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  WCC Overview
Petrosian vs Spassky 1966

 Petrosian and Spassky
 Both colleagues and adversaries.
In 1966 Tigran Petrosian met popular challenger Boris Spassky who entered the match a big favorite. Not only had Spassky convincingly defeated Keres, Geller and Mikhail Tal in candidates matches, he had also played model chess in a universal style. Spassky seemed equally at home in the wilds of the King's Gambit and other open games as in the thickets of the King's Indian and assorted closed positions. At a strictly personal level, if not to the manor born, Spassky was certainly to the gracious manner born. In the match Spassky achieved numerous promising positions only to run into a record number of exchange sacrifices and other sophisticated holding maneuvers. He thrashed about and found himself two points down after 10 games. He evened the score after game 19, but Petrosian won the 20th and 22nd games to clinch the title defense, +4 -3 =17.[1]

After failing to dethrone him in 1966, Spassky described Petrosian as, "first and foremost a stupendous tactician."[2]

The match took place in Moscow between April 9 and June 9, 1966. After the full 24 games, Petrosian defended his title of World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 123456789101112131415161718192021222324

FINAL SCORE:  Petrosian 12½;  Spassky 11½
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Petrosian-Spassky 1966]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #10     Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966     1-0
    · Game #7     Spassky vs Petrosian, 1966     0-1
    · Game #12     Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966     1/2-1/2


  1. The Kings of Chess by Larry Parr
    2 The Game of Tigran Petrosian Book review by Edward Winter, 1991

 page 1 of 1; 24 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½371966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB19 Caro-Kann, Classical
2. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½501966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
3. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½431966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
4. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½441966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchA14 English
5. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½791966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
6. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½151966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchD40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
7. Spassky vs Petrosian 0-1431966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchA46 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½231966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchA33 English, Symmetrical
9. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½261966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB14 Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack
10. Petrosian vs Spassky 1-0301966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
11. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½261966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchC10 French
12. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½391966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchA04 Reti Opening
13. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-0911966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB19 Caro-Kann, Classical
14. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½571966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchA05 Reti Opening
15. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½551966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB24 Sicilian, Closed
16. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½491966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB06 Robatsch
17. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½291966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchB30 Sicilian
18. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½331966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchE17 Queen's Indian
19. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-0681966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchC11 French
20. Petrosian vs Spassky 1-0411966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
21. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½391966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchC11 French
22. Petrosian vs Spassky 1-0351966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchA40 Queen's Pawn Game
23. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-0311966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchC11 French
24. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½771966Petrosian - Spassky World Championship MatchE60 King's Indian Defense
 page 1 of 1; 24 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: To see the discussion, after you click on that link in my prior post, scroll down the page to this post:

<Sep-08-15 bobthebob: I agree with Carlson, the current WC should qualify for the candidates and compete in the candidates like everyone else. No one should get a pass.

Imagine that in a WC match the challenger losses 6-0. Do they really deserve an automatic placement in the candidates vs players who had a much better recent record? No.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <But this debate has given me an idea. Let me propose the following:

If the champion wins the match, he awaits the next challenger and plays a title match again.

If he <draws> the match, he retains the title but has to go through qualification during the next cycle, just as everyone else has to.>

Yeah, I could go for that. I could even go as far as declaring the title vacant in the case of a drawn match (meaning that both sides have to go through the candidates just the same. Your idea is less extreme, and would add a very meaningful difference to winning the match versus drawing it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Petrosianic: ... I could even go as far as declaring the title vacant in the case of a drawn match (meaning that both sides have to go through the candidates just the same.>

I think this idea has its merits. I cannot favor it, though, because once a player goes through the herculean challenge of becoming world champ, he should retain that title until decisively beaten.

Maybe this view is not as easy to support nowadays. I came to this viewpoint back in the days of zonals, interzonals, and candidates matches. The qualification process was a long and thorough test, and players like Fischer, Karpov, Korchnoi & Kasparov were unquestionably worthy challengers to the champions after going through all of that.

And then to become champion after such an arduous qualification cycle is, arguably, the greatest accomplishment even possible in the chess world. Men who achieved that feat should not have their title stripped in the instance of a drawn match.

Alas, those days are gone, maybe for good. So your idea of vacating the title in case of a drawn match is not as drastic an action as it would have been in the earlier era.

Even so, I don't see anyone as good as Carlsen in the chess world today, so to see him lose the title and then [maybe] not qualify for the next world championship would result in a less worthy player getting the crown.

In that case, why not go back to Khalifman as champion? Ah, but I digress.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <At a strictly personal level, if not to the manor born, Spassky was certainly to the gracious manner born.>

"He was born a pauper to a pawn"

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Check It Out: <At a strictly personal level, if not to the manor born, Spassky was certainly to the gracious manner born.>

"He was born a pauper to a pawn">

Alvin Tostig's son?

Sep-23-15  Edeltalent: On the topic of playing out a match if the title is no longer at stake: Some comments by Kasparov on the final games of the 1990 match against Karpov (which he won 12,5:11,5 after having defended the title already at 12:10 after game 22).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <thegoodanarchist> <I think this idea has its merits. I cannot favor it, though, because once a player goes through the herculean challenge of becoming world champ, he should retain that title until decisively beaten.>

Well, I like the idea of a drawn match sending the champion down to the candidates level. I can think of only one possible downside to it.

