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Robert James Fischer vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
"Tiger Trap" (game of the day Apr-17-2016)
USSR vs. Rest of the World (1970), Belgrade SRB, rd 1, Mar-29
Caro-Kann Defense: Exchange. Rubinstein Variation (B13)  ·  1-0


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Robert James Fischer vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (1970) Tiger Trap
Board #2 of the USSR vs Rest of the World match, Belgrade, 1970.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-01-16  RookFile: If black captures on e5 on move 17, 18. dxe5 unleashes a discovered attack on the b6 queen.
Jun-01-16  Petrosianic: All I can think is that Timi didn't see that after 17... Nxe5 18. dxe5 Black's queen is under attack.
Jun-01-16  Petrosianic: <Howard: The first time I ever saw this game was over 45 years ago in....Boys Life !

You can find the article simply by Googling "Bobby Fischer Takes Top Honor".

Read it ! Larry Evans, incidentally, comments on Petrosian's rather strange 17...Kf8 move.>

Yeah, I've seen that Boy's Life issue. As I recall, Evans thought that Black was afraid of white's attack after O-O. I think he also marveled that Black trying to scramble his King over to the Queenside at the end very nearly works.

Jun-02-16  zanzibar: The caption in G.Clayton's link:

says that this is Fischer's 2nd victory over the Russia's.

Yet the round number in the PGN says this is R1.2 (R1, board 2).

Also, the Evans' article:

gives this game, saying:


"The first game was the most dramatic. Bobby had not played a clock game for 18 months, and everybody was wondering if this would spoil his chess. Despite being rusty, Bobby played as well as ever. Petrosian made several mistakes, all of them instructive. ..."


Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <diceman: In the photo with the handshake, the position on the demonstration board
appears to be Polugaevsky vs. Hort.
(listed as round four, I have no idea if that’s actually correct) While it looks like TP has the black pcs,
they appear to be behind the clock.
(which indicates they were RF’s captured pcs.)

This would suggest the Fischer (white suit) photo is correct as round 1.

The handshake photo would be round 4.
(the final round could also suggest why the other players are watching, RF vs. TP was a relatively long game for the last round)

<keypusher: <diceman> good eye on Polu-Hort, but according to the official collection that game is from round 2. So maybe the caption is right after all.

Polugaevsky vs Hort, 1970 -- If it's confirmed that the picture is from round 2, would be nice to post it on the game page.>>

Jun-02-16  bellythekid: Good morning all.
Jun-02-16  zanzibar: Thanks <diceman> for the recap.
Jun-05-16  Timi Timov: petrosianic yes xD
Jul-25-16  andrea volponi: 19...g6!-Axg6 fxg6-Cxg6+ Rg7-Cxh8 Rxh8-f5 Ch5!=
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <andrea volponi: 19...g6!-Axg6 fxg6-Cxg6+ Rg7-Cxh8 Rxh8-f5 Ch5!=>

19....g6 20.f5 gxf5 21.Bxf5 (threatening Bg6) Rg8 22.Bc2 Qc7 23.Be3 Nh5 24.Bxh6+ (Stockfish) is somewhere between ± and +-.

Aug-29-17  Howard: Interesting analysis! Wonder if Kasparov points this out in MGP. At any rate, Petrosian's position looked pretty dubious by the 19th move, but it was apparently not as bad as it may have looked.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: In OMGP Kasparov tries to debunk Fischer's line 19...g6 20 f5 gxf5 21 Bxf5 exf5 22 Qxf5 Qd8 23 Bh4 saying 22..."Qd8?" is no good, but that Black is okay after 22...Kg7

click for larger view

He writes "However after 22...Kg7! 23 Bh4 (23 Qc8 Ne7!...) 23...Bxe5 24 Bxf6+ Bxf6 25 Qxf6+ Kg8 Rf4 Rh7 27 Rg4+ Kf8 28 Qf5 h5! 29 Rh4 Qd8! or 29 Rf4 Qc7! Black repels the attack."

However Kasparov overlooks a killer move after 22...Kg7 23 Nec4! over +2.00/28 and rising

click for larger view

The idea is to play Bh4 next, but depriving Black of the ...Bxe5 defense!

