(1) Tal,M - Stephenson,F.N [C74]
Simul by Tal, John Lewis, Oxford St., 09.01.1964
[Norman Stephenson]

Misha was so charming that day-we could have forgiven him anything...even pinching my ciggies!

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6
I always believed in this system, along with the likes of Capablanca, Alekhine, Keres and nowadays Timman. Improved beyond Steinitz's immediate 3...d6 mainly because Black doesn't get a b5 pawn flapping in the wind out there.

Red flag to a bull. Capablanca played my next and he didn't do many gambits where he couldnt get his pawn back pretty swift.

5...f5 6.exf5 Bxf5 7.d4
Today, high class Whites opt out of the complications with [7.0-0 Bd3 8.Re1 Be7 9.Bc2 but maybe Black can defend that position-I wouldn't know. (Some 50 years later computer assisted analysis on the ChessBase Common Analysis facility indicates Black's game is actually fine thus nicely supporting Norman's belief in this opening-MJD).]

7...e4 8.0-0
Lovely stuff. This line was (humorously) called the "opening of the future" by some Soviet theoreticians in the 1950s.

Today, I would have taken it (Capablanca would have done so surely) and I think Black is better, but the previous was "end of theory" for me and I had been completely discombobulated anyway. The move before, Misha had captured my nearly full pack of Chesterfield cigarettes (I think 007 smoked them) and I was left with his foul smelling, ugly looking, loose-packed Soviet-type things in their place (see comment before first move!)

9.d5 b5
Black's still OK if he grabs that pesky knight but now he comes under attack-against this lad it's fatal!

10.Bc2 exf3 11.Bxf5 Ne5 12.Nd2 fxg2 13.Re1
Objectively taking the pawn is better but Chess also comprises "aesthetics" y'know!

13...Nf6 14.f4 Nf7 15.Qe2 Nxd5 16.Nf3 c6 17.Nd4 0-0 18.Ne6 Qb6+ 19.Kxg2 Rfe8 20.Kh1
I remember feeling that Black was no worse now ...but....

20...Nh6 21.Bd3 Bf8 22.Bd2 Qb7
This was a hurried move-Mikhail was arriving back at the board pretty quickly-and maybe 22...Nf6 was better.

23.f5 Nf7 24.c4 Nf6
Why didn't I take the pawn ...who knows?

25.Bc3 Ng5 26.Qg2 Nxe6 27.fxe6 Kh8 28.Bf5 Rab8
Black's idea is c5 to get rid of the queens...but...

29.c5! dxc5 30.Rg1 Bd6 31.Qh3
The end approaches.

31...Qe7 32.Rxg7
Black resigned. I can still recalled being filled with admiration for both the chess and the man himself. After this display he headed "up West" with Mr Matthias, a Latvian emigre in London. who was a true chess lover himself. 1-0