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Posts Tagged ‘Chess World Championship

Keres, Smyslov, an Obscure Game and Other Matters.

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(For more on Keres, I have published two posts in March 1012)

In 1935, the great Estonian chessplayer Paul Keres  played in several tournaments: Tallinn, Tartu,Varsovia and Helsinki.He also played two matches, vs. Friedemann and Kibbermann. Browsing my archives, I found an obscure game played at Helsinki. Some sources offer the game Stahlberg-Keres as one of them, but omit the following one, played against Thorsten Gauffin:

W.: Keres (1)

B.: Gauffin (0)

Helsinki , 1935

1.e4, c5  2. Nf3, a6  3. b4, cb 4. a3, c5  5. ed, Qxd5 6. ab, Bg4 7. Nc3, Qh5  8. Be2, e6  9. 0-0, Nf6  9. 0-0, Nf6  10. Ra5!, Nd5  11. h3!, Bxf3  12. Bxf3, Nxc3  13. dc, Qg6  14. Qd4,!, Qf6  15. Qc4, Nd7  16. Bg5, Qg6  (16…, Ne5/ 17. Rxe5, Qxe5/ 18. Qc6!!)  17. Bb7, Rb8  18. Bc6, Be7  19. Bd7, Kd7  20. Rd1  Black resigned.

Where do I get this game from?.- Well, this is a long story. During my Chess career I have had the opportunity to  meet very interesting people from different countries. One of them was a man who was living in Spain (he sadly passed away around 1996). He had one of the largest Chess collections in Spain, with thousands of books, magazines, documents, etc. You could ask him whatever you needed: he would readily type the matter in question and send them to you. He loved Chess and he loved helping people too. His name was Mr. Cecilio Hernáez, lived in Vitoria , the Spanish Basque Country,  and I feel obliged to pay this little homage to him. He invited me to help him doing translations from English to be published in Spanish-speaking magazines and I readily accepted (I can speak and translate several languages apart from English, namely French, Portuguese, Spanish,) . No matter what you asked him to find: you can be sure he would find it even if he had to spend days looking for it in his enormous collection. He was an exceptionally strong CC player too and a living encyclopaedia.

Concerning the classics, there are two schools of thought : some people consider it a loss of time, some people use it to really learn how Chess has to be understood.  

Some players advocate the study of our contemporaries: Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Shirov, Krammik, and so on. After all, theory has advanced a lot and they believe studying the classics is a waste of time: nobody can play like them because theory has changed drastically. Other people believe that by studying the classics you are not trying to study the latest cry in opening theory, but the way they think and so, how Chess should be understood. The third approach blends both points of view. 

Keres and Estonia, his native land, had bad luck (Spassky said publicly this too.) As a border-land, the Estonians were a country by themselves, were annexed by the former Soviet Union, invaded by the Nazi Germany , recovered by the Soviet Union and independent again. Keres was a Chess professional player and played in German tournaments during the Nazi atrocious regime. When WW2 finished, Estonia became a part of the Soviet Union, and he had to pay the toll of having played in Nazi territory… (see the above-mentioned posts). He began to play tournaments in the thirties (20th century), won the 1939 AVRO tournament so acquiring the right to play against Alekhine for the World Championship , something WW2 destroyed, but managed to survive the Stalinist period. In the Candidates’ matches which decided the Challenger to Petrosian´s title in the ’60s he lost to Spassky, who eventually became Champion of the World in 1969. 

A match Alekhine-Keres , like a match between Fischer and Karpov would have been two feast for millions of chessplayers throughout the world. But they never took place.

In the time when CC was played using postcards and stamps, many of my opponents in the former Soviet Union and the DDR (East Germany), sent me lots of books (in Russian, German, Estonian, Czech, Hungarian, etc.) From time to time I like leafing through these books. One of them is a Russian edition featuring photographs only (99% is devoted to Karpov. The author was the famous photographer Dmitry Donskoi).

