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Viktor Korchnoi vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Alekhine Memorial (1975), Moscow URS, rd 11, Oct-??
Catalan Opening: Closed. Botvinnik Variation (E07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-25-05  senbay: What a game!
Its strange that no boday has made comment about this great game.

It seems that Petrosian should have played 27...g6 instead of Ng6 in order to prevent f5 which allows the Night to go to e6 via f5.

Also, Petrosian could have played 69...Ng7, preventing the mate at h8. Instead he played the Nd3+ giving up his knight i guess for a pawn.

Dec-25-05  aw1988: Ng7 Qh2 wins.
Dec-29-05  Jim Bartle: Dynamic play by both players from move 51 to move 67. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <senbay>
<It seems that Petrosian should have played 27...g6 instead of Ng6 in order to prevent f5 which allows the Night to go to e6 via f5.>

But that would allow the knight to go to f6 via g4.

Jun-02-07  outsider: senbay> 69...KNIGHT G7 is a suicide as 70. Qh2 follows, then after Nh5 we get gh5gh5, rooh takes on h5, the white get the knight for free and the ultimate choice of losing the king or the queen is imminent.
Jan-08-11  Salaskan: An absolutely splendid game, after Korchnoi has secured an advantage out of the opening-middlegame by carefully building up and preventing black from opening any files advantageously, Petrosian achieves a very good defensive setup (with his usual positional exchange sacrifice) by restricting the white bishop.

<Jim Bartle> The play in this phase is actually extremely interesting since the maneouvers have many subtle points; the black queen has to guard against Rc8+ and Rf3-Qxf7 while not allowing white to play Bxg6 hxg6 Rh3 Ng7 Qh2 Kf8 Rh8+ winning the queen, and Petrosian displays tremendous defensive technique in this.

Korchnoi's brilliant maneouvering would culminate in <zugzwang> after 67...Qf8 68.Bc2!! because the queen can't move since then she has no access to g7 after Bxg6 hxg6 Rh3, and 68...Qe8 69.Bxg6 fxg6 70.Re3 is also game over. Unbelievably, any other white 68th move doesn't do the trick because the rook has to stay on c3 to prevent Qc8 (protecting e6) and to be able to move to the h-file, and if the king moves to a1 or a3 then the aforementioned sequence with 70.Re3 fails after Nc2+. 68...Nxc2 will obviously lose eventually because the rook can now penetrate to c6.

Iron Tigran had probably foreseen this all and played 67...Qd8 instead, allowing the immediate sacrifice and losing, but it's too bad he didn't play Qf8 and let Korchnoi play the zugzwang move.

Why has this never been GOTD, or a weekend puzzle on the position after 67...Qf8?

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: sidelights of this game..

11th Round Korchnoi-Petrosian Alekhine Memorial Tournament Moscow 1975:

A few years after the game, Yakov Murey wrote to Viktor Korchnoi, "The game was won by three of us --- by me in the opening, by you in the middlegame, and by Spassky in the endgame."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In his book, "My Best Games - Vol. 1", Korchnoi gives credit to to Yakov Murey for showing him the move 7.Qd3.

Korchnoi states, <"This rather strange move was shown to me before the game by Yakov Murey">. Korchnoi indicated that Murey, with a little help by Korchnoi, for playing the move, deserves credit for establishing the move 7.Qd3 in modern grandmaster play.

In reviewing his database, Korchnoi found that the move had been employed earlier, in the game: Koblents vs Bogoljubov, 1939.

Korchnoi stated that Petrosian would always treat innovations with respect. <"He never tried to refute them at the board, but looked in the first instance for the safest continuation">. Korchnoi said it was later established that by continuing: 10...dxc4 11.bxc4 e5 12.dxe5 Ng4, Black would be able to equalise.

Oct-26-15  Howard: This was Iron Tigran's only loss in the tournament, so it probably gave Korchnoi particularly great satisfaction in inflicting it.

Incidentally, Korchnoi went on to score 3.5/4 in his remaining four games. Might this memorable win have fired him up somehow ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <wordfunph: ...A few years after the game, Yakov Murey wrote to Viktor Korchnoi, "The game was won by three of us --- by me in the opening, by you in the middlegame, and by Spassky in the endgame.">

Any idea why Spassky is mentioned?

Sep-09-17  Howard: I'm almost positive that "Spassky" is a typo---I've read that quote before and if Spassky had really been mentioned, I'd probably be puzzled, too.
Jan-15-18  Granny O Doul: In reply to offramp--reportedly (reported by perfidious in the comments to Kasparov vs Petrosian, 1983 ), Spassky helped Korchnoi analyze the adjourned position. I don't know his source, but I don't imagine he just made it up.
Jan-15-18  Olavi: Korchnoi mentions Spassky's help in Chess is my life, and <"The game was won by three of us --- by me in the opening, by you in the middlegame, and by Spassky in the endgame."> is from My best games.
May-08-19  syracrophy: After 67.♕e5!:

click for larger view

A clear zugzwang on an already lost position. Though 67...♕d8 allowed the neat 68.♗xg6 there was no much to offer a further resistance: 67...♔f8 runs into 68.♖c8! (68...♕xc8 69.♕h8+ +-; 68...♘d8 69.♕d6+ +-); 67...♕d7 68.♕b8+ and 69.♖c8 are decisive.

May-09-19  woldsmandriffield: If 67..Qf8 then 68 Rh3 poses a real problem for Black because of the threat Bxg6. 68..Qg7 loses the b6 pawn to 69 Qb8+ while the ugly 68..Ng7 is refuted by 69 Qh2.
May-09-19  cunctatorg: Another amazing glorification of chess, including harsh maneuvering against weaknesses, which not only Nimzowitsch would admire.
May-10-19  Granny O Doul: Petrosian went Alekhine one better--to beat him you had to beat him three times, with three different players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Odd that this highly interesting game between great players seems so little known.
May-10-19  AlicesKnight: There is a crosstable for this tournament compiled by <suenteus po 147> [thanks for this] and found at Game Collection: Moscow 1975 - the line for Petrosian, given as fifteen draws, is not correct - he seems to have beaten Byrne, Carcia-Martinez, Stean and Bohm, apart from the loss to Korchnoi.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <woldsmandriffield> If 67..♕f8 then 68 ♖h3 poses a real problem for Black because of the threat ♗xg6

<woldsmandriffield> 68....♕c6 holds for Black, ie 69. ♗xg6 fxg6 and the Queen defends the knight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: what a fascinating game of maneuver, here.
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