Mikhail Tal's Fantastic Bishop-Pair King Hunt - Botterill vs. Tal, 1973
Is this Mikhail Tal's prettiest king hunt?

Mikhail Tal's Fantastic Bishop-Pair King Hunt - Botterill vs. Tal, 1973

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
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11

Mikhail Tal conducted many fine king hunts, but possibly his prettiest conclusion was against the Englishman George Botterill.

In fact, Tal was in trouble early on in a Sicilian Defense, but then he seized a big advantage and captured a pawn on b2. Extracting his rook from b2 was not easy though and with a misstep, he ended up losing the exchange.

Botterill drifted a bit in trying to convert his extra exchange and suddenly Tal's bishops created spectacular mating threats. The final series of bishop moves driving the king up the board and into a delightful set of checkmates is particularly pleasing.

Lessons:

  • Adapt your plans to new positions.
  • Even Mikhail Tal has to be accurate when capturing poisoned pawns.
  • Opportunities like Bf6! are fleeting and must be seized.

My brief notes are below.

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