Mikhail Tal Wins Blitz Chess Brilliancy - Tal vs. Karpov, 1987
Is this the best blitz chess game of all time?

Mikhail Tal Wins Blitz Chess Brilliancy - Tal vs. Karpov, 1987

NM SamCopeland

Chess players love blitz chess, but there aren't many blitz chess games that are considered truly excellent games outside the time control. After all, in blitz chess, it is usual that many errors in both attack and defense mar the play. For example, see Mikhail Tal's "Flawed Opera Game" against Tigran Petrosian.

However, Tal's win against another former World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov, stands the test of time in any format. Tal offers first a classic exchange sacrifice on e6 to generate long-term attacking chances, and then he sends his h-pawn up the board. After Tal misses a nice win (22.Nf6!) by recapturing routinely on h5, Karpov defends superbly, centralizing his queen (23...Qe5!).

Tal pushes forward by sacrificing his rook (24.Ng3!!), and when Karpov misses the only sound defense (25...Bh6!!), Tal quickly delivers mate.

Tal vs. Karpov, 1987 must be one of the finest blitz chess games on record. Know some better blitz chess games? Post them in the comments I'm working on a playlist and need more examples!


  • See exchange sac on e6, make exchange sac on e6.
  • Don't make "routine" moves without thinking in sharp positions.
  • Centralize your queens in defense.
  • The defender's job is always harder.
  • The defender must scour every legal move for a defense. E.g. ...Bh6!!

My notes are below.

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