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Boris Spassky vs Tigran V Petrosian
"Taming the Tiger" (game of the day Oct-29-2008)
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969), Moscow URS, rd 19, Jun-04
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B94)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-13-12  Abdel Irada: Disappointing that Petrosian short-circuited the tactics by taking the knight on d4. I was hoping for a more stubborn defense.
Jan-24-14  Ulhumbrus: 15 g4 gives Black an unwelcome choice: Either Black accepts the pawn sacrifice and so opens the g file for White or else he allows the pawn attack g4-g5
Jan-24-14  RookFile: If he had to do it all over again, I'm sure Petrosian would have played the Petrov defense instead.
Jan-26-14  Ulhumbrus: <RookFile: If he had to do it all over again, I'm sure Petrosian would have played the Petrov defense instead>

Kasparov has indicated an answer to this in his book on Petrosian and Spassky. He says that Spassky's loss in game one (possibly also an earller loss against Petrosian's Sicilian in the 1966 match) had misled Petrosian.

Petrosian was led to think that he could outplay Spassky in any lines of the Sicilian defence.

This suggests that Petrosian made the same mistake as Spassky had made in 1966: He assumed that his opponent was weak in areas where his opponent was in fact not weak. Petrosian chose the Najdorf variation instead of the Kan variations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I'm sorry to leave all that rubbish....
Jan-30-14  Howard: Gotta make a mental note to take a closer look at this miniature by Spassky. It took place near the end of his 1969 match with Petrosian, which gave him the world title. One would suspect that be crushing Petrosian in such brutal style, that probably sapped the latter's resistance for the remaining several games of the match.
Jun-23-14  Bobby Spassky: Dear Howard,

<Gotta make a mental note to take a closer look at this miniature by Spassky. It took place near the end of his 1969 match with Petrosian, which gave him the world title. One would suspect that be crushing Petrosian in such brutal style, that probably sapped the latter's resistance for the remaining several games of the match.>

Yes, Petrosian was so crushed he won the next game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Shams: White tried the ultra-aggressive x-wing setup with <6.Bg5> and <7.Bc4> but according to theory, he's not supposed to get away with planting both bishops on these squares. Does anybody know the refutation?>

In general, you are correct that White should not combine Bg5 and Bc4 in these open Sicilians, but as noted in this kibitz a little while ago: Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

<While 6....Nbd7 had appeared in (Petrosian's) praxis in the 1950s, 7.Bc4 was known to be a strong retort by the time of this game.>

Had your humble poster been so aware, he would have adopted 6....e6 the very first time he faced 6.Bg5, as a 1600-rated player, in summer 1975. Got summarily despatched, too.

It should be mentioned that this was not the last voyage of 6....Nbd7 for the good ship Tigran: he essayed it in Gulko vs Petrosian, 1976.

Sep-06-15  N.O.F. NAJDORF: The move 21 e5 in this game reminds me of
35 e5 in the following game:

Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914

Nov-28-15  Ulhumbrus: One question is how much Spassky had foreseen when he chose which files to place his rooks on. After 11 Rhe1 both rooks are going to move again. 17 Rg1 will place the king's rook on the g file after White has opened it by offering the pawn sacrifice 15 g4 and the rook on d1 is going to go to the f file by 19 Rdf1 after White has begun to open the f file by 18 f5.
Feb-27-18  tgyuid: when you say computor....
Nov-13-18  Petrosianic: My favorite possible ending to this game is

24...Qxg5 25. Rxg5 hxg5 26. Qxh5+ Kg8 27. Qf7+ Kh7 28. Rf3 g4 29. Rf5 exf5 30. Qh5++, and White has no pieces left that aren't directly involved in the final attack.

