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Robert James Fischer vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
"Third Time's a Charm" (game of the day Apr-25-2013)
Fischer - Petrosian Candidates Final (1971), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 3, Oct-07
French Defense: Classical. Burn Variation Morozevich Line (C11)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Ok, if necessary, let's continue here: Petrosian - Hübner Candidates Quarterfinal (1971)
Mar-05-15  Petrosianic: is a private site. I'd trust Chessbase more, but I still think that contemporary accounts would be most likely to have the correct account.

I don't remember CL&R pointing out a single winning move for White in Game 7, although White did have the edge early in the game. I wonder if they're confusing it with Spassky-Hort?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Petrosianic> <Unfortunately, there's no good book on the 1971 Candidates.>

I disagree. There are two excellent books on the 1971 Matches.

<Fischer – Spassky & Fischer’s 1971 Candidates’ Matches, From the Soviet Point of View>, (originally in Latvian magazine Sahs, translated by A. Karklins).

Another one is from Russian sources as translated by Cafferty in <Candidates Matches 1971>.

Great books. And the list of annotators in each is outstanding.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Howard> (part 1 of 2)

I thought I would try two positions, one after 12.Bg2 when Petrosian had a chance to take the Ra1 but refrained from doing so and one after the smoke had cleared after 28.gxf5.

<Position 1> After 12.Bg2:

click for larger view

From Stockfish 6 at d=35:

1. [-0.42]: 12...h5 13.h4 Bg7 14.Nef4 Nd4 15.Ne3 c6 16.Kf1 Ne6 17.Nxf5 Bxa1 18.Qxa1 f6 19.Nd3 Kf7 20.Be4 Ng7 21.Nxg7 Kxg7 22.Nf4 Qe7 23.Bd3 Be6 24.Ng6 Qf7 25.Nxh8 Rxh8 26.Kg2 Bxa2 27.Re1 Bd5+ 28.Kh2 b6 29.c4 Bf3 30.Re3 Bg4 31.Kg2 Rd8 32.Qc3

click for larger view

Black delays the gain of the exchange until 17...Bxa1 and then gives it back to remain a pawn up in a simplified position. Certainly an advantage but not decisive.

2. [-0.37]: 12...Bg7 13.Nef4 Kf8 14.Rc1 Ne5 15.Ne3 Qe7 16.Kf1 Ng6 17.Nh5 Be6 18.Nxg7 Kxg7 19.Qd4+ Qf6 20.Qxf6+ Kxf6 21.f4 Rab8 22.Kf2 Rhd8 23.Rhd1 b5 24.a3 Ne7 25.Rb1 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 a5 27.Rd3 b4 28.axb4 axb4 29.Bf3 c5 30.Rd6 Kg7 31.Be2 b3 32.cxb3

click for larger view

After 32...Rxb3 Black will be a pawn up with an active rook and a passed c-pawn, but his pawn structure is awful. And with his c-pawn easily blocked his advantage is minimal.

3. [-0.34]: 12...Ne7 13.Rb1 Be5 14.f4 Bg7 15.Ne3 Qxd1+ 16.Rxd1 h5 17.Kf2 h4 18.Rhe1 c6 19.Nc4 Bf6 20.a4 Kf8 21.Rd8+ Kg7 22.Rxh8 Kxh8 23.Nd6 Be6 24.Nxb7 Rb8 25.Nc5 Rb2 26.Nxe6 fxe6 27.Rd1 Nd5 28.c4 hxg3+ 29.hxg3 Nc3 30.Re1 c5 31.Bc6 Kg7 32.Ke3 Kf7 33.Nxc3

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After 33...Bxc3 material will be even and with BOC a draw is the likely outcome.

It's noteworthy that Stockfish evaluates the position in White's favor if Black immediately captures 12...Bxa1. Here is what Stockfish comes up with at d=32:

1. [+2.68]: 13.Qxa1 Rg8 14.Nf6+ Ke7 15.Nf4 Be6 16.Nxg8+ Qxg8 17.0-0 Qh8 18.Qb1 Nd8 19.Qb4+ Ke8 20.Re1 c6 21.Bf3 a5 22.Qc5 Qf6 23.Bh5 Kd7 24.Rd1+ Ke8 25.Qd6 Qe7 26.Qe5 Bd5 27.Qh8+ Qf8 28.Qf6 Qe7 29.Nxd5 cxd5 30.Qh8+ Qf8 31.Re1+ Ne6 32.Rxe6+ Kd7

So immediately capturing the exchange apparently leads to a losing position for Black. I wonder how much time Petrosian took before deciding against 12...Bxa1?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Howard> (part 2 of 2)

<Position 2> After 28.gxf5:

click for larger view

From Stockfish 6 at d=39:

1. [-0.86]: 28...h6 29.Qe2 Kh7 30.c4 Re5 31.Qf3 a6 32.h4 b5 33.cxb5 axb5 34.Kg2 c5 35.a4 bxa4 36.Rg4 Rxf5 37.Qa8 Qh8 38.Qxh8+ Kxh8 39.Rxa4 Kg7 40.f3 Kg6 41.Kg3 h5 42.Ra7 Kf6 43.Kf2 Ke5 44.Ke3 Rf6 45.Ra5 Kd5 46.Ra7 Re6+ 47.Kd2 Rd6 48.Ke3 Rf6 49.f4 Re6+ 50.Kd3 c4+ 51.Kc3

click for larger view

Black clearly has a better game, being a pawn up. But Black's pawns are weak so the win is problematic.

