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Tal-Botvinnik, 1960 Paperback – August 1, 2001

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Tal-Botvinnik, 1960 + Life & Games of Mikhail Tal + My 60 Memorable Games
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scb Distributors; New edition edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888690089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888690088
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Tal did not move pieces by hand; he uses a magic wand! -- Ragozin

About the Author

Mikhail Tal became the eighth and youngest world chess champion when he defeated Mikhail Botvinnik in 1960. In 1957 he was the youngest Soviet champion and World Chess Federation international grandmaster. He died in 1982

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
An excellent production.
L. M. Jordan
All in all, "Tal-Botvinnik 1960" does deserve its reputation as the best book ever written on a World Championship Match.
With the advent of computers, it is easy for writers to produce books that contain copious amounts of analysis.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. H. Smith on September 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a really fine book. I agree with the other reviewers and will try not to just repeat what has already been said above.
There are so many things to enjoy about this book- the notes and comments by Tal are magnificent. It is very interesting to get "inside his head" as he discusses not just the moves, but moods and psychology of the players and match.
The type font and the diagrams are all first rate. In addition to the 21 games contested during the actual world championship, there are another 23 supplemental games between Tal and Botvinnik included at the end of the book.
The notes to the moves are just the right mix of words and analysis. Many modern books go overboard on analysis and skimp on the verbal commentary. This might be fine for players rated 2000 USCF and above (if you don't know what this means - trust me you aren't rated up there!), but for the vast majority of players it just sets the head spinning and provides no useful cues to help evaluate a position.
This book has enough analysis to be useful, but backs it up with much verbal commentary explaining the motives behind the magic (er, the moves) by Tal.
If you are looking to pluck down $ 20.00 or so for a great chess book, this one should be on your list of candidates!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bambulik on July 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Indeed this is a great book and Tal's comments allows a reader to get the feel for what was going on during 1960 Championship Match. You'll get 21 thoroughly annotated games.

I want to warn potential buyers who plan to get a new book directly from Amazon. The new 2003 edition does NOT have the last section "Additional Games" and contains only 212 pages. If you preview Amazon pages, the Table of Contents refers to the 2000 edition and contains that last section. So, buyers beware. I tried Amazon customer service but they have no control over what edition gets picked. In fact, it seems that 2000 edition is no longer available from Amazon.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A.J. Goldsby I on July 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is quite simply a treasure.
I used to have an older copy of this same book, but after nearly 30 years it practically disintegrated, so I purchased a new copy.
The first thing was that I was impressed by the quality of this new edition. A nice flex-cover, clear, white pages with a very clear font, diagrams ... nothing seems to have been missed. You even get a few black-and-white photographs.
The games are as carefully and lovingly annotated as any player could want. (Sometimes there is literally a comment after every move!) Additionally, you get a constant update as to the times the players took on each move. (Any serious tournament player could try to model themselves from this ... knowing when to think and when not to is important information for any competitor in rated events. Most books do NOT give you this kind of information!)
Some reasons NOT to buy this book:
# 1.) If you are a bare-bones beginner, there are many much better books out there that are probably better suited for teaching you the game. (But I do not see how anyone who seriously applied himself or herself would not improve after a careful study of this book.)
# 2.) Do not buy this book thinking casual study will turn you into this type of player. These two were the paragon of chess. Studying these games will help you improve, but statistically your chances of playing at this level of chess is very small, the odds are greater that you will win a lottery. (But the explanation ... AFTER EVERY MOVE - in some cases - will certainly be an eye-opener for most students.)
# 3.) Don't buy this book thinking it is the latest in chess theory, many of these lines are NOT being played today!!!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This Tal classic is considered one of the greatest chess books ever written, and certainly the best match book ever written. When you read this book, you feel as YOU are playing the match against Botvinnik, with all of the ups and downs that go with it. Tal splendidly explains the psychology behind each game, and often times behind individual moves. And of course the notes to the chess are great. They are both very complete and instructive.
This match was also important theoretically since in most games the Caro-Kann (when Tal is white) and the King's Indian Defense (Tal is black) are played and each side attempts to improve upon the theory of the time.
Despite the large number of draws (13/21) most of the games were extremely hard fought and are very entertaining. I also like how all of the games of the return match in 1961 are given in the back of the book. These games give a more complete picture of the Tal-Botvinnik rivalry.
A few minor quips. 1) No match table. (I wrote one in myself next to the Table of Contents) 2) The binding quality is poor and there are typographical errors, even in this new "2001" edition. 3) If you own Tal's Life and Games, there is repetition of two games.
All in all, this is an absolute must-have for any chess library. Buy it!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Paddy on August 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This English version of Tal's book "Tal-Botvinnik 1960" receives a huge amount of praise, but I seriously wonder how many of those praising it have really read it in detail, cover to cover, and tried to make sense of it, as I have. I am a huge fan of the late Mikhail Tal but, in my opinion, in its present form this book does not do him justice, since the translation by H.Russell is so poor. I have recently studied the so-called "revised and expanded" 5th edition, "edited" by Taylor Kingston.

Compared with the fourth edition, some errors have finally been corrected, such as incorrectly spelt names (e.g. Liliental-Lilienthal, Flor-Flohr, Porreka-Porreca, Lipitsky-Lipnitsky, Fogelman-Foguelman), but not all (e.g. Gligorich, which is phonetically accurate but correctly spelt without the h).

There are still some small "technical" errors, which one would have expected to have been weeded out by the 5th edition, e.g. page 61, note to Black's 9th move, 9...Qb6: "Black immediately begins to take action against the d5 square." Of course, this should be d4, not d5.

There are also still some obscure or meaningless sentences, e.g. page 18: "Capablanca's 'lighter' system and other orthodox defenses seem to have been forgotten in the archives of history." Did you understand that? After much thought, my guess is that the reference is to Capablanca's once famous "simplifying manoeuvre" (...dxc4, ...Nd5) in the orthodox Queen's Gambit.

I checked the relevant pages against a list of errors pointed out in New in Chess magazine 1997/7 and found that most of these have still not been corrected.

I should be less concerned if all the errors in the book were trivial and did not spoil the sense.
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