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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Viktor Kupreichik
USSR Championship (1976), Moscow URS, rd 14, Dec-17
Slav Defense: Exchange Variation (D10)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-11-06  notyetagm: 23 ♗f5+!! is a brilliant move. Figure out why.
Dec-11-06  suenteus po 147: <notyetagm> Because of the double attack on the pinned piece. Observe: 23...Kg8 24.Rch4 g6 [24...f6 loses to 25.Bg6 and 24...Bxf5 loses to 25.Rh8#, obviously] 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.R1h7+ Kf6 27.Rxf8 and now no matter what black does he loses another piece, either the bishop or the rook. If the black bishop takes the white bishop then the black rook falls, and any other capture of the white bishop sees 28.Rhh8 and the bishop falls with a winning endgame for black.
Dec-17-06  notyetagm: <suenteus po 147> Not quite the answer I was looking for.

Consider the following position, which would have occurred in this game if Petrosian had played 22 ♖ch4.

(VARIATION) Position after 22 ♖ch4:


click for larger view

White threatens 23 ♖h8#. The -only- defensive move for Black in this position is 22 ... f7-f5, making luft for the Black g8-king while blocking the White light-squared bishop from the newly weakened g6-square.

Petrosian (White) was the great master of <PROPHYLAXIS>, preventing his opponent from doing what he wanted to do. Here, clearly, if Petrosian can find a way to double his rooks on the h-file <while preventing Black from playing the only move ... f7-f5>, Black can resign.

Now back to the game position with White (Petrosian) to make his 22nd move:


click for larger view

<HINT> How can Petrosian accomplish his -twin- goals of doubling his rooks on the h-file while denying Black the opportunity to play the only move ... f7-f5? </HINT>

Dec-17-06  suenteus po 147: <notyetagm: <HINT> How can Petrosian accomplish his -twin- goals of doubling his rooks on the h-file while denying Black the opportunity to play the only move ... f7-f5? </HINT>> By playing 22.Bh7+ and 23. Bf5+ as he did in the game, I imagine. I'm sorry, but I don't get what you're trying to say.
Dec-17-06  notyetagm: <suenteus po 147> My point is that 23 ♗f5+!! allows White to create a position in which Black's only defensive idea, ... f7-f5, has been eliminated since the White f5-bishop blockades this square.

23 ♗f5+!! can be looked at both -tactically- (your first answer) and -prophylactically-. I like the prophylactic explanation better because it shows you the proper chess thinking process: <how can I execute my threat while at the same time stopping my opponent from preventing it?>

Michael Stean in "Simple Chess" says that if there is a single strongest move in the position, then it's strength can often be determined by more than one way of thinking. That is the case here with 23 ♗f5+!!.

Dec-17-06  suenteus po 147: <notyetagm> I see. So the hint is not really a hint, since the "answer" already precedes it. I get it now.
Dec-17-06  notyetagm: <suenteus po 147> Yes. :-)

I learned a lot from this position: the importance not just of making threats but also of anticipating how your opponent intends to meet these threats. If you can find a way to execute your threat while neutralizing all of your opponent's defensive tries, then you win on the spot.

Dec-17-06  suenteus po 147: <notyetagm> This is why I spent over a year studying Petrosian's games. He is the greatest prophylactic player to succeed Nimzovich. I just wish all that study had impacted my playing style.
Aug-16-07  patzerboy: Great discussion. Thanks, guys!

Ditto, suenteus, on your last sentence, for myself.

Aug-16-07  ahmadov: <suenteus po 147><I just wish all that study had impacted my playing style.> Do you think this study does? Sometimes I think it is useless to learn the games of great players to later use them in one's game against players rated below 2000...
Aug-25-16  clement41: Very instructive thought process kibitzed above, thanks guys!

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