Mikhail Tal

In 1960 Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) won the World Championship match against Mikhail Botvinnik in Moscow.

Results: 12.5 – 8.5 (six wins, two losses, and thirteen draws)

Tal was born 1936 in Riga/Latvia. His father was a medical doctor. He started chess when he was seven years old. When he was a child he was trained by chess master Koblenz and improved fast and it became clear that he had outstanding chess talents.


mikhail tal

Tal never cared much about his health. He drank and smoked a lot and was obsessed with chess.

He won six times the Soviet Championship.

His playing style was risky and very tactical. When he was young he produced the greatest chess games you can imagine, with unbelievable tactical sacrifices and outstanding far reaching combinations. It could not be proven over the board if a sacrifice was correct or not. Often the opponent was unable to find the right move and lost.

Tal didn't want simplicity, he wanted complications. He dragged his opponents to the limit, into lines where intuition is required to understand what is going on. He had a psychological-combinative style and created unsure and unclear positions that couldn't be understood by the use of calculation only. In these unclear positions he produced powerful moves.

His thinking process was so fast that he never came into time trouble.

He qualified to challenge Botvinnik winning the Candidates Tournament in 1959, where he has beaten, among others, Bobby Fisher four times out of four games.

There is a saying about Tal which goes like this:
"Tal puts his pieces into the center and then he sacrifices them somewhere."

Tals chess games always excited me when I started learning chess. He made a lasting impression in my mind.

His mind was incredibly fast. In 1988, aged 52, he became world champion in lightning chess.

He died 1992 in a hospital in Moscow. He and his games will be remembered.

World Chess Championship 1960
Tal versus Botvinnik - 12.5 : 8.5

Tal becomes world champion.

Replay all Chess Games from Match Mikhail Tal - Mikhail Botvinnik

Just one year later in 1961 Tal lost the title again to Botvinnik in the rematch.

Replay all Chess Games Tal - Botvinnik - Rematch





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