Invoking Mikhail Tal, "The Magician From Riga", In My Own Games
The modern godfather of Romantic chess alongside a relative patzer ie. me! Photo of Tal: Michael Salter/Twitter.

Invoking Mikhail Tal, "The Magician From Riga", In My Own Games

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Mikhail Tal, the most brilliant tactician of his generation and widely considered one of the best attacking players in chess history, was renowned for his brute force, uncompromising style, and powerful, creative play. For Tal, the initiative trumped any material deficit and while many of his most famous attacks don't hold up against modern computer analysis, grandmasters of the time were left flailing and running in fear with every move that Tal played.

Tal managed to wrest the world championship title from Botvinnik in 1960. Photo:

As a fan of the Romantic style and an absolute tragic for exciting chess, I do my utmost to replicate the spirit of Tal in my own play, sometimes at the expense of logical decision-making. This modus operandi has garnered me the nickname: "The stuntman of chess" from one disapproving IM from Sydney and has certainly both won and lost me rating points. While I have never and will never match the level that Tal reached in his playing years, the one thing I have guaranteed is that I will never grow bored of chess due to this very style.

This brings me to my blog today... I felt compelled to share two games with the community that show that even once you reach the 2500+ level in blitz, you can still play, and sometimes get away with, berserker chess! Check out this 16-mover with black where I blatantly ignored White's advances and stormed the queenside. Keep your eyes peeled for the two brilliant moves in a row that gave me a winning position.


The very next game against the same opponent was more of the same. Castling opposite sides and choosing to try my luck in the volatile Trompowsky Attack: Raptor Variation, I found myself with a unique tactical shot to end the game. 

See if you can spot the fatal blow below!

I hope if you take away anything from this blog it's the following... chess is all about fun at the end of the day, no matter what level you're playing at. Think less about the engine evaluation and start instead weaponizing it to find out which types of positions will give your human opponent the most trouble. Not only will you become a more creative player but your fulfilment over the board will be doubled!

For those who share a passion for wild, crazy positions, feel free to post links to your own favorite games below (whether they are yours or something else's)! I'm always keen to see what shenanigans my friends on have been up to at the board.