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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Tolush and Tal In a Dogfight

     One of the more interesting news stories of 1959 was that of US Marine Corps pilot Lieutenant Colonel William Rankin (October 16, 1920 – July 6, 2009), a veteran of WWII and Korea. He was flying an F-8 Crusader jet fighter over a cumulonimbus cloud when the engine failed, forcing him to eject and parachute into the cloud On July 26, 1959. 
     Rankin was flying from Naval Air Station South Weymouth, Massachusetts to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. He climbed over a thunderhead that peaked at 45,000 feet then at 47,000 feet and at 629 miles per hour (mach 0.82) he heard a loud bump and rumble from the engine. The engine stopped, and a fire warning light flashed. He pulled the lever to deploy auxiliary power, and it broke off in his hand. 
     Though not wearing a pressure suit, at 6:00 pm he ejected into the 58 degree below zero atmosphere and suffered immediate frostbite and decompression caused his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth to bleed. His abdomen swelled severely, but he managed to use his emergency oxygen supply. 
     Five minutes after he abandoned the plane, his parachute had not opened. While in the upper regions of the thunderstorm, with near-zero visibility, the parachute opened prematurely instead of at 10,000 feet because the storm had affected the parachute's barometric switch and caused it to open. 
     After ten minutes, Rankin was still aloft, carried by updrafts and getting hit by hailstones. Violent spinning and pounding caused him to vomit. Lightning appeared, which he described as blue blades several feet thick, and thunder that he could feel. The rain forced him to hold his breath to keep from drowning. One lightning bolt lit up the parachute, making Rankin believe he had died. 
    Eventually conditions calmed and he descended into a forest. His watch read 6:40 pm. It had been 40 minutes since he had ejected. He searched for help and eventually was admitted into a hospital at Ahoskie, North Carolina. He suffered from frostbite, welts, bruises, and severe decompression sickness. He is the only person to have survived a fall through a cumulonimbus cloud. 
     On January 4, Bobby Fischer, age 15 and rated 2665, again won the US Championship with 6 wins and 5 draws. His prize was $1,000. On October 31, 1959, Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) won the Candidates Tournament at Bled. 
     Stories abounded about how Tal tried to unnerve his opponents by staring at them while they were thinking causing some players to think he was trying to hypnotize them. A couple of Yugoslav reporters asked Benko, who had brought a pair of sunglasses to wear during his game with Tal, to pose for a famous photo plus they got a good story for their papers. Later, Benko stated he only wore the glasses as a stunt, not because he believed he was getting the evil eye from Tal. 
     In a tournament that was unreported in US chess magazines, Boris Spassky scored a crushing victory in Riga when he scored +10 -0 =3. Even so, he was hotly pursued by an unlikely player, Vladas Mikenas who also won 10 games, but lost his individual game against Spassky in round 6. 

     Going into the last round Spassky had 11 points and Mikenas 10 points. Mikenas defeated Joachim Franz in an interesting ending in which he had two Bs and 3 Ps against a B, N and 3 Ps. Franz got mated. 
     Spassky played Wolfgang Pietzsch and their ending was one with two Bs and 5 Ps that was drawn. 
     Mikhail Tal (November 9, 1936 - June 28, 1992), The Magician from Riga, met another imaginative attacking player, Alexander Tolush (May 1, 1910 - March 3, 1969) who at one time was one of Spassky's mentors; he was also Keres'a trainer. Chessmetrics assigns him a high rating of 2704 for January, 1951 placing him at number 12 in the world. 

