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Petrosian vs Spassky 1969
Moscow

 Petrosian and Spassky
 The second encounter, 1969
In 1969, Tigran Petrosian was due to defend his title, once again against Boris Spassky.

Would Boris fare better the second time around? Here is what ex-champion Vassily Smyslov predicted before the match:

The World Champion has penetrated deeper perhaps than anyone into the secrets of positional manoeuvring. He is finely sensitive to all the nuances of the struggle on the chess board. Who will win: Petrosian or Spassky? It is hard to say. I wish to make just one remark. There is a Russian saying: "Repetition is the mother of understanding." In 1954 I could not win the crown from Botvinnik, but three years later I succeeded in doing so. Why should not Spassky also do the same? He has every ground for achieving it.[1]

The match took place in Moscow between April 14 and June 17, 1969. After 23 games, Boris Spassky was crowned the 10th World Chess Champion.

[video footage on YouTube]

click on a game number to replay game 1234567891011121314151617181920212223
Spassky0½½11½½1½00½½½½½1½101½½
Petrosian1½½00½½0½11½½½½½0½010½½

FINAL SCORE:  Spassky 12½;  Petrosian 10½
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Petrosian-Spassky 1969]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #19     Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969     1-0
    · Game #5     Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969     1-0
    · Game #11     Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969     0-1

FOOTNOTES

  1. The World Chess Championships by Graeme Cree

 page 1 of 1; 23 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Petrosian 0-156 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchB42 Sicilian, Kan
2. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½61 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
3. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½43 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchB36 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
4. Petrosian vs Spassky 0-141 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
5. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-030 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
6. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½47 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½27 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
8. Petrosian vs Spassky 0-144 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½65 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchA56 Benoni Defense
10. Petrosian vs Spassky 1-038 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
11. Spassky vs Petrosian 0-156 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchE12 Queen's Indian
12. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½49 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
13. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½25 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchC42 Petrov Defense
14. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½56 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½19 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchC42 Petrov Defense
16. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½31 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
17. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-058 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchB42 Sicilian, Kan
18. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½59 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
19. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-024 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchB94 Sicilian, Najdorf
20. Petrosian vs Spassky 1-050 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Spassky vs Petrosian 1-053 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
22. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½31 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Spassky vs Petrosian ½-½41 1969 Petrosian - Spassky World Championship RematchB48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
 page 1 of 1; 23 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: From Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

<perfidious: In reference to game 17, followed by this effort, the following was once written: 'It is the author's thesis that if Petrosian had retained the nerve to bore his audiences (by playing the Petrov <perfidy>), he might have retained his world championship'.>

Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: This game is probably a reasonable approximation of a Spassky vs. Petrosian King's Gambit:

Bronstein vs Petrosian, 1963

Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Petrosianic>

In response to this post-

<It is interesting that Euwe, often considered one of the weakest Champions, did not shy away from defending his title against Alekhine.>

You wrote:

<"Part of that was a matter of honor. In fact, I find it amazing that Euwe was able to win at all, when his mindset was so totally geared towards <<<bending over backwards to accommodate his opponent.>>> The only real parallel is Spassky in 1972. It's not easy to work so hard to help your opponent and concentrate on fighting him at the same time. But Euwe managed to do it. Extraordinary.">

Just in case you or others didn't know this, Euwe agreeing to a rematch against Alekhine in 1937 was more than just a "matter of honor," as you characterize it. It was actually a matter of contractual obligation.

<Alekhine> had a contractual right to this rematch, should he lose to <Euwe> in 1935 and wish to challenge for a rematch.

The contract for <Alekhine-Euwe> 1935 world championship match stipulated that <Alekhine> had the right to a return match provided he

1. Challenge within 1 year

2. Deposit a stake of approximately 2,000 pounds

Source:

"Times" (17 Oct 1935), p.8. In Leonard Skinner and Robert Verhoeven, "Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games 1902-1946" (MacFarland 1998), p.534

Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <RookFile: The lethal King's Gambit? I supposed that Petrosian might have laughed himself to death.>

I don't think anyone laughed when Spassky played it. In his career Spaasky had only one loss with the KG (and that was in a simul).

