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Aug 8,2002

chess chess

Mikhail Tal games 1949-1962
Title: Mikhail Tal games 1949-1962
Author: Sergei Soloviov....
Language: English, Russian, German, Spanish
Pages: 431
Cover: Soft Cover
Published: 1994
Publisher: Chess Stars
Price: $23,95
ISBN: 954 8782 01 1 431
Reviewed by: Søren Søgaard
Date: 2/4 2001

This is the first review from the Publisher Chess Stars at Seagaard ChessReviews. And our first review is a book published seven (7) years ago! In 1994 the first book out of 4 volumes th all games played by Mikhail Tal was published. The first of these books contains 672 games played from 1949 until 1962. All games are annotated in Informator-style and my guess is that the most of these annotations was made by Sergei Soloviov (Soloviev in the book). I have to guess because I can't figure out how many games the International Grandmasters Khalifman, Kochiev, Kramnik, Makarichev and Sveshnikov annotated. At one of the first pages these Grandmaster are listed because they made the annotations in this first volume, but only at very few occasions I can find the annotaters name after the game! In a revised edition I like to see who annotated the games.

Lets take a closer look of what this book contains:

  • Symbols: 1 page
  • Contents: 2 pages
  • Index of openings and opponents: 9 pages
  • Games: The rest of the book!!

The games of Mikhail Tal is what it is all about in this book. No biography, no pictures - just games and Crosstables! In every game collection I feel that the Crosstables is one of the most important things, and the publishers made a very fine work to cover all events that Tal played. Even the games that could not be found is listed by the result. One thing I missed was which board he played when participating in the Olympiad - the opponent and result is listed but not the board. Now I'm talking about the Olympiad I couldn't miss that the name of one of the greatest Danish players was misspelled! In the game USSR - Denmark at Munich 1958 Tal played against the Dane Enevoldsson according to the book. This is not quite the case, because he played against Jens Enevoldsen and Tal was in fact lucky to get a draw in this game!

Before I go any further lets take a look at one of the games so you get a feeling of what this book is all about. I only give some of the annotations from the book:

Tal - Kampenus
Latvian Championship - 1958

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be2 Nbd7 5.f4 c6 [...e5!?] 6.e5 Nd5 7.Ne4 [7.Nd5!? cxd 8.Nf3 Bg7 9. h4 h5?! 10.e6 fxe 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bd3 Rh6 13.c3 ] 7...Bg7!? 8.c4 N5b6 9.h4!? 0-0 10.h5 c5?! 11.hxg6 hxg6 12.Qd3! Re8 13.e6 fxe6 14.Qg3 Nf8

15.Bh5! cxd4 [15...gxh 16.f5! Kf7 17.Ng5 Kg8 18.Nxe6! Bxe6 19.Lh6 +- ] 16.Bxg6 Bd7 17.Rh5 Bc6 18.Rg5 Nxg6 19.Rxg6 Bxe4 20.Rxg7+ Kh8 21.Qg5 1-0

The annotator of this game is...... a secret!

This game is a typical game from Tal from this period, where he was well on the way to dominate the chessworld for the next 3-4 years. After the great Tal years between 1958 and 1962 he had to struggle with a bad health for the rest of his life (and other things like to many cigarettes...). After 1962 Tal played great chess when he was not sick, but he never came back to the same high level. His stamina was not quite good enough to take him to the highest level again.

The book is well organized and I only has one thing to complain about: The Index of Openings and Index of Opponents. The layout is good enough if it was published in a bulletin, but in a book of this quality the Publisher can do better than this.

All in all this first book with Tal-games is a very fine collection of the games from the best Tal-years.

If you like the games of Mikhail Tal this book is a must buy. Apart from small mistakes that I hope the Publishers correct in the next revised edition, this is a fine piece of work. As promised by the title you get Tal games from 1949 until 1962 - and nothing else! If you are looking for a bibliography you have to look elsewhere.

Copyright c 2000 by seagaard

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