Mikhail Tal's Clockwork Queen Sacrifice - Toran vs. Tal, 1961
Mikhail Tal uses a queen sacrifice and accurate moves to win quickly!

Mikhail Tal's Clockwork Queen Sacrifice - Toran vs. Tal, 1961

NM SamCopeland

Mikhail Tal made many thrilling queen sacrifices in his career - some complex and some simple. His sac against Roman Toran Albero bears fruit almost immediately, but closer investigation reveals how precisely Tal played to force and exploit errors from Toran.

Although the game might *look* smooth for Tal, in fact he was in great trouble out of the opening. The game is a great illustration of how one can get a good position with strong opening play against a master like Tal, but the moment you let up, they will exploit your errors.


  • When you get a good opening position, don't let up - keep the pressure on!
  • It's risky for Black to make many space-gaining pawn pushes in the opening.
  • Don't stop calculating when you win the queen.

My annotations are below. Tal's own brilliant annotations are available in "Life & Games of Mikhail Tal."

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