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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Boris Spassky
"Boris Bad and Off" (game of the day Oct-28-08)
Petrosian-Spassky World Championship Match (1966)  ·  King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Panno Variation Blockade Line (E63)  ·  1-0
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Given 77 times; par: 31 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <master of defence> This wasn't Iron Tigran's first go at this forking combination to bring home a point. Here's another you'll like, I think. It's probably somewhere in the kibitzing on this game, but I don't propose to plough through all these pages:

Petrosian vs Simagin, 1956

click for larger view

44. ?

Jul-19-12  master of defence: Yes, I liked <perfidious>. Good Wednesday/Thursday puzzle. And again the Nxf7+ forking king and queen.
Aug-04-12  backrank: <FSR: Incidentally, Reuben Fine made the startling claim that Petrosian was probably the weakest world champion>

This probably tells a good deal more about Fine himself than about Petrosian ... where are Fine's brillant games? Has he ever played one single game that could rank with the one above? Is there perhaps a reason that there are no famous games by Fine (except some brilliant losses, e.g. to Keres)? I think there is. No doubt Fine was strong in the 30s, very strong. But he was not a creative player, his style was merely technical, not of the artistic kind. Not much of a personal style at all. Petrosian DID have a personal style, although it's not a very popular one. But if he's scorned, it's BECAUSE of his personal style, not due the lack of it, like in Fine's case.

'Fine is a pompous ninny' (Bogoljubow)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Petrosian the weakest world champion? That one's good for a laugh.

As to the question of what Fine's place in the firmament might have been, we'll never know-his tenure in the leading group of masters was relatively short, then came World War II and his studies.

Here's a nice game by Fine; even Botvinnik praised White's play.

Fine vs Botvinnik, 1938

Aug-04-12  Open Defence: its very difficult to 'get' Petrosyan's chess, it all seems quite unclear until you get deeper into the game
Aug-04-12  backrank: <Here's a nice game by Fine; even Botvinnik praised White's play.

Fine vs Botvinnik, 1938>

Even this one consists only of some opening preparation, followed by a technical win. Fine was a really great technician, but IMHO no more than that.

All World Champs were great technicians (maybe except Tal), but all of them were more than that.

But this is not the Reuben Fine page; so we shouldn't discuss about him here, but rather continue analyzing the above game (if there is anything left to analyze).

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <backrank> Yes, I suppose that was all Fine could do. The fish couldn't play tactically. We get it: whatever your reasons, you've no use for Fine.

You'll not be the one to dictate what I will or won't discuss, either.

Oct-31-12  Conrad93: I love how black's pawn is paralyzed at a5. Just wonderful.
Dec-16-12  leka: Spassky missed a beutiful win on move 19...f4???? a winning move 19...ROOK A7!!!!.Petrosian tought only 30 seconds hais move 21.Knight e3!!!!! a pretty an amazing!!!!!
Dec-17-12  beatgiant: <leka>
<winning move 19...ROOK A7> As preparation for 20...f4, right? But I don't see any obvious follow-up if White defends with 19...Ra7 20. Ne3. What am I missing?
Dec-20-12  say it with a smile: 'Spassky Spanked' is a better pun since he got trounced like a rag doll.
Dec-20-12  RookFile: Petrosian actually successfully defended his title in 1966. It had been a long time since anybody had done that. That hardly makes him a weak champion.
Jan-08-13  leka: Tigran Petrosian played 68 games without a loss.Also T.Petrosian in the chess olympiads 78 wins 50 draws only one loss to Huebner in 1972.He was a worty world champion
Premium Chessgames Member
  Beancounter: Strongest Force: The game you refer to in 'From Russia with Love' was based upon the game between Spassky & Bronstein played on the 1960 USSR championships - Spassky won that one.
Mar-29-13  Rick360: Excellent candidate for "game of the decade". I'm very impressed with Petrosian's Chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <FSR: Incidentally, Reuben Fine made the startling claim that Petrosian was probably the weakest world champion, but Petrosian was the <only> world champion to win a match <as world champion> between Alekhine-Bogolyubow 1934 and Karpov-Korchnoi 1978.>

Fine had some 'issues' and an agenda of sorts.

Was that in his 'Conquest' book? I'll have to look it up, see context, if so.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <parisattack> I think it was in his pamphlet on the Fischer-Petrosian Candidates Match. That was also the pamphlet where he gave one of Petrosian's third moves two question marks: 1.P-K4 P-K3 2.P-Q4 P-Q4 3.N-QB3 N-QB3??
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Grazie <FSR> I'll fetch, look.

Fine was probably more dogmatic than Tarrasch.

Aug-29-13  EdZelli: Mr. Ruben Fine's statement sounds more
like envy with racist under tones. Maybe his skin color was too dark for Mr. Fine. Or he was an "evil" Russian to him, lol !! In addition to repeated WC victories, Petrosian also won 4 soviet championships (easily comparable to world championships). He could have won more of them in 63 and 66 (in particular) but he was busy playing in the world championship matches.
Mr. Fine himself chickened-out of 1948 matches with many excuses. I believe chess base had an article about Fine's many excuses over the years.
Aug-29-13  JimNorCal: Fine was a strong player, astute observers consider him to be WC caliber though he didn't get that far.

A lot of chess players "have issues", Fine was not alone in this area. And he was far from being alone in considering Petrosian a weak champion. TP's reputation was "strong in matches, weak in tournaments".

Rarely defeated but rarely (for a world champion) able to steamroller his opponents.

A snip from Wikipedia indicates that this is/was a widespread belief: "Petrosian's style of play, although highly successful for avoiding defeats, was criticized as being dull. Chess enthusiasts saw his "ultraconservative" style as an unwelcome contrast to the popular image of Soviet chess as "daring" and "indomitable".[30] Fellow Soviet chess grandmaster and personal friend Mikhail Tal described Petrosian as "cowardly", out of frustration that this eminent tactician so rarely showed the chessworld what he was capable of. His 1971 Candidates Tournament match with Viktor Korchnoi featured so many monotonous draws that the Russian press began to complain."

Fine is not my favorite chess player, but he's just a guy. Calling him "racist" due to Petrosian's skin color with no supporting evidence at all? A bit over the top, in my view.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Frank Brady in <Profile of a Prodigy>:

<Reuben Fine's opinion of the Armenian was rather low: "Petrosian is probably the weakest player who has ever held the world's championship.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < EdZelli: Mr. Ruben Fine's statement sounds more like envy with racist under tones. Maybe his skin color was too dark for Mr. Fine...>

Petrosian was a Caucasian. Literally!

Aug-30-13  Cibator: <leka: Tigran Petrosian played 68 games without a loss.Also T.Petrosian in the chess olympiads 78 wins 50 draws only one loss to Huebner in 1972.He was a worty world champion>

Impressive statistically, I'll grant you, but I think on digging a bit deeper you may find he didn't always meet the top opposition.

One comment I recall about the 1966 Olympiad remarked that "Spassky was given the dirty job of taking black against strong opponents" - which would account for Boris's comparatively low score of 10/15 for the event.

Petrosian by contrast made 13.5/15, which enabled him to win the individual gold medal for top board, edging out Fischer (15/17) by a whisker. Much was made at the time of the number of tough opponents (including Fischer himself) whom Tigran hadn't played in the process of compiling that score.

Sep-03-13  paavoh: An astonishing ending, it delights me everytime I stumble upon this game.

And this post begins my journey to the next 1000 posts. See you in about 5 years...

Sep-03-13  ewan14: Boris would probably find it easier playing for a win with black than Petrosian
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