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Mikhail Tal vs David Bronstein
USSR Championship (1959), Tbilisi URS, rd 12, Jan-28
Spanish Game: Closed. Borisenko Variation (C96)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-04-04  perplex: E-file is opened and black loses because his e7 bishop was a target... Also White abandons a bishop pair to weaken queenside Black pawns. Very slight difference of development-or tempi costs a game. How can I reach such sophisticated level of play...?
Mar-04-04  perplex: The most difficult thing in chess is, in my opinion, to find out what plan will be the most efficient and everlasting in spite of defensice manuevre of the opponent. In one game many imbalances arise, but it is hard to distinguish which one I should pick up and breed it till end when I play a positional chess. I admire Tal's games and play since they are so creative and active.Even though there are many books about attacking in chess, I think one should have a flair to conduct such style...
May-14-04  BeautyInChess: Nice. Positional fineness as a result of activity generated by tactics. Each exchange and moves like 28. ♗h6+ cause positional problems for black and generate a good position for white. Amazing.
Jun-10-04  Hinchliffe: After whites move 28 Bronstein refutes the capture for fear of what exactly? Can't quite puzzle out the best continuation ..suggestions anyone please?

28.Bh6+ - KxB. 29 Ktxf6+ - Kg7.
30.KtxRd8 - RxKt. 31.??

Jun-10-04  acirce: <Hinchliffe> I agree, while White is certainly better after 31. Ra5 it is far from over while White soon gets a virtually won position in the game.
Jun-10-04  Hinchliffe: <acirce> Hi my Swedish friend. I hope your tournament went well in Gothenburg. Yes 31.Ra5 looked the best continuation to me too. I think as you suggest that it leads to strong end game position.Tal is of course the master at presenting these conundrums over the board - that for me is one of the many pleasures I derive from playing through his games. By the way <acirce> do you live and play in Stockholm if so which club(if any) do you belong too. Perhaps we could meet there or in a bar and play a little chess.Take care.
Jun-10-04  acirce: <Hinchliffe> No I live in UmeĆ„, quite a bit from Stockholm. My club's homepage is
Jun-10-04  Hinchliffe: <acirce> Pity. Oh well if you are ever in Stockholm.... Went to your club site my Swedish is poor so I will have to get some help with the translating. The opening graphic is great.
Jun-10-04  drukenknight: what is wrong w/ 38...Rg6?
Jun-11-04  Jiggaman1212: how do i get to play
Jun-11-04  PawnBlock: Hinchliffe, I was thinking 31. Rad1 (a healthy pin) Kf7 32. Re5 but I'm not sure of that continuation after 32. . . Nc7. Perhaps (if that's the line) Tal figured the R could overcome the minors and scoop up the Q-side pawns (especially since they can't be defended by the B).

Looked also at 28. . .Kxh6 29.Nc6 Rd7 30.Rad1 Rc7 31.Rxd5 Rxc6 32.Rxb5 Rc8 33. Rxb3(or Rb7 Bf6 Rxd8 Rxd8 Rxb3) gives W 2 conected passers vs. a B.

Either of these scenario's might be winning in a masters hands.

Jun-11-04  Hinchliffe: <drukenknight> what is wrong with 38...Rg6? How about 39.Rxh7 or 39.h4xg5 ....or 39.R - B5 ....I know you of old drukenknight and somewhere I guess I am missing the point...O.K. lay it on me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <drukenknight> What is wrong with 38...Rg6? It loses to 39. h4xg5! fxg5 40. Bxg5 h6 41. Bh4 Kf5 42. B4 Be3 43. Rf7+ Ke4 44. f5 Rc6 45. Be1 h5 46. b5 Rc8 47. Re7+ Kd3 48. f6 Rf8 49. f7 Bh6 50. b6 Be3 51. Bf2! Bf4 52. Rd7+ Kxc3 53. Bc5!

<Hinchliffe> You are not missing anything, but rest assured <drukenknight> won't take any analysis on face value and will make you work to prove your analysis accurate (and I mean that as a sincere compliment to drukenknight's tenacity and inquisitiveness in not taking anything for granted regarding analysis of Chess games he finds interesting).

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Moves 27. Bxh3! through 32. Rxb5 make for an interesting combination, giving Black the choice of parrying a "knight fork," a "pin" or a mate threat.

