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Robert James Fischer vs Tigran V Petrosian
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 27, Jun-23
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation (B47)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-08-07  RookFile: That's not quite right, harmonic. You seem to be forgetting the opinion of Fischer and Petrosian themselves, who certainly were all time greats at the endgame.
Nov-08-07  Marmot PFL: I would like to see Timman's plan to win this, as the rook and bishop seem to have the knight welll contained. Black can play e5 to restrict the bishop (if white doesn't play e5 first) but he still has the problem of protecting his own h pawn. Fischer could be an extremely tenacious defender in the endings so I would be doubtful that black could pull it off unless someone can show a strong line for him.
Nov-08-07  pacelli: I wouldn't trust Timman too much. I recall he doesn't even check (or recall) his own notes, which led to a famous loss to Karpov in a Candidates Final once.
Nov-09-07  whatthefat: Have you got the notes on that?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Much better for Black, yes. Winning, that seems a stretch without seeing some concrete analysis.

The problem is White's e pawn is weak and his king confined to the first two ranks. 36. e5 Ng4 37. Bxg4 hxg4 and then ...f6 will get a passed e pawn.

Still, staying passive with Kf2 and protecting the kingside looks hard to break down, I don't think a draw was unreasonable here, particularly a few moves from time control.

Nov-09-07  pacelli: <whatthefat> No. But check out a Ruy Lopez game in the 1990 candidates final match. Think it was Game 1. If Chessgames doesn't have any member comments I'm sure any annotated game of it should.
Nov-09-07  Alphastar: <RookFile: Well, Fritz 10 says that this is only a 0.34 advantage for Black. It's unfortunate that Timman doesn't understand the position.>

I'll bet if you let Timman play the last position vs. Fritz, Timman would win hands down.

Basically there's two ways to play this position for white, either he plays e5 immediately, or he prevents Ng4 and lets black play e5.

A) 36. e5 Ng4+ 37. Bxg4 hxg4
All forced so far, and white can't do anything (yet) so he'll just shuffle his king around.

38. Kf2 f5! 39. exf6+ e.p. (else the pawn on e5 becomes a juicy target) Kxf6 40. Kg2 e5

41. h4 gxh3+ e.p. 42. Kxh3 e4! 43. Kg2 Ke5 44. Rb2 Kd4 and now white can either start running his pawn or try passive defense. Black wins anyway:

(by the way, my crafty already thinks this is winning for black, and he hasn't been able to find a mistake in this analysis)

1) 45. Re2 Rc3! (zugzwang) 36. Kf2 Rf3+! 37. Kg2 Rf8 and the e-pawn rolls to victory.

2) 45. g4 Ke5! (threatening to pick up the pawn, so:) 36. Rf2 e3! 37. Rb2 Ke4! (if 37. ..Kf4?? 38. Rb4+! secures a draw) 38. Kg3 Kd3 and the black king's entry is decisive.

So, playing 36. e5 is losing, for sure.

And any other move would allow 36. ..e5, after which black can freely maneouvre his knight to d4, completely dominate the position and easily squeeze a win out of it.

Nov-09-07  Alphastar: Computer analysis is so overrated. patzers think they know everything when they analyse positions with crafty or fritz.
Nov-09-07  RookFile: Well, Alphastar, I'm the 2100 kind of patzer myself. Let's say that play continues 36. h3 e5 37. Kf2 Kh6 38. Rc2. How would you have black continue?

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After 35...h5, Timman stated: <From a strategic point of view, advancing the h-pawn looks good: Black is threatening to take his knight to g4, as the ensuing rook ending is winning for him. If White reacts passively with 36.h3, Black can reinforce his position even further with 36...e5.>

However, Timman then stated that 36.e5 would be a stronger defense for White. He indicated the rook ending after 36...Ng4 37.Bxg4 hxg4 38.Rd4 is just about tenable, and after 38...Rxa2+ 39.Ke3, Black will find it hard to make his extra pawn count. Timman gave the following continuation: 39...Kg6 40.Rxg4+ Kf5 41.Rf4+ Kxe5 42.Rxf7 Rxh2 43.Ra7. After 43.Ra7, Timman said that White is saved because he also has a passed pawn.

It seems that Timman's opinion is that White can probably hold the draw after 35...h5.

