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Boris Spassky vs Tigran V Petrosian
"Taming the Tiger" (game of the day Oct-29-2008)
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969), Moscow URS, rd 19, Jun-04
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B94)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-13-12  David2009: <CHESSTTCAMPS: Try playing the game position against Crafty EGT at the following link:> The link seems to be flawed the BK starts on g8?

click for larger view

Here's a Crafty EGT link to the puzzle position above: The EGT defends with the 23...Nf4 line as suggested by <gregcz2000>. In reply to <Jim Bartle>'s suggestion <24. Rxf4 followed by Nf3 and on to g5 and mate is inevitable>, the EGT finds the ingenious 24...exf4 25.Nf3 Qb6 to reach:

click for larger view

which stuck me for a long time. The immediate Neg5 or Nf6 is well met by Qxg1+ etc and preparing things with Rb2 allows Qb5! holding on (turning the tables?). There is an extraordinary and paradoxial move which cracks it for White: can you find it in the diagram? Hint: block the Qb5 defence.

[Not enough time today to solve OTB. I saw almost none of this in the puzzle position - the Pawn sacrifice seemed promising but Nf6-h5-f4 seemed to me to hold everything, so I gave up and looksed at the solution. I still got stuck on the Nf4 defence but <Jim Bartle> gave me hope].

May-13-12  heurisko: <CHESTTCAMPS: B.2) 22... exd4 23.Nxf6! (Rf6 is also strong) g5 (otherwise 26.Qg6 wins) 24.Qe4 Qe7 (Re7 25.Qg6 Rg7 26.Qxh6+ wins) 25.Qg6! Qg7 26.Rxg5!! Qxg6 (hxg5 27.Qh5+ forces mate; 26... Re7 27.Qxh6+! Qxh6 28.Rg8#) 27.Rxg6 Bg7 28.Nxd7 Re7 29.Nc5 leaves black no compensation for a piece deficit.>

I don't see a forced mate in the case when black captures the rook on h5.

May-13-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: <David2009: ....The link seems to be flawed the BK starts on g8? .... There is an extraordinary and paradoxial move which cracks it for White: can you find it in the diagram? Hint: block the Qb5 defence.>

Right on both counts - sorry about the first one. I like the ingenuity of the win against the best defense, but it still requires careful follow-up.

May-13-12  chuter09: I hardly ever get Sundays and I stare at them for like 20 minutes. Today I got all the way to Qg6 in 2 minutes. Gotta remove the knight in order to remove the bishop.
May-13-12  TheBish: Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

White to play (21.?) "Insane"

This looks vaguely familiar (maybe from their World Championship match?), but I still had to work at it. The key is noticing that if you can make the knight "disappear", then you will have Rxf8+ and Qxg7#.

21. e5! dxe5 22. Ne4! Nh5

This was the toughest nut to crack for me. Easier is 22...exd4 23. Nxf6 Re7 24. Qg6, or 22...Nxe4 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Qxg7#.

23. Qg6! exd4 24. Ng5!!

Opening the h-file for a quick mate.


Or 24...Nf6 25. Rxf6 hxg5 26. Qh5+ Kg8 27. Qf7+ Kh8 28. Rf3 g4 (28...e5 29. Qh5#) 29. Rxg4 followed by 30. Rh3+.

25. Qxh5+ Kg8 26. Qf7+ Kh8 27. Rf3 and wins as in the variation above.

May-13-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: <heurisko: <CHESTTCAMPS: ....26.Rxg5!! Qxg6 (hxg5 27.Qh5+ forces mate......> I don't see a forced mate in the case when black captures the rook on h5.>

You're right - 27.Qh5+ does not force mate because of 27... Qh6. Although I got the game line, I made errors in the longer calculations and missed the 23... Nf4 defense.

May-13-12  BOSTER: Couple hours before looking at <POTD> I carefully studied the position from game <Fischer vs Benko>, where Fischer played e5 to gain time for Nce4 with a very strong attack.

click for larger view

And I knew very well that e5-Ne4 break was very popular during last 50 years.

Nevertheless, looking at <POTD> my knowledge were very fast disappeared.

May-13-12  LoveThatJoker: No answer submitted today: No points gained today.

5.60 out of 7 with a pass for the week.


May-13-12  Abdel Irada: Black is a pawn ahead, but in such positions pawns and even pieces are mere wood, and by leaving his kingside so nearly bare, black ignites a fire to which white will happily add as much fuel as he can. This fact guides intuition to cry out for 21. e5, dxe5; 22. ♘e4, and calculation confirms that taking the knight (or moving the black knight to any square except h5) is immediately fatal: 22. ...♘xe4?; 23. ♖xf8+ with mate next move on g7.

However, black does have resources — some not readily apparent — and to follow up that intuition with calculation to bring home the win leads the player into a maze that might bewilder a latter-day Theseus, even with an Ariadne to aid him.

After the necessary 22. ...♘h5, white continues 23. ♕g6, and insufficient to hold is 23. ...♕h4?, which is met by 24. ♘f3, ♕h2; 25. ♘fg5 and black will have to choose between king and queen.