(I did a search on Spassky c30-c39 neat feature)

Jan-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Well, Spassky knew when not to play it, too. He had his chances in this match and didn't.
May-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: As a reply to Spassky's 1.e4 Petrosian had adopted the Petroff, and drawn games 13 & 15 pretty easily. Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969, game 15, was drawn in only 19 moves. Game 16 was also drawn (a Tarrasch) and so just before game 17 the score was 3-3 with 11 draws.

There were only 7 games to go!

At this moment Petrosian decided to answer Spassky's 1.e4 with the Sicilian. After quite a struggle he lost game 17. Spassky played very well!

Game 18 was drawn, another Tarrasch.

Then in game 19 Petrosian played the sharp Sicilan Najdorf. He was beaten badly in only 24 moves. Now the score was 5-3 to Spassky with only 5 games to go. Petrosian tried hard to pull back in that short time; he won game game 20 but then lost game 21 and a draw in game 22 gave Spassky the title.

May-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I came into the match against Tigran Petrosian completely exhausted after getting through 98 difficult qualifying games. During the final stages there were bloody matches against Keres, Geller and Tal. The most difficult match was against Keres, which turned into a street brawl. Geller was relatively weak in defence and I only needed to attack him at all costs. I didnít allow Tal to seize the initiative. That approach brought me success. However, in order to beat Petrosian I needed something new. Itís very important to be imbued with a sense of the inevitability of your own victory. Your opponent senses that. But for that you need to have spirit and matter in harmony. In my case I was a poor student, unsettled and very far from higher thoughts. In the first match I flung myself at Petrosian like a kitten at a tiger, and it was easy for him to parry my blows. But by the second Iíd matured and turned into a bear that was always putting the tiger under pressure, by which I mean I held him in a grip that even if it was loose was constant, and he didnít like that> - Boris Spassky, talking about his path to the world championship.
Nov-28-15  Ulhumbrus: Some remarks in various places in Kasparov's books on his predecessors appear to suggest that in 1966 Spassky underestimated Petrosian as a result of which in 1969 Petrosian underestimated Spassky
Dec-15-15  cg999: I hope anand knows what smyslov have said. To be able to win against carlsen. But Anand is already too old.
Dec-15-15  Marmot PFL: <In the first match I flung myself at Petrosian like a kitten at a tiger, and it was easy for him to parry my blows. But by the second Iíd matured and turned into a bear that was always putting the tiger under pressure, by which I mean I held him in a grip that even if it was loose was constant, and he didnít like that>

The same thing happened in the Karpov-Kasparov matches in 1984 and 1985.

Dec-15-15  EdZelli: Spassky was a superb player in the 60s. Gotta give credit where it is due.

Boris beat a lot of players in match setup: Tal, Geller, Korchnoy, Keres, etc. Petrosian just didn't wanna be the world champ anymore in 69. Tigran expressed relief after his loss.

Sadly Boris played very poorly in 72 all due to his non-existence prep work. Some call it champion's disease.

Dec-15-15  Petrosianic: <Petrosian just didn't wanna be the world champ anymore in 69.>

He wanted it. Spassky just wanted it more.

Dec-15-15  Petrosianic: What you might say he didn't want was to keep playing in the candidates afterwards. He said that he'd considered not playing in the 1971 Candidates. He'd had his turn, let the younger generation have it. But then when he saw that so many of the other Candidates (Korchnoi, Geller, Taimanov, Larsen, Uhlman) were from his own generation, that he had no right to refuse.
Dec-15-15  EdZelli: Another bit of nonsense from " Petrosianic" aka. Mr. know em all. He writes "He wanted it. Spassky just wanted it more."

By 1969 or 1972 or 1975, for that matter, No player alive (much less players of his own generation) had Petrosian's level of achievement. He was a repeat world champ(1963 and 1966)
leaving no doubt about his prowess. What else is there to prove?