2. [-0.67]: 28...b5 29.Qf3 h6 30.c4 bxc4 31.Rxc4 Rxf5 32.Qxc6 Rxf2 33.Qxf6 Rxf6 34.Ra4 a6 35.Kg2 Kg7 36.Ra3 Re6 37.Kg3 Kg6 38.Kf4 Rf6+ 39.Kg4 Rb6 40.Kf4 Rc6 41.Rg3+ Kf6 42.Ra3 Rb6 43.Ra5 Kg7 44.Ra4 Re6 45.Ra3 f6 46.Kg4 Kg6 47.Kf4 Rb6 48.Ra5 Rc6 49.Ra3 Kf7 50.Ra5 Ke6 51.Kg4

click for larger view

Black is once again a pawn up but his rook is tied to the defense of the Pa6 and so it is difficult to see how Black can make progress. And if Black moves his king to the q-side to defend the Pa6 and free his rook, then his k-side pawns will be vulnerable.

3. [-0.61]: 28...Kh8 29.Qf3 h6 30.a4 a6 31.h3 b5 32.axb5 axb5 33.Qe3 Kh7 34.Qe8 h5 35.Rf3 Rd8 36.Qe4 Rd4 37.Qe3 h4 38.Rf4 Rd1+ 39.Kg2 Qg5+ 40.Rg4 Qxe3 41.fxe3 Rc1 42.Kf3 Rxc2 43.Kf4 Re2 44.Rxh4+ Kg7 45.Rg4+ Kf6 46.Rh4 Rf2+ 47.Ke4 Rc2 48.Rh6+ Kg7 49.Rd6 b4 50.h4 b3 51.Kd3 f6 52.e4

click for larger view

A complex position. Black would seem to have a substantial advantage with his far advanced passed pawn but it's hard to advance it. And White has a passed pawn of his own and after e5, ...fxe5, f6+, ...Kf7, h5 White is not without chances.

So it's not clear that Black has a win after 28.gxf5.

Does anyone see other positions that might result in a win for Black?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <keypusher> Thanks. Petrosian sure got a thorough drubbing in the Castro game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In the position where Petrosian could have snatched the exchange at his twelfth move, it looks like a courageous but dodgy grab, mais certainement, even if it takes computer analysis to prove the idea would not have been good for Black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <perfidious> Well, without computers, Petrosian didn't have any trouble figuring out that 12...Bxa1 wad not a good idea!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <AK> Experience and judgement oftimes stood the old master in good stead.
Mar-07-15  Howard: Charles Sullivan is quoted in Mueller's book on Fischer's games, that 27...Rc5!! would have given Petrosian a significant advantage
Jul-03-15  Howard: AlyerKupp, when you get time, could you please look at 27...Rc5.
Jul-10-15  Howard: Charles Sullivan states that 27...Rc5!! would have given Petrosian a significant advantage.

Any thoughts ?!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Yes. Who's Charles Sullivan?
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <MissScarlett: Yes. Who's Charles Sullivan?>

Ed's brother?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <MissScarlett: Yes. Who's Charles Sullivan?>

He was a guy who used to go around Oxford Street saying that 27...Rc5 would have given Petrosian a significant advantage.

Jul-11-15  Howard: Please look at the website TrueChess to see who he is.

AvlerKupp, if you're reading this, what does Stockfish think of 27...Rc5 ?

Jul-19-15  newzild: <Howard> Stockfish considers the game to be fairly even until Fischer's 24. Rxd8?, which concedes the d-file and gives Black close to a one-pawn advantage.

On move 27, Stockfish does give 27...Rc5 as best for Black, with an evaluation of -1.02.

It does seem strange that Black didn't try to win the game by pushing his pawns on the Queenside, where he has a 3-2 advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Howard> Sorry for the lateness in responding. I usually try to respond to any posts addressed to me and I do this by searching for "AylerKupp". Unfortunately you misspelled my user name twice, once "AlyerKupp" on Jul-03-15 and once "AvlerKupp" on Jul-11-15. I would have thought that the <> search software, like spell checkers, would use the Soundex algorithm to match any search keys that were close, but I guess they don't. Oh well, maybe next year.