Here you can see Karpov, Botvinnik, Polugaevsky, the young Kasparov, etc. There I found some snaps featuring one of the “forgotten World Champions” as I call them: Vassily Smyslov. Indeed, Smyslov beat Botvinnik in 1957 but lost the title in the 1958 return match.  He was an extremely educated man, an opera singer too. A. Saidy even wrote that his endgame skills were greater that Botvinnik’s ones. But in the end, Smyslov was a victim of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Smyslov died in 2010, in a state of sheer poverty (sharing this damned state with his loving wife) and nearly blind… Then I think about those men who devoting their entire lives to Chess died in poverty… But we have their games and their memories. I have read that nobody really dies until the last person who has known them disappears too…This is an unjust,very sad world indeed…



Written by QChess

April 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

Chess World Championship

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These days everybody is writing about the Chess World Championship between Anand and Carlsen in India.  I only have a passing interest. When Kasparov (yes, the guy who now wants to become President of FIDE … -This is as if Guy Fawkes would have wanted to become PM…) and Short broke with that very same FIDE splitting into two the world of Chess, I predicted that was going to be disastrous for Chess. An easy prediction. After that , things were never the same. With Kasparov retired and Kapov nearly retired too, the Chess world saw how children of lesser gods became Champions of the World to vanish into thin air forever. Even the media lost their interest, and what was worse: most sponsors began to leave Chess and devote their money to other more profitable devotions. Thank you Gary  (Kasparov) for destroying a beautiful building to have a stone to sit on. Thank you Nigel (Short) for your greed and your lust for money. One of the side-effects was that if in the past even non-chessplayers knew the name of the Chess World Champion, today nobody knows and what is again even worse: nobody cares either. When you have lived with the names of Botvinnik, Tal, Spassky, Karpov, Fischer, Smyslov , Petrosian (to mention the period post WW2 only) , with those gruelling matches like those between Karpov and Korchnoi, Botvinnik and Tal , Spassky and Fischer, etc.

I agree with GM Spraggett when he says that neither Anand nor Carlsen will be like Fischer. And for my part, I don’t expect much from this match either. We are in an age of sheer and shameless pragmatism (see the first two game of this match.  What would have thought Fischer, Botvinnik, Tal, etc.?). Today’s players play mainly for a) money, b) ELO points -and I don’t know in which order…- So they fear losing. They play “not to lose” instead of playing to win at all costs. They are afraid of  losing ELO points like the plague while asking for good financial conditions. In the past, most of us spent our money buying the books dealing with World Championship matches because we were enthralled by the event and the charismatic players. And we used them to study the games, one time after another, TO LEARN Chess from them. Even today I spend many evenings with Fischer and Spassky in 1972, or with Tal and Botvinnink in 1960. I’m afraid I will pass NO time with Anand and Carlsen 2013… I accept that many people may consider the first two games of the match as something typical of World Championship matches . I have read somebody has calculated that every game costs around 166,000 euros… If it is so, these two guys should work a little harder. (I hope all this will change for the rest of the match…). At least the third and the fourth games have been  much more interesting. 

In 1971 Karpov and Korchnoi agreed to play a secret training match (this method was used in the Soviet Union. Botvinnik did it on several occasions too). In the end, the games crop up and here I have included two of them in case you prefer combine them with those played in India. I’m sure you will enjoy yourselves with them.

(You may argue Chess today is very different from Chess 30 or 40 years ago. But the attitude of the chessplayers has also changed perhaps forced by more pragmatic conditions. In any case, Chess offers plenty of occasions to create masterpieces and terrible fights one time after another. When this happens, no matter if the final result is a draw.   Perhaps this is why many people keeps mentioning Fischer, Tal, Keres, Bronstein, et alii and new books about them keep being published on a regular basis? Who knows…)

W.: Karpov (1)

B.: Korchnoi (0)

Leningrad 1971 (Training Match)