Nov-14-18  ewan14: I think Petrosian's second said they could not rely on Spassky playing timidly against the Petroff for 3 games ( Spassky white ) running
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Too bad they didn't play out the Mexican shootout a few more moves:

24...Qxg5 25. Rxg5 Nf6 26. Rxf6

leads to this position, where both rooks are en prise and neither one is edible without extreme indigestion:

click for larger view

Feb-05-19  mckmac: Good short video by Daniel King covering the finale of this classic game:
Jan-18-21  sudoplatov: When this game was played, I remember some commentator asking, "Why give Spassky an open file?"
Mar-07-22  jerseybob: This game, and the Lopez of game 21, are what I expected in 1966, but better late than never.
Apr-20-23  N.O.F. NAJDORF: 24...Qxg5 25. Rxg5 hxg5 26. Qxh5+ Kg8 27. Qf7+ Kh7 28. Rf3 g4 29. Rf5 and mate next move.
May-02-23  Margetic D: Once i played as black 8... e6, instead of 8..h6. 8. .. h6 further puts white in better development, in turn black gains two bishops. In this position two bishops are not relevant, time is more important. So i prefered in my praxis 8...e6. I would now not say 8..h6 is a big mistake, but weaker than 8.. e6. 11. ... Be7 with the idea of preparing short castling is bad-but after the game it is always easier to suggest what was right and what was wrong. I guess, 11.. Bd7 with the idea of preparing long castling would lead to dynamic positions. for example: 12. f4, 0-0-0, and now 13. e5 or 13. f5 . In both cases black can play 13..d5. A ) 13. e5, d5, and if now 14.ef6,than dc4 , with dynamic position. B) 13. f5, d5 A) 14.exd5,exf5 15.d6 (15.Qd3 g6; 15.Qf4 Qc7) 15...Bxd6 16.Nb3 Qc7 17.Qxd6 Qxc4; b) 14.fxe6 dxc4 15.exd7+ Rxd7 , one possibility in this position would be 16. e5, but 16...Nd5 17.Nxd5 Qxd5 18.Qe2 c3 leads to quite good practical chances for black. Short castling looks not like a lethal error, but the strategy is like black would invite white to attack. After 15.g4 the black position is quite difficult,although maybe not lost. I think after 19. ... Qd8, it is "over". Maybe the last defence would be 19 ... Qe5. After 20.Nf3 the continuation 20...Qa5 (20...Qc5 looks bad: 21.h4, intending Ng5 or Ne1–d3) 21.fxe6 Bxe6 22.Bxe6 fxe6 (22...Rxe6? 23.Nd4) 23.e5 dxe5 24.Nh4 is giving white strong attack, but black has still a pawn more and although his position is difficult, he might not be lost. I remember , about 20 times analysing this game with my chess coach 1988.
May-03-23  SChesshevsky: <I would now not say 8...h6 is a big mistake, but weaker than 8...e6>

Seems Petrosian had some success with this kind of Sicilian prior. Gaining a tempo as the Bg5 retreats. Think he might've not expected 9. Bxf6 at all. As it looks like it would reduce white kside initiative.

But think Spassky in his prep saw the benefit of what looks a gain of a couple tempo. Sees he's gonna be up on time with blacks pieces poorly placed, white able to secure his king and still get kside deferred pressure.

Feels Petrosian knows he's pretty much out of the game when lashing out with 15...Nxg4. Goes bad pretty quickly.

May-03-23  Petrosianic: <SChesshevsky>: <Seems Petrosian had some success with this kind of Sicilian prior.>

Petrosian played lots of Sicilians, but I don't remember him playing a Najdorf before. He may have done, but it wasn't his usual stuff.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: From one of the books written on this match, a quote regarding this and the prior game in which Iron Tigran was Black:

Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969

May-03-23  SChesshevsky: <Petrosianic> By the cg database, in 1968 he played a couple of times similarly and did well. So I guess he felt pretty confident in this as a surprise.

Kind of adapting the quote perfidious refers to, Petrosian may have retained his title if he had only gone down in flames with this type Najdorf idea previously.

May-04-23  Petrosianic: <SChesshevsky> I do see games against Dueckstein and Giustolisi in which Petrosian played the Najdorf and won. But playing it against them and playing it against Spassky are two different things. It may not have been unprecedented, but it definitely wasn't his usual cup of tea.
May-04-23  Petrosianic: As short as this game is, Black still seems in it for a long time. If 19... Qe5 instead of Qd8?, White only seems a bit better.


After Qd8, the queen is out of the game permanently.

The Queen is safe on e5, with White's QB off the board.

Posted there, it prevents White's e5 that later allowed the Ne4-g5 maneuver, which proved so devastating.

And it adds extra protection to g7. Note that after 22. Ne4, Black couldn't have played Nxe4, lest 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8 24. Qxg7++. g7 needs the extra protection.

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