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Tigran V Petrosian vs Boris Spassky
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966), Moscow URS, rd 20, May-30
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bernstein Defense (E59)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-27-07  M.D. Wilson: Not one of Spassky's best.
Feb-29-08  Knight13: Of course it isn't.
Feb-29-08  Petrosianic: Not one of your best comments either (ahem, ahem). Napier is the only guy whose best game was a loss.
Feb-29-08  pawn to QB4: Tal vs Miller, 1988? for a chap who might claim a share of that distinction.
Feb-13-09  ughaibu: How about NN?
Mar-07-09  sillybilly47: Any published comments by Spassky on this game? It is amazing how a chance at the World Title can slip away because of a poor game.
Dec-07-09  ab1310: Spassky gambled somehow, however Petrosian was iron
Nov-26-11  AnalyzeThis: I thought this was a great strategic effort by Petrosian.
Dec-05-11  ewan14: Wait for it

Seriously Spassky says he and his team ( Bondaresky ? etc ) went fishing , he got sunstroke ( stupid ) and then did not request a sick break ( stupid ? )

The real turning point of the match ?

Dec-05-11  ewan14: Sorry , Bondarevsky
Dec-05-11  Petrosianic: <Seriously Spassky says he and his team ( Bondaresky ? etc ) went fishing , he got sunstroke ( stupid ) and then did not request a sick break ( stupid ? )>

LOL. I've never heard that one before, and I tend to doubt it, as Spassky wasn't an habitual excuse maker, like many GM's.

But Petrosian wrote about the game, agreeing with part of what you said: that it was a mistake not taking a time out after winning Game 19. According to him, when you've been chasing a player for a long time, there's a psychological turning point at the moment you succeed in catching him, where you need to take stock and readjust your bearings to the new situation.

We can see the same thing in several other instances. Namely:

1) Karpov-Korchnoi, 1978. Korchnoi had been chasing Karpov since Game 13, finally equalized in Game 31, and then lost the very next game.

2) Petrosian-Botvinnik, 1963: Botvinnik had been chasing since Game 7, tied the match in Game 14, and then dropped the very next game.

3) Botvinnik-Smyslov, 1954: Smyslov was down 3 points after 4 games, went into slugfest mode, and actually succeeded in taking the lead before mid-match, but remained in slugfest mode, and lost it again. It was time to readjust the strategy after catching up.

4) Even the famous Fischer-Petrosian 4 Queens game, when Petrosian had been on the defensive a long time, but took a draw at the end when he was standing better. According to Fischer, he was "unable to readjust his frame of mind and start playing for a win." Same thing as the other examples.

According to Petrosian, Spassky was hoping for a quiet draw in Game 20 to rest up before making another big effort to take the lead in Game 21, with White. Ergo, he resolved to go all out for the win in Game 20, trusting that Spassky wouldn't be psychologically prepared for it. He wasn't. Taking a time-out might have helped a little.

Jul-12-13  ewan14: '' Grand Strategy - 60 games by Boris Spassky ''

Jan van Reek

page 155

'' I had equalised after the nineteenth game...We spent the free day together with V. Smyslov on a boat in the sunshine. It was a hot spring day. The next day I was bright red. F. ( I.B. ) asked me to take a timeout. ''

I am sure there is another book , or interview , where Spassky describes this in more detail

Jul-12-13  ughaibu: That's a description of sunburn, not sunstroke.
Nov-28-15  Ulhumbrus: 16 a4!! is a really brilliant stratagem. The idea is to prepare the advance of White's king side without allowing the counter-attacking manoeuvre ....Bd7-b5-d3 as in the game Geller vs Kotov, 1953 .

The difference here is that White's king's bishop is in front of White's queen and so after eg 16..Bc6 17 f4 Black's queen is attacked and Black is not able to attack White's queen by ...Bxe4

Sep-30-16  Aunt Jemima: Spassky sacs his bishop on h3 and then the exchange on f2 for no apparent reason at all.
Apr-28-20  joddon: beautiful end game tactic...Pet had beautiful queen moves ready for Spassy!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: If 40...Nc6, then 41.Qd6.
Aug-27-20  sfm: <Aunt Jemima: Spassky sacs his bishop on h3 and then the exchange on f2 for no apparent reason at all.> Well, he is totally losing! That is always one good reason for desperate sacs.

And not without some success: in the final position Black can pick up a whole piece with 41.-,Qxf2+. Unfortunately, it does not change the picture.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It seems <Aunt Jemima>, one of innumerable sockies belonging to a well-known poster hereabouts, does not comprehend zeitnot and how one can fall victim to its illusory charms.
Aug-20-21  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 17...c4 is 17...Bc6 to be followed by ...Nf6-h5 and ...g5 as in the game Karpov vs Spassky, 1974
Jun-23-23  tinnderbox: Actually this is not such a poor game at all by Spassky. True, after 17... c4 (?) white has a small but annoying advantage. But Spassky hangs on until move 32. There he could have given Petrosian a tough choice with 32... R2a4. Either white plays Qb2 with a repetition or gambles with Qe7. White is still only slightly better here (+0.4). Spassky's one real mistake is 32... Rc2? Now white is winning, but Spassky's final moves are not just desperation but ask Petrosian one final question. For instance 40. Qd8?? is an instant draw after 40... Nd3+ 41. Kf1 Qg3! Especially on move 40 this can easily be overlooked. Petrosian did find 40. Rd8 though, and then it was really over.

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