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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Petrosian Candidates Final (1971), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 8, Oct-23
Tarrasch Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D32)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: One doesn't see this Tarrasch set up so often at high level chess, these days. More common is the Slav and semi Slav. BF had no problems at all with a resulting isolated pawn. Petrosian avoided center exchanges, probably to find a better way to activate his dark square bishop.

He waited so long, Fischer strangled him.

Apr-20-10  Petrosianic: <Fischer smartly played the Tarrasch, an opening that Spassky used to put doubts - and losses - in Petrosian's head.>

This is a Semi-Tarrasch. Spassky had played the Tarrasch Proper in 1969.

Apr-20-10  The Famous Chess Cat: I feel Fischer got the idea to play the Semi-Tarrasch from Paul Morphy, whom he seemed to idolize. Morphy made it his sole weapon against 1.d4 from what I can tell.
Apr-21-10  Everett: <Petrosianic> Exactly. The reason why this is a Semi-Tarrasch is because of Petrosian's choice on move 5.

If Petrosian plays 5.cxd4 it transposes, so he had a choice, and he chose to avoid those same positions with which Spassky outplayed him in '69.

Apr-21-10  Petrosianic: Had he played 5. cxd4, I don't think Fischer would have played exd4, resulting in a true Tarrasch. He'd probably have played Nxd5. The difference between the Tarrasch and the Semi-Tarrasch is that in the Semi, Black doesn't have to deal with an isolated Queen Pawn.

Petrosian got some good games against the Tarrasch in 1969, and probably blew at least one game, but in the end, didn't score any wins against it. However, he was on the BLACK side of a Semi-Tarrasch in the same match:

Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

Probably everyone knows the Semi-Tarrasch Fischer played in 1972, with his 8...Nc6 line:

Spassky vs Fischer, 1972

Less well known is that Petrosian and Korchnoi discussed the line in their 1977 match. Korchnoi played Fischer's line again, and equalized fast:

Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977

But he only played it once, probably fearful of an innovation. When he went back to the old line, Petrosian beat it:

Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1977

(Petrosian and Korchnoi are probably the only two Top GM's who have checkmated each other in classical games)

But Petrosian usually avoided the cxd4 lines against the Semi-Tarrasch, preferring to keep the center tension longer as in games like this one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Beautiful game; interesting that, with his opening choice, Fischer was perhaps intending on giving Petrosian an IQP - yet, as the game progressed, it was black's IQP that decided the result!


Sep-08-13  Chessman1504: After a cursory analysis, it is amazing to see how Fischer demolishes (if I'm allowed to say that about a former world champion) the great defensive genius Tigran Petrosian in such startlingly simple fashion. I see a similarity with Capablanca's games, because of the apparently simple ideas Fischer uses to realize the smallest of advantages. He makes it look like I could of defeated Tigran Petrosian; that is genius. By the way, I have the utmost respect for Petrosian. Given his approach, I like him almost as much as Capablanca :) I, however, must give Fischer his dues for defeating Petrosian in such fashion.
Sep-08-13  Chessman1504: Initially, I wondered about 23...Qxb3, but this runs into a skewer along the b-file.
Sep-08-13  Chessman1504: I guess on 37.Rxa7, there follows 37...Re2 38.Rxe2 dxe2, with the pawn promotion to follow
Sep-08-13  Chessman1504: On 39.Qd8+ Kh7 40.Ra8, there follows 40...Rh1+! 41. Kxh1 (41. Kg2 Qe4+, with mate to follow after the pawn promotion)42.e1=Q+, with mate to follow.
Sep-08-13  Chessman1504: These sorts of games have a beauty of their own. They aren't as exciting as one of Tal's brilliancies, but they are one of a kind.
Sep-08-13  Chessman1504: This is also reminiscent of Capablanca because it is a fairly rare instance of Fischer using the Queen's Gambit Declined.
Jan-10-14  SeanAzarin: This is the game the broke Petrosian's spirit. He didn't really put up a fight in game 9.
Jul-11-15  PJs Studio: Petrosian resigned at the right time. One very simple variation:

41.Qe1 Qf3+ 42. Kg1 Re3 43. Qf1 Qg3+ 44. Rg2 Qxe5 45. Rd2 Re1 46. Kg2 Rxf1 47. Kxf1 Qe3 48. Rc2 Qd3+ 49. Re2 Qxh3+ 50. Ke1 Qxg4 51. Rd2 Qg1+ 52. Ke2 Qg2+ 53. Kd1 Qxd2+ 54. Kxd2

...and I'm sure there is even better for black.

Jul-11-15  Howard: Fischer did miss a stronger move around roughly the 35th move, according to Fischer: His Approach to Chess. Don't recall what it was, but then the author points out that it didn't really matter at that point in the game.
Jan-12-16  Ulhumbrus: 23...Rxc3 develops the rook further with tempo on the c file following which the rook is able to develop further along the 3rd rank with tempo by 25...Re3
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sargon: The game currently shows as having 40 moves. However, a correction slip was submitted which said that databases such as Chessbites show the game score as having 39 moves, while the book "Move by Move - Fischer" by Everyman Chess shows 42 moves. Could someone check a book such as "The final candidates match, Buenos Aires, 1971: Fischer vs. Petrosian" by Reuben Fine in order to confirm the game score?
Apr-14-16  zanzibar: <Sargon> FWIW - both <ChessBase> and <NIC> have the game ending after Black's 40th move.

The game certainly would be in a CL&R of the time.

Apr-14-16  zanzibar: BTW- are we sure the dates on these games are correct?
Apr-14-16  TheFocus: <zanzibar> <BTW- are we sure the dates on these games are correct?>

I'm sure, unless my Bobby books are wrong.

Apr-14-16  zanzibar: <TheFocus> that's good... I asked after I saw a 2nd online site say the match started on 9/30.

But you know the internet, can't trust it as far as ya can throw it.

Apr-15-16  TheFocus: <Never trust anything you read on the Internet> - Abraham Lincoln.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: lol Lol

<Zanzibar> and <The Focus> ... lol lol lol lol

Jul-29-18  Ulhumbrus: The move 18 f4 instead of 18 Rad1 suggests poor playing form.

According to Korchnoi Petrosian did not like to play every day and was unable to play every day, whereas Fischer had the ability to keep his opponent engaged in a constant battle. Petrosian was exhausted by having to play every day and lost the last four games in a row.

So why did Petrosian agree to play the match on these terms? One example of an explanation is that the Soviet government did not give him a choice, and ordered him to play the match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

<Petrosian's last chance> by Daniel King


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