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Bent Larsen vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
"A Game of Shadows" (game of the day Feb-09-2012)
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 7, Jul-27
Sicilian Defense: Accelerated Dragon. Maroczy Bind Breyer Variation (B39)  ·  1-0


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Given 50 times; par: 34 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-19-14  jancotianno: Is Larsen really white here? I just watched a Seirawan lecture and he said Larsen's most notable game in this variation from the black side was actually when he got crushed from Petrosian. This is the only Maroczy bind game I can find between these two on this site.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Larsen is white, all right. These games are why the Soviets took Larsen more seriously than Fischer at this time, as a potential outside challenger.
Apr-22-14  Rookiepawn: Petrosian played some curious line here, I think it doesn't fit his style to go on an accelerated Dragon, it's more like he wanted to go chamaleon and play Larsen's hypermodern fashion.

I'm a mere patzer, but that Knight dance of Black seems to me pretty tempo consuming...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: How nice! Letting us old fogies feel good about Saturday for a change.
Jun-21-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: As is usual for this late in the week, I'm starting out stumped. 25 Bxe6 sacrifices a lot less material than one might at first think. But unless there's a way to punish ... fxe6 (in essence declining or returning the queen, before or after ... Bxh6 as the case may be) by some g6 attacking mayhem, Black seems to come out modestly ahead in material.

And I haven't found the punishment yet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: White to move (25?). Black is up a pawn. "Very Difficult"

So, looking at this position I see three candidate moves:

- 25 Qxg6
- 25 Bxe6
- 25 Rxf7

The first

25 Qxg6

is the most forcing, so we'll look at it first. After white takes on g6 with the queen, black needs to recapture, or face the consequences after 26 Bxe6.

25...fxg6 26 Bxe6+ Kh8

Black could block the check with 26...Rf7, but I think white could then play 27 Rxf7 (threatening a discovered check). White has netted a rook, knight and pawn for the queen (still leaving him a pawn down), but he also has a ton of pressure on the black king. I'm not sure if this is good enough to win or not.

27 Rh3+ Bh6 28 Bxh6

Threatening 29 Bf8#.

28...g5 29 Bf8+ Kg6 Rh6#

I'm sure there are a ton of lines that I have left out, but this kind of play is interesting enough to me that I think the key move is correct.

Time to check.


Well, play went in an entirely different direction, but the idea was correct.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: I thought this position looked a little familiar. I commented on it September 19, 2010, and posted much of the same analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I got it, sort of. I didn't anticipate 25...Nf4, but that doesn't change very much. I would have played the same way Larsen did through move 28, but I'm not sure about 29. Rg5.
Jun-21-14  Eduardo Leon: This game is just too famous for this puzzle to be hard to answer:


25...fxg6 26.♗xe6+ ♔h7 27.♖h3+ ♗h6 28.♗xh6!, and black can safely resign. Of course, 26...♖f7 27.♖xf7 transposes to the game line, but Petrosian's move delays his demise by one move.

<25...♘f4 26.♖xf4 fxg6 27.♗e6+ ♖f7 28.♖xf7>

It is important to deny the black king the possibility of escaping via f8-e8-etc.


29.♖f3+ was threatened.


It is important to use <this> rook to deliver the mate in h3. The other rook fulfills the crucial mission of denying the black king the g7 square, even if he moves his bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ThumbTack: <Al Wazir> I got the 25.Qxg6 and I too was surprised by the Nf4, but as you said, it really didn't change anything. Once Black's position is all fragmented the White rooks will rule the day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonalley: given that one already knew there was something special in the position, the key move wasn't that difficult to spot - however - OTB it would be a different matter, methinks
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: A queen sacrifice on a Saturday? Are we really that blessed?

<25 Qxg6!! ...>

White is threatening 26 Bxe6 fxe6 27 Qg7+ Kxg7 28 Rg5+ mating, so black has to accept! But black cannot accept

25 ... fxg6
26 Bxe6+ ...

The king cannot escape to e8 as that loses too much material and the escape route is still blocked by Qd8!

26 ... Rf7?
27 Rxf7!

This move stops Bf6 and secures white's control, white can now re-organise the rooks and bishops to finish off the attack.

26 ... Kh7
27 Rh3+ Bh6
28 Bxh6 ...

28 ... Rf5
29 Rxf5

28 ... g5!?
29 Bxf8+ Kg6
30 Rh6#

So black MUST refuse. The only sensible refusal is Nf4

<25 ... Nf4>
<26 Rxf4 fxg6>
<27 Be6+ Rf7>
<28 Rxf7! >

Again this is the all important move. It seals white's fate.


Yep. Thanks <CG> for giving us a queen sacrifice on a Saturday!

