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Mikhail Tal vs Vladimir Akopian
"The King Returns Home" (game of the day Sep-10-2011)
Barcelona (1992), Barcelona ESP, rd 11, May-??
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack (B30)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-10-11  rangek: Great pun great game great player!
Sep-10-11  Beautiful.LMS: Tal was awesome, and I wish I could play like him!
Sep-10-11  whiteshark: Home sweet home.
Sep-10-11  Garech: Fantastic game from Tal.


Sep-10-11  MindCtrol9: Tal die the same year as evreybody knows,and even in his last days,he could show to the whole world his no camparable stile producing games unforgetable.I am really a fan of M.Tal.
Sep-10-11  sfm: It I played like Tal played here I'd expect to get mated half of the time.
Sep-10-11  BigEasy1203: What do you guys think about the line 26. ... Bxg3+ 27. hxg3 Qxg3+

This forces the white king into the e file which could be opened up with exd5 and could lead to some attacking chances?

Sep-10-11  swissfed: Tal is Tal....
Sep-10-11  MindCtrol9: <BigEasy> It's only one check with the Queen,and after that what Black is going to do?
Sep-10-11  dejavu: <swissfed> Tal is Tall!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black is busy-he has a pawn to stop,a mate threat to stop,and a rook to protect.

Not all can be done-white wins.

I like the unique "opening and closing doors (rooks)" on the long diagonal earlier.

Sep-10-11  nolanryan: Tal used to be Tal
Sep-10-11  Ladolcevita: This might not be Tal's most breathtaking game,but just as <Atking> put it,there was a delightful touch of serenity when Tal decided to put back his king on the original square in the last move. Yes,the king returns home,and our king---Tal returns too,and sometimes I feel it's hard to say whether chess had been Tal's home or the other way round,when Tal used to be tal and our magician was there...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I have an extra heart for Tal somehow. His chess is magical, and he seems like the gentleman who entertains everybody for the pleasure of it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Sep-11-11
Good pun. Tal's last competition game; he passed away weeks later. A nice win and his final move is Ke1 - the king returns home indeed!
Dec-08-12  tjipa: The final blunder seems to be 29. .. Rg7. 29. .. Qb2+ would have sufficed to hold. So what? Akopian played what he played, being Akopian. And Tal did what he did, as best as he could, in his final game.
Sep-05-13  Guitar1352: If this is Tal's last game he ever played, all I can say is I'm bedazzled. His last move really made sad as it's a novelty, and to end his chess career by putting his king on his original square just makes you want to have a minute's silence to remember such a genius.
Oct-27-13  tranquilsimplicity: Yes indeed. Great pun: "The King returns home" to Ke1. And also Tal the King of Tactical play returns 'home' for his long rest. Rest in peace.#
Apr-15-14  DrGridlock: <The final blunder seems to be 29. .. Rg7. 29. .. Qb2+ would have sufficed to hold.>

Move 29 is the key moment for black in this game. In "On the Attack," Timman writes,

"Black appears to be in good shape, with some dangerous chances against White's king, but Tal manages to find an interesting combination along the dark diagonal."

Black has three ways to close the diagonal:

(i) by placing a rook on g7

(ii) by checking on b7 with the black queen (drawing the rook back to d2 - any other move loses quickly for White), and then occupying g7 with his queen

(iii) by advancing his rook go g6, and then blocking the diagonal with a pawn on f6.

Option (i) is the most direct, but also the losing option. <Tjipa> finds one of the options (option (ii)) above. Komodo finds that the least direct option (option iii) is the best:

Mikhail Tal - Vladimir Akopian

click for larger view

1. = (0.04): 29...Rg6 30.dxe6 Rcg8 31.Ng5 f6 32.Re3 Qc1 33.Nf7+ Kg7 34.Rg3 Qh1 35.Qd5 Qxh2+ 36.Qg2 Qxg2+ 37.Kxg2 Bc6+ 38.Kf2 Rxg3 39.Kxg3 Kf8+ 40.Kf2 Rg2+ 41.Ke3 c3 42.Rc4 Bd5 43.Rxc3 Bxe6 44.Nd6 Rxa2 45.Rc7

2. = (0.25): 29...Qb2+ 30.Rd2 Qg7 31.Rg1 Qf6 32.Rxg8+ Rxg8 33.Rd4 c3 34.Rc4 Rd8 35.Qe5 Qxe5 36.Nxe5 Rxd5 37.Rxc3 Rd2+ 38.Ke3 Rxa2 39.Nxf7+ Kg7 40.Ng5 Kf6 41.Nxh7+ Kg6 42.Ng5 Rxh2 43.Nxe6 Rb2 44.Nd4 Rxb4 45.Rc5

May-05-14  ACMEKINGKRUSHER: Thanks to a friend of mine named Ray, I was able to see this FABULOUS game on the actual 22nd Anniversary of it having been played. He also had a copy of Karsten's book on TAL and his "MAGIC". From it Ray reveals first that TAL was Ill and actually offered "The YOUNGSTER" a DRAW after a few moves. He refused and TWO things resulted. 1. We have an excellent example of TAL's GENIUS. 2. Hopefully he learned a lesson in NOT MESSING WITH A LION IN IT's OWN DEN! They say a real fighter ALWAYS has one more good fight left! Guess so from these results!! I see that the then youngster is now himself a FINE player in his own rights! Wonder what his thoughts are on this game after 22 years? Thanks RAY for a really Great GAME to go over! AKK
Feb-29-16  SpiritedReposte: Sharp and poetic. It's true that fate is not without a sense of humor eh?
Jan-19-22  skyfoxxe: I can't even see the diference between Tal's last game and Shirohige's death from one piece. Descanse em paz, doce mago de Riga.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Here to say that it once again strikes me how magical it is that Tal's last chess move was Ke1. The king returns home.
Jan-15-23  LoveThatJoker: <CheckItOut> Agreed.


Mar-11-23  Clement Fraud: A masterpiece.

I am not able to 'get my head around' this level of expertise. I have no embarrassment, therefore, by admitting I've no understanding of the moves 11.Bxf6 🤔 & 12.Bxc6 🤔

I can only imagine - that once Akopian had constructed his center - Tal then judged his opponent's position as entirely dependent on its Knights (and that, without the Knights, Akopian's Bishops would be of no real use)!?

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