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Boris Spassky vs Tigran V Petrosian
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969), Moscow URS, rd 1, Apr-14
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-01-05  suenteus po 147: It's poetic justice that Spassky lost this first game of his second match with Petrosian, which he would go on to win. Petrosian himself lost the first game of his match with Botvinnik, which as we all know he went on to win.
Nov-01-05  aw1988: And Fischer lost the first game.
Nov-01-05  ttr2121: It's interesting that Petrosian tried this against Fischer in the Candidates and got wiped. The elegance of that dispatch and Petrosian's subsequent demise prompts all sorts of excuse making from the Fischer-is-a-bad-person, so-his-chess-sucks crowd, but it would appear that Petrosian simply chose a variation that he had used to beat Spassky. He offered Fischer the exchange to no avail, but one wonders if he didn't have that sac in mind here too had Spassky played c4. No matter, Fischer retired the variation for black with some very beautiful play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Odd ending! White has a bishop and rook vs a pawn and a rook-and is doomed! Black's threat is 57... ♖xa2 58 ♖xa2 ♙b1=♕ White can abandon the bishop to stay alive,but the king is to far away to prevent black's king and rook ushering the pawn to its maximum.
Apr-05-08  Knight13: 31. Be4? is a mistake! Trading into a NR vs BR ending with those queen side pawns on the same color as the bishop, with a protected passed pawn is suicide. White should've retained that bishop and moved the knight away.
Jul-03-09  Ulhumbrus: One interesting point is that after 14 c4 Petrosian does nothing to prevent a double exchange of pawns on d5-transforming his centre into an isolated d pawn- while Spassky does not accept the invitation. This suggests the question of why. One possible reason is that Spassky has weakened himself by f4. When Fischer obtained this attack against Petrosian, he had not played f4. Fischer did exchange pawns twice on d5, and gave Petrosian an isolated d pawn.
Jun-08-11  thejack: It wasn´t up to Fischer to "refute" this line though:

Spassky himself improved his play with 9.b3 in a later game from this match (unfortunately i don´t know which round)..and won in 58 moves!

Aug-31-11  whiteshark: <thejack> Round 17 - Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969
Jan-26-14  Ulhumbrus: One justification for 13 f5 is that after 13 Rad1 the d file does not get opened for the rook. A second justification is that Black has not played ...Nd7 yet, so making the move ...Bf6 possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: A difficult ending. I wonder if 52.Ke3 could be a draw.

A) 52...Ra1 52.Rxc5 Rxa2 53.Kd3 Ke6 54.Kc2, draw.

B) 52...Na4 53.Rh4 Nc3 54.Rb4 Nxa2 55.Rxb2. Draw, isn't it?

In the game, 52...Ke5 introduces a huge difference. If 54.Rb4 (instead of 54.Re6+) Ra1 55.Rxa4 Rxa2 56.Rb4 Kd5 (one can see the difference with the previous variation 'A') 57.Ke3 Kc5 58.Rb7 Kc4, Black is just in time and wins (the Black King goes to c2).

Apr-16-15  RookFile: The older I get, the more I want to play like Petrosian.
May-07-15  1d410: I want to play like Spassky but I'm only 24
Apr-10-16  rainingpieces: Interesting moment on move 42. So 42.Rd4 is not good because of 42...Rc1+ 43.Kg2 Rb1 and if 44.Rxb4 then 44...Nc5 wins a piece
Dec-01-16  thejack: 13.f5 looks natural to me. What would have followed? I guess black would not take on f5, but it doesn´t look very ccomfortable if he leaves the pawn there either. To be honest, I don´t really understand the weakening 12.g6 in the first place.
Dec-01-16  micartouse: I've always found Petrosian's play very unnerving. The position after 15. f5 is so typical in his games. The pawns are warring on the light squares; they can exchange, they can press forward, they can just stay put.

I can't tell if I think it's unaesthetic or if I just can't handle that much tension. Did Petrosian like to provoke or is it just how he views the logic of the game?

I think he'd be a good champ to study if I ever got back into the game to open my mind up.

Dec-28-17  edubueno: 13 f5! es mucho más fuerte.
Mar-02-20  RookFile: 13. a4 would be good. Why let black get rid of his weak a pawn?
Mar-03-20  Petrosianic: The a pawn isn't really that weak, and if White plays a4, his own pawn may become weak if Black ever gets in c5-c4.
Jan-04-21  Margetic D: Maybe 52.Ke3, instead of letting black king to 5-row, could end up i a draw (?)
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Margetic D>,<Mateo> Syzygy 7-piece tablebase proves that you are right, 52. Ke3 gives a draw while 52. Rh6+ loses. It would be worth studying this to understand the why and wherefore.
Jan-05-21  Granny O Doul: Spassky credits Petrosian with being able to win Q vs R.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: yes, I think Boris should have made Petrosian, the older man, play it out, Q v. R. You never know, mistakes are possible.

It must have been discouraging losing the first game of the WC match, having lost the previous match. Some exciting chess here. For all the criticism of Petrosian as a 'boring' player, there are six decisive games in this match, more entertaining than Carlsen v. Nepo, maybe because MC is just much better than his nearest rivals.

I own a book put out by Petrosian's estate, after his death. It's a collection of his chess lectures, maybe some newspaper or magazine columns, not exactly sure of the sources. In the forward Kasparov strongly recommends the book, lauds Petrosian as the highest quality of chess player.

I think Spassky got $5,000 for winning. That was chess, back in the day. Perhaps he also got a Bulgarian refrigerator and a Yugo.

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