Therefore, black must try 23. ...♘f4, but the fire burns on: 24. ♖xf4, exf4; 25. ♘f3, menacing 26. ♘fg5. Here black essays the resource 25. ...♕b6!, and if white plays, e.g., 26. ♘f6?, his attack comes to a standstill after 26. ...♕xg1+.

White's reply looks paradoxical, since it deprives his knights of the projected invasion square, but it also stops all of black's counterplay and renews the threat of ♘f6: 26. ♖g5!. There follows 26. ...♕d8; 27. ♘e5, ♕e7; 28. ♖f5!. The rook is immune: 28. ...exf5?; 29. ♘g5, ♕xg5; 30. ♘f7+, ♔g8; 31. ♘xg5+, and white mates next move on h7.

Black has various moves here, but none of them seems to leave him well off: E.g., 28. ...♗c6; 29. ♘f7+, ♕xf7; 30. ♖xf7, when he has avoided mate, but is left with rook and two pawns for a queen, and white will win prosaically.

(Now it's time to look at the game and see if I overlooked anything.)

May-13-12  Abdel Irada: Disappointing that Petrosian short-circuited the tactics by taking the knight on d4. I was hoping for a more stubborn defense.
Jan-24-14  Ulhumbrus: 15 g4 gives Black an unwelcome choice: Either Black accepts the pawn sacrifice and so opens the g file for White or else he allows the pawn attack g4-g5
Jan-24-14  RookFile: If he had to do it all over again, I'm sure Petrosian would have played the Petrov defense instead.
Jan-26-14  Ulhumbrus: <RookFile: If he had to do it all over again, I'm sure Petrosian would have played the Petrov defense instead>

Kasparov has indicated an answer to this in his book on Petrosian and Spassky. He says that Spassky's loss in game one (possibly also an earller loss against Petrosian's Sicilian in the 1966 match) had misled Petrosian.

Petrosian was led to think that he could outplay Spassky in any lines of the Sicilian defence.

This suggests that Petrosian made the same mistake as Spassky had made in 1966: He assumed that his opponent was weak in areas where his opponent was in fact not weak. Petrosian chose the Najdorf variation instead of the Kan variations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I'm sorry to leave all that rubbish....
Jan-30-14  Howard: Gotta make a mental note to take a closer look at this miniature by Spassky. It took place near the end of his 1969 match with Petrosian, which gave him the world title. One would suspect that be crushing Petrosian in such brutal style, that probably sapped the latter's resistance for the remaining several games of the match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobby Spassky: Dear Howard,

<Gotta make a mental note to take a closer look at this miniature by Spassky. It took place near the end of his 1969 match with Petrosian, which gave him the world title. One would suspect that be crushing Petrosian in such brutal style, that probably sapped the latter's resistance for the remaining several games of the match.>

Yes, Petrosian was so crushed he won the next game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Shams: White tried the ultra-aggressive x-wing setup with <6.Bg5> and <7.Bc4> but according to theory, he's not supposed to get away with planting both bishops on these squares. Does anybody know the refutation?>

In general, you are correct that White should not combine Bg5 and Bc4 in these open Sicilians, but as noted in this kibitz a little while ago: Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

<While 6....Nbd7 had appeared in (Petrosian's) praxis in the 1950s, 7.Bc4 was known to be a strong retort by the time of this game.>

Had your humble poster been so aware, he would have adopted 6....e6 the very first time he faced 6.Bg5, as a 1600-rated player, in summer 1975. Got summarily despatched, too.

It should be mentioned that this was not the last voyage of 6....Nbd7 for the good ship Tigran: he essayed it in Gulko vs Petrosian, 1976.

Sep-06-15  N.O.F. NAJDORF: The move 21 e5 in this game reminds me of
35 e5 in the following game:

Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914

Nov-28-15  Ulhumbrus: One question is how much Spassky had foreseen when he chose which files to place his rooks on. After 11 Rhe1 both rooks are going to move again. 17 Rg1 will place the king's rook on the g file after White has opened it by offering the pawn sacrifice 15 g4 and the rook on d1 is going to go to the f file by 19 Rdf1 after White has begun to open the f file by 18 f5.
Feb-27-18  tgyuid: when you say computor....
Nov-13-18  Petrosianic: My favorite possible ending to this game is

24...Qxg5 25. Rxg5 hxg5 26. Qxh5+ Kg8 27. Qf7+ Kh7 28. Rf3 g4 29. Rf5 exf5 30. Qh5++, and White has no pieces left that aren't directly involved in the final attack.

Nov-14-18  ewan14: I think Petrosian's second said they could not rely on Spassky playing timidly against the Petroff for 3 games ( Spassky white ) running
Dec-06-18  ChessHigherCat: Too bad they didn't play out the Mexican shootout a few more moves:

24...Qxg5 25. Rxg5 Nf6 26. Rxf6

leads to this position, where both rooks are en prise and neither one is edible without extreme indigestion:

click for larger view

Feb-05-19  mckmac: Good short video by Daniel King covering the finale of this classic game:
Jan-18-21  sudoplatov: When this game was played, I remember some commentator asking, "Why give Spassky an open file?"
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