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Mikhail Tal vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
"Tiger in the Tank" (game of the day Jun-20-2012)
8th Soviet Team Cup (1974), Moscow URS, rd 5, Aug-26
Pirc Defense: Classical Variation. Quiet System Chigorin Line (B08)  ·  1-0


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Given 72 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

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sac: 22.Rxd7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Since by move 19 Tal has all his pieces developed, and Blacks' queenside is undeveloped, is it any wonder the Magician from Riga launches a winning combination?
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Poulsen: <OhioChessFan> plz. you are not Yoda and... I am not amused.>

Amused you are not? Hmmm, much English to learn have you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LucB: Sac a Knight on 19. you would, eh Tal? Ooh, exchange sac you are considering on 22.?

Do or do not: there is no try!

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <offramp> On this devastating sarcastic piece of advice: <<<Poulsen> & <OhioChessFan> it is you two that need your heads examined. You might be the only two people left at that don't have that poseur on IGNORE.

DO IT NOW! and your experience here will be hugely increased>> I for one have <CO> on ignore, but its not out of malice but simply for practical purposes: The threads become simplified and much easier to read

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: According to our opening explorer at, Tal and Petrosian played each other 46 times, with the result being 5 wins (all classical) for Petrosian, 5 wins (4 classical and one blitz) for Tal and 35 draws.

Today's Saturday (19. ?) puzzle is one of those infrequent Tal wins against Petrosian, which demonstrates how extremely difficult it was for even a tactical genius like Tal to defeat the usually positional sound and solid Petrosian.

According to, Bobby Fischer was one of the few to hold a positive, winning score against Petrosian with 8 wins, four losses and 15 draws in 27 classical games.

Though I considered it, I'll admit I was clueless as to how to conduct the Magician from Riga's brilliant 19. Neg5+! (+2.05 @ 32 depth, Stockfish 170615) attack.

I found nothing better than 19. Qd8 which gives White a much smaller advantage than the game continuation after 19...Nd7 20. Qe7 Qd8 21. Qa3 Qc8 22. h3 (+0.77 @ 21 depth, Deep Fritz 15).

According to the computers, after 19. Neg5+! Black can improve over 19... hxg5? (+8.03 @ 31 depth, Komodo 9.1) and make White's win much more difficult with 19...Kh8 20. Qf4 (+2.00 @ 30 depth, Komodo 9.2).

Highlighting the depth of Tal's calculations, in the final position following 23. Bxf7+!, the computers indicate White forces mate-in-13 after 23...Rxf7 24. Qxf7+ Kh8 25. Qxg6 Bf5 26. Nf7+ Kg8 27. Nh6+ Kh8 28. Nxf5 Qf8 29. Qh5+ Bh6 30. Re6 Qg7 31. Rxh6+ Kg8 32. Rg6 Kf7 33. Rxg7+ Ke6 34. Nd4+ Kd6 35. c4 c6 36. c5#.

Petrosian's game took a big turn for the worse with 14...Nxe4?!, allowing 15. Nxe4 Bxe5 16. Nf3 to (+1.53 @ 30 depth, Stockfish 240715). Instead, 14... Nc6 15. Nxc6 Bxc6 (0.51 @ 34 depth, Stockfish 6) puts up more resistance.

Earlier in the opening, Petrosian might have improved over 8...e5 with 8... Bg4 9. Be3 c6 = (0.25 @ 30 depth, Komodo 9.02), and instead of 10...h6?! he might have done better with 10... Nc6 11. Qd2 a6 = (0.25 @ 27 depth, Stockfish 5 SE).

Though it's surely a solid opening, my personal preference would be not to give a tactical genius like Tal a space advantage in the first four moves after 1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Nc3 = to (0.26 @ 35 depth, Komodo 9.3).

