A Memorable Game

By Michael Goeller

I was visiting with FM Steve Stoyko, looking through some books, and he came upon an old yellowed scoresheet tucked away among his chess materials. Steve was very pleased to find it and told me it was an interesting game. "I sacced a piece against Tal," he said as he handed it to me. It is a good game, and an impressive performance by both players.

GM Mikhail Tal - FM Steve Stoyko [E60]

Simultaneous Exhibition/Allied Chemical, NJ USA 1990


 

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O c6 7. b3 Bf5 8. Bb2 a5 9. Nh4 Bg4 10. h3 Bc8 11. Nc3 Nfd7 12. Nf3 Re8 13. Qd2 Nb6 14. e4 a4 15. Rad1 axb3 16. axb3 Na6 17. Rfe1 c5 18. d5

18. e5!?

 

18... Nb4 19. e5 Bf5! 20. Ne4 Ra2! 21. Ra1

 










21... Rxb2! 22. Qxb2 Nd3 23. Qd2 Nxe1 24. Rxe1 Bxe4 25. Rxe4 dxe5 26. Nxe5 Nc8= 27. h4!? Nd6 28. Re1 Qb6 29. Qd3 Qa5 30. Nf3 Nf5 31. Re2 Bd4!? 32. Kh2!?

32. g4! Qa1+ 33. Kh2 Ng7 (33... Nxh4? 34. Nxh4 Be5+ 35. Kh3) (33... Nh6 34. Nxd4 cxd4) 34. Nxd4 Qxd4 35. Qxd4 cxd4 36. Rd2 e5 37. dxe6 Nxe6 38. Bxb7 Nc5 39. Bc6 Rc8 40. Bd5 Nxb3 41. Rd3 Rb8 42. g5 should favor White.

 

32... Qc7 33. Ra2










33... Bxf2!

Not many players can say they once sacced a piece against Tal. In exchange for the Bishop, Black gets all of his pieces active, exposes the White king, and will likely end up winning three full pawns for it.

 

34. Rxf2 Qxg3+ 35. Kg1 Ra8 36. Ne1 Qxh4 37. Qc3! Nd4 38. d6

38. b4!? cxb4 39. Qxb4 Ra1 40. Qc3

 

38... exd6 39. Bd5 Qg4+ 40. Kf1 Nf5 41. Qf3 Qg5?

Black appears to stand well in the endgame after 41... Qxf3 42. Rxf3 Ra1

 

42. Bxf7+! Kh8

42... Kxf7? 43. Qxb7+

 

43. Qc3+ Nd4 44. Bd5 Qe5 45. Bxb7 Re8 46. Nf3 Qg7 47. Bd5 Nf5 48. Qxg7+ Kxg7 49. Ng5 Re3 50. Ra2!?

Tal plays for the attack in a difficult ending. But this allows Black to get his pawns rolling. It appears best to try to eliminate the Rookswith 50. Rf3.

 

50... h6 51. Nf3 g5 52. Ra7+ Kf6 53. Rf7+ Kg6 54. Rb7 g4! 55. Nd2 h5 56. Ne4 h4 57. Rf7 Ng3+! 58. Nxg3 Rxg3 59. Rd7 Rxb3 60. Rxd6+ Kf5

Suddenly Black 's pawns are looking quite menacing, supported as they are by the King and Rook. White has to play for the draw.

 

61. Rc6 Kf4 62. Rxc5 h3 63. Rb5 Rc3 64. c5?










White likely must play instead 64. Rb1=

 

64... g3

It is possible that Black missed a win by 64... Rc1+! 65. Ke2 g3 66. Rb4+ (66. Kd2 Ra1 67. Rb8 g2) 66... Ke5

 

65. Rb4+ Ke5 66. Rc4 Ra3 67. Rc1 Kxd5 68. c6 Rf3+

68... Ra8 69. c7 Rc8 70. Kg1 Ke4! 71. Rc4+=

 

69. Kg1 Rf8 70. c7 Rc8 71. Rc3 h2+ 72. Kh1=

1/2-1/2

[Michael Goeller]

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July 15, 2008