Mikhail Nekhemyevich Tal is the 8th World Chess Champion (9th November 1936 to 28th June 1992) and is considered to be a creative genius and one of the best players of all time. He is certainly a legendary "Kings crusher" and a model for FIDE CM Kingscrusher and long-time personal chess hero.
In addition to Tal's playing style, the level of opening theory in Tal's day is far less than today, so one can more easily sometimes ascertain the key strategies and plans of the players at the time with less impact of high-level computer preparation.
Mikhail Tal played in an attacking and daring combinatory style. And he is also very well known for improvisation and being an unpredictable opponent. He had a very wide opening repertoire and could play 1. e4 1. d4 1. Nf3 and 1. c4 quite often on the first move but mainly he was a 1.e4 player which led to sharper tactical games with often fantastic sacrifices and attacking chess. He is known as the "Magician from Riga" and many chess books feature his brilliant games often more than any other player.
This course aims to try and learn key attacking lessons so that magic can "rub off" onto enthusiastic chess players who wish to learn in more depth the philosophies and principles of attacking chess.
It also reveals great insights into how Tal would use complexity as a weapon against opponents in its own right. Some of the more famous Tal Quotations allude to this aspect of his chess such as:
“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.”
- Mikhail Tal
“There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones, and mine.”
- Mikhail Tal
“Of course, errors are not good for a chess game, but errors are unavoidable and in any case, a game without errors, or as they say 'flawless game' is colorless.”
- Mikhail Tal
Also sometimes the position and its complexities can overwhelm Tal himself and there is a famous story which Tal recalls which shows how the complexity reduced in Tal's mind when he took his mind off directly the chess :
“I do not know from what associations the hippopotamus got into the chessboard, but although the spectators were convinced that I was continuing to study the position, I, despite my humanitarian education, was trying at this time to work out: just how WOULD you drag a hippopotamus out of the marsh? I remember how jacks figured in my thoughts, as well as levers, helicopters, and even a rope ladder. After lengthy consideration, I admitted defeat as an engineer, and thought spitefully to myself: "Well, just let it drown!" And suddenly the hippopotamus disappeared. Went right off the chessboard just as he had come on... of his own accord! And straightaway the position did not appear to be so complicated.”
- Mikhail Tal
Tal's tolerance for complexity and using it as a weapon of choice against opponents is almost like the anti-engineering principle where KISS (Keep it simple and sweet) is a major strategy from a general engineering perspective. Tal's moves and the positions they create are often the opposite of the KISS principle and in this respect, there is some correlation with the often mysterious play of a world champion before him - Emanual Lasker. Tal would create positions that are very hard to read and comprehend. Tal's strategies essentially are based on the opponent as a flawed human being who usually cannot play accurately in a sustained way when faced with huge complications on the chessboard and perhaps also time pressure as well. This course makes the case for the maximisation of winning probability as being one of the major underlying goals of Tal's play and even Tal himself does not always consider his sacrifices "correct" in a technical sense.
In Kingscrusher's best-selling "The Complete Guide to Chess Tactics" there is a philosophy that players good tactically are making up for their limitations as human beings through for example prioritising forcing moves that are easier to calculate. Tal's game strategy is also arguably based on the limitations of human beings in terms of having hard complex problems to solve and in a relentless fashion. This human perspective creates quite often highly optimistic and daring approaches, and amazing sacrifices which even modern-day computers have a hard time trying to comprehend, let alone a poor human being facing Tal and his famous penetrating stare.