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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Ludek Pachman
"Petrofied" (game of the day Jan-03-09)
Bled (1961)  ·  Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

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Given 104 times; par: 32 [what's this?]

Annotations by Robert James Fischer.      [17 more games annotated by Fischer]

explore this opening
find similar games 7 more Petrosian/Pachman games
sac: 19.Qxf6+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Too famous.
Jul-02-16  TimothyLucasJaeger: Darn i was close. I wanted to play 21.Rh4. Apparently that wins too after a subsequent Bg7, but i missed black's reply 21...h5
Jul-02-16  ndg2: Too famous for Saturday, "very difficult" turned into "instantaneous".
Jul-02-16  schachfuchs: Is there any other winning move than 21.Bg7 ? On the first view I guessed 21.Rh4, but 21...h5 at least prolongues the game for a while...
Jul-02-16  Razgriz: I feel cheated.
Jul-02-16  PJs Studio: Complainers...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: :)

'Surprise! Surprise!'

Is how Chernev introduces this game in his 'Most Instructive Games' (Game No 58).

So no surprise most have recalled the combo rather than worked it out.

Maybe if C.G. had taken it back a move to here...

click for larger view

...and omitted the names then perhaps the solvers could have flexed their thinking muscles instead of recognising an old friend.


as I attempt to second guess the reader,

"...if it's in Chernev's well read book then we will know the sac can be played one move earlier."

Surprise! Surprise!

Chernev fails to mention or even hint the Queen sacrifice could have been played on move 18.

It was known in 1965, when Chernev published his book that the Queen sac was on the board on move 18.

In the 1961 'Chess Review' page 350 Hans Kmoch states after 18. Re4.

"This move is not necessary White can start his combination right here."

He then gives 19.Qxf6+ two !! I suppose on 18.Qxf6+ he would have given it !!! and hailed it as the 'Miniature of the Century.'

Fischer's 'notes' are off the cuff remarks taken from a video when he was showing this game on a demonstration board.

Jul-02-16  Timi Timov: This game is too famous for a puzzle
Jul-02-16  Ratt Boy: I see that this was the Position of The Day once before, in 2004. No problem, because it bears repeating.

I think 16...♗f6 is a bit of a stinker. Clearly, the ♗ becomes a target. Butt also, why not relieve the pin with ...♖e8?

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Timi Timov: This game is too famous for a puzzle >

maybe so, but it's a spectacular TAL miniature and fun to review occasionally

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Something about this position just cried out, "Q x f3!" It doesn't pay to ignore that when you hear it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: ♔new it, 2!
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Meh. I went with the more pedestrian <19.Rf4>

click for larger view

A blatant threat to take the DSB.

Black can't move his DSB, e.g. <19...Bxb2> because then <20.Rxf7+> will win the Ne7 and more e.g. <20...Kg8 21.Rxe7 Rf8>

click for larger view

<22.Qxf8> (queen sac!) <Kxf8 23.Rxb7+> (winning back the queen).


Trying to protect the DSB with the N also fails (e.g. <19...Nd5>). I just take it anyway <20.Rxf6! Nxf6 21.Be5>

click for larger view

And Qxf6 and likely mating attack will follow.


It looks like black stiffest defense is <19...Nf5>, blocking the attack, but this N can be easily attacked <20.g4>

click for larger view

Black has a few choices here

(A) <20...Nd4> (attack my Q from left) <21.Qe3> and I still threaten Rxf6 (...Kxf6 Qe5#). If <21...Nxc2> (attack my Q again) then <22.Qh3!>

click for larger view

I still threaten Rxf6 (...Kxf6 20.Qh4+ skewer the Rd8 with more attack to come). Moving the DSB doesn't work, e.g. <22...Bg5 23.Rxf7+! Kxf7 24.Qxh7+> with nasty attack.

(B) <20...Nh4> (attack my Q from right) is still met by <22.Qh3>, with similar effect as above.

(C) <20...Nxd6> (take my DSB and guard Pf7) <21.Rxf6> threatening Nxd6 (remove the Pf7 guard) and Rxf7+. <21...Qe8> adds another defender to Pf7, but then <22.Ne5> adds another attacker. I can bring in yet another attacker via Ra1-a4-f4. I like my chances...


Checking with my computer, I'm pretty sure <19.Rf4> indeed wins, but there are a few cases I didn't consider, and in any case, Petrosian's <19.Qxf6!!> came from higher inspiration.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <playground player: Something about this position just cried out, "Q x f3!" It doesn't pay to ignore that when you hear it.>

Mixing the 3rd rank with the 6th is a dead give-away that you grew up with the old descriptive chess notation. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <An Englishman: Good Evening: What astounds me is this--Black's first 6 moves are all perfectly safe and sound, and yet after 7.Re1, he's in danger! He must play either 7...d6 or 7...e5 instead of ...0-0. Even 7..d5 has done well in the database.>

Good evening. Hmm, I'm trying in vain to see the danger of 7...O-O?

