From the book “Diagonais – Crônicas de Xadrez”, Hélder Câmara, ed. Saraiva, Brasil, 1996.
When an artist dies still in the eagerness of his functions, it isn´t difficult to determine which has been his last performance, the last and unforgettable number of his career. It was thus with the beloved Brazilian singer Francisco Alves, died tragically in 1952, it was thus with the sorcerer of the chessboard Mikhail Tahl, died in 1992. In the last game of the Tournament of Barcelona, the ex-world champion presented to play loaded in a chair of wheels. Literally, he was more died than alive. His adversary was the exuberant Armenian GM W. Akopjan, Youth world champion. For Akopjan, only the victory interested, that would let him in first place in the final classification of the tournament. Therefore, he refused the proposal initial of draw done for Tahl, in this moment indifferent with any type of result. But, as a flickering candle, or who knows making justice to his nickname of “the flame”, a flash of rare lucidity still crossed a time that privileged and exhausted mind.
Mikhail Tahl x Wladimir Akopjan – Barcelona, May 1992, 11th and last round
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 (the idea is to transform the Sicilian Defense in a Ruy López; it has the merit of, at least, taking off the conductor of the black pieces of the variants exhaustingly prepared; its paternity is attributed to the brilliant French GM Nicholas Rossolimo).
3 … d6 (in Ulybin-Akopjan, Santiago, 1990, it followed 3 … Qc7 4. 0-0 Nf6 5. Re1 e6 6. Nc3 d6 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nd5! Qd8 9. Nxd4 Bd7 10. Bg5 Rc8 11. Nf5! Ne5! 12. Nxf6+ gxf6 13. Nxd6+ Bxd6 14. Qxd6 Bxb5 15. Qxd8+ Rxd8 16. Bxf6 Nf3+!, with equality).
4. 0-0 Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. c3 (in the case of 6. h3?! a6 7. Bf1 g5 8. d4 g4 9. d5 Ne5 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. hxg4 Bxg4 12. f3 Bd7 13. Be3, with equality – Vasiukov-Gutman, Tbilisi, 1979).
6 … a6 7. Ba4 (the recommended is 7. Bf1 Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 g6 10. d3 Bg7 11. g3 0-0, with possibilities for both sides; Adorjan-Tahl, Las Palmas, 1977).
7 … c4 (instead of developing his pieces with simple moves, like 7 ... e6, the trusted Akopjan is assaying preciousities like this one).
8. d4 cxd3 ep 9. Bg5 e6 10. Qxd3 Be7 (already was considered 10 … Ne5 11. Nxe5 Bxa4 12. Nc4 Bc6 13. Nbd2 b5 14. Ne3 Be7 15. Bxf6 Bxf6 16. Nd5!, with equal possibilities).
11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Bxc6!? Bxc6 (it´s possible that in this last game the unsurpassable “sorcerer of Riga” has given to a homage to the father of the Russian chess Mikhail Tchigorin, that was an excellent "rider", being their Ns were considered “magicals&rdquo
13. c4! 0-0 14. Nc3 Kh8 (Akopjan refusal draw and goes to the attack; as much better: thus Tahl will only be able to really give to a homage for his predecessor).
15. Rad1 Rg8 16 Qe3 Qf8 (Akopjan wants to drain his offensive activity of the half-open g-column; apparently Tahl haven´t as to fight this idea).
17. Nd4! Rc8 (the black pieces cannot, nor interest to them, to keep the pair of bishops, under the penalty to reduce them to the uselessness).
18. f4! Bd7 19. b3 Bd8 20. Nf3 (well or badly, the black pieces had to pursue the idea to play … Bb6; for the time being, the white knights do not play nothing… and the black bishops, less still).
20 … b5 (it was better 20 ... Rc6, intending to play 21 ... Bb6; questionable is if after 21. Kh1 this diagonal g1-a7 has a substantial utility).
21. Qa7! Bc7 22. Qxa6 bxc4 23. b4!! (this winner move is a tremendous slap in the petulance of the Armenian master; with this, Tahl boasts a deep strategical sense of the position; for some reason, already he was world champion&hellip
23 … Qg7 24. g3 d5 (move extracted of the most legitimate desperation: seeing strategically lost, because of the advantage in number of pawns in the queen´s side, Akopjan has left for the tactical madness in the king´s side; just against who!).
25. exd5 Bxf4 26. Kf2! (to strengthen his position, Tahl mixes cement with cold blood; now, if 26 ... Bxg3+ 27. hxg3 Qxg3+ 28. Ke3 exd5 29.Qxf6+, winning; for example: 29 ... Rg7 30. Rg1! Re8+ 31. Kd2 Qf2+ 32. Kc1 Qe3+ 33. Rd2! and the rest is silence).