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Tigran V Petrosian vs Pal Benko
First Piatigorsky Cup (1963), Los Angeles, CA USA, rd 3, Jul-07
Gruenfeld Defense: Russian. Accelerated Variation (D81)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-22-03  Boomstick: 8...Nb4? Isnt this an illegal move?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Boomstick> Both Black Knights cover the b4 square and the one at d5 isn't pinned so that is the one that can move there. Were you playing this game without sight of a board or computer screen?
Oct-23-03  Boomstick: the java applet that opened up for me shows 8...Ncb4 not 8...Ndb4. I was just wondering if the java applet was mistaken (as Im sure it was), and if it needs fixing? It makes it a whole different game for at least 10 moves.
Jun-10-05  suenteus po 147: Benko seems to be winning here around move 26, what with his queenside majority and all. Was he too hasty in exchanging off his light-square bishop and queen in the subsequent moves? After all, Petrosian did have an extra knight to help pick off the queenside pawns. It seems to me Benko would want to keep his Queen at least to help press the pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: 42..Rg5 seems a misprint for 42..Rg6 when 43.Bxd5+ Rxd5 44.Rxg6 Kxg6 45.Ne7+ forks, so Black resigned. 42..Rg5 43.Rxe5 wins easily enough. Chess Cafe uses this game in a very positive review of the new 'Petrosian vs the Elite' (Keene and Simpole, 2007)
May-10-07  Magician of Riga:
Jun-01-07  xombie: Yes, the misprint ought to be corrected. I've been looking for a while to get why Black resigned.
Mar-29-08  ToTheDeath: I agree with IMlday, 43.Bxd5+ is a blunder leading to a drawn game, this move order almost certainly never happened.

Benko was never really winning, the piece was stronger than the pawns here.

Aug-06-12  backrank: A working link to the book review mentioned by <IMlday> is
Aug-06-12  backrank: The finish of the game was either the trivial 42 ... Rg5 43 Rxe5 or the much more interesting 42 ... Rg6 43 Bxd5+! (given by Chernev as well as by Keene/Simpole), but obviously NOT 42 ... Rg5 43 Bxd5+ as given here.

After Black's 14th move, the position looks like this:

click for larger view

White has happily placed all his pieces, except one, on the back rank, and Black has 4 connected passed pawns!

Aug-06-12  backrank: In the sequel, Petrosian finds ingenious measures for constantly harrassing Benko on the kingside, while at the same time restraining Black's pawns on the queenside. After White's 38th move, the position looks like this:

click for larger view

Black has still 3 pawns for the piece, but they are shattered, and even worse, the black king is badly exposed. If Black makes some innocent move, say 38 ... b4, then White mates by 39 Ra7+, namely either

I ... Ke8 40 Re7#

click for larger view

(an epaulet mate!)

II ... Kg6 (Kf6 40 R1a6+ followed by mate) 40 R1a6+ Rf6 41 Rg7#

click for larger view

III ... Ke8 40 Nh6+ (Rg7+ leads to nothing) Kh8 41 Rh7#

click for larger view

This is why Black played 38 ... g4, giving his king some air to breathe. However, this didn't change the game result.

Aug-06-12  backrank: If we assume Black has played 42 ... Rg6 (and not Rg5)

click for larger view

then 43 Bxd5+ Rxd5 44 Rxg6 Kxg6 45 Ne7 leads to the final picture:

click for larger view

Black's king is now deprived of all his officers, and his army of poor soldiers can't save him. Curtains.

Nov-20-12  thomascrown: Regards 42...Rg5 or Rg6, the tournament book,in descriptive notation has RN3. Is this sufficient evidence for a correction to the chessgames 42...Rg5?
Jan-02-13  backrank: <thomascrown: Regards 42...Rg5 or Rg6, the tournament book,in descriptive notation has RN3. Is this sufficient evidence for a correction to the chessgames 42...Rg5?>

RN3 is obviously Rg6.

Maybe you can try and submit another correction slip. I've tried already twice on this game (and similarly on lots of other games), but for some unknown reason, keeps on ignoring most of my submissions, even in cases which are much more obvious than the present one.

Oct-31-16  cunctatorg: Petrosian was extremely creative and productive versus Benko, he was deeply inspired by him to do his best!! That pair produced greatest and epic positional battles!!
Jul-23-19  Retireborn: Extremely rare opening line - the only other example I've found is:-

M Yudovich Sr. vs S Belavenets, 1937

Dolmatov calls the piece sacrice 13...Naxb4 the only move, but Houdini suggests an alternative; 13...Bg7 14.b5 Nc5 15.bxc6 Bxc6 and Black may have enough compensation.

Benko gets into trouble with 31...f6; instead 31...f5! 32.Nxf5+ Rxf5 33.Bxf5 Rd5 may be playable. Black is a whole rook down, but his Q-side pawns look menacing!

Aug-01-21  nummerzwei: This is the position after 28.gxf3:

click for larger view

In the game, Benko played the ugly 28...Qg5+?! which leaves White clearly for choice. Instead, Raymond Keene proposed 28...Nxd3 29.Qxd3 Qg5+ 30.Kf1 Qxh5 31.Rxa6?! (31.Qe4 improves) ...Ra8 32.Rea1 Rxa6 33.Rxa6 Qxe5 with a likely draw. Stockfish suggests 28...Rxd6!? 29.exd6 Qxd6 when Black is a full rook down but his queenside pawns become mobile. In all lines, the position is highly complex, but Black is struggling to save the game.

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