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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Event: Mikhail Tal Simuls, 9-11 January 1964 - 37 games • updated: Friday September 22, 2023 5:30 PM
Venue: London & Birmingham • Dates: January 1964 • Download PGN

Mikhail Tal Simuls, January 1964

Edward Winter article about the Tal simul at John Lewis, London, 9 January 1964.

Date Played Won Drawn Lost Winners Draws
Thursday 9 January
John Lewis
24 12 8 4 JB Howson, H Israel, D Mabbs, G Becker TA Landry, RM Dunnett , WR Hartston, NL Freeman, AN Brilliant, M Macdonald-Ross, A Mazitis, DE Rumens
Friday 10 January
20 12 6 2 RD Keene, Derek H Smith WR Hartston, NJ Patterson, Dinah Dobson, DG Martin, J Harouni, Linda Bott
Saturday 11 January
20 16 4 0 - DW Bell, B Cafferty, JA Lawrence, KW Lloyd

Mikhail Tal giving a simul in London, 9 January 1964
Mikhail Tal giving a simul at John Lewis's, London 9 January 1964


1964 Tal Simul, 9 January, John Lewis
Mikhail Tal giving the simul at John Lewis, London, on 9 January 1964. Some of the players have been identified.
If you move the cursor over players' heads, further information may be found.

1964 Tal Simul
Mikhail Tal giving the simul at John Lewis, London, on 9 January 1964. Some of the players have been identified.
If you move the cursor over players' heads, further information may be found.
1964 Tal Simul

Mikhail Tal giving the simul at John Lewis, London, on 9 January 1964. Some of the players have been identified.
If you move the cursor over players' heads, further information may be found.
1964 Tal Simul
Mikhail Tal giving the simul at John Lewis, London, on 9 January 1964. Some of the players have been identified.
If you move the cursor over players' heads, further information may be found.
1964 Tal Simul
Mikhail Tal giving the simul at John Lewis, London, on 9 January 1964. Some of the players have been identified.
If you move the cursor over players' heads, further information may be found.
1964 Tal simul
Mikhail Tal giving the simul at John Lewis, London, on 9 January 1964. Some of the players have been identified.
If you move the cursor over players' heads, further information may be found. This photo appeared on the front cover of CHESS, February 1964.

BCM, February 1964, ppn 45-47

Simultaneous Displays.—Immediately after the Hastings Christmas Congress several of the foreign masters gave exhibitions in various parts of the country.

On January 9th, at John Lewis’s Stores, Oxford Street, W.1, M. Tal met twenty-four members of Middlesex C.A. (+12, —4, =8); the successful players were G. Becker (St. Pancras), J. B. Howson (Metropolitan), H. Israel (Hampstead), and D. J. Mabbs (Cedars). Though admission was by ticket only some 200 spectators watched the display.

The next evening at Westminster City School the grandmaster played simultaneously against twenty London juniors—most of them prize-winners from the London Junior Championships; he won 12 games, drew 6, and lost 2 (against R. D. Keene, Dulwich College, and D. H. Smith, Hayes Grammar School). Thanks to Mr. Eric Croker we are able to give the following two games from that display— [games vs Kalton and Keene]

On Saturday, January 11th, M. Tal proceeded to Birmingham where he gave a display over twenty boards at the Birmingham C.C. (we are gratefully indebted to Mr. B. Cafferty for the following account.—Ed.)—

“After recording a consultation game for the B.B.C., Tal came straight to Paddington for the 4.10 p.m. train to Birmingham, so I was not surprised to hear, upon meeting him off the train, that he had slept for most of the journey! However, his strenuous day had not tired him too much, and when in the middle of the session some crucial games had positions abounding in tactical possibilities he fairly skipped round the room, to the delight of the 180-odd spectators, though perhaps not of the players! Although the Birmingham Club had taken the precaution of strengthening its ranks by inviting some six guest players, and though Tal stood worse for some time against P. N. Wallis and Dr. B. G. Dudley, in the end he conceded only four draws, winning the remaining sixteen games. Not unnaturally he expressed the opinion that he had played better than in London, and had thoroughly enjoyed the games. The four upholders of Midland honour were: D. W. Bell, J. A. Lawrence, K. W. Lloyd, and the writer.

“Certainly the chess community of Birmingham will hope to keep him to his promise to return to the city on his next visit to these shores.”

Meanwhile, grandmaster S. Gligoric visited Croydon C.C. on January 10th, where he scored +21, =4 in 1 hr 45 min, and Miss Nona Gaprindashvili, the Georgian Lady World Champion, gave a display on January 11th against twelve players from the Athenaeum C.C. and twelve from West London C.C., scoring +21, =3 (Brian Jones, D. A. Shaw, and Mrs. S. Thomson), —1 (S. Graham) in four hours.

