Checkmate in the opening #10: Chess history


Riga, Latvia 1970 Mikhail Tal is playing white The name of the black player is not known The French-Tarrasch opening … the closed variation Black strikes at the center to open it up Black strikes again but …. Mikhail needs his e5 pawn, so … … he offers up a sacrificial knight The queen begins the kingside assault with bishop and knight waiting in d-file Bishop sacrifice breaks down the pawn chain At this point many might have taken the rook But not Mikhail. Check! The little old e5 pawn is holding d6 and f6 The knight is migrating to d6 Black must remove the knight And create escape squares for the king But he does neither Blunder Game over From g7 not g5. He already controls f6 The only available move The knight delivers checkmate Now we rewind to the blunder point And make a different move Create escape squares for the king The knight from hell is gone The threat of mate has disappeared White’s gamble did not pay off Black is ahead on points

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