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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Robert James Fischer
USSR vs. Rest of the World (1970), Belgrade SRB, rd 2, Mar-31
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Two Knights Line (A37)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-04-08  ahmadov: 19...Bxa4 20.Rxb7 Qxb7 21.Bxb7 Bxc2 22.Bxc8 Rxc8 23.Rxc2 e5... The position is still equal with Black having an edge


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Jan-04-08  D4n: Normally there isn't a whole lot to do with a knight in the endgame, but in this case it isn't too bad...
Jul-18-08  notyetagm: Position after 52 ... ♘g4-f6


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Damn, the bishop is supposed to be stronger than the knight in the ending on an open board with pawns on both sides of the board.

Here Fischer's knight simply leaps all over the board to dispatch Petrosian with ease.

Fischer's endgame technique was just stupendous. According to the Soltis book, Fischer was that rare player who was equally good at gaining the advantage -AND- converting the advantage into a win. Those are two distinctly different skills but Fischer was equally strong at them, unlike the vast majority of players.

Jul-18-08  tomfoolery: I assume that this being 1970 this wasn't a rapid match?
Jul-18-08  notyetagm: <tomfoolery: I assume that this being 1970 this wasn't a rapid match?>

Correct. These were 4-game classical matches in a team competiton.

Fischer played Petrosian on Board 2. Board 1 was World Champion Spassky versus Larsen, in which Spassky won the -INCREDIBLE- game Larsen vs Spassky, 1970 with the otherwordly 14 ... ♖h8-h1!!.

Position after 14 ... ♖h8-h1!!


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Jan-01-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <ahmadov: Petrosian thought 14.c5 was a bad move, but if one goes through the moves on a computer then 22.Qb3 would seem even worse, maybe the move that gave up all drawing chances...>

Position after 21...Bd4:


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22.Qb3 was a move that gave up a pawn, though analysis have revealed several drawing opportunities for Petrosian later on (as pointed out in the kibitzing to this page). At this stage of the game, engine analysis suggests that White is still fine after 22.Nc4! Nxc5 23.Nde5, and now Black doesn't seem to have anything better than 23...Ba4: 23...Qb7 24.Nf3 followed by 25.Nd6 if the bishop retreats; 23...Qe8 24.Nd6; 23...Bxe5 24.Nxe5 Qe8 25.Bh6 or 25.Qb2 with ideas of Bh6 and Ng4 (24...Qb7 25.Bh6 Rfd/e8 26.Ng4 is even worse for Black.)

So - after 22.Nc4 Nxc5 23.Nde5 Ba4, White can choose between gaining back the pawn and simplifying by 24.Nxd7 Bxc2 25.Nxf8 Bxb1 26.Nxe6 fxe6 27.Rxb1; or the more ambitious 24.Qa2, with strong initiative - e.g., 24...Qe7 25.e3 Bxe5 26.Nxe5.

Also, Black doesn't seem to have better options in this line than 22...Nxc5 - for example, 22...a6 (to support b5) 23.Bxd5 followed by 24.Nb6; or 22...f6 23.Qb3 Ba6/c6 24.Qa3 (23...Bxc4 24.Rxc4 Nxc5 25.Qd1 Nb6 26.Rxd4! Qxd4 27.Be3 Qd6 28.Nxc5 winning back a whole piece). So perhaps it's more accurate to say that 22.Qb3 is the move that gave up all winning chances...

Jan-01-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <D4n: Normally there isn't a whole lot to do with a knight in the endgame, but in this case it isn't too bad...>

<notyetagm: Damn, the bishop is supposed to be stronger than the knight in the ending on an open board with pawns on both sides of the board. Here Fischer's knight simply leaps all over the board to dispatch Petrosian with ease.>

Yeah, Fischer himself demonstrated brilliantly several times the superiority of bishop over knight in endgames (Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971, for example, is textbook), but this game shows that he knew how to play it the other way around as well.

Oct-29-09  ewan14: Boris did beat Bent Larsen spectacularly in one game but overall Larsen drew with Spassky and beat L. Stein

This showed how powerful Larsen was at this time !

Oct-29-09  Petrosianic: True, although Spassky's loss to Larsen was an UGLY turkey. (shudder) I won't even link to it, it would give you nightmares. And one day after that brilliant 17 move win that gets reprinted so often.
Oct-29-09  AnalyzeThis: Just in time for Thanksgiving?
Jan-14-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Beautiful middlegame piece coordination from Fischer.
Jan-14-10  Peter Nemenyi: <Yeah, Fischer himself demonstrated brilliantly several times the superiority of bishop over knight in endgames (Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971, for example, is textbook), but this game shows that he knew how to play it the other way around as well.>

Fischer also ground out a win with knight versus bishop to complete his clean sweep in the 1963-4 US Championship: Saidy vs Fischer, 1964. In this game too he was Black in an English.

