GM Mikhail Tal

Full name
Mikhail Tal
Life
Nov 9, 1936 - Jun 28, 1992 (age 55)
Place of birth
Riga, Republic of Latvia
Federation
Latvia

The “Magician from Riga”, Mikhail Tal is a Grandmaster and World Champion well known for his crazy, ridiculous attacks and sacrifices. Tal considered chess an art form and played as such, always playing for the initiative, even if that meant sacrificing material. Tal also is the record holder for most consecutive games without a loss, making two separate streaks of 86 and 95 games. The originator of the “Latvian School of Chess”, he had many students who became top players and helped his legacy to live on.

Mikhail Tal learned to play chess from his father at the age of 8. After learning how to play chess, Tal went to visit Mikhail Botvinnik to play a game against him. This game never ended up happening though, but it shows Tal’s desire to compete with the best in the world at a very young age. In 1949 he began to learn from Alexander Koblents and improved his game very quickly. After winning a strong tournament in Zurich in 1959, Tal got the opportunity to finally play Botvinnik for the World Championship. In this match he won by a score of 6 wins, 2 losses and 13 draws, thus taking the title from Botvinnik and becoming the eighth world champion. Botvinnik was able to use his ability to rematch for the title the next year and ended up winning it back. Later in his chess career, from July 1972 - April 1973, Tal played 86 consecutive games without a loss and also had a similar streak from October 1973 - October 1974 when he played 95 consecutive games without a loss. These are the two longest unbeaten streaks in chess history. In a blitz tournament in 1992 he defeated Kasparov. Mikhail Tal passed away one month later on June 28, 1992.

Best Game


Most Played Openings

White Pieces
Bogo-Indian Defense (10) : E11
Indian Game (9) : A46 E00
Pirc Defense (28) : B07 B08 B09
Four Knights Game (8) : C49 C47 C48
Reti Opening (15) : A05 A04 A09
Queen's Indian Defense (38) : E18 E14 E12 E16 E17 E19 E15
Catalan Opening (10) : E01 E00
Modern Defense (19) : A42 B06
King's Indian Attack (5) : A07
Alekhine Defense (15) : B02 B05 B04 B03
Queen's Gambit Accepted (14) : D28 D27 D21 D25 D26 D29 D22
Benoni Defense (8) : A61 A67 A75 A56
Old Indian Defense (5) : A53 A54
Petrov's Defense (17) : C42 C43
Tarrasch Defense (20) : D32 D34
Queen's Pawn Opening (4) : A40 A41
Semi-Slav Defense (17) : D47 D48 D43 D46 D45
Gruenfeld Defense (7) : D82 D85 D92 D90 D94
King's Pawn Opening (2) : C40
Scandinavian Defense (5) : B01
Vienna Game (1) : C25
Semi-Slav Defense Accepted (2) : D44
Modern Defense with 1.e4 (6) : B06
Nimzowitsch Defense Declined (1) : B00
Benko Gambit Declined (1) : A57
Hungarian Opening (7) : A00
Philidor Defense (2) : C41
Scotch Game (4) : C45 C44
King's Gambit Declined (1) : C32
Italian Game (1) : C50
Richter-Veresov Attack (4) : D01
Old Benoni Defense (2) : A43
King's Gambit Accepted (2) : C36
Giuoco Piano Game (1) : C51
Torre Attack (1) : A46
Neo-Gruenfeld Defense (1) : D73
Black Pieces
Pirc Defense (17) : B07 B08 B09
Reti Opening (32) : A09 A04 A05 A06
Semi-Slav Defense (25) : D43 D46 D45 D47 D44 D48
Queen's Pawn Opening (15) : A41 A40 D00 D02
Scotch Game (5) : C45 C44
Tarrasch Defense (14) : D34 D32
Alekhine Defense (4) : B04 B03 B02
Queen's Gambit Accepted (16) : D27 D20 D29 D25 D23 D28 D22
Modern Defense with 1.e4 (4) : B06
Catalan Opening (12) : E01 E00 E05
Petrov's Defense (9) : C42
Modern Defense with 1.d4 (8) : A40
Old Indian Defense (15) : A54 A53
Modern Defense (13) : B06 A40 A42
King's Pawn Opening (1) : C44
Semi-Slav Defense Accepted (5) : D44
Hungarian Opening (6) : A00
Dutch Defense (8) : A90 A82 A89 A97
Neo-Gruenfeld Defense (2) : D73
King's Indian Attack (7) : A07
Bogo-Indian Defense (7) : E11
Queen's Indian Defense (32) : E15 E12 E16 E19 E18 E14
Trompowsky Attack (1) : A45
Torre Attack (7) : A46 A48
Ponziani Opening (1) : C44
Italian Game (3) : C56 C57 C59
Van Geet Opening (2) : A00
Old Benoni Defense (7) : A43
Bird's Opening (2) : A02
Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack (2) : A01
Richter-Veresov Attack (1) : D01
King's Gambit Declined (1) : C32
Four Knights Game (3) : C49 C47
Bishop's Opening (3) : C28
Philidor Defense (2) : C41
Giuoco Piano Game (1) : C52

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