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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Viktor Korchnoi
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 23, Jun-16
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation (A31)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <bernieno> hear hear. Why on earth would the soviets care if Geller, Petrosian and Keres had to play out a three way match anyway? They didn't stop Bronstein and Boleslavsky from doing it in 1950.

Also, note that this game was played in round 23 of a 28 round tournament. If the Soviets wanted to avoid a three-way tie, they certainly chose an odd game to fix.

Petrosian drew all his remaining games, while in round Keres 27 lost to Benko (for the only time in his life, against 10 wins and six draws!). Petrosian won the tournament by a half point. Any decent conspiracy theory, therefore, should start with Benko-Keres, not Petrosian-Korchnoi.

The more serious point is that people are not being skeptical enough about these conspiracy theories, either about this tournament or the 1948 Match-Tournament or the 1953 Candidates, etc. It's not enough to take the word of a disgrunted defector. It's not enough to say that the Soviets wanted to keep "their" world championship (though they certainly did). You've got to look at the specific allegation and see if it makes any sense at all. Korchnoi's accusation here doesn't.

Feb-13-05  euripides: <keyp, bernie, MUG> I don't think Korchnoi made any such accusation in this case - the sources mentioned don't appear to exist, and there are other signs that the posts were a hoax.
Feb-13-05  MUG: <euripides> Mike Fox and Richard James make reference to the Maroczy - Korchnoi 'game' in their 1993 book The Even More Complete Chess Addict (they even give the moves - Korchnoi played the French Drfence!). Apparently Korch got the moves through a Swiss medium named Robert Rollans.

But it's true, Mike and Richard don't state their sources - so it's possible it could all be bull!!

Feb-13-05  euripides: MUG> Sorry, I meant that <Ted>'s claim about the game with Petrosian was a hoax, not that the the game with Maroczy is. I have read an interview with Korchnoi where he talks about the game with Maroczy, saing he wants to be buried with a chessboard beause Maroczy found himself on the other side without one. So I think that story is true, though I don't know how seriously Korchnoi takes it.
Feb-13-05  MUG: <euripides> Oops, sorry I misunderstood. But I agree, both stories seem pretty ridiculous!
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: according to one of the very odd posts about this game geller worked it out in advance from old analysis-since geller was fighting for the lead at this stage of the event why on earth wd he want to help one of his main rivals gain a bloodless victory? it makes no sense at all.i was korchois second in matches v polugaievsky spassky and karpov-over the two years i worked closely with him he never ever mentioned having been forced to throw this game.
Feb-13-05  euripides: <ray> thanks, I was wondering if you might have heard anything.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ray keene> can you shed any light on the identity of T. Hemingway? He has three games in the database but they are all (as <Gypsy> noticed) quite amazing. One is a victory over Jonathan Speelman, although Speelman must have been very young at the time (1972).
May-19-05  woodenbishop: Korchnoi and Petrosian were enemies. I quote...

If many had little affection for slow, cautious Petrosian, one man, flamboyant Korchnoi, had a positive hatred. Korchnoi's autobiography CHESS IS MY LIFE (somewhat confusingly Karpov's autobiography has the same title) outlines the background. Korchnoi's complaint is table shaking. Korchnoi says that when he was considering his move during their 1974 Candidates match, Petrosian would cause the tablt to shake. When Korchnoi asked him to stop Petorsian objected to the controller that Korchnoi was upsetting him by talking.

-Ken Whyld

From his book CHESS RECORDS published by Guinness Superlatives Ltd. 1986

Jul-31-05  Helios727: <Ray Keene> Did he ever mention being ordered to throw any other games?
Jul-31-05  Perkins: Maybe Korchnoi just played one of his stragne Alekhinesque openings, got caught too far behind in development and got reamed.

It happens.

Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

Kortschnoi was a bit tired in this game - this was the 23rd round.

Aug-23-06  notyetagm: This is how you use your knights, centralizing them deep within enemy territory.

Position after 18 ♘e6!:

click for larger view

Jul-10-07  sanyas: Yes, clearly the best opening move is 1.♘e6!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: 7...Qa5 with 9...Bb4 didn't work.

<7...Bg7 8.Bxc4 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7> looks more pleasing for black.

click for larger view

Jun-26-08  Ulhumbrus: 20 Nd4 comes with tempo, as it threatens the fork Nc6+
Feb-27-09  Riverbeast: Timman said on page 26 in his Curacao 1962 book that this game was a fix.

The exact quote is "A Russian former World Champion once told me that Korchnoi had been told to lose his game as black against Petrosian in Round 23"

Mar-06-09  Absentee: <Riverbeast: Timman said on page 26 in his Curacao 1962 book that this game was a fix.

The exact quote is "A Russian former World Champion once told me that Korchnoi had been told to lose his game as black against Petrosian in Round 23">

It wouldn't be surprising. It's a very un-petrosian like game.

