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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Petrosian - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1963), Moscow URS, rd 19, May-11
Queen's Indian Defense: Classical. Traditional Variation Main Line (E19)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: So this is it. Botvinnik gave up and mailed in three short draws after losing the game. Petrosian displays superior strategy and seems about to win the A-pawn at any moment, but then the manuevres seem to go on forever.

Petro could have ended his well played game with the simple 35.Bd4 since BxB, NxB wins the a5 or the e6 pawn and if 25...Bb4 then 36.a3 Capablanca would see it in a second!

After that I kind of dozed off - zzzzzz and was awakened by 53.g4+ Kf4 Huh What? Have no idea what the boys were doing there....

Jun-04-07  Fast Gun: PH Clarke in his book Petrosian's best
games, includes all of Petrosian's wins from the Botvinnik match except for this one: I am not sure why Clarke should omit this particular game, okay so it is far from perfect and technically flawed too, but this was the game that broke Botvinnik's resistance and in effect decided the result of the match, because after this game, Petrosian coasted to the title with three quick draws, which cleary show that even Botvinnik had no fight left in him: On move 42 Petrosian played b5 to create a passed pawn that eventually decided the game, also possible would have been 42. bxa !?
Nov-17-07  mccarthpm: if Bd4 on move 35-can't black simply trap the rook?-that is Bb4?
Nov-17-07  CapablancaFan: <mccarthpm: if Bd4 on move 35-can't black simply trap the rook?-that is Bb4?> No, that would only give Petrosian a passed pawn. Let's say if 35.Bd4 as you say, 35...Bb4? 36.a3! and the bishop would simply have to move again and since it can't move to the c3,d2 or e1 squares on threat of capture, it will be no longer able to protect the a5 pawn in which the rook captures immediately after black's next move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <mccarthpm> see the first post
Mar-19-08  crchandler: Actually, according to later analysis, Petrosian could have probably ended the game with more of a bang. Instead of 29 Qb7, he plays 29 Rd1 followed by 30 Rh1 and concludes the game with a direct attack or eventually forcing Botvinnik to shed decisive material.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: An interesting point about the decisive 18th and 19th games of this match is in both of them Petrosian played with two "pawn islands" versus three. He put a lot of emphasis on the importance of not having too many pawn islands--a number of people who attended the post mortems of his games recalled him stressing this point. He concept of pawn islands went beyond the contemporary concern focusing solely on isolated pawns.

<crchandler> is correct, but as Fischer pointed out, Petrosian would never let anything distract him from his plan, not even good moves! It just wasn't his style. Petrosian played plans, not moves. A Petrosian-Alekhine match would have been interesting (if they had been born at the same time, of course): Alekhine was also devoted to deep, far-reaching plans, but his style of play was, shall we say, rather different.

Apr-02-08  Knight13: This game may look simple, but Petrosian's extremely solid here. Botvinnik tried to break through but nothing shaked.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
<53.g4+ Kf4 Huh What?>

At first glance, 53. g4+ <Kxg4> looks dangerous because Black's king is in a net. But probably he can wriggle out again: 53. g4+ Kxg4 54. Rg3+ Kf5 55. Rg5+ Kf4 56. Bb2? <Bxf2!>.

So there is probably no quick king hunt, but White still looks winning after 53. g4+ Kxg4 54. Rg3+ Kf5 55. Rg5+ Kf4 56. Rxg6 Bd4 57. Rc6, etc.

Given the above, White should probably have played simply 53. Rd5+ Ke6 54. Rg5, soon picking up a second pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
I just noticed that White may have a big improvement over the line I posted above.

After 53. g4+ Kxg4, White probably plays <54. Rd7>. The point is if 54...Nc5 now 55. Rd5 and Black's knight gets in the way of the rook, preventing the counter-attack with ...Rc2. Now Black's king really is in a dangerous net and White will probably pick up some more material in the near future.

54...Nd8 in that line looks even worse. At the very least, White has 55. Nf6+ Kf5 56. Nd5 trapping the bishop (56...Bd4 57. Ne7+ Ke6 58. Rxd4).

After 54...Nd8 55. Rd5 also looks strong. Black's knight is not defending the d6 square anymore so 55...Rc2 56. Nf6+ Kf4?? 57. Bd6#. Otherwise 55...Rc2 56. Nf6+ Kh4 57. Nxe4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Following up on my post above.

After 53. g4+ Kxg4 54. Rd7, the best defense seems to be 54...Nc5 55. Rd5 <Nd3>. Black's position looks pretty precarious and probably lost, but I have not found any quick knockout blow here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Continuing the line above, White does seem to win eventually.

53. g4+ Kxg4 54. Rd7 Nc5 55. Rd5 Nd3 56. Nf6+ Kh4 57. Bd6 Ne1+ 58. Kf1 Nf3 59. Nxe4 Rc1+ 60. Ke2 Nd4+ 61. Kd2 Ra1 62. Bg3+ Kh3 63. Rd6 Nf3+ 64. Kd3 Rd1+ 65. Kc4 Rxd6 66. Bxd6... With Black's king offside, it will soon cost Black a piece to stop the b-pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: After 53...Kxg4 54.Rd7, 54...Rc7 55.Rxc7 Bxc7 looks equal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Sastre>
Yes, for some reason I didn't look at 54...Rc7 which leaves Black winning back a pawn, although White still has the slight advantage of a protected passed pawn.

This brings us back to <Calli>'s original comment: <53.g4+ Kf4 Huh What? Have no idea what the boys were doing there....>

May-06-11  Ulhumbrus: Although 16...f4 starts a King side attack, Black's Bishop at h6 blocks the use of that square for a Rook, whereas in the game Miles vs Korchnoi, 1978 Korchnoi was able to play a Rook to h6.

One reason why 18 e5 answers Black's King side attack may be that it causes Black to open the d file after which White occupies it quickly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Beautiful positional chess by TVP. He doesn't win a pawn until move 65, yet he clearly owns the initiative for basically the entire game.

Black valiantly struggles to hold on by his fingernails, but in the end must resign.

Jan-12-15  Strelets: <An Englishman> I envy those people. Petrosian had a staggering distance of calculation and probably treated his audience to numerous fascinating variations.
Jun-02-15  SpiritedReposte: White just had a target move after move, ratcheting up the pressure with each threat. Almost like sinking in quicksand.
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