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Tigran V Petrosian vs Samuel Schweber
Stockholm Interzonal (1962), Stockholm SWE, rd 20, Feb-28
King's Indian Defense: Averbakh Variation. Flexible Defense (E73)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-19-05  ThunderStorm: "This is a good example of Petrosian's long term thinking. He thinks in constellations and long-term planning rather than individual moves" - GM Leonard Barden in his book 'Play Better Chess 1980'
Jan-05-06  tayer: Here Petrosian's Knights are superior than the bishops. I saw this long time ago in Sokolski's opening book. He said that after 20. Bxe8 black has no hope and all is just about technique (completing the development and increasing the pressure until black's position collapses)
Jul-09-07  Tomlinsky: This is a model example of square strangulation strategy. Petrosian slowly but surely completely dominates the white squares while fixing future target points. He doesn't rush things, boa constrictor style, making sure all pieces are reinforcing and earning their places on the board. Black is already lost.

The victim tries shedding a pawn, with 28...Qa6, so that his position at least has some oxygen on the dark squares although it may have been more prudent to at least organise his pieces more coherently before doing so as it merely accelerates his demise. The future World Champion soon regurgitates and offers the pawn back while eliminating the short lived dark square opposition. Any counterplay that black thought he saw is completely cosmetic. White now finally cashes in on the winning position he has been constructing so patiently and it is only a matter of technique to do so.

An extremely instructive game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: GM Adrian Mikhalchishin explains very instructive the beginning of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Black was lost before he even knew he was lost. Brilliant game.
Oct-14-08  arsen387: A very instructive link about this game and the pawnstructure in particular was posted by <Augalv> on Petrosian page . Blacks really were lost before they knew that:) Pure class
Nov-24-08  fich: Such a deep sight over the board, this Petrosian guy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Petrosian had a strategically won game after 13.g4!:

click for larger view

Black will never be able to free his position by ...f5, and is cramped behind the White pawn chain.

Apr-25-12  iamdeafzed: 43.)...Ke7
44.) b6, Rb8
45.) b7

After which, it looks like white can just improve his position (e.g. move his king up the board) while black sits helplessly, unable to do anything constructive against the two passed pawns (45...Rxb7?? is met by d8Q+).

Apr-25-12  LoveThatJoker: <iamdeafzed> I'm glad that you commented on this game, as it appeared on the 'Recent Kibitzing' games list; and being a huge Petrosian fan, I just had to see what transpired in this game.

You are very much correct in saying that 43...Ke7 is Black's strongest reply to 43. d7, however as I was considering the line you gave here of 44. b6 Rb8 45. b7 it wasn't clear to me how White could win immediately if Black played 45...Kd8.

Analysis Diagram Position after 45...Kd8

click for larger view

My question on the matter was well-founded as, after firing up Stockfish to get its opinion, it became clear to me that although the win is straight-forward and clear it does require some extra maneuvering and endgame technique.

Here is the win, as produced by Stockfish:

43. d7 Ke7 44. b6 Rb8 45. b7 Kd8 46. Rd6 Rxb7 47. Rxh6 Rxd7 48. Rh8+ Kc7 49. h6 Kc6 (49...Rd2+ 50. Kg3 Rxb2 51. h7 Rb1 52. Rg8 Rh1 53. h8=Q Rxh8 54. Rxh8 ) 50. h7 Kb7 51. Kg3 Re7 52. Kg4 Rd7 53. Kxg5 Rg7+ 54. Kf6 Rd7 55. f4 Rd6+ 56. Kg5 Rd7 57. f5

It can therefore be seen that 43...Ke7 44. b6 Rb8 45. b7 is not the simplest way to win.

