh5 19.e5 dxe5 20.Ne4 000 21.Ng3 Qg4 22.Nxe5 Qh4 23.Qc3+ Kb8
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