Jun-21-14  Rookiepawn:

click for larger view

What if

28 ... Be5

click for larger view

This would block the WR on the 5th rank and though White counts on a discover check I don't see any decisive line. If 29. Bh6 then Qb6+ and Qxb2.

Is here a decisive line for White?

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: After <25.Qxg6> there is very little Black can do except sit and watch White dismantle his position

<25...fxg6 26.Bxe6+> After trading Queen for Knight, White is winning; 26...Rf7 loses material to either 27.Bxf7+ or 27.Rxf7; and If Black King runs to the h-file, then Rh3+ is fatal

PM: <al wazir> I too searched for an alternative response for Black, but concluded nothing really helps matters (25...Nf4 was the best attempt)


Jun-21-14  geeker: I had been "spoiled" by reading Larsen's best game collection, so I knew the answer :(
Jun-21-14  TheBish: Larsen vs Petrosian, 1966

White to play (25.?) "Very Difficult"

This is a classic game, so I remembered the position right away. Still, it's fun to work out the variations, as I don't recall the exact finish of the game, just know that the next move is a queen sac. What else are you going to look at, with your queen attacked?

25. Qxg6!! fxg6

The most obvious try, but there are no good alternatives. White was threatening both 26. Bxe6 fxe6 27. Rg5 and 26. Rxf7 Rxf7 27. Bxe6, and if 25...Nc7 there follows 26. Qxg7+! Kxg7 27. Rg5+ followed by 28. Rh3#.

26. Bxe6+ Kh7 (or 26...Rf7 27. Rxf7) 27. Rh3+ Bh6 28. Bxh6 Rf5 (or 28...g5 29. Bxf8+ Kg6 30. Rh6#) 29. Rxf5 gxf5 30. Bf7! and the threat of 31. Bf8# wins, i.e. 30...Qb6+ 31. Kf1 Qe3 is the only way to break up the mate, which is of course hopeless after 32. Bxe3.

Jun-21-14  kereru: after 25...Nf4 26.Rxf4 e5 is an interesting try. If 27.Rf3 fxg6 28.Be6+ Kh8 29.Rh3+ Bh6 30.Bxh6 Black has the resource 30....Rf1+! 31.Kxf1 Qf6+ 32.Kg1 Qxe6 33.Rxd6 Qf5! and white has no effective discovered check. However 27.Rxf7 Rxf7 28.Be6 wins prosaically.
Premium Chessgames Member
  20MovesAhead: Rookiepawn 28... Be5 is a good idea but here is one line for white

29. Bh6 Qb6 30 c5 Qa6 if... ♕b2 ♖f2 wins the ♕ueen 31 h4 with the idea 32 Re5 de5 33 Re7 Kh8 34 Bg7 Kh7 35 Bf6 Kh6 36 Bg5 Kh5 37 g4 checkmate

Jun-21-14  Anjeneyar: <Rookie pawn>
On 28.......Be5.29.Bh6.Qb6+.30.Kf/h1.Qxb2? 31.Rf2+!.Kh7.32.Rxb2.Bxb2.33.Bg5! White is a piece up and should win easily. I believe this is decisive enough. Moreover, white instead of Bh6 can play 29.c5!. If 29...Qa5.30.Bd2!.Qxa2.31.Rxf1+!.any K move 32.Rxe5!.Qxb2.33.Re2! And white should win this easily with 2R and 2B vs Q+R. Black king is still in a mating net. He cannot relapse his R easily. Eg., 31....Kg7 With a view to 33.....Rf8. 34.Rxf8!!.Kxf8.35.Bh6+.Qg7.36.Bxg7+.Kxg7 and white is a R and B up with an easy win!
Jun-21-14  dfcx: 25. Qxg6 looks really interesting. It opens up the a2-g8 diagonal for the bishop and the f file at the same time. 25...fxg6 26. Bxe6+

Two options here for black,
26...Rf7 and Kh7/h8. (ok three).
26...Rf7 27. Bxf7+ Kf8 28. Bxg6+ and white has a very good attack with bishops and rooks. I do not see how black can survive.

26...Kh7/h8 27 Rh3+ Bh6 (forced) 28. Bxh6, now black king can't escape. 28...Rf5 29. Rxf5 - no better than the first option 26...Rf7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I see a nasty windmill is on the way- or am I just being Quixotic?
Jun-21-14  Conrad93: I forgot to remember that 99% of puzzle on involve a queen sacrifice. Damn!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Nice but unfortunatelly a bit too famous for puzzle.
Jun-21-14  Alanx: Stop seeing the end. 20.-Bxc5! would have finished the match earlier.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: There is another nice way that white wins if black plays 28...Bd5 beside 29 Bh6.

Try 29 Rd4!

click for larger view

That rook is untouchable.

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