Jan-14-10  AnalyzeThis: In Fischer's 1992 match with Spassky, he took the knights more than at any point in his career.
Feb-11-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I could look at Fischer's games all day. By move 23, he has completed the long process of winning white's isolated c pawn, without allowing any counterplay. Very instructive how BF avoids exchanges, and with piece play further surrounds the weak pawn. That, and some fancy endgame moves win.
Jul-01-12  Howard: The book Fischer: His Approach to
Chess (by Agur) gives some interesting analysis to a position that took place around the 20th move in this game.

Suffice to add that no one could believe at the time that anybody--even Fischer--could beat Petrosian twice in a row ! Petrosian rarely lost a game back in those days. That someone could beat him in two consecutive games was unbelievable.

Jul-01-12  RookFile: That was certainly the impression of Petrosian at his peak strength.
Jul-01-12  Lt.Surena: RookFile:Certainly there is no excuse for losing twice in a row to Bobby. But by 1970 Petrosian had won the World Championship twice in a row. Something that Bobby would never phantom in his life time. Capablanca, Tal, Euwe, Spassky, Smyslov were not good enough to win back to back championships either. So don't feel bad. Later on Bobby retired to a cheap motel in Pasadena while Petrosian went on to play three times as many games and and take on all new comers. *Read Kasparov's impression of Tigran !!

Now, why didn't Bobby play Kasparov in 1992 instead of Boris? Answer: Bobby was a coward.

Jul-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Suffice to add that no one could believe at the time that anybody--even Fischer--could beat Petrosian twice in a row !>

Spassky had done it in the world championship match the year before.

Jul-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <Lt.Surena> You've got the greatest chess player of all time nailed. lol

Petrosian's games and Petrosian's charisma have carried chess. End of.

Jul-02-12  kingfu: Another good Fischer-Petrosian game is 175 on the Fischer page. It starts out as a nice quit Caro-Kann, then there are 4! Queens on the board. Then it ends up being a draw. Great stuff.
May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  4tmac: 55. Bc4 Nc5 56. f5 Ke7 57. fxg6 hxg6 58. g4 Kf6 59. Kd2 Nxe4+ 60. Kc2 Kg7 61. Be6 Kh6 62. Bc4 Nf2 63. Be2 e4
Aug-31-17  Petrosianic: <notyetagm>: <Damn, the bishop is supposed to be stronger than the knight in the ending on an open board with pawns on both sides of the board.>

That's just it. White doesn't HAVE pawns on both sides of the board. Even if he did, there are a lot of other factors to consider.

You can't take general rules as gospel. They apply to average situations, but not all. Say that White's f pawn were a b pawn (move white's a pawn back a couple of squares. Who's better? Well, a lot of that would depend on where Black's a pawn were fixed. On a white square, he's in trouble. On a black square, not as bad. And so on.

I'm dubious of any engine analysis showing White as okay after move 20 or so. Engines simply don't look far enough ahead to know. Black's a clear pawn up and White is looking uphill, especially after 28. Bg5 gives up White's only advantage (the two Bishops).

To the guy who suggested that Fischer missed 49. Rxf7+. No way. He was simply giving up a pawn to trade into a winning Minor Piece ending (and White had no choice but to do it). With the Rooks off, the position is a win. With the Minors off, it would be a draw. With both on, it may be a win, but not nearly as easy as with the Rooks off.

Aug-31-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Sneaky....And so I am left wondering: did Fischer overlook 49. Rxf7+, or did he realize that he would win the resulting ending anyhow?>

In Levy's <How Fischer Plays Chess>, this game is annotated by Petrosian himself, who notes that after 51....a3 (paraphrasing): 'It is a simple win for Black' and continues on in this vein--I believe without comment for the remainder of the game.

Aug-31-17  Petrosianic: <this game is annotated by Petrosian himself, who notes that after 51....a3 (paraphrasing): 'It is a simple win for Black'>

He's right, it is. Because White can't break through on the Kingside with K+4 vs. K+3. It's a slight advantage, but not enough (the Bishop can't even assist). Meanwhile, there's no way of stopping Black from parking his Knight on b4 or c3 and getting in a2. That's why Fischer was happy to give up the f pawn by allowing Rxf7+. If the eval doesn't show that, then don't believe the eval.

Sep-01-17  Petrosianic: Probably had this been a tournament game, White would have resigned much earlier. But in team events, there's a tendency to avoid putting points for the other team on the board for as long as possible, to avoid demoralizing your team mates.
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