Fischer On Tal

 

09e7b91db9c3f0ee72aa8cb28d162543Mikhail Tal 

 

 

Robert Fischer placed Mikhail Tal on his list of the best ten (greatest) players of all time; all members of this list can be found on this site.  Fischer’s views are below:

 

 

Mikhail Tal

In Tal’s game with Smyslov in the 1959 Candidates’ Tournament, he gave away a Bishop for no recompense, just to develop an attacking formation, and eventually won the game. It was one of the most unusual sacrifices I had ever seen, and typical of the daring that characterizes this 25-year-old Russian’s play.

He is always on the look-out for some such spectacular sacrifice. He is not so much interested in who has the better game, or in the essential soundness of his own game, but in finding that one shot, that dramatic break-through that will give him the win.

In spite of Spassky’s irregularities, he is, in fact, a sounder player than Tal, but Tal is more brilliant. Tal appears to have no respect for his opponents, and frightens almost every player he opposes. In honesty, I must say I never felt frightened by Tal, and even after losing four games in a row to him I still consider that his play was unsound.

Chess writers are fond of talking about the “rise and fall of Tal” but that view isn’t realistic. He has neither risen so high nor fallen so low as they claim. His story isn’t finished yet, and what he’ll do in the future no one can tell.

 

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