World Champion 1960-1961
Born: 1936, Riga
Tal was a legend. He was perhaps one of the most brilliant and fearless combinational players of all time. He played beautiful sacrifices, many times unsound, but the problems they created for his opponents could not be solved within the limited time of the game. Tal's combinatorial abilities were tremendous, and his power to calculate deep and complicated variations was unmatched. Tal played chess for excitement. He sometimes played sacrifices that he knew to be suspicious, but that he also knew would bring enjoyment to his fans. Tal's spectacular abilities led him to defeat Botvinnik in 1960 to be come World Champion for a year until Botvinnik won the return match in 1961.