Black could not avoid all three threats and still maintain drawing chances, and so had to pick the least harmful of the three continuations. As it turns out he made the wrong choice. He should have accepted the knight fork as the least dangerous option (offering the best drawing chances). Instead he lost too many pawns trying to parry all three threats,

After 28. Bh6+,
Black to his credit avoided the reply 28...Kf3?? 29. Ng4+ Kf5 30. Re5#, since falling for this quick mate would have been the most embarassing option.

However, Black should have accepted the knight fork "threat" by taking the "poisoned" Bishop with 28...Kxh6!? 29. Nxf7+ Kg7 30. Nxd8 Rxd8 31. Ra5 Rd7 32. Rxb5 Nf4 33. Kf1 Kf6 34. Rxb3 Kf7 35. Rb6. And although White would have had a small but clear advantage here, pressing for a win wouldn't have been easy for Whtie. So Black missed his best chances of swindling a draw by not accepting the less harmful knight fork continuation.

White avoids the pin threat with 28...Kg8, but after 29. Nc6! Rc8 30. Rd1 Rxc6 31. Nxd5 f6 White has won too much material for Black to survive. Note that 31...f6 was played to prevent the threatened 32. R(d)e5!, with a winning pin. However after 31...f6 32. Rxb5!, white has a winning advantage anyway. Black could have tried 31...f5, but after 32. Rxb5! he is not much better off than in the game continuation, and still has a lost position.

So although White navigates these treacherous waters with some success in avoiding all three threats, he pays too high a price in lost material (i.e. pawns gobbled up by White) by not simply accepting the least dangerous knight fork threat. In essence, he wins all the battles but loses the war.

I have included the sequence from moves 27-32 in my "pinning" game collection. This is because it is the "threat of the pin" (32. Re5 is the threat) after 31. Rxd5 that forces Black to play either 31...f6 or 31...f5, and in-turn allows White to gain a decisive advantage (eating up the loose Black Queenside pawns).

Jul-29-06  makaveli52: according to Tal's book black was under severe time pressure after the 25th move. He also claims that black would have good drawing chances after Kxh6. Bronstein played Kg8 because he overlooked Rad1.
Sep-04-06  talisman: (before this game)Bronstein was of the opinion that he had solved Tal's style:"he plays quickly because he does not like strategical innovations in the opening.he likes to select a practical opening to start a correct this way he conserves his energy".-J. Hajtun.
Jun-07-09  istanbulstorm: 17.Ng5 was for Nxe6, but then Tal did not play this and i did not see the reason. After 17..c5 18.b3 ( witrh the idea NxB, or direct Nxe6 was better. What was the reason he has moved back 21.Nf3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <istanbulstorm: 17.Ng5 was for Nxe6, but then Tal did not play this and i did not see the reason. After 17..c5 18.b3 ( witrh the idea NxB, or direct Nxe6 was better. What was the reason he has moved back 21.Nf3?>

Tal after 17....c4: <Now it is unfavorable for White to exchange on e6, since his forces will be tied to the defence of f2. If White attempts to play for an attack by 18. Qf3, then Black replies 18....h6 19. Nxe6 fxe6, and White is unable to exploit the weakening of the enemy king's position. Even such a strong measure as 20. Ng4, seeking something other than perpetual check after 20....Nxg4 21. Qxg4 Qxf2+ 22. Kh1 Qxc2, gets nowhere after the simple 20....h5. For the time being, therefore White turns to play on the queenside.>

See also Fischer vs Kholmov, 1965 for an example of Nxe6 failing in a similar position.

Aug-10-12  Ghuzultyy: Very neat play by Tal
Jan-23-13  talisman: shoulda took the bishop!
Oct-13-16  Dave12: he is got a good student
Aronian vs Gelfand, 2013
Premium Chessgames Member
  MSteen: Just played over this game from Michael Stean's "Simple Chess." His analysis is that d5 is the critical outpost for the entire game. Once Bronstein moves his knight out of the action with 20....Na5, he gives Tal the opportunity for 22. Nd5, and everything falls apart for Black from there. Interesting analysis.
Feb-22-19  WDenayer: <Hinchliffe> Why don't you go to the Wasa chessclub in Stockholm? Close to Odenplan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Example Game #4 of Outpost theme in Stean's Simple chess

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