1. e4  e6 / 2. d4 d5 / 3. Nd2  c5  /4. Ngf3  Nc6 / 5. ed  ed /  6. Bb5  Bd6  / 7. dc  Qe7/ 8. Qe2!  Bxc5/ 9. Nb3  Bb6/ 10. Ne5!  Kf8 !? / 11. Bf4  Qf6 / 12. Bg3  h5/ 13. h4  Nge7/  14. 0-0-0  Nxe5  15. Bxe5  Qxf2  16. Bxg7  Kxg7/ 17. Qxe7  Bf5/  18. Qe5!  f6/  19. Qxe7  Kg6/  20. Rd2!!  Be3/ 21. Rf1  Bxd2 / 22. Nxd2  Qd4!/  23. Rxf5!  Kxf5/ 24. Bd3  Kf4 / 25. Qd6  Qe5 / 26. Qb4  d4?!/ 27. Ne4!   Kf5?/ 28. Qxb7  Kg4/ 29. Be2  Kxh4/ 30. g3  Kh3/  31. Nf2  Kh2/  32. Qh1  Kxg3/  33.   Ne4  Kf4 / 34. Qf3  mate. (Punctuation marks by Korchnoi who when annotated the game said this was the best game Karpov has played in his whole life…)

W.: Karpov (0)

B.: Korchnoi (1)

Leningrad Training Match 1971

1. e4  c5/ 2. Nf3  e6/ 3. d4  cd4/ 4. Nxd4  Nf6/ 5. Nc3  d6 / 6. Be2  Be7/ 7. Be3  a6/ 8. f4  Qc7/ 9. g4  d5/ 10. e5  Ne4/  11. Nxe4  de/ 12. h4  0-0/ 13. g5  Rd8/ 14. c3  Nc6/ 15. Qd2  Bc5/  16. h5  Bd7/  17.Bg4  Be8/  18. g6  Qa5/  19. gf  Bxf7/ 20. Nxc6  bc /21. Qf2  Bxe3/ 22.Qxe3  Rab8/  23. b4  Qa3/  24. Qc1  Qa4/ 25. Be2  c5/  26. bc  Bc6/ 27. Qe3  Rb2/ 28. Rg1  Bxh5  / 29. Bc4  Qa4/ 30. Bxe6  Kh8/ 31. Bg4  Bxg4/ 32. Rxg4  Rxa2/  White resigned.

Six games were played and the final result was two draws and two victories for each side .


Written by QChess

November 15, 2013 at 7:50 am

Nineteen Eighty-One.

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karpovkorchnoi1981Karpov-Korchnoi 1981

The 1981 World Championship Match was to be played in the same venue as the Candidates’  Final between Korchnoi and Hübner, the Italian town of Meran (north of Italy, region of Trentino-Adigio.The place gives also name to the famous Meran Variation in the Semislav after the game Tartakower-Rubinstein played there in 1924. That part of the old Europe is very interesting historically speaking ). After that match fiasco, I guess the organizers would expect to cash in on a bigger stake. The events which had taken place three years before still cast their shadows over Meran ’81 :Korchnoi’s family was still in the Soviet Union : the Soviet authorities refusing to allow them to leave the country, and the rivalry between the two K’s had not diminished. But the match turned out to be a sort of anticlimax… The Soviet delegation included many people: Chess helpers, Karpov’s personal cook, medical staff, physical helper,translators and diplomats,as well as A. Roshal and V. Baturinsky, and bodyguards.  (Any Soviet World Champion had access to any sort of help.  Karpov had many “consultants” and I could mention his all-time helper Zaitsev, and Yuri  Balashov, for instance. In Meran Tal and Polugaevsky were side by side with him too. On those days it was very difficult to clearly determine “who were doing what” in Soviet official Chess camps) . Korchnoi’s seconds were Stean, Seirawan,Gutman and Ivanov. He was also accompanied by a lawyer, A. Brodbeck and a Chief of Delegation, E. Sztein. Journalist present mention also the  presence of a bodyguard… Those were hard days…The match was scheduled to beguin on October 1st, the winner would have to win six games with draws not counting.

