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Tigran V Petrosian vs Henrique Mecking
"Petrobras" (game of the day Jan-23-2012)
Hoogovens (1971), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 6, Jan-18
Torre Attack: Classical Defense (A46)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-23-12  newzild: As usual, a delight to observe Petrosian's mastery of a closed position.

<In what appears to be perfectly equal positions, Petrosian consistently finds seemingly innocuous moves that gradually overwhelm his opponent. He accomplishes his objective simply by exchanging pieces and manoeuvring for victory without taking unnecessary risks. This essentially defensive technique has the virtue, when it doesn't utterly succeed, of producing a draw.>

- Larry Evans, introduction to game 3 from My 60 Memorable Games, by Robert James Fischer.

Jan-23-12  newzild: As pointed out by <Phony Benoni>, 15. Qg4 is a very instructive move. After 16...g6, Black can no longer challenge White's centre with ...f6 because it would fatally weaken the g6 pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <whiteshark: And I thought Petro was male...>

And your point is?

Jan-23-12  chegado: As a Brazilian I was hoping that Mecking would have won. He was one of the greatest players here and even shortly before his mental breakdown, almost anyone could beat him. And yes, Petrobras is the 8ª biggest company in the world.

I think that if this game has any important thing to say is this: You can't win, especially against a World Champion, moving your Knight TEN TIMES IN A ROW and not going anywhere. Anyone can guess what was Mecking's plan with that?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <chegado: I think that if this game has any important thing to say is this: You can't win, especially against a World Champion, moving your Knight TEN TIMES IN A ROW and not going anywhere.>

However, it appears you can do it by moving a knight only eight times in a row:

Petrosian vs Bronstein, 1956

Seriously, my guess would be that Mecking simply couldn't think of anything else to do. He could move his rook or bishop, but that wouldn't help his position. So he just got into what seemed like his strongest defensive position and waited.

Jan-23-12  izimbra: It's interesting to check out a closed game like this to see where a modern engine sees a big positional advantage and where it doesn't.

Petrosian is able to implement a strong positional plan in the middle game after <28.Bg5> seeing that an exchange on f6 is going to force black to choose between bad king safety and bad position for his rook. After <28.Bg5 Qd8 29.Qf4 Rc8 30.Re3 Bxg5 31.hxg5 Ra8 32.Qf6+ Qxf6 33.exf6+ Kh7> the plan has been put in place:

click for larger view

Yet Houdini doesn't see any huge advantage for white here (only +0.24). It's not until after <45...Nd8> that the engine sees how to implement the positional crush.

click for larger view

Instead of Petrosian's move, it plays
<46.bxa5 bxa5> (+1.98 22/72)

click for larger view

<47.Rb1 Rc8 48.Ba6 Ra8 49.Bb5 Bxb5 50.axb5 Nb7 51.g4 h4> (+3.27 22/66)

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<52.Nc6 Nd8 53.f5 exf5 54.gxf5 gxf5 55. Nxd8 Rxd8 56.b4 h3 57.b7 Rh4+ 58.Ke5 Rb8 59.Kd6 Kh7 60.Kc7> 1-0

click for larger view

Jan-23-12  shakespeare: All these little moves by TP shuffling pieces around and improving a tiny little bit - if someone would play today against me like this, I would suspect a little electronic helper. But waiting for a draw against TG in a position like this is definitely not enough - but on the other hand - if HM would have seen a chance for active counterplay, he would have taken it for sure. As far as I can see: 4.... Qb6 was maybe Meckings only good chance to equalize and get into the game - after this point the grip of the Iron Tiger was incredibly strong and precice
Jan-23-12  Garech: A beautiful game from Petrosian!


Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The opening reminds me of Fischer vs Petrosian, 1970.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Mecking was trying to castle artificially.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: Thanks <Phony Benoni> the first thing that came to my mind was the character Fortinbras from Hamlet, which to say the least, doesn't make a lick of sense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White wins by domination of space.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: <Petrobras>=Brazilian energy company? My momma told me, if you have to explain the joke, it isn't funny.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I had to play through this several times to understand what was going on.

Early on, Petrosian anchors a pawn on e5.

click for larger view

This has the happy effect (if you are Tigran) of making black's QB weak, as it is hemmed in by the e6 pawn. To make sure that this bishop stays weak, Petrosian shifts the pawn to f6 and nails down e6. And along the way he exchanges his own bad dark squared bishop for black's good dark squared bishop.

click for larger view

The combination of the Be8 and frozen e6-f7 pawns means that the black army is split in two. The rooks can't easily connect and the bishop has nothing useful to do.

Next white grabs space by marching his pawns up the board. Each time a trade of pawns is offered Petrosian makes sure that it would help him and not black.

Finally, Petrosian walks his king into the enemy camp. The black pieces are by now so disorganised that they are tripping over themselves.

Gruesome. Death by boa constrictor.

Jan-23-12  kingfu: I wondered why Tigran would leave his King pawn hanging after move 22. Then I saw Nf5+ followed by Bxa6+ and the Black Queen is hanging! Or if the Black King moves to protect the Bishop then Bxa6+ still snags the Queen.
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

This is the position after 22. N(f3)-d4. Petrosian appears to have left his e pawn en prise. But if 22...Qxe5 then white wins the queen with a discovered attack 23. Bxh6+

Jan-23-12  kingfu: No need to move the Knight!
Jan-23-12  bischopper: the rooks together are very danger or one side other on rank or file...
Jan-23-12  SuperPatzer77: Hey, chess folks! Tigran Petrosian is one of my favorite chess grandmasters.

Tigran Petrosian was partly deaf, you all know that?? He wore a hearing-aid during his matches, which sometimes led to strange situations. On one occasion, Tigran offered a draw to Svetozar Gligoric which Gligoric initially refused in surprise, but he changed his mind in a few seconds and re-offered a draw. However, Tigran didn't even respond, instead went ahead and won the game! How it happened was that Tigran actually turned off his hearing aid. He couldn't hear what Svetozar Gligoric said to him. Oh, my goodness!!

Well, I'm deaf, too. LOL LOL LOL

Cheers to the Roarin' Tigran Petrosian!!


Jan-23-12  Petrosianic: What does any of that have to do with this game?
Jan-23-12  King Death: Tiger: "Think you're gettin some counterplay kid? Heh heh heh......"

This game looks like it was played between players of different classes. A few years later I think Mecking wouldn't have played it as passively as he did.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <SuperPatzer77> Petrosian's deafness also helped him in his 1971 Candidates match against Robert Huebner. The street noise drove Hübner nuts, while Petrosian just turned off his hearing aid and went merrily along. Hübner lost a game and withdraw from the match before it was over.
Jan-24-12  King Death: <FSR> Hubner was a tough player but he seemed to have a shaky nervous system. There was that match you mentioned and his nerves gave way against Petrosian at another crucial time: Huebner vs Petrosian, 1976. A win there would have put him in the Candidates since a quick draw with Larsen in the last round left Hubner half a point out of the three way playoff.
Jan-24-12  SuperPatzer77: <FSR> Thanks for the story about Tigran Petrosian's 1971 Candidates match against Robert Huebner.

I'm totally glad to be deaf. LOL LOL. <FSR> You can be psychologically deaf. LOL LOL.


Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Typical Petrosian - he gets all of his pieces into their optimal positions before making the decisive breakthrough with 52. c4.
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