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Boris Spassky vs Mikhail Tal
"Riga Mortis" (game of the day Jan-28-2018)
USSR Championship 1961b (1961), Baku URS, rd 17, Dec-12
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Yugoslav Variation Exchange Line (E66)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-30-04  Calli: Tal misses a tactical point! After Spassky's 23.b3!, he can't play 23...bxa3 because 24.Qxa5 Rxa5 25.bxc4 and the pin wins. See, it can happen to anybody.
Nov-03-05  lopium: I don't really understand English here. On the game I see, I see that Tal didn't played 23...bxa3, so where is the tactical miss? Oh you mean, it was the winner move??!! Hmm. I mean 23.b3!
Apr-23-13  Everett: Some evidence to support the strength of Spassky's chess before and after becoming WC can be seen in his record vs Tal. Even when Tal was beating everyone in the late 50's, Spassky had a convincing plus score head-to-head.
Apr-07-15  A.T PhoneHome: Umm, is Spassky's winning plan Kg2, Rd1-a1-a8 or is it something else?

And it is quite compelling evidence indeed. Spassky understood Tal's tactical touches yet he didn't necessarily play in such a berzerk manner.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Calli: Tal misses a tactical point!>

Indeed! Hard to believe Tal got confused in the tactical complications!

Jan-28-18  andrewjsacks: Pun well done.
Jan-28-18  RookFile: Everybody makes mistakes. One other detail is Spassky knew a thing or two about tactics as well.
Jan-28-18  razetime: Great pun for the day! One of those rare times when Tal misses a tactical destruction point. Very nice game.
Jan-28-18  talwnbe4: Interesting, but Spassky missed
21. Rxd5 Bxd5 22. Bxb4 Qb6 23. Bxd5 Rd7 24. Bxf7+ +-3.5
Jan-28-18  CopyBlanca: Spassky one of the most underrated champions of all time.
Jan-28-18  stst: I tried to blind myself not seeing the result, and played the entire game very slowly, move by move, to see how the magician from Riga pulled it off. Towards the end, I still thought it could simply be a draw!! To my disappointment, no particular magic happened. The complications around the pieces in the a3 to 5th rank did not create any fireworks, and Spa gradually fizzled it out. Curious the record Spa-Tal, who got the upper hand by life?
Jun-04-20  carpovius: 23...Nc3 miscalculating exchanges. Sometimes happens.
Jun-05-20  SChesshevsky: <...To my disappointment, no particular magic happened...>

Hard even for Tal to produce sufficient tactical magic when threatened with mate and queen pinned on the other side of the board.

Jun-05-20  TommyChess: Tal on the decline here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: One thing about Tal's lifelong health issues - it gives his fans an excuse whenever le loses a game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Far as I know, no-one ever heard anything from Tal himself on the matter, unlike some other top players, and not only in chess.

The day I sat across the board from him, he was happy as could be: we played a few blitz games, he had a vodka bottle near to hand and he spoke with his lady friend during all this.

Jun-05-20  rwbean: Also 21. ♖xd5 as mentioned by talwnbe4, or 22. ♖xg7+ not mentioned ... would have been crushing. Looks like 17... h6 would have been equal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Tal on the decline? He played for the world championship in 1960 and 1961.

"Riga Mortis" would be permanent supine, much worse than decline. Thank goodness, ours is a play-on-words. Tal kicked some tail up into the 1990s, despite his health issues.

- 0 - 0 - 0 -

<perfidious> Did you find yourself "Tal watching" during play? Was it intimidating, or were you pumped up for the opportunity? Probably one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that one should not pass up. Did he offer you a drink?

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