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Robert James Fischer vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Fischer - Petrosian Candidates Final (1971), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 9, Oct-26
French Defense: Normal Variation (C10)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-03-12  King Death: <parisattack: <paulalbert ... the proper chess move in every position is a matter of concrete analysis, sometimes in accord with, but not determined by general principles.> Bingo! IMHO, that skill is a 'either you have it or you don't.' And also of course why computers are 3200 and moving up.>

Watson's opinion is fine and I agree with him in principle but in real life you have that clock ticking beside you and no engine to help things along. The engines can use their brute force techniques and blow away humans. Part of the skill as a human is being able to determine through experience and knowledge when general principles apply and when they don't.

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  Penguincw: Four pawns vs. a minor piece is too much for the minor. Rook. Maybe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <my only early exposure to any instruction was Fred Reinfeld's beginners' books, which made me an unbeatable 10 year old with comparable age opponents, but didn't expose me to real chess thinking.>

My experiences were exactly the same. I grew up without the internet and without being near a store with any chessbooks. I had no idea that there was actually a wealth of chess books out there, for the young tyro. There was no coverage of chess in the media, just zilch.

By the time I realized there were so many useful books, and could afford them, I was in college and didn't have time to improve at chess.

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  paulalbert: I agree with what <King Death> says to some extent and that's the way I play chess, i.e., I use general principles to guide me as to what moves to look at and even make moves with little calculation just on the basis that the move is in accordance with general principles as I understand them. That method can create reasonable games and results. However, my experience taking lessons with GMs Lubomir Ftacnik, Walter Browne, and Bill Lombardy and seeing the super elite like Kasparov and Anand analyze is that they immediately analyze variations. When Lubomir and Walter went over my games with me, they immediately found better moves that I had not even considered, frequently complex tactical lines that I would not have been able to calculate accurately. To the mere mortal, GMs do not seem to use general principles as their starting point, at least not consciously. The bottom line really is that there is no substitute for genius.
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  HeMateMe: Bob has a strategically won game after 23 moves.
Apr-16-13  Petrosianic: You could seriously argue the case that Black is strategically busted by Move 6. There was nothing to play for by this point.
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  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
<nothing to play for> You mean Black, who needed a win in the match, can only expect a draw? Otherwise, I think <busted> is a stretch. For example, if 6...Bb4, what's White got that Black hasn't got?
Apr-17-13  Petrosianic: I don't think Black is thinking about winning at this point, just closing out and going home. After 6...Bb4, White's got the extra tempo in a very loose position. I guess it's an exaggeration to say that Black is strategicallyh busted (although, come to think of it, Reuben Fine said exactly that). But still, I don't like Black's setup here, and have no confidence in it.
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  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
To clarify my point: This was a match for best of 10, and the score stood at 5 to 2.5 in Fischer's favor. Thus, Fischer needed only a draw to clinch the match. This probably explains why he chose the drawish exchange variation with 5. exd5, and why Petrosian felt compelled to break the symmetry with 5...Bg4. If Petrosian just wanted to close out and go home, he could have offered a draw at any time.

As for the position on the board, do you see anything concrete for White after 6...Bb4? I remain unconvinced of any serious White advantage there.

Apr-17-13  Petrosianic: It was actually Best of 12, and a draw would not have ended the match (Fischer would have only had 6, not 6.5). Only if Black lost could they both go home that day.

I think you're technically right about Bb4. "Busted" is a stretch (although I checked the book and that is exactly what Reuben Fine claimed). Black isn't outright lost, but I think he's uncomfortably placed, and has put himself behind the 8-ball for no good reason. White's extra tempo often means something in that kind of position.

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  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
I stand corrected about the match rules.

As for the position in the game, again, do you see anything concrete? Citing Fine and the extra tempo are not enough for me.

Checking the "similar games" link, I found F Braga vs B Lalic, 1992 and DeFirmian vs Rozentalis, 1994, both of which ended in early draws. In both cases, Black improved with 9...0-0.

Apr-18-13  Petrosianic: I'm agreeing with you that "strategically busted" is an exaggeration. But I don't like black's formation, wouldn't deliberately play into it myself, and have little confidence in it.
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  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
<I don't like black's formation> The reason you gave (extra tempo in open position) holds even after 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5. Do you not have confidence in the French Defence itself, then?
Apr-18-13  Petrosianic: No, I'm fine with the French, but this is really more like a Nimzovich Defense by transposition, which I'm not so wild about. In a French, I'd rather not block the c pawn that way with Nc6.
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  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
We can agree that White has the advantage of the move in an open position in which each player has blocked his own c-pawn with a knight, which you don't personally prefer.

See Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927 for an example where two world champions block their own c-pawns with knights in this kind of position.

Apr-18-13  Petrosianic: I don't like the setups in that game either, although they're not quite as bad in that the Knights are protected and the pawns don't get doubled. Still, you can see in this game some of the trouble that White gets into with this kind of development.

Part of it is a matter of taste, but I just don't like Black's setup here a bit. For a must win game if you really want to make a serious effort, the best bet would have been another Sicilian line.

That's ASSUMING you want to make a big effort. If you've got something good, why waste it on a game that won't matter even if you win?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
<you can see in this game some of the trouble that White gets into> So much so that even the extra tempo didn't help....

<For a must win game...another Sicilian> Black probably chose the French hoping for a game like Fischer vs Petrosian, 1962 or Fischer vs Ivkov, 1959. But White's 5. exd5 here is tantamount to a draw offer.

In a Sicilian, too, White can always choose a relatively drawish line such as the Alapin. The only example I found of Petrosian defending against that is Sveshnikov vs Petrosian, 1977, a short draw with a weaker player.

Jul-06-13  Xeroxx: fischer makes it look easy
Jan-09-14  Dave1: 26..Rfe8?! Petrosian hopped for counter-play but Fischer played like a computer
Jan-09-14  Everett: <paulalbert> Thanks for your comments. Just wanted to add that GMs assess so quickly that it merely seems to us that they merely go straight to calculation. In fact, they are calculating the most promising lines almost immediately. And that selection is not by chance.
Jan-10-14  SeanAzarin: According to one of Petrosian's aides, Petrosian's spirit had been broken by the previous game, where he lost to fall behind 5.5-2.5. This was a mopup for Fischer.
Sep-20-14  coldsweat: I agree that the answer to Petrosianic's word puzzle describing Reuben Fine's silly pedantry is "pissant".

Reminds me of a joke my dad enjoyed telling -- the dear guy was one of those fellows who laughed especially loudly at his own jokes.

The best definition of an egomaniac he'd ever heard was an ant floating down a river on his back with an erection shouting "raise the draw-bridge"!!

Sep-20-14  coldsweat: It seems to me the fact that the score of the first half of the match was two and a half each, while the second half was 4-0, is at least suggestive that Fischer's illness had an impact.
Nov-25-14  Ke2: according to "Endgame", 10,000 people watched this game live.
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  Joshka: <Ke2> Wouldn't surprise me at all. They were crazy for Fischer in South America. I spent time in Colombia in 1984, and there was a chess club in Medellin named "The Fischer Club" And that wasn't even Argentina where his popularity was even more! At that club in Colombia, all they wanted to talk about was Bobby!! At that time the only news I had on him was the "Pasadena Jailhouse" story. This was during the time of the first KvsK match in October....they were in between playing 17 draws in a row!! They all were kibitzing how this would never happen if Bobby were playing!!LOL
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