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Robert James Fischer vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
"Mad TV" (game of the day Jul-20-2015)
Fischer - Petrosian Candidates Final (1971), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 7, Oct-19
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <offramp: I read that after Fischer's 22.Nxd7!!!! that Najdorf ran onto the street screaming; Tal tried to set fire to the board with a blowtorch; Bronstein rang the Argentinean High Commission and recited a Kurt Schwitters poem, and Larsen sat in the corner of the room saying Da-da da-da da-da... This was ALSO the day of Hercules Test 350 in the Nevada desert. This was a neutron bomb, 15 times larger than Tsara Bomba, which was detonated at the exact moment that Fischer played 22...Nxd7!!!!!!!>

After Fischer's Nxd7!

...Morphy never played chess again.

Jul-21-15  Howard: A mystery for me regarding this game is exactly where was the point of no return for Petrosian ? In other words, when was the game lost for good ?

As impressive as 22.Nxd7 !! was, Petrosian reportedly still had small drawing chances even after that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Howard: A mystery for me regarding this game is exactly where was the point of no return for Petrosian ? In other words, when was the game lost for good ?>

12....Qd7. Fischer missed the refutation but retained a huge advantage.

I'm teasing, a little, and this game is a strategic masterpiece just like everyone says. But the opening was a disaster for Petrosian. Turning your question around, although many have suggested better moves for Black along the way, it's really hard to think of anything that clearly would have saved the game.

Jul-23-15  Chessman1504: This is a game that highlights Fischer's true strengths. It left an indelible impression on me, simply because it let me see how well-rounded Fischer really was. Petrosian was no slouch, so such a "straightforward" game must be the work of a chess genius.
Jul-23-15  RookFile: As I recall, some said that 29.....d4 was a mistake. Not hard to understand why Petrosian played it, he didn't want the king to go to d4. White's bishop became a real menace after 29....d4, though.
Jul-23-15  Chessman1504: Yes, the activity of the bishop proves decisive in short order.
Sep-06-15  rea: I was somewhat dumfounded to learn that the loser of this game is merely the first of 3 grandmasters to be named Tigran Petrosian . . .
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <rea>, sorry for the late response, but it doesn't surprise me. According to legend, Petrosian became such a great hero in Armenia after winning the world championship that a woman who gave birth to triplets named them Tigran, Vartan and Petros.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <rea: I was somewhat dumfounded to learn that the loser of this game is merely the first of 3 grandmasters to be named Tigran Petrosian...>

The loser of this game is the second-highest Elo rated Tigran Petrosian in history.

Dec-16-16  Howard: Uhhhhhh....who was the highest-rated? Or is that a dumb question?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Howard> at 2671 the highest-rated Tigran Petrosian is Tigran Levonovich Petrosian
Dec-16-16  Howard: Well...what if you adjust for something commonly referred to as "rating inflation" ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Howard>. That's a good idea. I shall look forward to your results.
Dec-16-16  RookFile: Regardless of what some rating says, not a doubt in the world who the strongest of the 3 was.
Jan-07-17  The Boomerang: Unbelievable postional masterclass from Fischer...the good knight versus bad bishop is a lesson for the ages and transcends chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Independently of how many GM's jumped into La Plata River after Fischer played 22.Nxd7, there are clear evident reasons why that would be a very strong move. In the position Fischer had achieved just before he made the exchange, he had two united pawns on the queen side against one, so he could force a passed pawn. Petrosian had a weak and central pawn, that becomes more and more a liability as pieces are exchanged. After the exchange Fischer has then what is roughly the equivalent of an extra passed pawn, and a bishop that has clear diagonals to both flanks. Not only that, he gets to place both his rooks on the open files. So Fischer's move follows the traditional understanding of chess endgames.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It seems to me that the best defense for black after the piece exchange of move 22 is to advance and attack with his d pawn. If he waits white will centralize his King and advance his queenside pawns and quickly slaughter black.
Jul-27-17  Toribio3: Controlling the seventh rank is the theme of the game!
Jul-27-17  sudoplatov: Looks a bit like Tarrasch crushing someone like Walbrodt or von Scheve. Sort of like: 1. get better Pawn Structure, 2. get Bishop vs Knight, 3. Go for Ending. 4. Mate
Sep-20-18  N.O.F. NAJDORF: It amazes me that Fischer's opponents very rarely made any effort to exchange a knight for his king's bishop and allowed him to use it with decisive effect.

Another example of an opponent playing ... d4 and providing Fischer's bishop with the c4 square is the sixth game of the 1972 World Championship match.

May-02-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: 'where was the point of no return for Petrosian ? In other words, when was the game lost for good ?'

I think Petrosian's two positional mistakes were on moves 6 and 10, because they left him with two isolated pawns and Fischer's overwhelming attack resulted from Black's inability to defend them.

Jul-12-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Other match games in which Fischer's king's bishop outplayed Black's knight:

Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971

Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971

Fischer vs Spassky, 1972

Jul-12-19  Petrosianic: <N.O.F. NAJDORF>: <I think Petrosian's two positional mistakes were on moves 6 and 10, because they left him with two isolated pawns and Fischer's overwhelming attack resulted from Black's inability to defend them.>

Well, the position after Move 6 (and also after Move 7, for that matter) was identical to this game, won by Petrosian.

Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

Fischer varied with 8. c4 (instead of 8. Nd2).

Maybe 10...exd5 is the mistake. Annotators have tried to explain it, but I still prefer Qxd5 or Nxd5.

Jul-12-19  RookFile: I think 1....c5 was the mistake. The Petrov would have been a good choice.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There was an annotator who would certainly have agreed: his acerbic comment on Petrosian's collapse at the end of his unsuccessful title defence in 1969 was that, if Petrosian had retained the nerve to bore his audiences by playing the Petroff, he might have retained his championship.
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