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Tigran V Petrosian vs Lev Aronin
"The Immortal Retreat Game" (game of the day Oct-01-2014)
Moscow (1961), It
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 69 [what's this?]

Annotations by Irving Chernev.      [4 more games annotated by Chernev]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-02-09  mccraw: White Rook...
Black is dead lost by ...37; ..Be1 makes little difference. Black's key errors are: 34 ...Ke8, and if Bg5 Nh7. White has only a small advantage; 35...Ne5! (not Ng8??, when Black loses, as in the game) 36.Qh4 (36.Qh8+ Ke7 37.Bg5 Ned7 doesn't look overwhelming) Ke7 (now ...36...Ng8 or 36...Ned7 also look playable) 37.Nf3 Ned7, and Black's holding on, tho' worse. i await corrections... (first post :-)
Jan-02-09  MaxxLange: Sorry....I know Chernev was a good chess writer, but his penchant for lame cutesy puns, and his mock amazement that Petrosian's chess vision goes beyond the advice for beginners given in Reinfeld's books is a little too much for me here
Jan-31-09  WhiteRook48: I see... Black's lost anyway.
Chernev's annotations are probably worse than his books
Aug-04-09  WhiteRook48: Levon Aronian!! (yeah right)
Jun-06-10  xombie: Agree with other kibitzers about annotations-they belong to a beginner's manual, and hardly instructive at all. The retro manoeuvres help defend weaknesses in white's camp (d3, b2, etc). Chernev's logical chess book is among my most useless. The second book (the greatest games ever played) is less so, but not much of an improvement. I would suggest more objective authors like Nunn and Euwe.
May-03-11  hankm: This game demonstrates the weird, almost bizzarre, beauty of Petrosian's play. A personal favorite of mine, this game features my favorite player playing one of my favorite openings! (Though admittedly, the annotations of Chernev don't add a whole lot.)
May-03-11  haydn20: IMO Petrosian's position after 20. f4 may be a little passive. E.g., if 20....Nxd3; 21. b3 h5; 22. Rf3 Nxf4; 23. gxf4 Ne4, Black has two P's for the piece including the dangerous passer on d4.
Aug-05-12  backrank: Chernev's notes to the game have been severely mutilated here. Missing are his comments to moves 7, 16, 20, 21 (among others) and to the final position.

After 40 Bh3+ (where Black resigned), Chernev gives the following pretty line:

40 ... Kd6 41 Bf4+ Ne5 42 Qb8+ Kc6 (if Qc7, so 43 Bxe5+ wins the queen):

click for larger view

Of course, White can win as he pleases now, but there is a study-like mate in 3:

43 Qe8+! Kc7 (Kd6 44 Bxe5# with another nice mating pattern) 44 Qc8+! Kd6 45 Qd7#!

click for larger view

Would you have found it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Black makes as many retreats as white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Naturally, the game was played in Moscow.

Attacking from the back rows is an underestimated strategy. Take, for instance, the final position of R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963

click for larger view

Where White resigned despite being a piece ahead and with no Black piece beyond the second rank.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Let's give a little credit to 11.exf3. 11.Bxf3 would have allowed 11...Ne5!, threatening both ...Nxf3+, ridding White of his valuable Bishop, not to mention 12...a6 and Petrosian has to worry about his pinned Knight after Black castles to protect his Ra8.
Oct-01-14  Dr. J: <An Englishman: to 11.exf3. If 11.Bxf3 Ne5!, threatening 12...Nxf3+ or 12...a6>

Perhaps not: 11.Bxf3 Ne5 12.Nc7+ wins; or if 11.Bxf3 0-0 12.Bf4 and White's position seems fine to me. So what would TVP have done?

Oct-01-14  gars: Good morning! So this game is annotated in one of Chernev's books. Which one? Thanks a lot.
Oct-01-14  YetAnotherAmateur: I always saw Petrosian as playing basically rope-a-dope: Defend well, have counterattacks all prepped and ready to go, and when the other guy decides to grab what looks like a weak point, pounce!

It worked at Austerlitz, why wouldn't it work on a chessboard?

Oct-01-14  Strelets: I think it was Botvinnik who compared Petrosian's chess to a slow-motion film. For me, Tigran Vartanovich was more of a pragmatist than anything else-he had staggering tactical vision and outstanding strategic acumen.
Oct-01-14  kevin86: I like the idea of retreat to advance. Wasn't this once called 'trigger chess"?
Oct-01-14  Castleinthesky: Two steps back and three steps forward!
Oct-01-14  Howard: In response to Gars' inquiry from earlier today, this game appears in Chernev's book The Golden Dozen, which came out in 1976.

In it, Chernev ranks whom he believed were the 12 greatest players of all time---Petrosian clocked in at #6.

The book was a bit mediocre, in my opinion. Chernev's "cute" comments and quips could occasionally be a bit irritating, plus they usually had little instructional value.

Oct-01-14  gars: <Howard>: thank you very much. Stronger players tend to criticize Chernev's books, although chess rabbits like myself like them a lot!
Oct-01-14  Poisonpawns: Max Euwe`s the middlegame 1&2 were helpful to me
Oct-01-14  Rookiepawn:

click for larger view

I cannot see why not 20 ... Nxd3 and Black seems to have a crushing position.

Someone willing to help a total woodpusher?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Rookiepawn,

It's a wee Petrosian trick. After 20...Nxd3 the Knight has no escape square. 21.Rf3 puts it in a spot.

Black can get the f-pawn with the doomed Knight. Has he exposed the White King or opened up lines for White.

Black also ends up with a protected passer on d4 - White may sac-back on d4....

Decisions, decisions.....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Just read the other posts.

True Chernev has his critics but he wrote for the home and casual club player. His plan being first to infect the reader with the love of the game and then try and demystify the masters moves so the reader can:

A) Understand the move.

B) Make them feel that they too can produce the same magic.

I've always liked his wee pins and jokes, the game flows along as it should, like a short story.

Years later I can still recall some of his notes. They did no harm.

"Stronger players tend to criticize Chernev's books..."

Perhaps the younger players do, The strong players I grew up with rated them. Mind you back then writing was an acquired skill and there was not all that many books to choose from.

Oct-02-14  gars: <Sally Simpson>: you hit the bullseye when you wrote "Perhaps the younger players do". As an old woodpusher I agree one hundred percent with you!
Nov-16-15  Caissanist: This game was actually annotated in at least two different books by Chernev. The notes here appear to be those from <The Chess Companion>, a book he wrote in the sixties which contains a chapter on Petrosian. The notes were later expanded when he annotated the game for <The Golden Dozen>, later retitled <Twelve Great Chess Players and their Best Games>. The latter book's annotations can be found at .
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