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Samuel Reshevsky vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 2, Aug-31
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bernstein Defense (E58)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-05-03  coxschess: 24...Re6!! a wonderful example of an exchange sacrifice to set up an impenetrable blockade. If not for this idea black is crushed.
Dec-24-03  Benjamin Lau: Surprising this game hasn't been kibitzed about a bit more. Starting with the position after 25. Rfe1, black to play, Watson says: "Petrosian explains how he didn't like his position, and saw that White could play h4 next, provoking kingside weakness, followed by the return of his bishop to c1 with attack. He then considered a number of ways to bring a knight to the ideal square d5. But playing 25...Nb8 (in order to follow up with Nd7-b6) allows 26 Bf3 and d5, whereas a rook move like 25...Rb7 (to bring the knight to d5 via e7 could run into 26 e6 (or 26 Bf3) 26...Ne7 27. Bf3 Nd5? 28. Bxd5 Rxd5 29. Qf3, winning. Ultimately, he played a move 'so simple, there was no doubt of its correctness': 25...Re6!!."
Feb-10-04  Whitehat1963: Brilliant sacrifice.
Mar-28-04  Benjamin Lau: Watson notes that if white does not return the exchange after 29...Bd3, ...b4 will soon follow and black would secure an advantage.
Apr-12-04  Phoenix: Amusing that this game has so few comments and Janosevic vs Geller, 1968 has 3 pages worth! I wonder what Reshevsky thought after Re6.
Apr-12-04  Benjamin Lau: Beautiful draws don't get publicized nearly half or even a quarter as much as beautiful wins.
Apr-12-04  Benjamin Lau: Phoenix, I like your idea of the "strategic pattern scrapbook." But what happened to your other collections? I can't find any of them. Did you delete all of them?
Apr-12-04  Phoenix: I didn't keep up with any of them (too lazy) and stuff like "attacking classics," well, there are just too many of them!!
Apr-12-04  Benjamin Lau: Lol, well, I thought they were interesting even if you didn't keep up with them. Rookpawn didn't really keep up with his collection "World's 100 Greatest Chess Games" either; it is missing 5 games or something. I think most of those 5 are in the db now but rookpawn hasn't bothered to put them in, he probably forgot since he rarely shows up anymore. You're right about the "Attacking Classics" though. There are quite a few. I like your strategic patterns idea. You can have a lot of interesting themes covered like the king exodus, the exchange sack, blockades, etc. ;)
Dec-04-04  Backward Development: of interest:
on this particular variation starting on black's ninth move and practical considerations of the opening: "The text is thought to give Black a cramped game, but if a player likes precisely that sort of 'cramped game', then he will get better results with it than with a 'freer' game. Generally speaking, such evaluations, even though they may sway the opinions of the theoreticians, have far less of an influence on practical tournament games than is commonly supposed." after white's 11th move:
"Trying to improve one's position, and finding the correct idea to accomplish that end, is one of the bases of chess strategy in every phase of the game. The proper move order also plays an important part, but this falls under the heading of tactical implementation, which of course is a major determinant of the eventual success of the strategic plan. Here, white's basic idea is obvious: he needs a good development for both his bishops. He can accomplish this in two ways:either by playing a4 followed by Ba3, or by taking dc bc, and then playing c4. Apparently against all logic however, White places his bishop on a diagonal which is occupied by pawns, seeming inviting black to play c4 himself, and shut the bishop in for good. Why? as it turns out, 11.a4 would have been met by Bg4, or 12.edd Ne4, attacking the c-pawn; and 11 dc bc 12.c4 would allow the reply 12...Rb8, preventing 13.Bb2. Having played 11.Bb2, however, white can go ahead with his c4 either at once or after the preliminary 12.dc bc; so black's reply is not merely useful, but almost obligatory. The next phase of the struggle is defined by the new pawn structure: already it has much less to do with the tastes and preferences of the two players than it has to do with their choice of opening. White will set his f and e-pawns in mostion, creating a passed d-pawn and combing the advance of these central pawns with an attack on the f-file. Black, with three pawns to two on his right, cannot do too much with them for the moment, since he must first battle the bishop pair and central preponderance." after black's 25th move
"Reshevsky's clever play bined with Petrosian's iron logic make this game one of the tournament's jewels. Black must stop White's pawns, so Petrosian gives up the exchange at a spot of his own choosing, freeing e7 for the transfer of his knight to d5. Of course, black gets good compensation for the exchange: his knight is much stronger on d5, as is his bishop, which no longer has an opponent. Note that here, or even on the previous move, White might have launched a direct attack with h4 followed by h5 and Rg3, with good winning chances; but he expects to win a different way." and after black's 31st move
"Black, naturally, had no choice, since taking the a-pawn would have been senseless. But now it is white must solve a difficult psychological problem: should he exchange on b4, which pratically guarantees the draw, or advance the pawn, driving out the knight and obtaining winning chances, as well as losing ones? with no time left in which to calculate variations, it is understandable that Reshevsky chose the simpler continuation. after 32 c4 Nb6
33 Rc1 Nxa4
34 Ba1 Qc6
or 33 d5 ed
34 c5 nxa4
35 Bd4 Rc8
36 Qf3 Qe6, White's pawns would have been blackaded, and black's would have become extremely dangerous."
Sep-10-05  ARTIN: how does fritz evaluate Re6?
Sep-10-05  RookFile: Re6 doesn't rank as any one of the
computer's top 6 choices. But, it does do something interesting.

