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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Mikhail Tal
"Tricks are for KIDs" (game of the day Oct-25-2008)
Botvinnik - Tal World Championship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 6, Mar-26
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Classical Main Line (E69)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <scorpion2a> To summarize from Tal's book on the 1960 World Championship match (see the full quote by <dragon40> on p.1, Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960) Tal indicated that he thought that White had nothing better than 25.Bxf3 Bxb1 26.Rxb1 Qc2 27.Rc1 Qb2 28.Rb1 and a draw by repetition and that Botvinnik shared that opinion. At this point in the match Botvinnik was down a point and, with the White pieces and a piece up (for 3 pawns) in an unclear position probably felt that he could (and needed to) do better than a draw by repetition. As Tal said "The psychological aspect of this [the exchange of queens] is fully understandable: having an extra piece and being under attack, it is always more pleasant to get rid of your opponent's Queen."

And as <dragon40> indicated in his quote from the book, a few days after the game GM Salo Flohr showed that after 25.Bxf3 Bxb1 26.Rxb1 Qc2 instead of 27.Rc1 White has 27.Be4 so that if 27...Rxe4 28.Nxe4. If instead 27...Be5+ as you suggested (note: I corrected your move numbering, you were off by one move), then instead of 28.f4 Bxf4+ White has 28.Kg2. Houdini 1.5a then indicates that Black's best is 28...Rxe4 29.Nxe4 Qxb1 30.Nxd6 (this IS possible even though the DSB is "defending" the pawn) 30...Bxd6 31.Qe6+ Kg7 32.Qd7+ Kg8 33.Qxc8+ Bf8 34.Qe6+ Kg7 35.Bc3+ Kh6 36.d6 Qf5 (otherwise Black will have to give up his bishop even sooner to prevent the d-pawn from queening) 37.Qxf5 gxf5 38.Be5 Kg5 39.d7 Be7 40.Bc7, evaluating the resulting position at [+4.43], d=26 since Black will have to give up his bishop for White's new queen, with an easy win for White. And the entire continuation looks pretty much forced.

click for larger view

But, yes this game was just the Tal show since neither player likely saw this continuation.

Dec-14-12  fokers13: <AylerKupp> your first line(28.Nxe4) leads to an easily drawn fair game of DSB where white eventually attains an extra pawn he can make no use of.
Apr-05-13  adrboliveira: When we see matches masters of that time, the most refutable is the need of computers. Perhaps only to study but never disprove the talents, not even put in doubt his brilliant moves.
Jun-06-14  zydeco: Tal notes that he started to consider ideas for the knight sacrifice at about move 14 -- although at that point it was "still hazy."

If 23.a3 Qb3 24.Bxa7 Be5 25.Bf3 Tal planned to sacrifice his queen with 25.....b6 26.Qd1 Qxb2 27.Ra2 Rxc3 28.Rxb2 Rxc1 and if 29.Qd2 Be4! is killing while if 29.Qe2 R8c3 gives black a strong attack.

Tal thought that the game should have continued 23....Be5 24.f3 Qxb2 25.Nd1 Qd4 26.Rxc4 Rxc4 27.Rc1 Rxc1 28.Bxc1 Qxd5 29.Bf1 with a complicated game.

23....Qxb2 is basically a draw offer since after 24.Rab1 f3 25.Bxf3 Bxb1 26.Rxb1 Qc2 white can take a draw by repetition with 27.Rc1. Botvinnik didn't like it because he thought black had 27....Qf5 which doesn't work, and both players missed Flohr's idea of 27.Be4 Rxe4 28.Nxe4 Qxc1 29.Nxd6 Rf8 30.Qe6+ Kh8 31.Nf7+ when white's better in the endgame.

Tal says that his technique is a bit sloppy. He should have played 37....Kg7 and missed white's idea of 39.Ra3 and if 39....Bxe2 40.Re3+.

Sep-04-14  James Tal: Nice Game....
Dec-29-14  DrGridlock: <Analysis by Rybka reveals that Be5 is NOT Black's best continuation in this line at move 24.

click for larger view
Black's best continuation is Ra8. This is an option I have never before seen mentioned or analyzed. I'll post Rybka's analysis later, but leave as an open challenge to others to find White's best response in this line. Here are the ground rules - no computers. Try to find White's response "over the board." There is only one reply which maintains an advantage for White.>

25 Nb5 is White's only move to maintain an advantage in the 23 a3 variation above.

Komodo gives:

1. ± (1.14):
25.Nb5 Rxc1
26.Rxc1 f3
27.Bxf3 Be5+
28.Kg2 Bd3
29.Qe3 Qxb5
30.Bd4 Be2
31.Bxe5 Bxf3+
32.Qxf3 dxe5
33.Rc2 Qd7
34.d6 Qxd6
35.Qxb7 Rf8
36.Rc8 Rxc8
37.Qxc8+ Kg7
38.Qb7+ Kh6
39.b4 Qd2
40.Qf3 Qg5+

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The *real* game of the century.
Dec-31-14  RookFile: Spectacular play by Tal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Honza Cervenka: <erniecohen> I am not a native English speaker and so I am hardly the most competent person to define terminology in English. But as I understand it, the term "blunder" is stronger and harsher expression than some of its synonyms like "mistake" or "error", not to say "inaccuracy".>

Absolutely correct. Blunder almost implies that "you should have seen it! What were you thinking??"

