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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Mikhail Tal
Varese Interzonal Playoff (1976), Varese ITA, rd 10, Oct-21
English Opening: King's English Variation. Botvinnik System (A26)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-04-07  euripides: <key> interesting, thanks. I'm not sure but I think Said may have been praising Rushdie when he talked of the 'intifada of the imagination'.

There were other surprising reactions. The English philosopher Michael Dummett wrote a bad and incoherent piece in the Telegraph (the incoherence might have been sub-editing) attacking Rushdie.

Dec-08-09  Caissanist: I wonder if Tal didn't see how Petrosian, Keres, and Geller made short draws among themselves and took the top three places in the Curacao interzonal. Perhaps he decided that, if he were ever in a situation like that again, he would want to be part of the deal. If he did, it obviously didn't work out.
Dec-08-09  ughaibu: Perhaps you dont know about Tal and Petrosian in the 1959 candidates.
Dec-08-09  Petrosianic: Even if he does, he doesn't understand the situation. This is the final game of a 3-way playoff, with 2 players advancing. The scores at this point were:

Petrosian: +1-0=6
Portisch: +1-1=6
Tal: +0-1=6

Each player plays 4 games against each other. Petrosian had beaten Portisch in their first game. The last two had been drawn in 11 and 13 moves. Portisch was ignoring Petrosian to focus on Tal, whom he succeeded in beating in their third game.

If Tal had won this game, then all three players would have finished at +1-1=6. From Korchnoi's comments that one of the Russians had to drop out, we can infer that in the event of a tie, the spot in the Candidates would have been decided by tiebreak points. From Korchnoi's claim that Tal had something to play for in this game, we can assume that Petrosian would have been the one eliminated on tiebreak, had Tal won this game.

Or at least we can assume that that's Korchnoi's claim. I don't see it, personally. The Sonnenborn tiebreaks from the Interzonal were Petrosian: 110.75, Portisch: 108.25, Tal: 107.50. So if they were using Sonnenborn points, as they usually do, Tal would have still been eliminated <even if he had won this game>. If they were using some other tiebreak system, what was it? Korchnoi never said, and Chess Life & Review's otherwise pretty good coverage, never mentioned it either.

For the next Candidates series, they did use Sonnenborn. Ribli and Adorjan played a 5 game match to determine a Candidates spot, and when the match ended tied, Adorjan got the spot on Sonnenborn points. Unless I hear something different, I'm assuming that Korchnoi was wrong in thinking that Tal had something to play for in this game. If Korchnoi was right, it comes down to what kind of winning chances, if any, you think Tal has in the final position. Fritz give it 0.45 for White, which isn't hopeless for a must-win game, assuming Tal's health was up for it, or his psyche, coming off a shattering loss to Portisch.

Dec-29-09  ewan14: The '' Combine '' revisited mentioned in Kasparov's OMGP volume ( Petrosian & Spassky )

In one of his autobiogaphies Korchnoi does not complain about the result of his 1968 match with Spassky , but admits he underestimated Spassky's ( improved ) mental strentgh ( ? )

Dec-29-09  Petrosianic: That's interesting, but neither of those claims tells us anything about the tiebreaks used in Varesse.
Jun-20-12  King Death: < Richard Taylor: More possibly Tal was tired - he had a lot of kidney illness. Korchnoi prosteeth too much methinks...>

Maybe Korchnoi wasn't too far off base, Petrosian was a big man in Soviet chess politics until he lost to Korchnoi in their 1977 match. Then he got canned as editor of "64". It was one thing I guess to lose when Korchnoi was still playing for the USSR but bad business when VK was a non person.

Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: Except that Korchnoi never defected at all, and was actually an undercover agent for the KGB during the late 70's.

(Technically that COULD be true, and that's all we need to state it as a fact, right?)

Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: The most reasonable explanation still seems to be that Tal took an easy draw in this game because he had nothing to play for, and was already eliminated, which is what the tiebreak points seem to suggest.
Jun-20-12  King Death: < Petrosianic: Except that Korchnoi never defected at all, and was actually an undercover agent for the KGB during the late 70's...>

He was until he got turned.

<(Technically that COULD be true, and that's all we need to state it as a fact, right?)>

It depends, sometimes we can make it up as we go along. If we did that it would be no different than some posters in these parts.

Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: <He was until he got turned.>

Reminds me of a joke from Get Smart, Again. Something like "We had a mole in their organziation until he got turned." "Into what??"

