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Tigran V Petrosian vs Robert James Fischer
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 9, Sep-21
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Line (E40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-16-06  RookFile: But thinking about what you said, keypusher, I think we're both in agreement, (and Pawn and Two made this point earlier) - that what Fischer needed to do here, and didn't, was pile up control over the e5 square. That's really why he lost this game. He should have fought for control for e5, and tried to get ...e5 itself in at some point.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <But thinking about what you said, keypusher, I think we're both in agreement, (and Pawn and Two made this point earlier) - that what Fischer needed to do here, and didn't, was pile up control over the e5 square.>

This points up one important difference between the Petrosian game and the Saidy game -- in Saidy-Fischer, White's KN is on e2, so he has less control over e5 than Petrosian does. Of course, the most important difference between the games (and I am sure Dr. Saidy would agree) is the identity of Fischer's opponent!

May-16-06  RookFile: Well, that Ne2 to f4 that Saidy played was Botvinnik's approach to this type of position - the idea to hinder ...e5 by applying pressure to d5.

What you notice in playing over the Petrosian vs. Fischer game is, how Petrosian refrained from a lot of exchanges. Petrosian was like a boa constrictor in this game, and didn't give Fischer room to breathe. His play is so unhurried, and yet all of a sudden, he has a total bind on the queenside, Fischer's c8 bishop is useless, and there is nopossibility of black freeing himself.

Saidy wasn't like this. In his game, he seems in a rush to always be 'doing' something. There are too many exchanges, he allows counterplay, and the negative aspects of his bad bishop that Fischer took pains to create earlier become apparent.

Saidy definitely should have played more like Petrosian did here.

May-16-06  madlydeeply: If Fischer was sixteen when he played this game, then he was lacking his vast opening knowledge at this point. Trying this speculative attack against Petrosian, one of the greatest defensive specialists of all time, was either (a) cocky (b) a desperate try to get petrosian out of the book or (c) he wanted to have the greatest defensive test to his idea, and have a serious learning experience. How important was this tournament. Was he still in the money? Was it an interzonal?

Also, when the center is blocked, by which I mean no open files to pile up on an exposed king or other obvious target, then developing moves can be sacrificed for space gaining moves. Also developing tempos can be sacrificed if they inhibit the opponent's development...In John Emms book on the Scotch, he describes Kasparov's bold new moves that revitalized the Scotch game, an open game, putting white's knight on a4 to harrass black's bishop c5, among others...the position dictates the best move in the end...both Fischer games show that the kingside initiative is not enough to compensate for the accelerated Queenside pawnstorm that white achieves. It is interesting, though, that Fischer's KID kingside attacks seemed to work, from a position of even less space, with the central pawn wedge moved one square over to the kingside...questions upon questions...this is why its taken so long to figure this game out!

So, to sum up, developing moves can be sacrificed if (A) the center is blocked..then space gaining moves work (B) if the opponent has targets, you can tie the opponent down, (C) your move harrasses and impedes the opponents development....

May-16-06  RookFile: The type of guy that I see Fischer's play here working well against would be somebody like Szabo. He could be a little impetuous with his attacks. Fischer's play was bad strategy because it was predicated against white overextending himself. Against Petrosian, that's simply not going to happen.
May-16-06  ChessPieceFace: <RookFile, KeyPusher> thanks a lot for your discussion of this game. both of you brought great ideas and theories to the table which i soaked up like the sponge i am. people like you all make the learning process much easier for me. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Generally speaking, Fischer was a really sound positional player even as a boy. Look how he exploits the two bishops here: E Nash vs Fischer, 1956

But Petrosian was able to show weaknesses in Fischer's positional understanding in this tournament, both in this game and in their Caro-Kann encounters.

Jul-11-06  dabearsrock1010: 5...Bd6? Fischer loves his bishops.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: If he was that fond of his bishops he wouldn't play 3...Bb4 in the first place.
Jul-12-06  RookFile: Fischer played different with black than he did with white. With white, everything was close to the vest - he somewhat conservatively ground you down. With black, he took all kinds of risks for the win.
Nov-01-08  arsen387: damn, isn't this brilliant? Petrosian was a killer in 60s.
Nov-01-08  AnalyzeThis: Yes, a strategic masterpiece.
Dec-13-08  PugnaciousPawn: It would be a good idea if noted who resigned at the conclusion of the games. Perhaps some brief explanatory notes may be helpful as well (e.g., was there time trouble, a mating net set, etc.).
Apr-23-09  WhiteRook48: 5...Bxc3+! was better
Apr-23-09  AnalyzeThis: Yes, 5....Bxc3+ was better. I suspect that Petrosian was ready for that one too.
Jun-22-09  pom nasayao: Fischer can no longer bear the pawn roll at his queenside, which may mean material loss, or queening of one of the pawns.
Jun-22-09  WhiteRook48: so he'd play 3...d5 then?
Aug-03-10  xombie: Petrosian seems to have scored very well against stonewall formations. As things go, this one was just awful for black.
Feb-25-11  lostgalaxy: Oh my how the T Rex imprisoned the black bishop.

Also very thoughtful when he used the rook to counter attack, leaving the queen home to defend.

Nov-02-15  Conrad93: 5...Bd6 is actually well-established theory.
Nov-03-15  TheFocus: Yes, but I would rather play 5...Be7.

Did Fischer ever play this weak move again?

May-13-18  jabinjikanza: Bishop on b8 coasted bob's game
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: is this our Bob, having a locked in Bishop after 22 moves?
Dec-31-21  Granny O Doul: I wonder how many times Fischer resigned on the opponent's turn? (I'm not suggesting anyone research this.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: This game is a textbook example of space advantage. I'm surprised Fischer ever let this happen. His light-squared bishop never got developed and was complete junk. The dark-square bishop got pushed all over the board and ended up on a not-so-great diagonal. He opened up the a-file with no ability to defend the queen side.

I guess he was still young. He probably learned a lot from this game.

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