The Slovenian Fischer/Tal? - Minic vs. Planinc, 1975
Have you heard of Albin Planinc?

The Slovenian Fischer/Tal? - Minic vs. Planinc, 1975


Name a chess player who...

  • was born in 1944
  • died in 2008 at the age of 64
  • peaked spectacularly in the 1970s and left chess in the same decade
  • battled improperly treated mental illness for the last decades of his life

You would be almost right if you said Bobby Fischer, but Fischer was born in 1943.

All of the following is also true of GM Albin Planinc. Though he shared these rather shocking similarities with Fischer, his chess temperament was far more similar to that of Tal, and in a short career, he played many brilliancies.

Planinc burst onto the international scene in 1969 with a victory in Ljubljana in which he worked during the day and competed at night. This paved the way for more tournament invitations and in 1973 he shared victory in an IBM tournament with Petrosian, ahead of Spassky.

By 1975 (when this brilliant game against Minic was played), he was approaching the top ten in the world. Sadly it was at this time that mental illness began to have an unfortunate impact. In the latter half of the 70's, Planinc's results suffered and after 1979, he almost fully retired from chess.

Planinc's game against Minic demonstrates many lessons, but my two favorite are these:

  • Chess is a struggle. Fight always for the initiative.
  • Possibly the most deadly combination in chess is an advanced passed pawn and a weak back rank.

I've included my notes below. Minic provided excellent notes in Informant though he overestimated his defensive resources. In general, Stockfish quite rains on White's parade. 18.f4! was the only positive path out.

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