<It depends, sometimes we can make it up as we go along. If we did that it would be no different than some posters in these parts.>

Korchnoi was as bad as some of the worst internet guessers on some days. After he defected, he practically came out and said that he thought a Balashov-Polugaevsky game had been thrown. But he gave no reason, and looking at the game, there was no obvious reason for thinking so. I think he was such a Hero when he came West that he could say just about anything without being challenged on it, and sometimes did. You need people to keep you honest or pretty soon you aren't. I'm never comfortable around people that I think won't challenge me on anything. It's a bit creepy. But some people can live no other way.

Jun-20-12  King Death: <Petrosianic> Some of Korchnoi's sweeping statements remind me a little bit of Fischer and things like "The King's Gambit is busted. It loses by force." Then there's this one from Fischer with White to move:


click for larger view

Here he wrote that Black was better or something like that because White had to commit himself (I'm paraphrasing because I haven't seen this article in probably 40 years).

Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: With Korchnoi, I think part of it is his need to have strong animosity for whoever he's playing. It seems to help him focus. Fischer is a little different, he was more Pro Fischer than Anti-Everyone Else as such. He had a major objectivity problem in the early 60's. He loses a game against the King's Gambit, and imagines that the King's Gambit loses by force. He loses a tough game to Spassky, then pronounces Spassky one of the 10 Best Players Who Ever Lived. He thought his own games from the Western Open (some against Class players) were better than any games played at the Piatigorsky Cup. He thought Black was better after 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 Bg7 4. O-O O-O 5. d3. He thought he'd been winning all four of the games he lost to Tal (only in the last one did he ever have any advantage). And so on. And the funny part is that he would say these things and people would just repeat them as gospel. (That one about Tal floated around for years. Jerry Sohl even repeated it as fact in Underhanded Chess, because he thought Fischer ought to know). Keres wrote a pretty kind article to Fischer on how his objectivity problems would harm his future development, which seems pretty reasonable, but also wrong (Fischer became world champion without ever fully solving them).
Jun-20-12  Petrosianic: <(I'm paraphrasing because I haven't seen this article in probably 40 years).>

Here's a .pdf if you want to see it again:

http://www.academicchess.org/images...

Chessbase did a joke about it this year for April Fool, in which they claimed that months of computer analysis had showed them that the King's Gambit really does lose by force in every line except 3. Be2 (!!), which draws.

Jun-20-12  King Death: <Petrosianic> Thanks for posting that, it brings back memories! By the way I saw that April Fools thing from Chessbase on here, it caught some people for sure.
Jun-21-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < King Death: < Richard Taylor: More possibly Tal was tired - he had a lot of kidney illness. Korchnoi prosteeth too much methinks...>

Maybe Korchnoi wasn't too far off base, Petrosian was a big man in Soviet chess politics until he lost to Korchnoi in their 1977 match. Then he got canned as editor of "64". It was one thing I guess to lose when Korchnoi was still playing for the USSR but bad business when VK was a non person.>

That's all crap chess players just play the board. The Soviets didn't ever interfere with chess games. You may as well say the US never actually did get to the moon...I'm pretty sure the US engineered 9/11 for political reasons (more likely than the "evil USSR" manipulated chess players) but the Soviet weren't interested in the results of chess games!!

I've read Korchnoi's books (he was in the Soviet School of Chess we got in 1963) and I like him and his play but he is a drama queen and just wanted to get out of Russia. he was a pain in the backside as Karpov points out quite rightly in his book 'Chess at the Top'...

Jun-21-12  Petrosianic: <That's all crap chess players just play the board. The Soviets didn't ever interfere with chess games. >

They didn't do it as often as some people think. Some people seem to think every game Keres ever lost was the result of someone at the Kremlin in a bad mood that day. But there are documented cases of it happening. Pachman has a few in his book, if you can still get hold of that.

Jun-21-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <King Death: <Petrosianic> Some of Korchnoi's sweeping statements remind me a little bit of Fischer and things like "The King's Gambit is busted. It loses by force." Then there's this one from Fischer with White to move:

Here he wrote that Black was better or something like that>

I think “he joked” black was better because Fischer liked counterplay and this position led to “his” openings.

If white goes e4, black plays c5 and a Closed Sicilian.

