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Viktor Korchnoi vs Tigran V Petrosian
Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal (1980), Velden AUT, rd 5, Mar-16
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack. Fianchetto Defense (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Wow, a virgin page, and between two of the greats, in a decisive Candidates match. VK sets up a lethal pin on the e file. Check out moves 39-42. How to win Petrosian's Queen.
May-13-11  notmtwain: Game was discussed on ICC this morning during current candidates match coverage. Yasser Seirawan was Korchnoi's assistant and helped with adjourned analysis. He reportedly came up with the 45 g4 move at adjournment, which presumably would have been at move 40 or 41. Petrosian's passed and protected c3 pawn would have been compensation for the loss of his queen for rook and knight on moves 41 and 42.
Nov-03-11  Ulhumbrus: 46 Bb5 attacks the N on d7 which defends the bishop on f6. The bishop on f6 is also pinned because of it moves the bishop on e8 is overworked. If it has to defend the knight on d7 it cannot then defend the f7 pawn as well. On eg 46...Bg5 47 Bxd7 Bxd7 the bishop which defends the f7 pawn is been displaced and White can play 48 Qxf7+ Kh8 49 Qxd7
Apr-06-15  Howard: British Chess Magazine said that 34...Bh4 would have been better, and that Petrosian probably had a won position up until that point.
Apr-11-15  Howard: Also, 45...Rc8 was the decisive mistake according to both BCM and also the Informant.
May-02-15  Howard: Any comments on 34...Bh4 ?

In other words, I don't have a computer (yet).

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Howard: Any comments on 34...Bh4 ?

In other words, I don't have a computer (yet).>

How are you accessing the internet? Smart phone? You can run a chess engine on those too.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: In this game TVP's beloved strategy of sacrificing the exchange does not lead to victory due to later tactical mistakes.
May-03-15  Howard: I do it at the public library (where I am right now), or at the University of Toledo library.
May-03-15  Howard: So, did Petrosian have a won position at around the 34th move.

For the record, I've always been interested in this particular match. It was the fourth Candidates match in a row for these two...and the last.

May-12-15  Howard: Still wondering about 34...Bh4.

Thanks !

Jun-08-16  faulty: Sincerely, I don't see why black should be winning after 34...Bh4. The position is fairly open for the two white's rooks, and the black has lots of weaknesses to be attacked; especially vulnerable is f7. c3 is going nowhere, there will be no direct attack against the white king, either.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Howard,

34...Bh4 looks OK. Can see nothing concrete, it's still a game deciding which way to go.

All this 'what if' and 'perhaps better was....' means nothing unless we can see a 100% clear win.

I can safely say this without even bothering to check because no computer jockey has appeared to give us the benefit of 'their' analysis.

Best to look at what was played and try and fathom out the reason why.

What we do know (or can make a good educated guess at ) is that when Petrosian played 45...Rc8.

click for larger view

His gifted inborn sense of danger failed him. (or maybe it was his analysis team - see below.)

He was expecting 46.g4-g5 Bxg5 when although f7 falls with an eventual Queen check (after Bxf7 and Bxe8) the c-pawn promotes.

Look at the diagram again.

click for larger view

Imagine the f6 Bishop g5. The c-file open and a Black Queen on c1.

Black will be threatening here Qxf1+ Qxf1 and Rc1 winning back the Queen.

Now unless White has a mate after g5, Bxf7 and Bxe8 and Qf7+ (here we trust Petrosian and say he has not) then we can see what Petrosian was up to, what he was thinking and not rely on some computer garbage that won't even reveal to us, unless we nudge it (then what is the point) the move 45....Rc8 and it's refutation.

Good alert play by Korchnoi though reading above this shot may have been seen in adjournment analysis, which makes you wonder what Petrosian's team were looking at in their analysis. (very possibly ensuring that 46.g4-g5 did not mate Black and 45...Rc8 was a move.)

Oct-01-16  BwanaVa: See Yasser Seriawan's tribute article to Korchnoi in the current Chess Life to see the story about the sealed move and all the prep and discussion that wen into the move 45.g2-g4. A fascinating account.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: After the sealed 41.Nd6, GM Seirawan, in the October issue of <Chess Life>, calls 41...Bd6 (and the few subsequent moves) "forced." I kept wondering what happens if 41...f6. As it turns out, 42.Qc5 would be absolutely crushing because of the very unfortunate misplacement of black's queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Black was winning here until move 34. Then, he tosses 34...Bg5?!, which, while keeping some of Black's advantage, was sloppy. Simply 34...Qc7, Ne6, and g6, consolidating, cements Black's advantage. He is an exchange down, but has a protected passer on c3 and White's Na4 is stranded.

White's 35. Rd5 threatens to release the Na4, which is why 35...Ne6 was necessary. When Black doesn't, he tossed away all his advantage. Then, his losing move was 39...Bxe5?, opening lines for Korchnoi, whose pieces spring to life afterwards.

Mar-28-17  Howard: It looks more and more that Petrosian should have won this game, but I just can't see an absolute forced win.
Feb-14-20  Howard: Whoever posted the above Stockfish analysis of this game, thanks VERY much! This game had always been of interest to me, ever since I first played it over back in '85! The computer analysis definitely clears some things up for me.

Again, thank you very much !

Jan-16-21  wtpy: Petrosian wins this game against most people, but Korchnoi was such a fighter.
Jul-15-21  nummerzwei: Korchnoi could have played more actively with 13.a4 or 16.Bg3 (intending 17.f4 and 18.Bh4).

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