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Eduard Gufeld vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
USSR Championship (1969), Moscow URS, rd 2, Sep-07
Three Knights Opening: Steinitz - Rosenthal Variation (C46)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-12-06  Resignation Trap: From <<My Life in Chess>> by Eduard Gufeld:

<<He Was Called A Peace-Loving Man>>

"Who among us did not collect something in his childhood... Some collect stamps, others- coins, badges,toy locomotives, etc.

I also have a very original collection of my victories over grandmasters, and I am keen on its permanent replenishment. To my regret there are some lamentable gaps in this collection. Thus the score of clashes with Petrosian has been a sheer disaster for the author of these lines: six losses and three draws.

One does not frequently meet top-level grandmasters over the board, and you have to value highly each such encounter.

In 1969 at the USSR Championship I started successfully, and in the next round I had to play White against Petrosian. Here's the opportunity, I thought, to end my unlucky run and defeat him for the first time.

In life I was good friends with Tigran Vartanovich.

Petrosian was very fond of ice hockey. On the very day of our meeting his favorite team--the Moscow "Spartak"--was playing, and on the evening before he blurted out that he would like to attend this match, and the hockey-players wanted it too because they would be playing much better in the presence of the World Champion. I will just add that the hockey match was to begin at 5 p.m.,but our chess game at 4:30 p.m. I saw in this an indirect hint to a draw...

Jun-12-06  Resignation Trap: "I could not sleep the whole night, thinking in a state halfway between wakefulness and sleep: should I accompany Tigran Vartanovich to the hockey match, or should I try to defeat him over the board?

The crucial day arrived. After dinner I decided to heed the voice of reason, which told me that I was not destined to defeat the "iron" Tigran. I dialed his number and said: "Tigran Vartanovich! Could you possibly help me to get a ticket to today's hockey match of 'Spartak'?" After some pause at the other end of the line I heard a voice with a Southern accent: "I'd love to buy such a ticket for myself, but how to do it?" As you probably guessed, I dialed the wrong number, the man I spoke to was not Petrosian (I had been let down once again by my "calligraphic" handwriting).

So fate decreed that we should fight....

We greeted each other and sat down at the table. My friend-rival looked alert and determined. Thinking that I had decided to get my revenge for at least one of the previous defeats, he apparently had prepared himself for an all-out struggle. If Petrosian had only known about my peaceful phone call! The game began...

Jun-12-06  Resignation Trap: Gufeld (after 2...Nc6): "Something gave way in me: I can never defeat the "iron" Tigran! My hand reached for the Knight and made a meek move."

Gufeld (after 3.Nc3): "Chess players know that this is the shortest way to a peaceful offer-- 3...Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Nxd4 and 6.e5 etc. It seemed to me that an unkind smile hovered across my opponent's face: "That's the way you play to win? Now I would not be able to get to the hockey match, but we will play chess now!' And Tigran Vartanovich confidently replied...<<3...g6>>"

Gufeld (after 3...g6): "From the psychological point of view the game was already lost. Just have a look at what kind of a merciless beating awaited White."

Gufeld (after 11.Qf3?): "Correct was 11. e5 Ne8 12.Qd2, but I was already drifting with the current."

Gufeld (after 13.Ndb5): "If 13.Nde2 Bg4 14.Qg3 Nf5 15.Qf4 g5 16.Qe5 Re8."

Gufeld (after 21.Qxg6): "Agony."

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: ^^..♘ce7! is known good since Steinitz.
Aug-20-15  Bruce Graham: An extraordinary en-prise extravaganza!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Resignation Trap> I know it's a long while ago... but thanks for posting that story.
Jan-07-19  ughaibu: It's a nice story, but Petrosian wasn't world champion at the time, according to the tournament page.
Jan-07-19  Howard: No, he was not. In fact, it was argued that that was a factor in his winning the Soviet championship--he no longer had the burden of proving himself as WC.
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