I therefore once again called upon Stockfish to find a winning line, but this time after the final move played in the game (i.e., 43. d7); it gave me two:

A) 43...Ke7 44. b6 Rb8 45. d8=Q+ Rxd8 46. Rxd8 Kxd8 47. Kg3 Kc8 48. Kg4 Kb7 49. Kf5 Kxb6 50. Kg6 Kb5 51. Kxh6 Kc4 52. Kxg5 Kb3 53. h6 Kxb2 54. h7 Kc2 55. h8=Q

B) 43...Rd8 44. b6 Ke7 45. b7 Rb8 46. Kg3 (Of course the computer preferred 46. d8=Q+, but I gave it this move so it could demonstrate the alternate win here) 46...Kd8 47. Rd6 Rxb7 48. Rxh6 Rxd7 49. Rh8+ Kc7 50. h6 Kc6 51. h7 Kb7 52. Kg4 b3 53. Kxg5 Rd5+ 54. Kg4 Rd7 55. f4


Apr-30-12  iamdeafzed: @ LoveThatJoker

Thanks for your comments/improvements to my apparently inaccurate mini-line. I didn't use an engine this time to analyze this position, which is sadly something I still need to resort to more often than not.

May-01-12  LoveThatJoker: <iamdeafzed> Hi man! I'm glad that Stockfish's analysis served us both well on here!

Swing by my forum and talk chess sometime: Chess history, your favourite games, etc. There are a few of us who meet there and discuss chess and analysis and all that.

Swing by, man!


May-01-12  SChesshevsky: <tayer: Here Petrosian's Knights are superior than the bishops.>

Yes, I'm not sure when Petrosian saw that Black's pawns were good targets for the N's but 17. Bxc5 and 20. Bxe8 were killers.

I'm not sure if Black thought he had to play the Knights off or chose to but by 21...Ba6 there looks like an awful lot of weak Black pawns and good White N outposts.

Aug-04-12  backrank: On 43 ... Ke7, it's probably easiest to force an elementary pawn endgame by 44 d8=Q+.

If Black tries to avoid this by 43 Rd8, White plays 44 b6 Ke7 45 b7 b3 46 Kg3 with zugzwang - neither black king nor black rook can move without immediate collapse.

Very instructive! It's much more fun to learn elementary endgame techniques from such great games than from dry lessons (IMHO).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <The future World Champion soon regurgitates> ... all over Black's position!
Feb-14-15  xombie: Petrosian uses quite the same square control devices as in Petrosian-Unzicker (which I just commented on prior to this - sorry to toot my own horn, but it is instructive). Petrosian vs Unzicker, 1960

After black's 13 ... b5(??), with the a6-b5 formation in place, he plays a4 to latch on to the 'hook' (a term promulgated in Aagard's excellent treatise on technical chess) on b5 by playing a4, forcing it to advance. Thus (strangely), black's light square control which was quite solid with the pawn chain on a6+b5 is now undermined strongly and the knight can lodge on c4.

However, the knight cannot yet sit on c4 since it would be attacked by Ba6. So he plays 18. Bb5! to give the knight cover.

I am unsure about black's Nc5 which hands over the blockade and square without much fight. But then, there might have been other things which I am missing here. These things happen when one has been outplayed positionally.

Feb-14-15  xombie: I must summarize. In this game, the knight retreats to b1 and not to a2 - for c4 control. This must be contrasted with the Petrosian-Unzicker game where the knight goes to b3 for c5 control.
Feb-14-15  xombie: Furthermore, the pawn weakening aspects arising from the knight are much clearer in this game (it is, in a way, an endgame theme) where it attacks a host of dark squares (one of which is the weak pawn on a5) from c4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < Flexible Defense >

What exactly is a "flexible" defense (one that leaves possibilities open?).

Feb-14-15  xombie: Yes, probably so. Here though, it looks like a case of a flexible 'Opening' by white rather than a flexible defense by black in that it is white who deviates from the usual sequence of moves comprising the Petrosian system of the KID by playing Be2 before playing Nf3. The important point is that after 6..h6 7. Be3 black does not have the reasonable response 7.. Ng4. This is then followed up with h4-h5 etc.

This appears to be an opening improvisation by Petrosian!

Apr-09-22  tbontb: Cat and mouse play! Petrosian as White establishes a strong positional bind and his patience is rewarded when Black first misses opportunities to simplify (e.g. 24....Bxc4) into an admittedly inferior position, then panics with 28....Qa6 (better Bd7), after which the game is simply lost.

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