Tal Takes His Trainer Into A Deep, Dark Forest - Tal vs. Koblents, 1957
Mikhail Tal plays one of his most chaotic games against his trainer and longtime friend, Koblents.

Tal Takes His Trainer Into A Deep, Dark Forest - Tal vs. Koblents, 1957

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
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4

To my mind, the most typically "Tal" of Tal's games is his 1957 training game against his longtime trainer and friend, Alexander Koblents.

You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.

Tal's most famous quote perfectly encapsulates this battle which is razor-sharp from beginning to end. Of course, it's easy (ish) for me to review the game with Stockfish and pinpoint errors and opportunities missed by both players, but during the game it's impossible to play such positions perfectly, and more often than not, Tal came out on top in these struggles.

Lessons from the game:

  • Don't try to defend the Sicilian against Tal.
  • Try to defend with the most "direct" moves: 22...Ke7!, 25...Ng6!, and 33...Qxc6!

I've included my notes below. Even more so than normal, there's a LOT hiding in the variations, and a LOT of errors and brilliant moves from both players.

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