Tal Wins Candidates' Brilliancy - Tal vs. Smyslov, 1959
Tal is now a world championship challenger!

Tal Wins Candidates' Brilliancy - Tal vs. Smyslov, 1959

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Mikhail Tal's prize-winning victory over Vasily Smyslov in the 1959 Candidates' tournament was something of a passing of the torch. Smyslov had played three world chess championship matches against Mikhail Botvinnik in the 50's and stood as Botvinnik's greatest challenger, but with his victory in this event, Tal earned the right to battle Botvinnik in 1960.

The game itself shows Smyslov playing uncharacteristically sharply on the black side of a Caro-Kann. Tal soon offers a piece sacrifice creating dangerous threats. When Smyslov misses Tal's spectacular 19th move, it's all over.


  • Be flexible when your opponent varies in the opening. (5.d4!)
  • Play positions you are comfortable with. (9.0-0-0 and 11...Qa5?!)

My notes are below. There are lots of great lines and sacs that Tal didn't play that I couldn't squeeze into the video!

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