Wasn't Tal considered a Romantic? He sacrificed all kinds of pieces and pawns...and became World Champion for his efforts.
I would tend to classify him as such.... maybe he was a Modern Romantic, if such a thing exists. Shirov might fall into a similar category as might Michael Basman or Alexei Federov.
I published an blog article on Tony Santasiere, in case anyone might be interested.
Tal was like a war general who -to his enemy's horror- brutally decapitated the head of his own trusted liutenant before charging forward. Fighting against an experienced general is one thing. Fighting against a mad man is another thing. Tal was a mad man.
Please! Tal loved sacrifices and he loved to hear the spectators gasp, but was also capable of winning delicate endgames and intricate positional squeezes. I believe he holds the record for the longest undefeated streak in modern chess history; hardly the work of a mad man
He actually holds the records for the TWO longest undefeated streaks in GM chess, 95 and 86 games, respectively, both with a span of just over two years in the '70s, which is much more impressive than Capablanca's eight years without a loss because Tal was not only more active but faced overall stronger opposition.
Had he not been plagued by the kidney ailments which he battled for 30 years and eventually took his life, it is hard to say what he might have achieved.
Tal changed his style around 1972. He became a safer player as evidenced by the undefeated streaks mentioned by Estragon. Of course he was still capable of fantastic sacrifices, but older Tal was different from younger Tal.
The very same is true for forever second Paul Keres. His young games contain full of energy and attacking style. Older Keres was just the opposite.
It seems that hypothesis is correct at first look. But where will we put David Bronstein, Efim Geller and few others?
You guys seemed to have forgotten about Charousek and Stein.