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Chess music video Tal-Botvinnik Game 9 Moscow 1960

March 3, 2010

 A video based on Game 9 of the 1960 Chess World Championship match between Mikhail Tal and Mikhail Botvinnik.  The music is by Barry Mitchell and is performed by the Locrian Ensemble.

Some comments on the game

The defining move of the game was a knight sacrifice by white on move 11. In this book about the match Tal writes “Before the ninth game, we nevertheless evaluated the knight sacrifice; after finding the correct continuation, Black would have a difficult defense and to find the correct plan of defense would be in itself no easy problem. Here we actually made a psychological blunder…..Our miscalculation was that this time we have somewhat underestimated the phenomenol analytical powers of Botvinnik, even assuming that this sacrifice would be unexpected. But from the first moves after the sacrifice, the very fact that Botvinnik was playing rather quickly convinced me that my opponent had carefully analysed the position which had arisen after the sacrifice.”

A key move in Botvinnik’s strategy was 16…g7-g6! (the exclamation mark is Tal’s) which Botvinnik pondered for 26 minutes. Another plausible continuation for black on move 16 is featured in the video. This variation is in black and white. I have attempted to show something of what Botvinnik was thinking about before he made this vital 16th move. The variation illustrated is given by Tal in his commentary on the game in his book Tal-Botvinnik 1960.

Another important point in the game is at Tal’s move 21 where 21 Qd3-g3 is played, a move which Tal refers to as “Unquestionably, the weakest move of the match”. After this move a new phase of the game begins and I’ve tried to reflect this in the video.

The game ends with a victory for Botvinnik, his second of the match. Tal had so far won three games and so was still a point ahead.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 13, 2012 4:58 am

    What a brilliant concept – and execution!
    And it was.
    I felt like I was watching a movie of a dance, and the music was tense.

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