CHESS, Vol.29, No.452, February 1964, pps 145, 164


With three days to spare between finishing at Hastings and flying to an international tournament in Iceland, Tal gave three simultaneous displays.

On January 9th he faced 24 Middlesex players at John Lewis’s. His opponents were not selected for strength; each club nominated a player so that the opposition was very mixed. His 66% score disappointed him. He won 12 games, drew with T. A. Landry (Willesden), R. M. Dunnett (Imperial College), W. R. Hartston (Southgate), N. L. Freeman (Harrow), A. N. Brilliant (Hendon), M. Macdonald-Ross (Islington), A. Mazitis (Finchley) and D. E. Rumens (Cedars), lost to D. J. Mabbs (Cedars), H. Israel (Hampstead), G. Becker (St. Pancras) and J. B. Howson (Metropolitan).

On January 10th, Tal faced 20 London Juniors, beating 12, drawing with W. R. Hartston, N. J. Patterson (Beaumont College), Miss D. Dobson (Rickmansworth C.S.), D. G. Martin (Whitgift), J. Harouni (Orange Hill G.S.) and Miss L. Bott (Mary Batchelor); losing to R. D. Keene and D. H. Smith (Hayes G.S.).

On the Saturday, after a morning’s engagement with the B.B.C. in London, Tal dashed to Birmingham and took on 20 opponents at the Birmingham Chess Club. In less than 3 hours, he drew with D. W. Bell, B. Cafferty, K. W. Lloyd and J. A. Lawrence, winning the remaining 16 games.

A simultaneous exhibition organized by the Athenaeum and West London clubs was given by Nona Gaprindashvili on Jan. 11th.

She played twelve players from each club, winning 20 games, drawing two (with Mr Brian Jones, Mrs Sue Thomson and Dennis H. Shaw, and losing one (to Mr S. Graham Kent of West London) in four hours.

Birmingham Post, 13 January 1964, by B H Wood


Facing 20 of the strongest chess players In the Birmingham area in simultaneous play at Birmingham Chess Club on Saturday night, Mikhail Tal the Latvian ex-world champion, conceded only four draws.

In two of theae games he was a pawn to the good and with a little more venom could have battled on and, by squeezing every ounce of possible advantage out of the situation, engineered wins.

This slightly-bullt man has had an unkind deal in some ways, for he was born with one withered hand, and probably lost his return match for the World Championship through the distressing kidney complaint which has already necessitated serious operations and may, it seems, dog him for life.

Heavy cold

On Wednesday he had completed a strenuous week-and-a-half at Hastings in winning the annual congress there On Thursday he took on in simultaneous play, the Middlesex team which has just won the English Counties Championship. On Friday he took on a formidable team of London's best junior players.

On Saturday morning he played a consultation match tor the BBC. A dash to Paddington, a dash from Snow Hill—and within minutes of his reaching Birmingham he was starting his display.

Bark to London by car—the earliest he could hope to be abed. 2 am: and yesterday morning, by 10 a m he was on an aircraft bound for Reykjavik, where he is taking part in an international chess tournament starting to-day.

Incidentally Wolverhampton suffered from the concentration of his programme. It had arranged for yesterday no less ambitious a simultaneous display than Birmingham's, but had to cancel it because to get from Wolverhampton at 7pm on Sunday to Iceland, bv 3pm, Monday, was too stiff a proposition, even for a Tal.

Tal's last handicap was a heavy cold. He was not really fit to play.


Yet he soared above his troubles. "Genius" seemed too mild a word for the way in which he had life-long students of the game, even England players, floundering out of their depth. In cold figures, as in execution, his score completely eclipsed all his predecessor's in similar visits here, not excluding Reshevsky and the then world champion Botvlnnik.

Starting at 7.15pm, Tal built up his play quletly. In chess brilliance is based on soundness. Round and round the circle of his 20 opponents he went, without a sign of hurry. After an hour, he had made 30 moves on each board. In eight games, he was a pawn or so to the good. In four or five others—far more dangerously to his opponents—he had sacrificed material and was beginning to menace their king.

P. N. Wallis, Midland champion, had grabbed a piece. Dr B. G. Dudley, who ousted R. W. Bonham from the Worcestershire championship, had boldly given up a pawn himself to seize the initiative.


Then Tal struck.

