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Boris Spassky vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966), Moscow URS, rd 19, May-27
French Defense: Classical. Steinitz Variation (C11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-07-05  percyblakeney: This is the game in the 1966 match where Spassky equalised to 9.5-9.5. It's hard to see any advantage for white until quite late in the game, maybe it begins to go wrong for Petrosian with 36. ... bxa4. Shredder thinks g5 instead would have kept a slight advantage for black in what looks like a probable draw:

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Nov-07-05  aw1988: In my opinion, bxa4 is simply a blunder, a shocking move by Petrosian.
Feb-29-08  Knight13: <aw1988: In my opinion, bxa4 is simply a blunder, a shocking move by Petrosian.> Not taking the pawn also loses. I don't think there's a better move.
Sep-09-08  tjipa: A great game by Spassky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sillybilly47: Brilliant game by Spassky. Petrosian looks just fine for the first half of the game but there are some looming problems:Petrosian's queenside is somewhat weak but more serious is the fact that his pieces are completely uncoordinated(shockingly so). That Spassky does not win the match is surprising.
Mar-02-09  Petrosianic: <It's hard to see any advantage for white until quite late in the game, maybe it begins to go wrong for Petrosian with 36. ... bxa4.> Vasiliev's book on Petrosian has an incredibly fanciful account of this game. There used to be a saying about how hanging pawns "whispered to one another", and you could never quite be sure what they were whispering. In this case, according to Vasiliev, what the pawns were whispering was that they hadn't liked Black's offer to exchange Queens on Move 21. (Make of that what you will. There's no hard analysis of the game in the book, only poetry).

<That Spassky does not win the match is surprising.>

But not unprecedented. It often seems to happen that when someone struggles long and hard to equalize a deficit, that he suffers a letdown at the very moment he achieves it. Other examples: Botvinnik in 1963, Korchnoi in 1978. That's why I'm not at all sure that Kasparov would have won had the 1984/5 match continued, even if he'd managed to tie it at 5-5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  sillybilly47: Agree with your comment on Kasparov-Karpov. Karpov should have hung in there.
Dec-30-09  AnalyzeThis: He might have had a problem winning, if he had died. That was the state that his health was in.
Oct-23-10  WiseWizard: 40. fxe4 dxe4. 41 Ne6 ( attacking the Rook and going to c5 with tempo to attack the Bishop who defends the isolated pawn! let me at him let me at him) is actually a mistake! White actually gift wraps (with a bow) counterplay to Black by opening both (!) files for his Rooks. 41..Rd2 threatening Rf2 and its lights out for White's house. So White must block the second rank but with which Rook? (42. R1e2 Rd1+ Re1 [Kh2?? Rff1 and lullabies] Rd2 back to the second rank he goes) 42. R3e2 Rd3 43. Nc5 Rxc3 44. NxB RxB 45. Rxe4 g5 46. Re6 Kg6. Am i missing something?
Oct-23-10  WiseWizard: This line has some instructive qualities. It is very tempting because of all of its pluses. But you must force yourself to find the truth of the position and to find the best defense for your opponent. 40. fxe4 dxe4. The pawn is much weaker on e4 then d5 since from that square Black goes from having 3 defenders to 1 for it. He can attack this only defender with tempo it seems with Ne6 -c5. But you must buy these postional trumps and the price is 2 brand new files for Black's Rooks. After 41. Ne6 Rd2 <42. Rf1 The difference from my last post> attacks the undefended Rook while simultaneously killing Black's counterplay idea of the Rooks on the second rank while renewing the threat of Nc5. after 42...RxR+ 43. KxR Nd7 (44. Ba4 Nb6 45. Be8 [to keep the N off d7] Nc4 46.Re2 e3 and White must be careful as Black has concrete threats now. So if White is to win in this line he needs to find a strong plan on move 44. Maybe something with creating a passed pawn on the queenside. Although it looks to me like Black holds. Much respect to #10 for not falling for this. Every move has its pluses and minuses. This is why sound positional play is so strong, keep playing the moves (plans) that hold the least minuses until your opponent collapses. I have said too much.
Nov-28-15  Ulhumbrus: 36...bxa4 isolates Black's a pawn. Instead of this 36...Bc6 covers the b5 pawn, not to mention 36...g5 given by <percyblakeney>
Sep-30-16  Aunt Jemima: As I played through this game (I'm going through the whole match) and I saw black play 20...e5, I realized that if I were playing white I would suddenly feel like I'm in a little trouble. As black when I played the French, I could never seem to get in ...e5 with impunity. Seeing it from the white side of the board as I play through it today, it's pretty scary looking. I would feel like black might be stealing the initiative.
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