Jun-24-09  Lt.Surena: Riverbeast: and Absentee:
For those who write or believe in this kind of trash, I suggest to stop riding the metro bus aimlessly like Bobby (with a worn out copy of 'I want to play/be like Bobby'). LMAO !!

You also can not cry anti-commie or anti-jew slogans all day long. LMAO !!

P.S. GM Keene denied hearing any of the nonsense you mention here in this web site. He was Victor's 2nd after defection.

Aug-15-10  Ulhumbrus: White develops rapidly innthe opening whilst Black neglects his own development. Following this White begins an attack by offering the pawn sacrifice 13 b4! This brings to mind the famous game Capablanca vs O Bernstein, 1914
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Riverbeast: Timman said on page 26 in his Curacao 1962 book that this game was a fix.

The exact quote is "A Russian former World Champion once told me that Korchnoi had been told to lose his game as black against Petrosian in Round 23">

i believe this is true..

Dec-31-10  Lt.Surena: What a crushing defeat ! Twice World Champion, Six times Soviet Champion (You can easily call them World Championships also).

Haters can reach out to Osama like the sore loser Bobby (*after losing freaking 7 games in Curacao)!

Aug-08-12  RookFile: It works out better for black if he castles before mixing it up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Obviously, I have no idea if this game was fixed or not. It doesn't make much sense for the Soviets to throw a game to Petrosian when, at this stage, the tournament could only have been won by a Soviet player, and even less sense for Geller to 'work out' the analysis and help one of his main rivals in the tournament. On the other hand, the Soviet commissar-types didn't always act particularly rationally; and sometimes, when they got bored (as they might have late in a long tournament), seemed to engineer results just for lack of anything better to do. At this point in the tournament, it looked like Keres might win, which would have been a less-than-desirable outcome. With the withdrawal of Tal, Korchnoi would have been one of the only players whom the Soviets were able to 'touch.' It's possible to imagine some party type coming up with the idea that Petrosian should get every possible advantage in the last cycle while Keres would face every possible obstacle. It's even possible to imagine Geller graciously offering to help Petrosian, while hurting his own tournament standing, for a 'higher purpose.' It's harder to imagine ornery Korchnoi going along with any of it.

Based on the game itself, Korchnoi's mistakes at least seem to have a certain 'logic' behind them -- i.e. they're mistakes that a rational player, trying to win a game, might make. The whole line is something Korchnoi would have felt very comfortable with -- he'd used it to beat Smyslov in his first 'grandmaster win' in 1952 and he'd won a messy game with it against Simagin in 1956. 7....Qa5 looks patzerish, but that turned out to be a useful idea in both of the earlier games, and Korchnoi could have justifiably felt that it made sense to play it earlier. In the earlier games, Korchnoi had developed his bishop to g7, but it makes sense to instead develop the bishop to b4 once white had forced the e-pawn to move. 10....a6 (instead of 10...0-0) is the first eyebrow-raising move, since black's fallen dangerously behind in development and Ndb5 isn't much of a threat. On the other hand, it's part of Korchnoi's style to try to 'sneak in' these sorts of useful positional moves. 12....Bxc3 is almost certainly better than 12....Be7 (black can't afford to waste a tempo; and has to get rid of a dangerous knight), but I suppose the ....Bb4-Be7 Nimzo-Indian was in style in the tournament so it's not totally unreasonable for Korchnoi to try and play this way. 13....Qe5 at least feels like an honest mistake: Korchnoi wanted to keep his queen centralized (not least because he would have remembered Simagin Ne6! sacrifice and having the queen on e5 seems to create some defensive counter-chances), and could have easily missed the fact that after 14.f4 Qxe3+ 15.Kh1 the queen will be lost to 15.Rf3. 18....b5 seems like the game's only truly suspicious move; why play this way if he's just going to resign after a knight check on c7 and Nxa8? 18....Ra7 at least temporarily keeps black in the game.

It's very hard to know what's really going on with these Soviet fixed games. Korchnoi definitely played a sub-standard game: 10....a6?! 11.....Nd7?! 12.....Be7?! 13....Qe5?! 18....b5?! but all those moves are sort of in his style. Most likely, there were a lot of countervailing schemes at this stage in the tournament; and, after the fact, Korchnoi (much like Bronstein reflecting on his 1951 match) decided that he'd been pressured to lose. Probably the more accurate way to phrase it is that he was induced to psych himself out.

Oct-25-16  Petrosianic: <Absentee>: <It wouldn't be surprising. It's a very un-petrosian like game.>

It seems that way at first glance. 15. Bxf7+ would be very un-Petrosianlike if the move were speculative. If you look at it closely enough to see that it wasn't speculative and that the combinations are calculable from Move 15, then it becomes a very Petrosian-like game. It's also a very Korchnoi-like game, in keeping with his style of egging his opponent to attack too rashly and then counter-punch. This is the kind of thing that happened when the approach backfired.

In the absence of any evidence for the idea and strong evidence against it, I'd have to conclude that the game was as legit as any of Fischer's wins, and suggestions to the contrary to be just more of the bad sportsmanship surrounding Curacao.

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