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Robert Huebner vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Biel Interzonal (1976)  ·  Zukertort Opening: Kingside Fianchetto (B06)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-13-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: To quote Karpov's account of the 1977 Bad Lauterberg tournament: "In one interview, Huebner even declared that he would like to be in the situation as before when he actually enjoyed playing chess. But he only has to recall his tragic game against Petrosian in the Interzonal, where he missed a forced mate, for him literally to lose heart."

This is the tragic game referred to, from the second last round of the 1976 Biel interzonal. Huebner by winning this game would have qualified for the candidates. He could have achieved his aim with the simple 37.Qe8+ Kg7 38.Re7+ Kh6 39.Qf8+ Bg7 (39...Kh5 40.Rxh7#) 40.Qxg7+ Kh5 41.Qxh7#! Instead he played 37.g3?? and soon lost.

A draw as Black in the next round (final round) with Larsen eliminated Huebner, while Petrosian's victory here and a subsequent victory with White over tail-ender Diaz allowed him to qualify in Huebner's place.

Sep-13-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: <Eggman> To me, what makes this whole game even more tragic is, after the blunder 37.g3??, 37...Nxf4 ruins any chance of Huebner retrieving the lost win. As if to punctuate this tragic loss, Huebner plays the winning move, 38.Qe8+, one move too late. Petrosian was a very cool customer to just wait and see what happened. 37...Nxf4 indicates he saw the win, but kept playing in the hopes that the very outcome that did occur would happen. That took real nerve. Petrosian reminds me a lot of Capablanca in that instance.
Sep-14-04  azi: There is a quality of inevitability from the first move of this game. Petrosian's opening choce is that of a tiger. Despite Petrosian's enormous playing strength, Huebner is up to the task through out the game. That he lost with 2+ connected passed pawn advantage is not only tragic but magical (black). It is if a vail fell over the board and Petrosian pulled the rabbit out of the hat! I wonder if there was any 'man against the machine' psychological warfare on the Russian front. I think TP was among the greatest players ever but Hubner deserved to win this game.
Jan-09-08  Petrosianic: <I think TP was among the greatest players ever but Hubner deserved to win this game.>

True. He did.

On the other hand, he <didn't> deserve to win the only game he ever won against Petrosian

Huebner vs Petrosian, 1972

in which Black simply overstepped in a completely drawn position. This was also painful, as it was Petrosian's only loss <ever> in Olympiad play.

I guess irony can be pretty ironic. On the other hand, both games were decided by time pressure, where anything can happen. And often does.

Aug-15-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <36...Qd6> was a last shoddy trick, that worked.
Mar-31-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: short of time --- reason of Huebner for missing the mate in four. Sad fate.
Mar-31-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <suenteus po 147><To me, what makes this whole game even more tragic is, after the blunder 37.g3??, 37...Nxf4 ruins any chance of Huebner retrieving the lost win.> Well, in fact 37...Nxf4 gave white a chance to play for win after 38.gxf4 Qxf4+ 39.Ng3 Kg7 (probably the only move) 40.Qd3 where white has an extra piece, although the compromised position of his King gives black good counter-chances here. 37...Kg7! was definitely more secure and precise defense with Nxf4 motif still in the air.
Apr-01-12  EdZelli: Huebner was the the 1st GM I ever met. He was introduced to us (shortly before this tournament) as a university teacher. An expert in ancient languages. He was sporting a beard then. He was friendly, cool, calm and composed. A very nice guy.
Sep-19-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < Eggman: ....Huebner by winning this game would have qualified for the candidates....>

While that was at least highly probable, there would have been no guarantee of this: the standings entering the final round would have thereby been Larsen and Huebner in joint first with 12, followed by Tal on 11.5, after which were Byrne and Smyslov with 11. With Larsen and Huebner facing each other, a draw would then have qualified both.

<....A draw as Black in the next round (final round) with Larsen eliminated Huebner, while Petrosian's victory here and a subsequent victory with White over tail-ender Diaz allowed him to qualify in Huebner's place.>

This statement is inaccurate: Petrosian thereby qualified, along with Tal (quick draw with Liberzon) and Portisch (winner against Castro), for a three-way playoff for two slots in the candidates matches, with Tal being eliminated.

Game Collection: Interzonals 1976: Biel

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