.... Ra7 followed by ... Ne7
and .... Nd5

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Kasparov writes quite a bit about 25..Re6. He says that Petrosian introduced the exchange sacrifice for the sake of quality of position. Is this true? This is quite a claim. I can't think of earlier examples offhand.

Petrosian played this variation (9..b6) a few times during this tournament. It is not played much anymore. This game took place in the second round. In the 15th round he played 18..f5 against Smyslov and just barely drew. In the 20th round Taimanov played 11 Ne5 and beat Petrosian convincingly. This seems like an improvement as 11 Bb2 is a peculiar looking move. Crouch quotes Estrin as recommending 14..Bf5 as an improvement. 14..Nd2 seems to accelerate whites initiative. Kasparov thinks that the immediate 26 Be6 followed by 27 Rg3 would have given Reshevsky a better chance at maintaining his advantage. Bronstein and Crouch both felt that 32 c4 would have been very risky increasing chances of both winning and losing.

Dec-09-06  euripides: <plang> In the early years of the Soviet supremacy after the second world war, the exchange sacrifice was one of the idea associated with Soviet players - along with a generally dynamic approach, excellent opening preparation and enthusiasm for dynamic openings such as the KID and the Sicilian. Euwe, for instance, talked about the 'Russian exchange sacrifice'. Petrosian was not the first, though he may have been the greatest master of this sacrifice. For a canonical game, which I rather think made a great impression on Botvinnik:

Lilienthal vs Ragozin, 1935

Dec-09-06  RookFile: Reshevsky played with great skill in the opening. The position after 19. fxe4 is much better for him. I have to believe that at some point in the next few moves, before the exchange sac, Reshevsky must have had a way to further increase the pressure, that he missed.
Dec-10-06  Plato: I love this game. An early and beautiful example of the modern exhange sacrifice by its main pioneer, Petrosian.
Dec-10-06  who: <rookfile> like <backward development> quotes - h4 a move earlier would have given white a strong advantage.
Jan-05-09  Lt.Surena: 11.Bb2? looks weak. Instead, 11.Re1 looks better. Black notices the bad move and seals the bishop at b2 with 11.. c4.

Petrosian is smart. He doesn't take knight at f3 (ie plays 13... Ne4 instead). White's bishop gets sealed at b2. Black effectively takes over the e4 square. Great game !

Mar-17-09  WhiteRook48: 30 Rxd3... why sac the exchange?
Jun-02-09  marknierras: The 25... re6 sacrifice shows that sometimes a material loss can create a superior position... in this case 29...bd3; it looks like the sacrifice worked and white eventually realized that he had to give back the rook that he won on move 30 because of the strong black attack!
Jan-02-10  AnalyzeThis: <Plato: I love this game. An early and beautiful example of the modern exhange sacrifice by its main pioneer, Petrosian. >

The moral of the story is, when Capablanca sacrifices the exchange, it's old fashioned, but then Petrosian does it, it's modern.

Jan-17-10  BISHOP TAL: Bernstein defense cant say ive heard that before Petrosian sure plays it well rook e6 looks patzerish offhand but petrosian is anything but that,it makes the knight good.
Jan-30-10  larsenfan: I agree with many kibitzers, it is funny, to say the least, that such an amazing game has so few comments. Yes, it is a draw, but even so... By the way, I have just shown this position to Rykba and the exchange sac is its second option.

To Analyzethis: could you please provide examples of similar sacs by Capa or other calsics ? Thanks in advance.

Sep-03-10  DoubtingThomas: It's one of my favourites:


Nov-16-10  Knight13: 25...Re6 seems forced to me. Play it or die. I wonder if Petrosian saw this position many moves ahead and decided on ...Re6 some moves ago.
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