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Mikhail Tal vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
USSR Championship (1958), Riga URS, rd 7, Jan-??
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C97)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-17-05  PivotalAnorak: Tal had succeeded in getting a threatening position, when Petrosian came up with 31... ♖f4! Square e5 and strong knight. It seems that Tal said after the game that he should have played 32.♖xf4 exf4 33.♗xf4 with "good winning chances". His (unusually) "materialistic" approach led him nowhere. The move ♖f4 is fantastic. I would never play this in 10000 years - that's why I'm not Petrosian.
Jul-27-05  ARTIN: Petrosian considered this to be one of his best games. Rxf4 followed by Bxf4 is better but the position after that is quite unclear according to Petrosian.
Nov-19-06  Open Defence: only 2 kibitzes for this game.....
Nov-19-06  jamesmaskell: Great move there by Petrosian...Rf4. Tal just couldnt deal with it. Shows a high level of depth in Petrosians chess. Whilst aggressive attacking chess is the naturally attractive chess we all enjoy, seeing a player play slow and let the opponent lull themselves into a false sense of security, then pulling a move like that which throws their position apart is beautiful.
Nov-19-06  OneArmedScissor: Excellent game!
May-26-08  apexin: indeed. it goes into my collection.
Jun-07-10  shakespeare: nice vid on youtube
Jun-07-10  waustad: Petrosian had so many exchange sacs. As happened so often, it was to get a monster knight outpost.
Apr-16-15  Howard: Kasparov states in his book MGP that Petrosian missed a win that involved "higher chess geometry", but I don't recall where it was.
Apr-16-15  RookFile: Terrific defense by Tal.
Apr-16-15  Petrosianic: I don't have a board to check it out now, but maybe he meant 72...Ke7 instead of Kf7? Trying to gain distant opposition?

At the end, Black can only win by outflanking White's King and capturing the h pawn outright (because exchanging clearly doesn't work).

If 72...Ke7 73. Kf5 Kf7 74. Kg4 Ke6! 75. Kf4 Kf6 76. Kg4 Ke5 77. Kg3 Kf5 78. Kh4 Kf4 79. Kh3 Kg5 winning.

But I'm probably missing something obvious, as Kf7 seems too obvious to miss, unless Black's flag were tottering, or unless it just doesn't work.

Apr-18-15  Howard: No, Petrosianic, the moment that I've referring to occurred somewhat earlier in the game.

I'll check it out when I get home. Right now, I'm at the public library.

Apr-18-15  Retireborn: Don't have Kasparov's book, but Houdini identifies the missed win as 48...Rb5! (instead of 48...Ra8) 49.Qa4 Qh4+!

The variations that follow are true computer stuff and not easy to understand, but essentially Black gets to keep his b-pawn whilst hammering the white king.

In the game the b-pawn gets exchanged off and after 50...Re5 Black's extra pawn isn't worth much.

Apr-20-15  Howard: Just checked Kasparov's book last night, Retireborn, and you're "half right."

Yes, 48...Rb5! would have won, as both you and the book point out.

But MGP also points out that 60...Qe3+ would have won, too. That's where the "higher computer geometry" comment comes in.

Apr-20-15  Retireborn: Interesting. Yes, 60...Qe3+ 61.Kh1(h2)Ra4! and Black wins another pawn, since 62.Qxf5 Rh4+ will win the queen

That means that 60.Qd5 is a blunder and should be replaced with 60.Qb7 - then 60...Qe3+ 61.Kh1 Ra4 achieves nothing as White has 62.Qc8+ & 63.Qxf5 with check (and in fact perpetual check) which makes all the difference.

Fascinating stuff!

Apr-20-15  Petrosianic: <Howard>: <No, Petrosianic, the moment that I've referring to occurred somewhat earlier in the game.>

It must have. I just got a board out to check it, and forget what I said before. It's all hallucination. 72...Ke7 73. Kf5 Kf7 74. Ke5, and White is just fine.

Apr-21-15  Howard: No problem---we all make those mistakes, especially yours truly.
Nov-15-15  rookpawn101: Just went through the 60...Qe3+ line, wins for black 60...Qe3+ 61. Kh2 Ra4 62. Qd8+ (62. Rf3 Rh4+ 63. Rh3 Rxh3+ 64. gxh3 Qe2+ 65. Kg3 Qxh5 ) 62... Kh7 63. Rxf5 Rd4 64. Rd5 Rg4 65. Rd3 Qe5+ 66. Kg1 (66. Kh1 Qe2 67. Qd5 ( 67. g3 Rg5 ) 67... Rg5 ) 66... Qe4 (66... Qe1+ 67. Kh2 Rh4+ 68. Rh3 Qe5+ 69. Kg1 Rd4 70. Qb6 Rd1+ 71. Kf2 Qe1+ 72. Kf3 Qf1+ 73. Kg3 Rd3+ 74. Kh2 Qf4+ 75. Kh1 Rd1+ ) 67. Qd5 (67. g3 Rg5 68. Rb3 Rd5 ) 67... Rxg2+ 68. Kh1 Qxd5 69. Rxd5 Rg5
Jul-23-17  Johnnysaysthankyou: Correct is the astonishing 31. h7!!. Where after 31...Rxf6 32. Rf6 g6 33. Rd1, black is in some kind of zugzuang hell. I doubt Tal would have seen this move at this point in his career but damn if he had played it...
Jul-23-17  Johnnysaysthankyou: Sorry I meant 31. h6!!
Jul-23-17  Muttley101: <Johnnysaysthankyou: Correct is the astonishing 31. h7!!. Where after 31...Rxf6 32. Rf6 g6 33. Rd1, black is in some kind of zugzuang hell. I doubt Tal would have seen this move at this point in his career but damn if he had played it... Johnnysaysthankyou: Sorry I meant 31. h6!!>

31 ... Rxf3 (white's queen) seems a reasonable alternative. What did you have in mind?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Johnnysaysthankyou>

31. h6 Rxf3 32. Rxf3 g6 33. Rd1 <f5> and I don't see any <zugzwang hell>. Black can soon push his kingside pawns to f4 and g4, White's h-pawn will fall, and all Black's pieces will swarm over the kingside and win more material in the foreseeable future.

Mar-01-18  tgyuid: yeah; take the donkey first
Mar-01-18  tgyuid: furthermore where is ...re1+ in the literature
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