After giving his review of the position after 35...h5, Timman then stated that 35...e5 would have been a stronger move. He indicated Black could then reinforce his position by taking his rook to c3, advance the a-pawn and get his rook to b2 or he could advance his h-pawn and get his king to g6 and his knight to e6.

Additional analysis should be able to determine if White's position is defensible after 35...h5.

Nov-09-07  RookFile: Well, there you have it. After the final position in the game, it apparently is the opinion of Timman, Fischer, Petrosian, and Fritz that the correct outcome is a draw. We can probably figure that alphastar and acirce will disappear from this thread now, and fail to produce any follow up analysis showing a black win, or anything close to it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: LOL Rookfile.

What no one seems to have commented on is how ugly Fischer's opening was. This was definitely a low point in his career.

Nov-10-07  RookFile: Well, black equalized. Worse things have happenned.
Nov-10-07  acirce: Well, I didn't find a Black win myself, but that is not my problem. I only said he was clearly better.
Jul-29-08  Hesam7: <RookFile: Well, there you have it. After the final position in the game, it apparently is the opinion of Timman, Fischer, Petrosian, and Fritz that the correct outcome is a draw.>

Yes but the path to equality is not that obvious and Petrosian could have played on to see if Fischer finds it. Timman gives the following: 36.e5! Ng4 37.Bxg4 hxg4 38.Rd4! Rxa2+ 39.Ke3 "and Black will find it hard to make his extra pawn count".

On the other hand and I think this is what <Ray Keene> meant by his post, Timman claims that 35...e5! gives Black a big and probably decisive advantage.

Jul-30-08  Boomie: <ToTheDeath: What no one seems to have commented on is how ugly Fischer's opening was.>

9. b3 was pretty stinky. This was round 27 of 28 and Fischer had no chance to win. Perhaps he was just eager to get it over with.

A more reasonable treatment of the opening is:

9. Re1 O-O 10. Nxc6 dxc6 11. e5 Rd8 12. Qf3 Nd5 13. h4 Nxc3 14. Qxc3 Bd7 15. Bg5 Bxg5 16. hxg5 Be8 17. Rad1

click for larger view

White is in good shape here.

Jul-30-08  Wolfgang01: Bobby was highly rational in his openings. He knew "his" openings better than his opponents. Sometimes he was trying a special variant to gain information about the usability of that variant. This rational habit helped him too, to become WC.
Jul-30-08  euripides: <After the final position in the game, it apparently is the opinion of Timman, Fischer, Petrosian, and Fritz that the correct outcome is a draw. >

The rest of us have no evidence on Fischer's opinion. He certainly said he thought he ewas worse in Fischer vs Petrosian, 1959 when he offered a draw and he may well have been relieved when Petrosian offered the draw here (assuming the draw was offered by Black after his last move).

But I've long wondered whether <rook> had psychic powers and here we have the evidence. A hot line to Bobby on Chessgames !

Jul-30-08  euripides: It's also the case that Petrosian is said to have decided that he could win the tournament by not losing a game in the last five rounds and therefore drew his last five games, so we can't be sure what he thought of the last position either. Indeed some scurrilous folk have suggested he had winning chances in a game he drew with Keres. I am wondering which language <rook> uses in his ouija sessions with Tigran ?
Jul-30-08  Hesam7: <Wolfgang01: Bobby was highly rational in his openings.>

That is sarcasm right?

Jul-30-08  Boomie: <euripides: I am wondering which language <rook> uses in his ouija sessions with Tigran ?> I think <Rookfile> indicates that Fischer and Petrosian voted with their handshake. The game was a draw or close enough to them to agree to it.
Jul-30-08  euripides: <Boomie> that was my point: the draw gives no evidence whatever of Fischer's opinion - except that he didn't think he was winning - and inconclusive evidence of Petrosian's.
Jul-23-15  RookFile: Well, 7 years ago, I made the scandalous suggestion that white could do something other than what Timman said he should do. Namely 36. h3, e.g. 36. h3 e5 37. Kf2 Kh6 38. Rc2. That wasn't exactly refuted, was it?
Jul-28-15  RookFile: We pause to listen to the crickets chirp. Of course, there is no analysis showing a black win after 36. h3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <RookFile>
Was anyone actually claiming a clear Black win?

I do think Black would keep a noticeable advantage after something like 36. h3 e5 37. Kf2 Nh7 38. Rc2 Ng5, but of course it often took a lot more than that to beat Robert J. Fischer.

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