Jul-02-16  The Kings Domain: One of those cases where I got the text move right at the first time but decided to change it in the last minute for I couldn't see the sense in the initial choice. My final choice was 19) Rf4. I missed 21) Bg7!. Brilliant closing touch by Petrosian.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Wavey f6 fanfare made an due man delve pyjamas undone as have pin pit it is then ave lakes am more on as have bus bits mall pan pock que feel lake focus aves am an games f6 fanfare made an done as hugs horse cage mass of fase fans ave whoosh am buddy extrad drax it eddy am wave ghoul ave now as yes man black dud dad dead hush an gush ukelele bad fanfare f8 farewells am bad-fans band-hall and over off an deads ha d8 dosh-done bull you deaf angles hush of fluff f6 fanfare made an due early one ex zap ave male mans rug rook horse padre and f4 pawn flogs all fave for combos works well and as made vows an due vows no escape as have wavey f6 fanfare yard it ard ave man dull lip ave pit is then ave lakes am pyjamas undone jam more am rove on nob hovel have nag bus bits mall pan pock que feel lake focus aves am an games f6 fanfare bus hugs horse cages am rook an g7 padre ago f4 pawn flogs all made as won wave mans hang hog head gel man cave ecumen g7 gangmans whoosh am call avow ukelele bad ave fanfare f8 farewells am bless over of f3 face man d8 dosh-done bull you deaf angles hush as pace monarch ave chase ankle f6 fanfare fluffs and padre bus bash e5 check elopes have g5 gleans g7 gangmans call an d3 duck as made an as now wave all done off free one lane calls am glad angle carafe pour on corn cove ago as angle guffaw as heart it then do vow ave lake ja g7 gangmans am dug efface ash each an everash am et it aloof ave glad e5 elopes have angle lanes duffle wrap ave lo frees dangle and by duffer it then do vow ave by clanger vows an bud dead ash f4 arm fends angle baffle go band e5 elopes have as bud c4 crude as have under vehicle mows bands am bud lane ables dangle que of f6 fanfare am fad as mall pan pock que of f3 an g7 gangmans call am back as made man e4 it eddy am wave bands am d8 dashhelds away an on * flufffeel;
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 19.Qxf6+ flake fases walls cream off an que padre gaffer vehicle an fog fang forge bfg as am an dug flow an goofy forger am an jog flow an g7 gandalfs wand an made fagman fog gruff frag fags frugal vow an guff an as woggle flow am foggy f6 forgers fanfare flubber fadders fluffer frogjam man an flocker fallacy ave by forgers among ghoul favours forager it arduous ave mans am an fog fang flung frag free fluff an ghoul fluffs early as whoosh am fords fans an g7 gangmans fanfare ash h4 pin pit is then ave lakes an on * flufffeel 19Kxf6 20.Be5+ flake elopes ave as honour and hope mack vow am vehicle lane evades among gave g5 gleans am boot 20Kg5 21.Bg7 as hand gangmans calls wag and alf as leagued it aloof as hash gladness mess less and as made an four move won as lads afford ave man pin pit is then ave lakes am vapour ave plop it eddy am wave bade an rook ave lo ogle band jank an calls oose and roves as mall pan pock que of f3 fluff f6 fanfare band rend hand rove fag parcel dank horse and rook an g7 padre ago gangmans wallow as am rumba rambo code emo add far ramp d8 dosh-done be am ramp rave am rove e5 evades cat it is then ave lakes am an as horse calls ash aid c4 crude an jed it in f3 farm bag fend deads ha plan mend as nash back have pin pit is then ave lakes wallow am band ave pit pond an oaf oaf it is then ave lakes am vow op it opine lake open as knocks heavens eve nag ghoul f6 fanfare ques off an monarch have run clung chases whoosh over e5 ebbers check and yeah g5 gauges g7 gangmans as made off an f6 fanfare finish;
Jul-02-16  morfishine: Too famous of a game to be a puzzle. It might work if you go with just the position and leave out the players names; but probably not since the move is so obvious anyways

Long Live Petrosian!

Even though he's dead


Jul-02-16  Joseph Blackcape: Even if you don't know the game, 19. ♕xf6+ looks too tempting to pass with White's dominant black-squared Bishop and centre control and once you start analysing it, it soon turns out that once you play it, mate is just around the corner.
Sep-08-16  PJs Studio: But his games live on morphshine! Although he did die young, he was past his prime
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <YouRang....Mixing the 3rd rank with the 6th is a dead give-away that you grew up with the old descriptive chess notation....>

As we English and Spanish-speaking players all did, well into the seventies.

Sep-09-16  Howard: Several of my (old) chess books are in descriptive, in fact.

Remember the ongoing debate in Evans' column back in the mid-70's, as far as which notation was superior ?

CL&R was entirely descriptive through 1977, and then in 1978, it was a mixed bag---some of it was in descriptive, and some was algebraic. In the early part of 1979, probably the only part of it that was descriptive were the last 15, or so, games of Karpov-Korchnoi, 1978. Once that match was fully covered, it was entirely descriptive after that.

Sep-09-16  Petrosianic: The whole debate about which was "better" was silly, since International Notation was, by those standards, better than either Descriptive or Algebraic, but nobody was advocating it.
Sep-10-16  Howard: Reminds me of a letter someone wrote to Evans during that aforementioned debate in which the reader pointed out that both systems were easy to learn, and then he added, "Learn both systems and shut up."

Evans replied, "Tradition dies hard."

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