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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Mikhail Tal
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 1, May-02
Reti Opening: Anglo-Slav Variation. London Defensive System (A12)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-05-09  anjyplayer: Very unusual opening at masters level.
Sep-05-09  Granny O Doul: <Wizard> Not I. If I had any doubts, 47...Kf8 sealed the deal.
Sep-05-09  taliakarpovia: :))I think even if Tal understood that he lost..he never left his art for a draw running move!!So that is tal..with his inhealth..(alchol, smoke etc)..But i must say that i hate botvinnik chess rules..
Oct-13-09  mertangili: what if 9...Bxd4 seems like black simply grabs a pawn?
Nov-24-10  Everett: <  : what if 9...Bxd4 seems like black simply grabs a pawn?> After 9..Bxd4 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.e3 Qb6 12.cxd4 white regains the pawn and has the two bishops.

This is what I've come to expect from Petrosian as white; circumspect play, limiting his opponents activity, and keeping things under control. There was hardly a combination in this game. Personally I find the extended fianchetto with the DSB interesting and effective. In the Slav pawn structure, black's best piece is often the DSB, and here Petrosian is setting his opponent immediate problems by offering it's exchange if the e-pawn moves. Developing it through ...g6 and Bg7 prevents black's most harmonious development. Tal could not find an answer to Petrosian's steady expansion on the q-side. Really a "control"-style player's model game.

Aug-23-11  joelsontang: I think 33...Bf8, exchanging the less active black bishop for the more active white counterpart may have been enough for a draw, given black's outside passed a-pawn. Agree?

Wouldn't 52...fxg4 DRAW for black? Since 53.Kxg4 then 53...Rxf2, and if 53.Kg3 then 53...Kxh5.

Aug-23-11  haydn20: <joelsontang> After 33...Bf8 34 Bxf8 Kxf8 35 Ra2 Black will have a hard time defending the a Pawn (the DSB was also HIS best piece). Meanwhile the White B restricts Black's N and White's K invades the K-side.
Aug-23-11  haydn20: <joelsontang> If ...52 fxg4 53 Rxg4 Kxh5 54 Rg7 Black is no better than the game
Aug-24-11  joelsontang: I wonder if after 39...Rxd7 is a theoretical draw.

If black's pawn stood on g6 instead of f5, then it definitely is - (and the draw would not be so difficult in my opinion, most top GMs even lose such endings when all you have to do is restrict the opponent's king from crossing a rank).

Tal's 42...h5 creates another weakness in addition to the weakened dark squares in black's camp and doubled f-pawns. And after Petrosian's 44.Rg8, Tal's king is cut off from the protection of h-pawn. I think Tal should not have pushed the h-pawn if not only to h6, guarding the g5 square from white's king penetration.

And I wonder if 38...Rxa4 would give better chances for a draw, since knights are usually superior to bishops when pawns are on one side of the board (albeit in this case black's pawns are a target for white's light squared bishop).

Sep-26-11  sicilianhugefun: Tal will be in zugzwang around the 56th move. Great play by Petrosian..
Aug-21-12  Buxtaber: One of my favorite games. White's queenside play is beautifully organized.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Black can win the pawn with 9....Bxd4 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.e3 Qe5 12.cxd5 cxd5 when 13.Nf3 runs into 13....Qc3+. But white can just 13.0-0 threatening 14.Nf3 and if 13....e6 black prevents himself from castling. Tal probably didn't even really consider that variation, where he would give up the dark squared bishop and fall behind in development.

16....Ne4 seems to lose a tempo compared with the simple 16....Nbd7.

42....h5 is a horrible mistake. Without that, it's probably a draw.

45....Rd2 also seems like a mistake -- the rook should stay between a2, b2, and c2, so that it can fall back to the second rank and defend f7. White takes advantage of the rook's poor placement with 50.h5 and if 50.....Kh6 51.Rg8 Kxh5 52.Rg7 and takes f7.

57.Rc5 is very careful. 57.h6+ seems natural but maybe Petrosian didn't like 57....Kg6 58.h7 Rb8 59.Kxg4 Rh8 and black has a more manageable defense.

If 61.....Kh7 62.Kh4 followed by Kg5 and Rf6.

The final position is zugzwang. After 64....f5 65.Rh2 Kg6 66.Kf4 Kf6 67.Rh5 Kg6 68.Rg5+ and white wins both the f-pawn and g-pawn.

Feb-20-14  SChesshevsky: I'm guessing time pressure and or Tal's health contributed to the loss. Wasn't he ill at this tourney?

I'm not sure 33..a5 was best. The chances of saving the pawn with White's two B's probably isn't good maybe 33...Bf8 is a consideration. If White exchanges it free's up ...Ra7 making the pawn much stronger.

If White declines and 34. Bb2 then it appears Black gains a lot of time as White's pieces might be kind of misplaced. Then Blacks...a5 freeing the Rook looks like it gives good position compensation if White does get the pawn.

If Tal was feeling better, I'd guess he would've come up with something better than the text.

Mar-01-15  poorthylacine: The question about the health of Tal : WHEN did this illness begin to deteriorate the level of his play? for instance he payed still fairly well against Fischer in round 4 (draw); he retired at last, but of course his way of playing was already bad before because of illness;

poor great champion, poor man in general, so kind and who had to suffer so much in his life...

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Mar-01-15 poorthylacine: The question about the health of Tal : WHEN did this illness begin to deteriorate the level of his play?>

As soon as he learned how to move the pieces. I think. His health was always bad.

<for instance he payed still fairly well against Fischer in round 4 (draw); he retired at last, but of course his way of playing was already bad before because of illness;>

He lost the first three games of the tournament. He was a wreck throughout.

Mar-01-15  RookFile: Intelligent play by Petrosian. He knew that a grind it out type of a game was a good choice against an ailing Tal. Tal would have much preferred some kind of a quick skirmish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Tal tried such a tactic in this event, though neither did that avail him: Tal vs Petrosian, 1962.
Mar-01-15  Retireborn: This game was played in the first round, and was probably Petrosian's best game from the tournament, with the clever pawn sacrifice 9.d4!

I would not diminish it by referring to Tal's health, as Tal was able to play another 20 games after this one.

Bobby Fischer gave 50.g4! f6 51.Rh5+ Kg6 52.gxf5! Kxh5 53.fxe6 as a prettier win.

Mar-01-15  RookFile: Thanks for the clarification Retireborn. Of course, Petrosian needed no special invitation to grind it out against anybody.
Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: I think you knew very well what I meant, keypusher, and your irony is heavy and not even funny; Tahl felt worse and worse during this tournament, so the victory of Petrosian has more value played in the first round...
Dec-03-15  Petrosianic: <RookFile: Intelligent play by Petrosian. He knew that a grind it out type of a game was a good choice against an ailing Tal.>

Except that no one knew Tal <was> ailing going into the tournament. He and Fischer were the pre-tournament favorites. Petrosian played the game in the same style he usually did.

Like Fischer, there's a tendency to try to explain away all Tal's defeats (even though Tal himself was too classy to make excuses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobby Fiske: Impressive game by White.

Was this an adjournment game?

Dec-04-15  Retireborn: <Bobby Fiske> 42.h3 was the sealed move, according to the tournament book.
Sep-10-17  Albion 1959: At the unlucky 13th attempt, Petrosian scores his first win against Tal! I am sure I read somewhere that black actually lost on time (in what was a lost position anyway), though I could be wrong and stand to be corrected ?
Sep-10-17  Retireborn: <Albion 1959> Yes, the NiC tournament book does say that Black lost on time.
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