If white goes c4, black plays e5 and Fischer has a Kings Indian vs. the English. (a “mild” d3 English)

Jun-21-12  King Death: < diceman: I think “he joked” black was better because Fischer liked counterplay and this position led to “his” openings.

If white goes e4, black plays c5 and a Closed Sicilian...>

Here's an example of that type of Closed line with c3 instead of Nc3, Fischer didn't play well in the middle game but had no problems getting equality before his misstep.

V Ciocaltea vs Fischer, 1962

<...If white goes c4, black plays e5 and Fischer has a Kings Indian vs. the English. (a “mild” d3 English)>

There are probably tons of those games from Fischer among other strong players. This is usually equal too but there's a lot of fight ahead.

Jun-21-12  Petrosianic: Here are some of the examples Keres gave of Fischer's lack of objectivity. I don't disagree with any of them, they're pretty straightforward.

<One of the outstanding events of 1963, the Piatigorsky Cup tournament, not least from the viewpoint of creative chess thought, [Fischer] boycotted when his unwarranted financial demands had been rejected by the committee. In Chess Life he informed us bluntly that almost all the games played by him in the little Western Open were better than any of the games in the Piatigorsky Cup Tourney with the exception of Najdorf's win over Keres. Comment is superfluous!...

About his fellow grandmasters, likewise, Bobby has hardly altered his opinions since 1962. He repeatedly writes that Petrosian and Botvinnik have little idea of chess. After 1. P-K4, P-K4; 2. N-KB3, N-QB3; 3. B-B4, N-B3; 4. N-N5, P-Q4; 5. PxP, N-QR4; 6. P-Q3, P-KR3; 7. N-KB3, P-K5 he seriously believed that Bronstein, in continuing 8. PxP did not sacrifice a piece but blundered it away.

In commenting on the move 10. P-K5 in the Reinhard-Fischer game, he writes "Nine out of ten grandmasters, including Petrosian, Botvinnik, Keres, and Smyslov would have played this move, yet it loses by force." Or, about his fifteenth move as Black in the game Oster-Fischer: "Once again, nine out of ten grandmasters would have continued with 15... N-Q2." These instances could be multiplied.

With such a mentality he can hardly be surprised if, in his next serious attempt at the highest honors, he again falls short of complete success.

The overestimation of his own abilities has its consqequence, not only that he underestimates his rivals, but that he often poses his readers insoluble problems in his comments on games. After 1. P-Q4, N-KB3 his note to 2. N-KB3 "A rather common mistake" ... or the conclusion of one note "... which only proves again the weakness of White's first move after 1. N-KB3, N-KB3; 2. P-KN3, P-KN3; 3. B-N2, B-N2; 4. O-O, O-O; 5. P-Q3, P-Q3, in the game Reinhard-Fischer: "Believe it or not - Black stands better! Now whatever White does Black will vary it and get an assymetrical position and have the superior position due to his better pawn structure." We just don't believe it!>

Jun-21-12  Petrosianic: Looking up some of these games Keres mentioned. Here's the Bronstein game that Fischer failed to recognize as a piece sacrifice:

Bronstein vs E Rojahn, 1956

Here are the others:

A Reinhard vs Fischer, 1963

R Oster vs Fischer, 1963

Jun-21-12  King Death: <Petrosianic> That article from Keres isn't something I remember ever seeing but I read similar remarks by him in Wade's collection of Fischer's games a long time ago. Looking at the Fischer games you provided it's hard to see the idea behind the "Nine out of ten grandmasters..." except maybe youthful hubris.
Jun-21-12  Petrosianic: It's from Eliot Heart's August 1964 column in Chess Life, though he obviously reprinted it from somewhere else.
Jun-21-12  Petrosianic: This Bronstein-Rojahn game is brilliant, by the way. I think I was vaguely aware of it, but never really looked at it before.

The game appears in Chernev's "The Golden Dozen". In Fischer's maybe partial defense, Chernev writes that Rojahn had thought it was a blunder, so at least Fischer isn't the only one to have made that mistake.

The usual move in that position is 8. Qe2.

Jun-21-12  King Death: <Petrosianic> Here's another Bronstein game with 8.de, but it's Luis Marcos Bronstein not the GM playing White. http://www.365chess.com/view_game.p...

Raimundo Garcia tried the move I saw suggested as the refutation of 8. de with 9...Nd6 a long time ago but I didn't know that it was ever played until just now.

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