All in all, one thing was immediately clear: Karpov was still becoming stronger while Korchnoi seemed to be slowly declining, at least to maintain such intensity against a terrific opponent as Karpov and for so many years . The first games of the event showed that Viktor was not in the match: after the first five games, the score was 3-0 for Karpov. Korchnoi managed to win the sixth game but after the tenth game the score was 4-1 in Karpov’s favour. Some drawn games followed, Korchnoi won the 13th game but lost the 14th and leaned over the abyss much to the organizers’ desperation who saw that a quick resolution of the match would finish with their financial expectations (understandably, under such conditions a very long match can be catastrophic but if it is too sort and one-sided the financial situation for the sponsors is the same: absolute disaster!). I have read that the organizers  managed to express their worries to Karpov who somewhat reassured them (!)… Be that as it may, three more games ended in a draw but the 18th one ,played on November 19th was adjourned with a winning position for Karpov. The game was not resumed and Karpov renewed his World Champion title for three more years.

After the 1978 match I was looking forward this new event. On the one hand , my sympathy was with Karpov. But I still had the secret hope of witnessing another magnificent struggle with the scores dangling from one side to another. That was not to happen. But the match taught me a lot of Chess strategy, especially the first and the ninth games. In the first game, Karpov played superbly using one of his favourite weapons: the hanging Pawns. In the ninth game, he showed another of his specialties: the fight against the isolated Queen Pawn. The fifth game was also of great technical interest since Karpov managed to draw as Black -a Pawn down- in a typical King +Rook + four Pawns vs. King + Rook + three Pawns  all in the K-side. Nevertheless and in retrospect, the feeling left by that match was  one of dullness. Nothing to do with what was going to come: the immense clash Karpov-Kasparov in the following years. In a sort of gesture to the gallery, Karpov even played the Italian Opening in the 8th and the 10th games. Two draws. Karpov himself in his notes to the games says that the Italian Game had last appeared in a World Championship Match in 1896 (Lasker-Steinitz return match).

W.: V. Korchnoi (0)

B.: A. Karpov (1)

Meran, Italy 1981.- World Championship Match (1)

1. c4, e6/ 2. Nc3, d5/ 3. d4, Be7/ 4. Nf3, Nf6/ 5. Bg5, h6/ 6. Bh4, 0-0/ 7. e3, b6/ 8. Rc1, Bb7/ 9. Be2, Nbd7/10.cxd5, exd5/ 11. 0-0, c5/12. dxc5, bxc5/ 13. Qc2, Rc8/ 14. Rfd1, Qb6/ 15. Qb1, Rfd8/ 16. Rc2, Qe6/ 17. Bg3, Nh5/18. Rcd2, Nxg3/ 19. hxg3, Nf6/ 20. Qc2, g6/ 21. Qa4, a6/  22. Bd3, Kg7/ 23. Bb1, Qb6/ 24. a3, d4!/ 25.Ne2, dxe3/26. fxe3, c4!/ 27. Ned4, Qc7/ 28. Nh4, Qe5/ 29. Kh1, Kg8/ 30. Ndf3, Qxg3/ 31. Rxd8, Bxd8/ 32. Qb4, Be4!/33. Bxe4, Nxe4/34. Rd4, Nf2+/ 35. Kg1, Nd3/ 36. Qb7, Rb8/ 37. Qd7, Bc7/ 38. Kh1, Rxb2/ 39. Rxd3, cxd3/ 40. Qxd3, Qd6/ 41. Qe4, Qd1+/ 42. Ng1, Qd6/ 43. Nhf3, Rb5/ The game was adjourned here. Karpov sealed a move but Korchnoi, after a while, stopped definitively the clocks. White resigned.

W.: V. Korchnoi (0)

B.: A. Karpov (1)

Meran, Italy 1981. World Championship Match (9)

