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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Lev Aronin
"The Immortal Retreat Game" (game of the day Oct-01-2014)
Moscow (1961), It
Zukertort Opening: Sicilian Invitation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Given 16 times; par: 73 [what's this?]

Annotations by Irving Chernev.      [4 more games annotated by Chernev]

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find similar games 5 more Petrosian/Aronin games
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-02-04  skeet: Well, I certainly don't have the positional insight to play like Petrosian. White's position after 12. Qd1 is on of the ugliest I've ever seen!
Oct-26-04  hjsukthankar: Highly amusing annotations :)
May-05-05  fgh: I'am going to try this in some of my games :)
May-05-05  The 3 Gambiteers: Wow strange game... not sure I've seen anything like this in a master game.
May-05-05  Milo: Petrosian, for all his alleged skill with knights, was vicious with the bishop pair as well.
Jun-24-05  aw1988: A knight on the rim is grim. Uh, happy. Uh...
Aug-26-05  mormonchess: This game is a perfect demonstration of Petrosian's "left-handed" style of chess playing. A lot of the people he played were very puzzled and dismayed by his style or "lack of style" as he was sometimes described.

When you look at White's position in this game, at least up until close to the end, you would think that his cramped position would be a very bad thing leading to a loss. Most of his pieces were kept on the first rank!

Petrosian is one of my all time favorite players. His positional understanding was enormous, and he could be an extremely deadly tactician, but ultimately he was an amazing strategist at the board. And he excelled in cramped conditions like no other player that I've seen.

Mar-18-08  arsen387: Nice remark by Chernev on move 33-"Would you believe that White, with only one piece in play, now wins this in about half a dozen moves?" Never afraid to retreat!
Jan-02-09  WhiteRook48: what underdevelopment. ...Bxe1? at the end is a blunder...
Jan-02-09  MaxxLange: typical idiotic remarks from Chernev
Jan-02-09  mccraw: White Rook...
Black is dead lost by ...37; ..Be1 makes little difference. Black's key errors are: 34 ...Ke8, and if Bg5 Nh7. White has only a small advantage; 35...Ne5! (not Ng8??, when Black loses, as in the game) 36.Qh4 (36.Qh8+ Ke7 37.Bg5 Ned7 doesn't look overwhelming) Ke7 (now ...36...Ng8 or 36...Ned7 also look playable) 37.Nf3 Ned7, and Black's holding on, tho' worse. i await corrections... (first post :-)
Jan-02-09  MaxxLange: Sorry....I know Chernev was a good chess writer, but his penchant for lame cutesy puns, and his mock amazement that Petrosian's chess vision goes beyond the advice for beginners given in Reinfeld's books is a little too much for me here
Jan-31-09  WhiteRook48: I see... Black's lost anyway.
Chernev's annotations are probably worse than his books
Aug-04-09  WhiteRook48: Levon Aronian!! (yeah right)
Jun-06-10  xombie: Agree with other kibitzers about annotations-they belong to a beginner's manual, and hardly instructive at all. The retro manoeuvres help defend weaknesses in white's camp (d3, b2, etc). Chernev's logical chess book is among my most useless. The second book (the greatest games ever played) is less so, but not much of an improvement. I would suggest more objective authors like Nunn and Euwe.
May-03-11  hankm: This game demonstrates the weird, almost bizzarre, beauty of Petrosian's play. A personal favorite of mine, this game features my favorite player playing one of my favorite openings! (Though admittedly, the annotations of Chernev don't add a whole lot.)
May-03-11  haydn20: IMO Petrosian's position after 20. f4 may be a little passive. E.g., if 20....Nxd3; 21. b3 h5; 22. Rf3 Nxf4; 23. gxf4 Ne4, Black has two P's for the piece including the dangerous passer on d4.
Aug-05-12  backrank: Chernev's notes to the game have been severely mutilated here. Missing are his comments to moves 7, 16, 20, 21 (among others) and to the final position.

After 40 Bh3+ (where Black resigned), Chernev gives the following pretty line:

40 ... Kd6 41 Bf4+ Ne5 42 Qb8+ Kc6 (if Qc7, so 43 Bxe5+ wins the queen):

click for larger view

Of course, White can win as he pleases now, but there is a study-like mate in 3:

43 Qe8+! Kc7 (Kd6 44 Bxe5# with another nice mating pattern) 44 Qc8+! Kd6 45 Qd7#!

click for larger view

Would you have found it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Black makes as many retreats as white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Naturally, the game was played in Moscow.

Attacking from the back rows is an underestimated strategy. Take, for instance, the final position of R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963

click for larger view

Where White resigned despite being a piece ahead and with no Black piece beyond the second rank.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Let's give a little credit to 11.exf3. 11.Bxf3 would have allowed 11...Ne5!, threatening both ...Nxf3+, ridding White of his valuable Bishop, not to mention 12...a6 and Petrosian has to worry about his pinned Knight after Black castles to protect his Ra8.
Oct-01-14  Dr. J: <An Englishman: to 11.exf3. If 11.Bxf3 Ne5!, threatening 12...Nxf3+ or 12...a6>

Perhaps not: 11.Bxf3 Ne5 12.Nc7+ wins; or if 11.Bxf3 0-0 12.Bf4 and White's position seems fine to me. So what would TVP have done?

Oct-01-14  gars: Good morning! So this game is annotated in one of Chernev's books. Which one? Thanks a lot.
Oct-01-14  YetAnotherAmateur: I always saw Petrosian as playing basically rope-a-dope: Defend well, have counterattacks all prepped and ready to go, and when the other guy decides to grab what looks like a weak point, pounce!

It worked at Austerlitz, why wouldn't it work on a chessboard?

Oct-01-14  Strelets: I think it was Botvinnik who compared Petrosian's chess to a slow-motion film. For me, Tigran Vartanovich was more of a pragmatist than anything else-he had staggering tactical vision and outstanding strategic acumen.
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