Alekander Tolush - Mikhail Tal

Result: 0-1

Site: Riga

Date: 1959.12.05

Sicilian: Kan Variation

[...] 1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.♘xd4 a6 In the Kan Variation black plays an early a6 to prevent white from playing Nb5, a common themes in many variations of the Sicilian. It's similar to the Najdorf, but in the Kan Variation ...a6 is played earlier. The Kan allows black greater flexibility based on white's moves. White can continue with 5. Nc3 or 5.Bd3. 5.♘c3 ♕c7 The critical square for black to control early is e5 in order to prevent white from playing e5. To that end black plays ...Qc7 and ,,,Nc6 before developing his other pieces. 6.♗d3 ♘c6 A few authors have recommended that amateurs set up a hedgehog formation with 6...gg and thereby avoid a lot of theory. 7.♘de2 ♘f6 8.O-O
8.h3 b5 9.♗f4 d6 10.♕d2 ♗e7 11.♘g3 O-O 12.O-O Black is better. Jabbar,A (2211)-Kunte,A (2554)/Nagpur IND 2008
8...♗e7 9.♘g3 b5 10.♗e3
10.♔h1 O-O 11.f4 d6 12.f5 b4 13.♘a4 ♘e5 14.♗e3 Stangl,A (2095)-Veroci,Z (2325)/Biel 1991. Black is better.
10...♗b7 11.f4 d6
11...h5 is a suggestion by Stockfish which it thinks gives black the advantage after 12.h3 g5 13.fxg5 The retreat 13.Nge2 is probably better. 13...♘g4 14.hxg4 ♕xg3 Shootouts from this position produced some interesting games. Stockfish scored (for white) +0 -1 =4 while with the Komodo Endgame engine white scored +0 -3 =2.
12.♕e2 O-O Black could still have played ...h5 13.♖ad1 ♖ac8 14.a4 Perhaps it would have been better to prevent the advance of black's b-Pawn with 14.a3 14...b4 15.♘b1 Begins the maneuver Nc3-b1-d2-b3 15...d5 16.e5 ♘d7 17.♘d2 ♗c5 18.♘b3 ♗xe3+ 19.♕xe3 A most interesting position. Tal underestimates the latent energy in white's position. He should have played 19...g6 which keeps things even. 19...♘b6 This move allows white to gain a significant advantage. A surprising slip by Tal in that he allows Tolush a strong tactical shot.
19...g6 20.h4 ♔h8 21.h5 g5 with a double edged position in which both sides have chances. In Shootouts white scored +2 -0 =8
20.♘h5 The threat is Bxh7+ 20...g6
20...a5 This is a pass to demonstrate white's threat. 21.♗xh7+ ♔xh7 22.♘f6+ gxf6 23.♕h3+ mates in 4. 23...♔g6 (23...♔g8 24.♕g4+ ♔h7 25.exf6 ♔h6 26.♕g7+ ♔h5 27.♕g5#) (23...♔g7 24.♕g4+ ♔h6 25.♖f3 ♕xe5 26.♖h3+ ♕h5 27.♖xh5#) 24.♕g4+ ♔h6 25.♖f3 ♕xe5 26.♖h3+ ♕h5 27.♖xh5#
21.f5 would also finish black off. 21...♘xe5 22.♕h6 f6 23.fxg6 ♘g4 (23...hxg6 24.♘xf6+ ♖xf6 25.♖xf6 ♕g7 26.♕g5 ♘bd7 27.♖xe6) 24.♕xh7+ ♕xh7 25.gxh7+ ♔h8 26.♘f4 white has a winning position.
21...♔g7 22.♖f3 A routine R lift that, surprisingly, allows black to equalize.
22.♕g3 Intending Qh4 would win for white. 22...♖h8 23.f5 exf5 24.♖xf5 ♘d7 25.♘h5+ ♔g8 26.♖xf7 ♔xf7 27.♖f1+ ♘f6 28.♖xf6+ ♔e7 29.♕g5 and wins
22...♘xa4 23.♖h3 Black easily defends against the threatened Rxh7 mate and because white can't get his Q into action against black's Q as in the variation shown after 22.Qg3 black manages to gets sufficient counterplay to equalize.
23.♕c1 allows white to keep the advantage after 23...d4
23...♘e7 24.♖df1 ♘f5 Otherwise white breaks through with f5. 25.g4 with a winning attack.
24.♖df1 ♖h8 25.f5 ♘xe5 26.♘h5+ gxh5 27.♖g3+ ♘g6 28.fxg6 fxg6 29.♕g5 ♖hf8 30.♗xg6 ♖xf1+ 31.♔xf1 h6 32.♕d2 ♖f8+ 33.♔g1 ♖f6 34.♗e8+ wins
23...♖h8 24.♖e1 ♕b6 25.♕xb6 ♘xb6 26.♘c5
26.♖a1 was necessary. Black's sacrifice on e5 would not work 26...h6
26...♘xe5 27.fxe5 (27.♘h5+ gxh5 28.fxe5 ♘c4 black has the advantage.) 27...♘c4 28.♗xc4 dxc4 29.♘a5 wins.
(26.♖a1 h6 27.♖g3 h5 28.h4 ♖c7 black is only slightly better.) 26...♘xe5 An unexpected and decisive blow! 27.♘h5+
27.♖xe5 ♖xc5 28.♘e4 ♖c7 29.♘d6 ♘d7 30.♖e1 ♘c5 leaves black with a winning position.
27...gxh5 28.♘xb7
28.♖g3+ leads nowhere. 28...♘g6 29.♘xb7 ♖c7 30.♘a5 ♘c4 31.♗xc4 dxc4 with a won ending.
28...♘xd3 29.cxd3 ♖c7 30.♘a5 ♖hc8 31.♘b3 ♖c2 32.f5 ♖xb2 33.♘d4 e5 A nice finishing touch. 34.f6+ ♔xf6 35.♖f3+ ♔g7 36.♘f5+ ♔f8 37.♖xe5
37.♘h6 praying for a miracle 37...♖c7 38.♖ef1 b3 39.♘xf7 e4 40.dxe4 dxe4 41.♖f5 ♖cc2 It's unusual that any discovered checks won't help white. 42.♘h6+ ♔e8 43.♖g5 ♘c4 44.♖g3 ♖xg2+ 45.♖xg2 ♖xg2+ 46.♔h1 b2 47.♘f5 ♖c2 wins
37...♖c1+ 38.♖f1 ♖bb1 White resigned.
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