Stockfish basically reinstates Fischer's line, and keypushers variation is a latest refinement

Aug-30-17  Albion 1959: Never really understood Petrosian's 17th move Kf8?!The obvious and natural move has to be O-O. Petrosian may well have been concerned by Bxh6 etc with a possible attack. But wasn't Petrosian the master of defence? Okay, if he was concerned then Ke7!? to avoid castling has got to be better than Kf8? This way the rooks are connected and black is developing the pieces. I am certainly no strong chess player, but my instincts tell me that the king on f8 with the rook on incarcerated on h8 cannot be the best way for Petrosian to handle this position? Unless I have missed something, then I stand to be corrected!
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Albion 1959>
Previous kibitzers have discussed it (I know, 5 pages of kibitzing already) and it's generally agreed that 17...0-0 would have been better.

In a post in <Jan-09-16> above, <Joshka> claimed it was a fingerfehler, with Petrosian about to castle when the king fell out of his hand onto f8. But, he did not post any source for this theory.

Aug-30-17  Howard: So, at one point was the draw gone for good from Petrosian's perspective?
Aug-31-17  Retireborn: <Howard> It does look as if Black is on the ropes after 21.f5!

Houdini gives 20...Nh5 (a move I have not seen suggested elsewhere) and then if 21.f5 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Bxe5 23.fxe6 as in the game, Black has 23...Nf4! with more activity than in the game.

Another possibility in this line would be 22...Bc5+ (instead of 22...Bxe5) - then 23.Kh1 Qxe5 24.fxe6 Bd6 25.Nf3 Ng3+ 26.Bxg3 Qxg3 would seem to keep White's advantage to a minimum.

Aug-31-17  SChesshevsky: I'm guessing 17...Kf8 and 18...Be8 is an admission that his position is a lot worse. 20...Ng8 and Petrosian probably feels busted.

Computers can likely find saving tries like the hanging ...Nh5 or the weakening ...g6 because they calculate ways to survive it. At least for awhile.

But it's probably not likely a GM at that time, especially Petrosian, would want to take the chance or time on that active defense unless they clearly saw the compensation.

Sep-02-17  andrea volponi: 19...g6 - Bxg6 (kasparov)fxg6 -Nxg6+ Kg7 -Nxh8 Kxh8 -f5 Nh5! -Qe1 exf5 -Qe6 Ne7 -Qxh6+ Kg8 -Qg5+ Ng7 :A)28 Rae1 ⩲ : B)Bg3 ⩲
Jul-25-18  Inocencio: Fischer played like Petrosian!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: In Robert Byrne's auto bio he said that Petrosian's wife would approach him at tournaments and ask how her husband was doing.

Byrne said "Why don't you ask the other Russian players?"

Mrs. P "I can't count on them to tell the truth, but I know you will be honest with me."

Byrne wrote "My answer was usually "Tigran stands well" but that could no longer be my answer as Bobby Fischer's chess improved."

Dec-29-18  PJs Studio: Petrosian was a bit off his game and Fischer treated him to an epic beating.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <beatgiant> Well since I wasn't there to view it, I read it somewhere. When I find the source I'll print it. As if I would just conjure something like thus up?? Get real!
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <HeMateMe: In Robert Byrne's auto bio he said that Petrosian's wife would approach him at tournaments and ask how her husband was doing. Byrne said "Why don't you ask the other Russian players?"

Mrs. P "I can't count on them to tell the truth, but I know you will be honest with me."

Byrne wrote "My answer was usually "Tigran stands well" but that could no longer be my answer as Bobby Fischer's chess improved.">

Fischer was the best player in the world from 1962 onwards in the 60's

Only politics and himself and the COMMIE CHEATS kept him from the ultimate prize.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <beatgiant> Also, had I known about this 17th move from Black, I would have asked him when I played him in a simul back in Boston in the early 80's!!
Jan-17-19  RookFile: It's a wonderful game. Petrosian was so slippery - against many a player I'm sure he would have gotten a draw anyway out of this.
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