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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Wlodzimierz Schmidt
Chess Olympiad Final-A (1972), Skopje MKD, rd 6, Oct-02
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Anglo-Grünfeld Variation (A16)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-27-03  Benjamin Lau: Annotations by John Watson

8. Bxc6+!?

"This was considered quite radical when Petrosian first played it. white gives up his powerful g2 bishop and leaves himself with weak squares, all for the sake of doubling and isolating the black pawns. Flesch reports that Tal, upon seeing this move, said 'For such a black position, I'd gladly ssacrifice a pawn!'. But Petrosian has a concrete idea [behind this move.]"

8...bxc6 9 Qc1!

"Pressuring the pawns down the c-file, and intending Bh6. Without the g7-bishop, Black's activity would be greatly reduced, so his next move is logical. But after he plays it, he can't castle."

9...h6 10 Nf3 Bh3 11 Rg1! Bg4

"White was threatening g4; but 11...h5 12 Ng5 or 11...f5 12 Na4! is positionally undesirable."

12 Nd2 Nd5

"At first, this seems to solve Black's problems. The powerful, centralized knight must be exchanged, and then his pawns are undoubled. But the resulting c-file weaknesses are just as serious."

13 Nxd5 cxd5 14 Nb3 Qd6 15 f3 Bd7 16 d4 Rb8 17 Kf2!

"White is nos perfectly safe, and ready to exploit the queenside. Since waiting is hopeless in the long run, Black tries to open things up, but this fails tactically."

17...h5 18 Bf4 e5 19 dxe5 Bxe5 20 Qe3! f6 21 Qxa7

"Complications ensue, but objectively, White should and does win."

1-0

Dec-27-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: That's one of the things that amazed me in this game, Petrosian gives up his white squared bishop to double Schmidt's pawns only to undouble them at move 13. At move 17 white's best developed pieces are his are his Knight, Bishop and King!? and yet black can't take advantage of it.
Dec-27-03  Benjamin Lau: I made a lot of typos up there. Ooops. "ssacrifice" = "sacrifice." And "White is nos perfectly safe" = "White is now perfectly safe"

About this game, it's worth noting that although black's position looks optically better after Petrosian willingly dissolves Schmidt's doubled pawns, Petrosian manages to leave a sort of backwards pawn on the c-file, so the weakness is still there, it's just not as obvious. Moves like 16 d4 and 22 Rac1 show Petrosian's subtle exploitation of black's backward pawn.

Jan-27-04  Dubious Wisdom: Excuse me for being so basic, it is however something I find very interesting. When chess broken down into its most basic form it is a game which is played upon white and black squares. A question which still nags me to this day is

"When playing white, should I aim to control the white squares, or should I am to control the black squares?"

We have all been told while playing white or light squared bishop is strongest, queen to her colour, ect.

What I find so interesting about this game is how Petrosian sets out to control the dark squares! By move fourteen nine of his thirteen peices are on dark squares (one of which being a knight, which is however on a white square controlling dark ones)

Anyways, its something I have thought about, and I wonder if Petrosian was as well. Maybe I should put my bottle of red wine down and call this a night, but I just can't help but wonder if there is something to this?

Does anyone have an intelligent reply?

Jan-27-04  clendenon: Yes I have a intelligent reply. I don't know.
Jan-27-04  Benjamin Lau: That actually is an intelligent reply. Didn't Socrates say that the wisest know they are complete morons (something to that effect)?

<"When playing white, should I aim to control the white squares, or should I am to control the black squares?">

As in literally the white squares/black squares or do you mean the squares on white's side of the board or the squares on black's side of the board?

Jan-27-04  Helloween: <Dubious Wisdom>I believe that the control of a particular square color complex is relative to the position, and often to the opening. For example, in the French Winawer, White often tries to exploit the dark squares; he has a set of cramping central pawns resting on d4 and e5, as well as the fact that Black has exchanged his dark squared Bishop for the Knight at c3.

Contrariwise, in classical, romantic openings, the emphasis is more frequently on the light squares for White, with the KB commonly on c4 and an assault on f7 likely.

I think it is wiser to wait until the basic character of the battle has been established and development completed before attampting to dominate a particular color complex.

Jan-28-04  Dubious Wisdom: I agree with you Helloween, and have noticed what you're talking about in the Winawer and classical openings.

Socrates and idiots aside I consider myself a modest person, so modest in fact I won't even get into it. Benny, in calling his moves dubious I personally feel compelled to point out the lesson to be learned from them is that planning to control the dark squares in the game, which is sort of like heading straight for blacks peice of the pie, is original and effective.

"This was considered quite radical when Petrosian first played it. white gives up his powerful g2 bishop and leaves himself with weak squares, all for the sake of doubling and isolating the black pawns...

Is that really all what Petrosian had in mind? Or is that rather all our commentator can come up with?

Personally, I have never heard of John Watson before, is he related to Josh Waitzkin? j'k....One of the best things I ever did for my chess is to stop reading people's Kibitzes for the most part, except for Honza's =p

Jan-28-04  Benjamin Lau: <Dubious Wisdom>

When I called Petrosian's moves dubious, I meant in the context of normal strategy. The point is that the plan behind his moves is not dubious however and is quite logical. Watson is trying to illustrate that breaking the rules is okay if you have a concrete plan and the analysis to back it up, as Petrosian aparently does. That's all I was noting.

<Is that really all what Petrosian had in mind? Or is that rather all our commentator can come up with? >

Technically, Petrosian is dead so we won't ever know, but it seems like a reasonable annotation to me. I think that this is a bit excessive cynicism on your part. Do you yourself see any other purpose to the move?

<Personally, I have never heard of John Watson before, is he related to Josh Waitzkin? j'k....One of the best things I ever did for my chess is to stop reading people's Kibitzes for the most part, except for Honza's =p >

I guess you were joking (or so at least one hopes), but I can't help but feel a little insulted here. Honza is surely better than most of us here, but that doesn't mean we can't come up with useful analysis. As for John Watson, he is a strong IM, the writer of Play the French (considered the French player's bible), and also a teacher of Tal Shaked so he is no patzer.

Jan-28-04  TrueFiendish: I reckon Petrosian is not just technically but totally dead ;-) but I agree with BL: Even we patzers can come up with decent ideas sometimes. It's just we're so eager that we come up with a lot of rubbish too.

I also think that those who take the time and effort to beautify this web site with annotations and analysis should be applauded. Good on you!

Jan-28-04  rythm: after 30.a3 black can reply with Qxh4.Making the king vulnerable to attack however white's rook on c7 will make black on the defensive making it more vulnerable to attack.White stands slightly better because whites king on h1 and rook on g1 is a win-win position.Petrosian is making a gamble in playing it .There is no black bishop(for black) giving white the advantage in tempo.My friends chess is an art like war.Why not try placing the position in ur board at home and then play white you will know that i am right.anyway if anyone of you wants to play me.I frequently visit yahoo.goodluck learning
Sep-14-05  domradave: I think this is one of the greatest
games ever played. I also think the
notes by Raymond Keene in his book about Skope '72 are even more amazing. Not for just what he says about chess,
but what he says about modern art.
Oct-03-06  AdrianP: IM Watson's commentary seems to be quite heavily derived from Janos Flesch's "Planning in Chess" (Batsford 1983).

Flesch comments on more or less the same moves as Watson, repeats the same anecdote about Tal's reaction, and breaks of his commentary at move 21.

Flesch has a further detail. 21. Qxa7! "Then Petrosian went to the buffet, 'after such a fine move I deserve to win a pawn' he told an enquirer.".

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