Instead, I prefer fighting for the center from the start with something like 1.Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nc3 c6 = to , transposing to the Semi-Slav defense (D47) as in Black's neat win in Aronian vs Anand, 2013.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: it looks like the h-file will be the mating corridor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Lambda: I couldn't see how to continue after 21... Bh6, just trying to exchange the knight off. 22. Rxe8! is the answer.
Mar-12-16  King Harvest: The win is easy from the 23.f7, but actually delivering mate is a bit of a slog. (I couldn't calculate it and put it in stockfish and it's M11 if i recall correctly... at least M7). Petrosian was a good sport resigning there... he might have clung to the raft a bit longer just to keep the mini from being quite so mini.
Mar-12-16  King Harvest: The salient defensive continuation (this is probably in earlier kibitz's but what the hell...) is Rxf7 Qxf7+ Kh8 Qxg6 Bf5... and while Tal and Petrosian can get to the mate from there in their sleep, me, not so much.

Speaking of miniatures I posted a miniature, comic, sci-fiction shortstory/Chessgames kibitz regarding the fascinating/tedious Chris Owen phenomena late in yesterday's puzzle kibitzs. If you like Chris Owen based fiction (a small but growing genre) do check it out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: <chris owen> is a bot. There are bots people create that sign up to forums and post so that they look real. They get their content from scraping the page or similar pages and mushing it all together. The reason this is done in general is to produce links that link back to a website. This is usually done for Search engine optimization purposes.

The <admins> at <> should just delete that account. It's not real.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Humiliated and Insulted>, as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote long ago
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jack Kerouac: <Big Pawn> Obviously The alleged Chris Owens is a Bot. And not a Bot-Vinnik who utilized his 'Iron Logic' for chess purposes. Watch out for the Knight who forks the King and Queen at the same time. Now that's chess porn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: Here's a post back when <chrisowen> sounded more like a real person. His word salads have lots more ingredients nowadays.

Carlsen vs Anand, 2007

Mar-12-16  schachfuchs: Can anybody help me?
What is black's defense upon 21.Qd3, which was my continuation instead of 21.Qf4? (if 21...Qf5 22.Rxe8 of course)
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChemMac: <King Harvest: The salient defensive continuation (this is probably in earlier kibitz's but what the hell...) is 23...Rxf7 24 Qxf7+ Kh8 25 Qxg6 Bf5... and while Tal and Petrosian can get to the mate from there in their sleep, me, not so much.> Nor me. But 26.Nf7+ Kg8 27.Nh6+ Kh8 28.NXf5 with 29.Re7 to follow is clearly resignable. No point in counting the moves to checkmate.
Feb-22-18  Sourav: Why did black play 18...Be8? Shouldn't he have played a developing move like 18...Nc6 instead?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Sourav> 18..Nc6? 19. Qxd7.
Feb-23-18  Sourav: <ChessHigherCat> Thanks! But, what about 18...Bg4? I will also find the answer on my own.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Sourav: <ChessHigherCat> Thanks! But, what about 18...Bg4?> 18...Bg4 looks better but I think it's probably already too late for black.

18. ...Bg4 19. Neg5+ hxg5 20. Nxg5+ Kg8 21. Nxf7 Rxf7 22. Re7 Bxd1 23. Qd5 Kh8 24. Qxf7 and black's dead

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: This looks slightly better for black and he even gets a material advantage for a while but it's still just prolonging the agony:

18...Bg4 19. Neg5+ hxg5 20. Nxg5+ Kg8 21. Nxf7 Rxf7 22. Re7 Bxd1 23. Qd5 Qf5 24. Qd8+ Bf8 25. Rxf7 Qxf7 26. Bxf7+ Kxf7 27. Qxc7+ Be7 28. Qxb7 Nc6 29. Qxa8 Nb4 30. c3 Nxa2 31. Qd5+ Kg7 32. Qxd1

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Game also noteworthy as a particularly short loss by Petrosian.
Feb-23-18  areknames: I don't remember ever having seen this game before, remarkably passive and clueless play by Petrosian.
Aug-14-18  Caissa04: How Tal cracked Petrosian's defense into a miniature I have no idea, but a good game it is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It seems difficult for Petrosian to be able to recover from the awful 14...Ne4? What is peculiar is that he had prepared the natural 14...Nc6 but did not played it.
Aug-23-18  balboa07: This game is on YouTube:
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