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Tal, Mikhail

Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) was a Grandmaster (1957) without being an International Master first.  Tal was not an IM when he won the 24th USSR championship in Moscow in 1957 at the age of 21.  FIDE made an exception to the regulations and awarded him the Grandmaster title without having been an IM first.  He was the 8th World chess champion in 1960-61.  At a tournament in Poland in 1974, Tal was playing White against Adamski with both players in time trouble.  Adamski's flag fell but Tal lost a piece and resigned.  At that moment, Tal's wife said, "Black has not yet made 40 moves."  A referee intervened and awarded the win to Tal since the flag falling happened before Tal resigned.  Adamski appealed but his protest was rejected.  Tal won the tournament.  Tal's parents were cousins.  In 1966 Tal was hit in the head with a bottle in a bar during the 1966 Olympiad in Havana and beaten up.  He had been flirting with a woman in the bar and her jealous boyfriend got in a fight with Tal.  He missed the first five rounds of the Olympics because of his injuries.  He won the World Blitz Championship in 1988.  In 1972-73 Tal played 86 games without a loss in international competition, winning 47 and drawing 39.  In 1973-74, he played 93 games without a loss in international competition.  He died of kidney failure in Moscow at the age of 55.

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