Suppose it's Game 24 of a Karpov-Kasparov match. Karpov is losing 11-12. So he's out of the running and in the next candidates. The question is, does he want to win the next game and send Kasparov down too?

He might think to himself "Nobody can knock me out of the candidates except Kasparov. Do I really want him down there with me where he can have the chance? If I have to lose to him again, let it be in the next championship, not in a candidates match. That way I can collect the big money."

That's possible, but nevertheless I think I'd go for the idea. On the other side of things, there's the chessplayer's ego that would want to make him win that game and be able to say he didn't lose the match. And it's good for his reputation. I think Bronstein's legacy is enormously better than it would have been if he had lost that match by one point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Petrosianic: Imagine a match where the champion is really kicking tail. Like 12-8. Would you really want to deny him the opportunity to win the match just because he'd already defended his title?>

There was, of course, the Alekhine-Euwe return match, featuring the challenger doing the kicking, having obtained the necessary 15.5 points and six wins with five games to go.

All the games were played out and Alekhine scored +1 -2 =2 in the remainder.

Sep-24-15  Lt.Surena: thegoodanarchist:players like Fischer, ...were unquestionably worthy challengers.

Oh Yeah! Bobby was worthy challenger because he MISSED the qualifying tournament to play in 1970 Interzonal by purpose.

Then he got in because Benko was payed under the table with the cooperation of the goons from USCF and FIDE (Euwe).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: The phrase is "on purpose", not "by purpose". Are you aware that Fischer won the 1971 Candidates?
Sep-24-15  Lt.Surena: You're trying very hard to legitimize and justify the cheating scandal perpetrated by USCF, Euwe(FIDE) and half dozen others to get Bobby into 1970 Interzonal. *Much like a cat trying to cover up doo doo on a marble floor.

P.S. Bobby chose not play in US championship series of 1969 that was the qualifying tournament for the 1970 Interzonal. Benko was payed off under the table for his seat at 1970 Interzonal with the help of the chumps mentioned above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <Lt.Surena: You're trying very hard to legitimize and justify the cheating scandal perpetrated by USCF, Euwe(FIDE) and half dozen others to get Bobby into 1970 Interzonal.>

Petrosianic isn't trying as hard as Fischer.

...who slaughtered everyone in his path
to the title.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Asking you a question is "trying to legitimize a cheating scandal"? You don't believe that. It's too ridiculous.

What I asked was if you knew Fischer had won the 1971 Candidates. If you didn't know, just admit that you didn't know. If you did know, why are you afraid to say so?

Sep-26-16  Aunt Jemima: From the bio, <At a strictly personal level, if not to the manor born, Spassky was certainly to the gracious manner born. >


Challenge: please rearrange these random words to form a coherent sentence.

Thank you please.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: You may care to read this: Biographer Bistro
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Challenge: please rearrange these random words to form a coherent sentence.>

It's saying Spassky is a nice guy.

Sep-26-16  Aunt Jemima: <Petrosianic> Thank you please.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Spassky came into this match knowing that he had to win one more game than his seemingly indestructible opponenet.

In 1965 Petrosian had lost three serious games: one to Portisch and two to Korchnoi. In 1966 up to this match Petrosian had lost one game, a training game, Boleslavsky vs Petrosian, 1966. (After this match he lost three games at the Second Piatigorsky Cup. 7 losses in 1966.)

So halfway through the match, game 12, and Petrosian is 2-0 ahead. Spassky has to win 3 games out of the final 12. He manages to do this difficult feat but in the process he lost another 2 games.

Although the games were all very hard-fought I don't think Petrosian was ever in danger of losing his title.

Oct-22-16  ZonszeinP: Spassky managed to beat Keres four times in only 10 games. Only 3 times he beat Petrosian in 24..

Spassky was tired

Oct-23-16  Howard: There was undoubtedly more to it than that. Petrosian wasn't nicknamed "Iron Tigran" for nothing.

Not only that, in a 24-game match, there will almost always be a lot of draws as both players need to conserve energy, not to mention not push themselves too hard.

Oct-23-16  ZonszeinP: True
Yet, I would kindly draw the attention to the fact that Spassky played more than 50 games in 1965 to reach Petrosian (including matches against players of the calibre of Keres, Geller and Tal) Brilliantly winning
Oct-25-16  Howard: That reminds me of a comment that Spassky had made prior to his second match, in 1969, with Petrosian. He had stated that if he lost this match, this would probably be his last attempt at becoming world champion because he just didn't feel up to the task of going through a THIRD set of Candidates matches.

Luckily for him, he won against Petrosian this time around.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Maybe Spassky was selling himself short. After 1969, he did go through a 3rd, 4th, and even 5th series of candidates matches.
Oct-25-16  Howard: True---maybe after being able to "rest" through the 1971 series of matches, he might have been recharged enough to make another go at it.
Premium Chessgames Member
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