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Tal’s solution — another pawn sacrifice: 20. c4!! Qxc4 (Nxc4 21. Qb7, and 20a4 21. Rxa4 dxc4 22. Qxb6 axb6 23. Rxa8+ Nd8 24. Rc8 are both very strong for White) 21. Qa3 Qa6 22. Rac1 Rc8 23. Nd2!, when Donner, like so many other players caught in a Tal attacking vise, fails to find 23Nd4! 24. Rxc8+ Qxc8 25. Qxa5 Qd7, when Black is holding on.

Instead, Black goes over the edge on 23f6? 24. exf6 gxf6 25. Qf3! (one big point of White’s 23rd move was that the queen could shift to the other flank) Kd7? (Nd7 26. Qh5+ Kd8 27. Qf7 Re8 keeps the game going, though White still dominates on 28. Nc4) 26. Qxf6 Rhe8 (on 26Kxd6, Tal planned 27. Ne4+ Kc7 28. Nc5 Qe2 29. Qg7+ Kd6 30. Nb7 mate), and White finishes in a flourish with 27. Ne4 Ne7 28. Nc5+ Rxc5 29. Bxc5 30. Bxe7, and 30Rxe7 loses to the brutal 31. Rxd5+!; Donner resigned.

Carlsen-Polgar, London Chess Classic, December 2012

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. a3 Bc5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Bb7 11. Bf4 d6 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Re1 Ne5 14. Nd2 Nfd7 15. Be3 Qc7 16. b4 Qb8 17. f4 Ng6 18. g3 Rfe8 19. Bf3 Qa8 20. Bf2 Ngf8 21. Qe2 Qb8 22. Red1 g6 23. e5 Bc6 24. Bd4 Red8 25. Bxc6 Rxc6 26. Nf3 dxe5 27. fxe5 Rdc8 28. Ne4 Qc7 29. Nfd2 a6 30. Nf2 Bg5 31. Rf1 Bxd2 32. Qxd2 Nxe5 33. Bxe5 Qxe5 34. Ng4 Rd6 35. Nh6+ Kg7 36. Rxf7+ Kh8 37. Qf2 Qd4 38. c5 bxc5 39. Qxd4+ Rxd4 40. Rxc5 Rcd8 41. Rcc7 Rd1+ 42. Kg2 R1d2+ 43. Kh3 R2d5 44. Ng4 Rh5+ 45. Kg2 Rd2+ 46. Kf3 Rf5+ 47. Ke3 Rxf7 48. Rxf7 Rd8 49. Nf6 Rb8 50. Kf4 h6 51. Ke5 a5 52. bxa5 Ra8 53. a6 Black resigns.

Tal-Donner, Wijk aan Zee, January 2012

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Qc7 7. Nf3 b6 8. a4 Ba6 9. Bxa6 Nxa6 10. Qe2 Nb8 11. a5 bxa5 12. Ba3 Nd7 13. dxc5 Ne7 14. c6 Qxc6 15. O-O Qxc3 16. Rfd1 Nc6 17. Bd6 Qc4 18. Qe3 Qe4 19. Qb3 Nb6 20. c4 Qxc4 21. Qa3 Qa6 22. Rac1 Rc8 23. Nd2 f6 24. exf6 gxf6 25. Qf3 Kd7 26. Qxf6 Rhe8 27. Ne4 Ne7 28. Nc5+ Rxc5 29. Bxc5 Nc4 30. Bxe7 Black resigns.

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by email at dsands@washingtontimes.com.