To answer your question, Stockfish 6, like <newzild> indicated, evaluated the position after 27...Rc5 at roughly a pawn up, [-1.05], d=42, after 28.Kg2 Bxa2 29.Nh6+ Kg7 30.Nf5+ Kh8 31.Ne3 Rxh5 32.Rxf6 Rc5 33.Rd6 a5 34.Kf3 h5 35.h3 a4 36.Rd8+ Kg7 37.Ra8 b5 38.Ke2 Re5 39.f4 Re4 40.Kf3 Bd5 41.Nxd5 cxd5 42.gxh5 Rc4 43.Ra5 Rc3+ 44.Kg4 a3 45.Rxb5 a2 46.Ra5 Rxc2 47.Kf3 Kh6 48.Ke3 Kxh5 49.Kd4 Rd2+ 50.Ke3 Rb2 51.Kd4 Kg6 52.Ra7 f6 53.Ra6 Rf2 54.Kxd5

I'll also second <newzild>'s observation that Stockfish considered the game roughly even until 28.Rxd8. After 23...Rad8 Stockfish evaluated 24.Rb1 at [0.00], d=38, after 24.Rb1 Ng6 25.Bxf5 Bxa2 26.Bxg6 Qxg6 27.Qxg6+ fxg6 28.Rxb7 Rxf4 29.gxf4 (now it's White that has the doubled isolated f-pawns!) 29...Bd5+ 30.Nxd5 Rxd5 31.Rxa7 Rd4 32.Ra8+ Kg7 33.Ra7+ Kh6 (I think 33...Kf6, centralizing the king, is better, and if 34.Rc7, 34...Rc4 restores material equality with the better pawn structure) 34.Rf7 Rc4 35.Kg2 Rxc2 36.Kf3 Rc3+ 37.Kg4 Rc2 38.Kf3, and presumably a draw by repetition.

click for larger view

And Stockfish's next two top moves were 24.Re1 and 24.Rf1, evaluated at [-0.46] and [-0.56] respectively, still reflecting a roughly even position.

In contrast, again like <newzild> said, after 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 Stockfish evaluates the position at [-1.03], d=42 after 25.Bxf5 Nxf5 26.Nxf5 Rd5 27.g4 Rc5 (your suggestion) 28.Kg2 Bxa2 29.Ne3 Rxh5 30.Rxf6 Rc5 31.Rd6 a5 32.Rd8+ Kg7 33.Ra8 Bc4 34.Ra7 Ba6 35.Nf5+ Kg6 36.Nd6 a4 37.Nxb7 Bxb7 38.Rxb7 Rxc2 39.Ra7 Rc4 40.Kf3 h6 41.h3 Kf6 42.Ke3 Ke6 43.f4 f6 44.Ra5 Rb4 45.h4 Kd6 46.Rf5 a3 47.Ra5 Rb3+ 48.Kd4 Rf3, reflecting Black's one-pawn advantage.

click for larger view

And restarting the analysis from this position Stockfish evaluates the resulting position at [0.00], d=38. The line is amusing but I don't think that any human GM would go for it: 49.Ke4 Rc3 50.g5 h5 51.g6 Ke6 52.Rxh5 f5+ 53.Rxf5 Rc4+ 54.Kd3 Kxf5 55.g7 a2 56.g8Q Rc3+ 57.Kxc3 a1Q+ 58.Kc2 Qa4+ 59.Kc3 Qxf4 (and this is now a draw per the 6-piece Nalimov tablebases) 60.Qf7+ Ke4 61.Qxf4+ and both pawns will fall

click for larger view

I thought that perhaps 38...Ra5 might provide Black with some winning chances but I was wrong, Stockfish evaluated the resulting position at [-0.85], d=40; slightly worse than 38...Rxc2.

So I don't think that it's the concession of the d-file in itself as <newzild> suggests that results in a disadvantage for White since this is what Stockfish does in it principal variation after 23...Rad8. It's the exchange of White's more active rook by 24.Rxd8 that reduces White's chances for counterplay and therefore results in the evaluation of the position to reflect mostly Black's pawn advantage, even though the extra pawn is doubled and isolated. But still, after 24.Rxd8 Rxd8, Black's advantage does not appear to be decisive.

Jul-21-15  Howard: Trust me, Mr.AylerKupp, I definitely appreciate all this !!

And I'll be more careful about how to spell your name in the future.

For the record, this year marks my 40th year as a USCF member !

Jul-21-15  Howard: At any rate, it now seems fairly conclusive that Petrosian did not have a forced win in this game, contrary to what some have claimed.
Jul-21-15  tappingfoot: How come this variation was named Morozevich Line, named after Alexander Morozevich?.

Alexander Morozevich was still a youngster when this game was played.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tappingfoot> Variations tend to be named after a strong adherent, not necessarily their originator.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <For the record, this year marks my 40th year as a USCF member !>

That, sadly, is in the rear view mirror for this poster.

Jul-22-15  tappingfoot: <perfidious:Variations tend to be named after a strong adherent, not necessarily their originator.>

Thanks <perfidious>.

Jul-24-15  Howard: Yes, tappingfoot, that is true as to how openings sometimes get named.

A prime example would be, of course, the Benko Gambit. It's a well-known fact that Benko himself didn't "invent" it, but he certainly popularized it back in the late 60's and early 70's.

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