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Alexander Kotov vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
USSR Championship (1949), Moscow URS, rd 1, Oct-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange. Positional Variation (D35)  ·  1-0


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Given 104 times; par: 13 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: A rare oversight by Petrosian.
Dec-11-03  Petrosianic: Petrosian's first ever game in a Soviet Championship. Vasiliev's book on Petrosian describes this game thusly:

"It was still necessary, however, to prove that he was an equal. Strong grandmasters only recognize 'their own' among those who can return their blows. In this tournament Petrosian at first only 'received'. Tigran could not believe inside himself that he had the moral right to play in the final of the Soviet Championship together with grandmasters. His first opponent was Kotov. Tigran was so agitated that he made an extremely simple error in the opening of the kind that he had many times corrected among young players at the Yerevan Palace of Pioneers. Kotov didn't have to make the slightest effort to achieve victory - Petrosian did it for him. Making his 12th move, Petrosian resigned. He could have just as easily done so on the 7th move."

Nov-08-05  suenteus po 147: This wouldn't be the only case of first round jitters for the future world champion. Observe this first round disaster of the match that would otherwise prove to be Tigran's crowning achievement: Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963
Mar-15-06  Topzilla: Wow, 13 moves..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Did he ever recover from the devastation of this loss?
Aug-12-06  Sularus: yeah... he became world champion
Aug-12-06  Resignation Trap: <Sularus> I think that what <<Jim Bartle>> meant is whether he recovered during the tournament in question.

Petrosian's final score was a disappointing +4-8=7 see: .

Feb-16-07  syracrophy: 8...♕xe7?? was the horrible blunder. The correct move is 9...♔xe7! as in the game Karpov vs Yusupov, 1988
Premium Chessgames Member
  shalgo: The Karpov-Yusupov game involves a different position, and even in that game, Black gets a bad position. In the Karpov-Yusupov line, Black improves with 8...dxe4 instead of 8...Nxe4?.

In the Kotov-Petrosian game, even after 8...Kxe7, Black is a pawn down for nothing after 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.Qxe4+

Oct-20-07  shor: Did Petrosian resign because he was 2 pawns down, and without the ability to castle.

i'm sorry for bringing this up, but maybe i'm missing something here?

Oct-20-07  Shams: <Did Petrosian resign because he was 2 pawns down, and without the ability to castle.> yup, that's three pretty good reasons to resign. He has zero counterplay, whereas white will control the only open file after 13...Kf8 14.Rc1. Honestly I think I could beat Petrosian if I had white here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: After this disaster from the first round Petrosian lost four other consecutive games against Smyslov (Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1949), Flohr (Flohr vs Petrosian, 1949), Geller (Petrosian vs Geller, 1949) and Keres (Keres vs Petrosian, 1949). But in the sixth round he finally recovered a bit and went for a pretty win against Andre Lilienthal (Petrosian vs Lilienthal, 1949) and quite respectable result +4-2=7 in remaining games of the tournament. Don't forget that Iron Tigran was then an absolute novice among elite players and so he had to pay quite dearly for his experience.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In 1979, I won a game identical to this, which I first saw in Samarian's book on the Queen's Gambit. As my 1700-rated opponent played straight down the maw of this disaster, I was in shock.

As noted by <Honza Cervenka>, Tiggy's result in this final was, in the end, respectable after that horrific start.

Jul-27-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Kotov vs Petrosian, 1949.
Your score: 15 (par = 13)


Mar-18-14  SpiritedReposte: It is comforting to know even world champions are capable of losing just like I do! LOL now only if I could win like them...
Jul-25-16  j4jishnu: Shall we identify this game as "Kotov's Immortal" or "A Tigran Blunder"? No doubt that, Petrosian, later World Champion, loses a game he would never forget, falling into an opening trap and resigning in only 13 moves. Well played Kotov.
Jul-25-16  j4jishnu: In Kotov's 1971 book "Think Like a Grandmaster", he describes a situation when a player thinks very hard for a long time in a complicated position but does not find a clear path, then running low on time quickly makes a poor move, often a blunder.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi j4jishnu,

You are talking about the 'Kotov Syndrome'.

I do not think this is a 'Kotov Syndrome'. It's a too bit early in the game for diving into the think tank.

Geller says both he and Petrosian were very nervous about playing in their first USSR Championship (Application of Chess Theory, game 85).

The page of 1949 USSR Championship USSR Championship (1949) has this as game 1. So it may have been played in the very first round and first timer Petrosian is playing the previous years tied winner.

It's looking like a case of the 1st round nerves syndrome.

The blunder has been repeated a few times. (odds on it has also been played before 1949) This site alone has five other examples.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: "Kotov Guard"
Dec-26-16  izimbra: <8...♕xe7?? was the horrible blunder. The correct move is 9...♔xe7! as in the game Karpov vs Yusupov, 1988>

<7..Ne4> already loses a center pawn, in the opening, with negative compensation of not castling. It's moderately hopeless position at the GM level. White has to prove a win, but Black has unready done 3/4 of the job of handing White the win at move 7, which is emotionally negative.

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