See his Favorite Openings on Chess Boards
Mikhail Tal sometimes transliterated Mihails Tals or Mihail Tal: 9 November 1936 – 28 June 1992) was a Soviet-Latvian chess Grandmaster and the eighth World Chess Champion (from 1960 to 1961).
Widely regarded as a creative genius and the best Attacking player of all time, he played in a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability. Every game, he once said, was as inimitable and invaluable as a poem. He was often called “Misha”, a diminuitive for Mikhail, and “The magician from Riga”. Both The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games and Modern Chess Brilliancies include more games by Tal than any other player. Tal was also a highly regarded chess writer. He also holds the records for both the first and second longest unbeaten streaks in competitive chess history.
Tal won a very strong tournament at Zürich , 1959. Following the Interzonal, the top players carried on to the Candidate’s Tournament, Yugoslavia 1959. Tal showed superior form by winning with 20/28 points, ahead of Paul Keres with 18½, followed by Tigran Petrosian, Vasily Smyslov, Bobby Fischer, Svetozar Gligorić, Friðrik Ólafsson, and Pal Benko. Tal’s victory was attributed to his dominance over the lower half of the field: whilst scoring only one win and three losses versus Keres, he won all four individual games against Fischer, and took 3½ points out of 4 from each of Gligorić, Olafsson, and Benko.
In 1960, at the age of 23, Tal thoroughly defeated the relatively staid and strategic Mikhail Botvinnik in a World Championship match, held in Moscow, by 12½–8½ (six wins, two losses, and thirteen draws), making him the youngest-ever world champion (a record later broken by Garry Kasparov, who earned the title at 22). Botvinnik, who had never faced Tal before the title match began, won the return match against Tal in 1961, also held in Moscow, by 13–8 (ten wins to five, with six draws). In the period between the matches Botvinnik had thoroughly analyzed Tal’s style, and turned most of the return match’s games into slow wars of maneuver or endgames, rather than the complicated tactical melees which were Tal’s happy hunting ground. Tal’s chronic kidney problems contributed to his defeat, and his doctors in Riga advised that he should postpone the match for health reasons. Yuri Averbakh claimed that Botvinnik would agree to a postponement only if Tal was certified unfit by Moscow doctors, and that Tal then decided to play. His short reign atop the chess world made him one of the two so-called “winter kings” who interrupted Botvinnik’s long reign from 1948 to 1963 (the other was Smyslov, world champion 1957–58).
His highest Elo rating was 2705, achieved in 1980. His highest Historical Chessmetrics Rating was 2799, in September 1960. This capped his torrid stretch, which had begun in early 1957.