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Boris Spassky vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1969), Moscow URS, rd 21, Jun-11
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Keres Defense (C92)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Spassky picks up this odd game,looks like a speed game from a park.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Petrosian got a dose of his own medicine in this game. He left himself with a weak b5 pawn on move 18 that he couldn't guard. Furthermove, the Bb7 obstructs the Q from guarding the b-pawn. 18...bxc5 19. Nxc4 Nxc4 20. bxc4 cxd5 21. cxd5 Nc5 leaves him with an a6-pawn that's easily defended.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: excuse me-what about black trying 25...bxd5
Aug-06-04  who: Wow. That is a powerful move!
Aug-06-04  suenteus po 147: Following up GM Keene's suggestion: if Spassky responds to 25...Bxd5 with 26. exd5, then Petrosian can strike back with 26...e4! threatening three pieces. If Spassky takes the pawn, then his rook at a1 is gone, and if he moves the rook, then the knight is taken and the queen has to move, winning a pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Ray Keene's right; 25...Bxd5 would have been much better. After 26. exd5 e4 27. Nxe4, Black has a choice: 27...Bxa1? is bad because it loses two pieces for a Rook: 28. Nxc5 Nxc5 29. Rxa1. 27...Nxe4! 28. Ba7! Qc7 29. Rac1. Now Black gets two R's for a Q, but White can force a draw: 29...Qxc1 30. Rxc1 Rxc1+ 31. Kh2 Ra1 32. Bxe4 Rxa7 33. Bxh7+ Kf8 34. Qd2 g6 35. Qh6+ Bg7 36. Qf4 with a perpetual attack on f7. Black must submit to the repetition or risk a major attack on his King.

Petrosian sometimes had trouble seeing moves like 25...Bxd5; see his second loss to Korchnoi in the 1977 Candidates match or any number of their games from the 1980 match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: What happens after 25...♗xd5 26. ♗xc5? For example, 26...♘xc5 27. exd5 e4 28. ♗xe4 ♘xe4 29. ♘xe4 ♗xa1 30. ♖xa1 f5 31. ♘g5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Instead of 28...Nxe4, better is 28...Bxa1 29. Rxa1 f5 30. Ng5 Qc7 (to answer 31. Qh5 with g6) 31. Ne6 Nxe6 32. Bxf5 Nc5. Black should not trade off the Nc5 because it is needed to cover e6 after he goes ...f5 to win the pinned piece. Otherwise, White will get a winning attack after Qh5, Qf7+ and Ne6. Also, Black cannot play ...g6 in your line like he can in mine because of the Nf6 fork. In my line, there is a B on e4 instead of a N.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: To me, this is not a simple line at all. For example, there is 28...♗xa1 30. ♘g5 ♗f6 31. ♕h5 ♗xg5 32. ♕xh7+ ♔f8 33.♕h8+ ♔e7 34. ♕xg7 ♗xd2 35. ♗g6+, which appears to lead to perpetual check. And the line is long, so I could have missed many improvements for either side.

So Petrosian might not have missed 25...♗xd5. Maybe he just thought it was more practical to play something simpler.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: i dont know whether petrosian missed or underestimated bxd5. the point is he had no choice!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: 29. Ng5 loses; instead of ...Bf6? Black can play 29...Nxe4 30. Ndxe4 Qa7 protecting the B so that he doesn't need to play ...f5 and allow the N to go to e6. Then, White's attack falls short: 31. Qh5 h6 32. Nxf7 Rxe4 33. Nxh6 gxh6 34. Qg6+ Bg7 and Black is winning. Care would be needed because his King is exposed, but his extra piece should tell.

25...Nxd3? was Black's losing move; White was able to pile up on the weakling on b4 and win the game. If you see a positional squeeze coming, you absolutely positively HAVE to initiate tactics somehow or you will get smothered.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: 33. Nxd6?? loses to Rxe1+ and Be5+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Another line is 25...♗xd5 26. ♗xc5 ♘xc5 27. ed e4 28. ♗b5 ef 29. ♕xe8+. It looks like Black does well in that case too.

So, I agree that 25...♗xd5 is good, but even for a Petrosian it would take some time to determine over the board that it is safe to play.

Also, although it looks bad for Black after 25...♘xd3, I don't think it's proven that he is lost after that. For example, maybe there's something better than 29...h6 in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Well, I guess we can safely say that if you're being faced with a positional squeeze, you have to force a struggle on the would-be squeezer or face a slow, painful death. You don't have to work moves like ...Bxd5 out to mate; all you have to see is that you're going to lose anyway if you don't play it. But Petrosian didn't believe in playing like that. He didn't believe in trying to "swindle" the opponent. Maybe that belief led to his undoing this game.
Aug-10-04  Dick Brain: I wonder how many games a match would have taken to complete if Petrosian had stayed world champion until 1975 and met Karpov (and the match had to go until somebody won ten games).
Aug-10-04  iron maiden: Not very long, since by 1975 Petrosian was definitely past his best.
Aug-10-04  suenteus po 147: <Dick Brain> I would have to agree with iron maiden. If Spassky would have failed to defeat Petrosian in '69, then Fischer would have certainly beaten him in '72. That's not to say Spassky just got lucky; he was fueled by his loss in '66, and he had been improving the whole three years until the rematch, proving it just took skill and dedication. Karpov would have been like the Colossus by '75 had Petrosian held the title that whole 12 years.
Aug-10-04  Dick Brain: <iron maiden and suenteus po 147> I would tend to agree with you that Karpov was the better player overall, but in head-to-head results Karpov and Petrosian played 16 games with the score +1 -1 =14 (Karpov's win was not until 1982 and Petrosian's was in 1973).

Maybe the match would have gone on for months until somebody's health failed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: I don't think Petrosian was past his prime; after he lost the WC, his tournament results got better. From about 1969 to 1981, he was the 3rd strongest player in the world. From 1969 to 74, he was 3rd behind Spassky and Fischer and from 1974 to 1981, he was 3rd behind Korchnoi and Karpov. After 1981 he fell off some, but he was still one of the world's top 10 players.

He may not have been the most spectacular, but he was the most consistent. He was always in the top 5 in tournaments along with his share of wins. Tal may have had a few individually good years, but he also had some really bad ones as well due to his poor health.

Aug-10-04  iron maiden: The third strongest player from 1969 to 1981? Chessmetrics has him in that spot for some of that time, but certainly not all: In 1975, when the match would have taken place, he was only #6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: Petrosian was kind of like a track team who wins the meet even though they don't win any individual events. They don't win any firsts, but they keep getting seconds and thirds while 5 or 10 other teams get all the firsts but who don't have the depth. So the players ahead of him were probably not more consistent than him.
May-22-05  skyman: yes sure i do; I reviewed the 66 match in which Petrosian kept his title; i wondered how in 3 years Spassky managed to win?* He must of needed to study enough, its a petty you dont have more games of the match; do you? ok bye, "july 20th 69, la lune..."bigstepsformankind.
Nov-09-07  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 18..cxd5, 18...g6 begins preparations for ...Bg7 and ...f5
Nov-09-07  RookFile: Actually, Petrosian's error was on the second move of this game, when he didn't play ...Nf6. Whenever he played this defense against Spassky, the game ended in a draw.
Apr-07-08  Knight13: <Zenchess: Petrosian got a dose of his own medicine in this game. He left himself with a weak b5 pawn on move 18 that he couldn't guard.> Like when you play 23. b4 you would see ahead 9 moves and reallize that you're gonna lose the pawn on move 32.
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