Feb-20-15  offramp: A great game. It taught me that piece activity, and having the initiative, are crucial chess factors. They also make the game more fun to play.
Feb-20-15  Mating Net: <piece activity, and having the initiative are crucial chess factors.> So undeniably true <offramp> the psychological edge grows exponentially from a long lasting initiative.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: Great pun, referencing both the opening and botvinnik 's disparagement of tal's playing style. Magic tricks, as it turned out!
Dec-21-15  yurikvelo:

this game multiPV

Apr-22-16  Sally Simpson: Five pages and no one appears to have mentioned one very important aspect of this game.

Trivial Pursuit Question No.162.

Which World Championship game was moved to a back room away from the spectators.

"Fischer - Spassky, Game 3 1972."

Wrong. That game was played in a quiet room with no spectators.

This game was actually moved whilst it was still in progress to another room.

The controllers had enough of trying to quieten the spectators whilst this game was progress so here, after White played 28.Kg1

click for larger view

They moved the players, the pieces, the board and clocks into a closed room and the game continued on from there.

One can only imagine the noise level for such drastic action to be taken and this must have had an affect on the players. Tal says the electric warning panel had been flashing 'Silence' since his Knight sac back at move 21.

Here, with Black to play.

click for larger view

A few here have commented that 28...Rxc3 wins outright.

"Tal missed 28. ... Rxc3! and ... Rd1 to follow, which would have finished the game off immediately. Even the greatest tactician in history missed a few now and then!"

Agreed and Tal accepts he missed it but adds "there was more than chess reasons for this." and then tells us the controllers carried out their threat to move the game off stage. (which does indicate the noise level up to move 28 had been increasing.)

Instead of 28...Bf4 the crowd obviously saw 28...Rxc3 and erupted. The game at this point was taken off stage.

Tal continues that he is not used 'to playing in Nomadic conditions.' and being moved in the heat of the battle.

In 'When Pieces Come Alive.'

Tals adds:

"Chess players know how a smallest annoying thing can totally ruin their game. And such a change in the conditions could upset anyone.

When I sat at the board again, I couldn’t remember the variant I calculated. I had to begin anew and, of course, overlooked a spectacular strike that led to the immediate victory.

Fearing to miss something, I played more simply and prosaically. Thankfully, that move also won."

Of course the computers have been in and mauled this game to shreds right to the end but how does one program in noise levels (shout at it when it is calculating) or 'small annoying things' (put a Fritz icon on a Rybka start up program...)

So all computer analysis should be ignored. There were external factors that cannot possibly be acknowledged by a glorified pocket calculator.

And No. This enlightening post is not me having my monthly rant v computers it is about....

Conspiracy Theory Number 289.

Botvinnik is 1-0 down in a world title match. Tal has a clear cut winning combination on the board when suddenly the arbiter stops the clock and carries away the board.... Tal misses the combination.

C'mon guys. This is better than 1948 and all that jazz. This is dynamite.

Apr-22-16  Howard: It's a fairly well-known fact that Game 6 had to be, indeed, moved to another room because the spectators couldn't control themselves.

But, when something like that happens in the United States, the earth will stop rotating on its axis !

Apr-22-16  Sally Simpson: Hi Howard,

It was not mentioned in the previous pages. So perhaps not too well known. Some think chess history became irrelevant the day Fritz 1 was released.

Someone should have brought it up when the words 'blunder' and 'miscalculated' popped up.

It's not an excuse for missing a shot you hear everyday. Someone moved the board and pieces to another room.

Noisy crowds can put you off.

How about everyone in the audience shouting out the best move 'Take the Rook' and yet player missed it.

A Ebralidze vs Ragozin, 1937 (kibitz #3)


Feb-12-17  Twocolors: A nice lecture and analyses of this game by grandmaster Seirawan can be found here.
Feb-15-17  Coutinho: How about 28... Rd1?
Feb-15-17  Sally Simpson: "How about 28... Rd1"

click for larger view

White can play 29.Rxd1 exd1=Q 30.Nxd1.

The moves missed possibly due to circumstances mentioned above was 28...Rxc3 and then Rd1.

May-30-17  User not found: This is some game!! I liked 32..Bh2+! for black here..

click for larger view

33.KxB ..Rxf1. 34.Nc3 (f3 loses) ..Rxf2+. 35.Kg1 ..Rg2+ 36.kf1 ..Bf3!

click for larger view

The knight on c3 is in zugzwang really, it's protecting the d5 pawn and the b3 rook is protecting the knight, whites getting tied up in knots.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Sally Simpson: They moved the players, the pieces, the board and clocks into a closed room and the game continued on from there.

One can only imagine the noise level for such drastic action to be taken and this must have had an affect on the players. Tal says the electric warning panel had been flashing 'Silence' since his Knight sac back at move 21.>

Indeed, according to the front page news story <Silence is a Tal Order> published in the <Portoroz People's Tribune>, "at least three future grandmasters were born virtually unnoticed amidst the general cacophony, their births no doubt precipitated by the extreme excitement".

Oct-25-19  banksy98: This game 6 is particularly famous, thanks to a speculative knight sacrifice by Tal on move 21. The audience became so excited that the game was moved to a back room due to the noise. Definitely one of my favorite games.
May-13-20  joddon: only Tal could see 21...Nf4....that's why they called him the magician from Riga....pulls these moves like a rabbit out of a hat.....sacrificing at that level of competition aint easy.
Jun-06-20  Chesgambit: 23. a3! allow Bxa7
Mar-21-22  SonnyGIII: This is cooked to perfection.
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