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Tal Creates Trouble In Cuban Nightclub

Jul 24, 2012, 3:18 PM 1,366 Reads 1 Comment

During the 17th Chess Olympiad in Havana Cuba in 1966, Mikhail Tal, who was playing on the Russian team, was struck over the head with a beer bottle by a jealous Cuban because he thought Tal was dancing too close to the Cuban's wife. The incident occurred in a nightclub where some of the Russian grandmaster's had gone for an evening of relaxation after a hard day of intense chess competition. The next morning the KGB were interviewing each member of the Russian team to gather information about the incident. Tal, who won the World Chess Champion in 1961 by defeating Mikhail Botvinnik, had a towel wrapped around his head. I know this is a true story because GM Boris Spassky told me about it in 1985. Spassky said that when the KGB asked him about the incident, he told the KGB he did not go to the nightclub that night. Fidel Castro was very proud to host this bi-annual world chess event and gain a feather in his political cap with the Russians. To have one of his citizen's assault one of Russia's treasured grandmasters was no doubt a major embarrassment for Castro. As a result, I would not be surprised to find out that the jealous husband is still locked up in one of the Cuban gulags !!

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