Players learned—what they should have known—that the least inattention to their king's defences would prove fatal. L. S. Tayler and B. D. Hopkins resigned. Time and time again, a game was over almost before the victim knew he was in trouble. A player, and the spectators around him, would be complacently regarding the position as Tal approached. As he turned away, having made a move none had even considered, their faces would present a uniform picture of stunned bewilderment.

This was the sequence of events as the display reached its climax: —

Bernard Cafferty blunders away a pawn in a promising position. The one person there who is fluent in Russian, he has a lot of organisational distractions. He would never make such a blunder in ordinary chess but he rallies his forces.

Wallis is drifting. The board seems to go fluid. Pieces are being captured, threatening, being threatened in all directions. Johnny Lawrence is giving Tal trouble: he has cheerfully sacrificed two pawns and is threatening to pin Tal s queen.


Tal sees the danger and settles down for a good three or four minutes at that board. Resignations are coming in such showers elsewhere that, obviously, he can spare the time.

At about 9.30 Tal's mounting confidence shows in the way he is now almost caressing the pieces into place, rather than moving them.

9.45: 35 moves have been made at each board, but eight of the boards have closed down. C. J. Corbett; M. J. Darlow; W. J. Gordon and P. C. Griffith [sic], two promising young players who ruined their games by early slips. J. C. Loose; R. G. Swain; C. G. Tayar, who blundered horribly. All have capitulated.

Suddenly Tal (he has declined a cup of coffee) hurls himself back half the length of the room to snatch a cigarette. We find that Dr Dudley in a desperate position, has unexpectedly trapped Tal's queen. Tal hits out and passes on, and within a few moves we begin to realise that his other pieces had already become so menacingly placed that he could afford the loss.

Now Wallis's king is being driven, punch-drunk, about the board and resignation must come soon.

K. W. Lloyd comes into the picture, characteristically, after a rather humdrum opening and the loss of a pawn, he has put up a fantastically stubborn resistance.

"Offer to cure his cold if he'll give you a draw," somebody whispers to Dr. Young of Walsall. Indeed his position looks perfectly even but the advice is already too late: with Tal's next move the doctor's game is already on the slide.


G. N. Stokes has seemed fairly happy but his king is soon adrift like a rudderless ship on the ocean of Tal's imagination. J. S. Hakesley is another who sees an apparently sound position collapse through a single unexpected move. R. B. Davies goes down; then R. G. Daniels. Suddenly Cafferty is offered, and readily accepts, a draw; he has brought all his experience and defensive skill to his aid, to save the game. D. W. Bell gets a draw too; his game has been amusingly blank and colourless.

Suddenly only J. A. Lawrence (a pawn up) and K. W. Lloyd (a pawn down) are left.

10.5—less than three hours have gone and 18 games have been played. Play slows. For the first time, Tal has to wait for an opponent's more. He offers two draws. Lawrence justifiably hesitates. He has possible winning prospects: queen and three pawns against queen and two. Difficult, laborious enough in any circumstances, but against a Tal—and now in single combat. No! He accepts the draw. The display is over and there is thundering ovation.

"I know the strength of Birmingham chess," Tal says, "and despite the difficulties and limited time, I felt I had to see your famous city. It would make me very happy to visit you again... but I cannot believe you will be quite so kind to me next time!"

N.B. In the Birmingham Post, 14 January 1964, page 11, there are two excerpts from play in the Tal simul of 11.01.1964 - the conclusions of his wins vs Dr. N. Young and J. S. Hakesley. Unfortunately, the online scan of the two diagrams is impossible to read.

File Updated

Date Notes
9 April 2007 First uploaded as a zipped file.
11 September 2023 Revamped to include viewer and reports, plus extra games (Tal 0-1 Israel, London 09.01.1964 and Tal 1-0 Wallis, Birmingham 11.01.64.
11 September 2023 Added three more games from the Tal simuls: (1) Tal 1-0 J.B.Adams, John Lewis simul, 09.01.1964; (2) Tal ½-½ W.Hartston and (3) Tal 0-1 D.H.Smith, both from the Westminster simul, 10.01.1964. Many thanks to Andy Ansel for sending me the games.
12 September 2023 Photos added. I've now switched the J.B. Adams game to show it was played in the Westminster junior simul of 10.09.1964 rather than the John Lewis simul of the previous day. Also, I have renumbered the John Lewis games to reflect the board numbers shown in the photos.
13 September 2023 My thanks to Gerald Hartmann for supplying five further games from the Westminster simul of 10.01.1964. Gerald found them in something called the 'Westminster Bulletin' which he doesn't own and can't remember where he found it some time ago. The games are against J Harouni, DG Martin (both draws), A.Whitbread, O.Morgan, K.B.Harman (losses).