Dec-15-15  Petrosianic: <EdZelli: Another bit of nonsense from " Petrosianic">

You call it nonsense (that Spassky wanted it more), then turn around and agree with it (he had nothing left to prove). You've got to get your own story straight before you can take issue with me.

There were other repeat world champions alive in 1975. That was simply an error on your part. (An error is like a silly opinion, only worse).

Dec-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: If Petrosian didn't want to be world champion any more, then he had a very obvious remedy: don't play in the 1969 match. And once he'd lost the match, he had an even more obvious remedy: don't play in the 1970-72 cycle. Or the cycle after that, or the cycle after that.

Since he played in the 1969 match, and the three following cycles, it's obvious that he still wanted to be champion.

Dec-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: <edzelli> How sour are those grapes?
Dec-15-15  Petrosianic: <If Petrosian didn't want to be world champion any more, then he had a very obvious remedy: don't play in the 1969 match. And once he'd lost the match, he had an even more obvious remedy: don't play in the 1970-72 cycle. Or the cycle after that, or the cycle after that.>

I'm not much for excuses, whether I like the player or not. Saying he didn't want it (at all) is just an unsportsmanlike way of trying to tarnish Spassky's victory. Most of the fanboys around here go for Fischer, Kasparov, Carlsen, and the like, but Petrosian has a few too (ever run across Lt. Surena?)

Considering that Petrosian has been on the receiving end of one of the most prolonged bouts of bad sportsmanship in chess history (Curacao), you'd think his fans would know better than to practice it themselves.

If you want to know where Petrosian's best chances were in this match, he had a superior game in Game 12, and a won game in Game 14. Spassky was a bit down and out after the losses in Games 10 and 11. Had Petrosian won one (or both!) of those games, he might have pushed through to victory. But it didn't happen. Spassky held on through the tough time, got his mojo back, and came out on top.

Apr-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This was a very tough match. There are other very hard matches but this was a real toughie. The only match of similar difficulty was Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974), and that was as hard as nails.
Apr-10-16  Renko: Tigran spanked Bobby in Curacao. Bobby was the punching bag in Curacao. Bobby LOST 7 games and still cried foul. Imaging if Topa had made a fuss after losing 5 this year in the 2016 Candidates.

The most shameful cheating scandal in the history of chess occurred when Benko was paid under the table for his seat in 1970 Interzonal by USCF with the cooperation of the FIDE's scoundrel Max Euwe. ** Five other people who were eligible ahead of Bobby were also told to get lost so Bobby could play without playing in the qualifying tournament.

Apr-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <keypusher: If Petrosian didn't want to be world champion any more, then he had a very obvious remedy: don't play in the 1969 match. ...

Since he played in the 1969 match, and the three following cycles, it's obvious that he still wanted to be champion.>

Well, he still was a professional chess player who had to pay his bills.

Apr-10-16  ewan14: Petrosian ( and Geller ) cheated Keres in 1962 by going to Benko's room to check his analysis for his game with Keres
Apr-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I think the winner's prize for this match was a low figure, like 1500 bucks or something?
Apr-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <RookFile: I think the winner's prize for this match was a low figure, like 1500 bucks or something?> It was something like that, $1,500 or possibly $2,500.

I once had a theory (my own idea) that it was based on Capablanca's London Rules.

These said that the champ didn't have to play for a prize lower than $10,000 or £2,500 (in 1922 there was a fixed exchange rate).

The Soviet government may have set the exchange rate for the Rouble at ‎₽1 = £1. They could set it at anything as ‎₽s were not accepted anywhere in the West, because they were garbage. Has anyone ever seen a Rouble? No, because they were garbage.

But that might explain the low figure for the prize money. As well as the fact that <both players were amateur chess players and not entitled to any prize money at all.>

Apr-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Also, whatever the prize money was in 1969 I believe it was the same as the world championships in 1951, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963 and 1966. I don't know about 1948.

Today, Fischer's 1972 £50,000 win would be worth about $600,000.

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