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Boris Spassky vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969), Moscow URS, rd 23, Jun-16
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation (B48)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-26-07  Bob726: This gave clinched the championship for Spassky. Why not kiblitzing?
May-01-07  inthestepsofTal: Think Spassky is winning in the final position? Had it been Fischer, he had smashed Petrosian only for the sake of rubbing the victory in the opponents face!
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <inthestepsofTal: Think Spassky is winning in the final position?>

Good question! It's a tricky position to analyze.

The main line seems to be 41...Ra8 42. Ne5 a4 43. Rd7+ Kf6 44. c7 Rc8 45. Nc6 a3 46. Nb4.

click for larger view

I'm not sure what's the best defense after that. Black aims to trade the a-pawn for the c-pawn with a drawish result. Maybe 46...Na4 is the next move, but this is already a long and inconclusive line.

At least I don't think it's an easy win for White.

May-06-07  euripides: BLack might also consider 41...Kf7, when 42.Rd7+ leads nowhere, but 42.Rh6 Ra8 is interesting. It doesn't seem so easy for White to force the rook to c8 in this line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <euripides>
I'd be interested in seeing your line after 41...Kf7 42. Rh6 Ra8 43. c7. How does Black avoid moving his rook to c8?

May-06-07  euripides: <beat> on reflection I don't think he can - I had in mind something like 43...Ke7 but I guess White has 44.Ne5 to be followed by Rc6. However, White may then have to divert a piece to stop the a pawn and Black might be able to pick up the c pawn - not sure whether this is better or worse than your line.

In your diagram 46...Na4 gives some wild lines but I think White may win e.g. 47.Rd8 Rxc7 48.Nd5+ Ke5 49.Nxc7 a2 (Nc3 50.Ra8) 50. Rd1 Nc3 51.Ra1 (just in time) Kd4 52.Nb5+. But could Black simply play 46...Ke6 ? Then 47.Rh7 Kd6 48.Rxh5 Rxc7 looks drawish to me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <euripides>
<In your diagram 46...Na4 gives some wild lines but I think White may win e.g. 47.Rd8> Then my thought was 47...a2 48. Nxa2 Rxc7. The other line you gave where Black trades the h-pawn for the c-pawn looks more dangerous but might also be drawable.
May-06-07  euripides: <beat 47...a2 48. Nxa2 Rxc7> true.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <euripides>
For the same reason as above, I didn't spend much time looking at 41...Kf7 42. Rh6. I viewed Black's goal as <trade the a-pawn for the c-pawn>, not <trade the h-pawn for the c-pawn>. But again, it may also be drawable that way, and I'd be interested to see your lines.
Apr-07-08  Knight13: <Think Spassky is winning in the final position?> Based on Beatgiant's analysis I would conclude it's a draw.

Even in the last game Spassky still on the offensive!!

Apr-16-16  Tom Barrister: Some background on this game: it was adjourned after 40 moves, with Spassky sealing 41 c6 and both sides concluding that Spassky probably had a win. Only needing half a point to end the match, Spassky offered Petrosian a draw as a present for the latter's 40th birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Tom Barrister>
Do you have any lines suggesting why they thought it was a win? I took another look at the position, and still any win is well hidden from me. It's hard to avoid trading the c-pawn for the a-pawn.
Apr-17-16  DWINS: I looked at the final position with the help of Stockfish 7 and it looks like a win for Spassky.

Stockfish gives 41.c6 Kf7 42.Rh6 Kg7 43.Rxh5 Nc4 44.Nd4 Kg6 45.Rc5 Nb6 46.c7 Nc8 47.Nc6 Ra6 48.Nxa5 (6.52)

<Beatgiant's> suggestion 41...Ra8 also loses: 42.c7! Rc8 43.Nd4 (7.70)

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <DWINS>
Thanks, that does dispose of my line. There's still the line by <euripides> with 41...Kf7 42. Rh6 <Ra8> when we assumed 43. c7 Ke7 but then probably <44. Rb6> picking up the stray knight on b2 is good enough.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Or finally, 41...Kf7 42. Rh6 Ra8 43. c7 <Rc8> was also suggested above, but again 44. Nd4 appears to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Spassky told the arbiter O'Kelly he had sealed 41.c6 and asked him to offer Petrosian a draw.

Petrosian agreed adding he was going to resign without resuming the game.

Soltis, page 290 'Soviet Chess 1917-1991.'

Sep-04-17  RookFile: Spassky did the right thing. He doesn't know what Petrosian is going to do. So, you ensure you're champ first and ask questions later.
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