Yukhtman's Goering of Tal

Yukhtman's Goering of Tal‎

NM GreenLaser
12 | Chess Players

The world famous Mihail Tal was born in Latvia November 9, 1936. By the time he died June 28, 1992 he was celebrated for his achievements, style, and personality. On his way to winning the World Championship from Mikhail Botvinnik in 1960, he had already won the Latvian Junior Championship in 1950, the Latvian Championship in 1953, the USSR Championship in 1957 and in 1958, the Potoroz Interzonal in 1958, and the Candidates Tournament in 1959.

At about the same time, Jacob Yuchtman (Yakov Yukhtman) was on the scene. He was born in Voronezh, Russia January 14, 1935. Due to World War II, he lived in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where he learned chess at the age of 13. In 1951, he resided in Odessa, Ukraine. He won the Ukrainian Championship in 1953. In 1959, he scored 8.5 out of 19 in the USSR Championship. Not long after, he was not permitted by to play for three years. He won the Odessa Championship in 1964, 1967, and 1969. He moved to Israel in 1972 and won the national championship there. He moved to the United States and I met him at the Game Room in New York. He died January 26, 1985.

Yukhtman was a strong master without an international title. He was limited by the Soviet authorities due to his individualism on top of being Jewish. In an article in Chess Life in December 1998, Grandmaster Leonid Shamkovich described Yukhtman as able to give odds of five minutes to one not only to masters, but even numerous grandmasters. I met Shamkovich after playing (losing) to Roman Dzindzichashvili when Shamkovich joined in the post mortem (which was also lost). I also played blitz with Yukhtman, not at 5 to 1, but at 6-1.5.

A relatively small number or Yukhman's games are available. The following is his win against Tal. It was crucial in the final score of the 26th Soviet Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia 1959. Tigran V. Petrosian came in first with 13.5/19. Tal and Boris Spassky were next with 12.5. Had Tal defeated Yukhtman in round 2, he would have scored 13.5. Yukhtman's game with Spassky in round 11 was a draw. However, it was declared a draw by the arbiter after being adjourned and Yukhtman's position was better. There had been a three times repetition, but no draw at the time. If Yukhtman would have won, Tal would have had clear second, ahead of Spassky. The extra half point for Yukhtman would have raised him to tie for 12th place with Gufeld and Bronstein. In this game, Yukhtman opens with the move order of the Danish Gambit (C21) and shifts to the Goering Gambit (C44).

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