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The Magician from Riga

Dominik Čech | December 17, 2010 – 4:09One Comment | 694 views
The Magician from Riga

From the world champions, probably the one most likeable, enterprising and the one with most fans was Mikhail Tal, who came to the chess scene like a meteor to take the title from “the patriarch”, Mikhail Botvinnik.

Even though he lost the rematch, and thus was the Champion for only one year, he ceased not to play high level chess, in his trademarked wild and complicated style. His beautiful intuitive sacrifices are well known, even though some were flawed (and great calculators like Korchnoi and Polugaevsky made good use of that fact).

He not only played, but also wrote about chess, and some of his quotes explain his views on the royal game very well:
“There are two kinds of sacrifices: sound ones, and mine.”
“I drink, I smoke, I gamble, I chase girls – but postal chess is one vice I don’t have.”
“If playing chess were made illegal by law, I would become an outlaw.”
“You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.”
“To play for a draw, at any rate with White, is to some degree a crime against chess.”


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