1. c4, e6/ 2. Nc3, d5/ 3. d4, Be7/ 4. Nf3, Nf6/ 5. Bg5, h6/ 6. Bh4, 0-0/ 7. Rc1 dxc4 (TN according to Karpov)/ 8. e3, c5/ 9. Bxc4, cxd4/ 10. exd4, Nc6/ 11. 0-0, Nh5!/ 12. Bxe7, Nxe7/ 13. Bb3, Nf6/ 14. Ne5, Bd7/ 15. Qe2, Rc8/ 16. Ne4, Nxe4/ 17. Qxe4, Bc6!/ 18. Nxc6, Rxc6/ 19. Rc3, Qd6/ 20. g3,Rd8/ 21. Rd1, Rb6/ 22. Qe1, Qd7/ 23. Rcd3, Rd6/ 24. Qe4, Qc6/ 25. Qf4, Nd5/ 26. Qd2, Qb6/ 27. Bxd5, Rxd5/ 28. Rb3, Qc6/ 29. Qc3, Qd7/ 30. f4, b6/31. Rb4, b5/ 32. a4, bxa4/ 33. Qa3, a5/ 34. Rxa4, Qb5 /35. Rd2, e5/ 36. fxe5, Rxe5/ 37. Qa1, Qe8!!/ 38. dxe5, Rxd2/ 39. Rxa5, Qc6/ 40. Ra8+, Kh7/ 41. Qb1+, g6/ 42. Qf1, Qc5+/ 43. Kh1, Qd5+/ White resigned.


Chessic Unrest (my own) and the 1978 W.Ch. Match

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I have got over 400 Chess books in several languages (English, Russian, German, Spanish, Serbocroat, Estonian, Czech, Hungarian). Many of them are devoted to strategy, tactics,planning,endgames,calculation of variations and so on.  But sometimes it seems that the more you read/study the less you seem to understand about how Chess is played.

(The 1978 World Chess Championship was full of tension. There were excellent games, short draws, less goods games and interesting situations. Karpov was the Soviet World Chess Champion. His opponent, V. Korchnoi had left the USSR slamming the door, and was an enemy of the state.


This position is from the 3rd game  (White: Korchnoi) which ended in a draw.  Here Korchnoi played 21. g4. Nevertheless, analysts pointed out 21. f5  as the blow leading to White’s victory. Others found a defence for Black -Do your own work on the position-. After  21. g4 , Qc7 22. f5? (It is not the same!) Here Salo Flohr pointed out that the winning manoeuvre started with  22. Rh3! (IF 22…, Kg7/ 23. f5 , Ng8  24. f6!)  22. .. , ef5!/   and it was a draw on move 30th. )


And I have realised that the leading GMs and the World champions, may have written a lot of books, analysed hundreds of game, but if you take the whole work, you will realise how little information it contains about their thinking process. Either they did not want to give away any secret or simply they are at a loss for words as to how the process takes place. Many analysis,many ideas post-game, but NO INSIGHT into the work of their Chess minds (lots of references to “intuition” though…

5th game after 75...Ka8

(This famous  position if from the 5th game. (W.: Korchnoi) and it ended in stalemate on move 124. The position was analyse by Averbakh in 1954. Black draws no matter if he has to move first!. Evidently, both players knew it. But their relations were far  from  “heartfelt”…)


Concerning the above mentioned matter of the top GMs , some questions assault me:

1.- Perhaps things are not so straightforward and methodical in the GMs Chess minds?

2.- Perhaps the only thing we can do is to study Chess letting our intuition work alone afterwards?

3.- Maybe we can extract a lot of considerations but it is impossible to describe any Ches thinking process unless we make suppositions?.

4.-Perhaps the only explanation as how top  GMs are able to play is that of   “I simply  saw it”?.

5.- Maybe books contain too many  “because’s” but very few  “how’s?.

  7th game


(This position is from the 7th game of the Baguio match. (W.: Korchnoi). Apparently Black’s position seems much better and some GMs present thought Karpov was winning. They were suddenly awoken when after Korchnoi’s sealed move was made: 42. Qh8  a draw was immediately declared.  Both camps had made their homework and though the analysis contains some complicated lines,  it shows there is no way of winning. At least, that was the conclusion.

The following moment I want to recall took place when in the 10th game, Karpov introduced a novelty in a well-known line in the Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game):

W.: Karpov

B.: Korchnoi

Chess World Championship 1978

1. e4 , e5 /2. Nf3 , Nc6 /3. Bb5 , a6 /4. Ba4 , Nf6 /5. 0-0 , Nxe4 / 6. d4 , b5 / 7. Bb3, d5 / 8. de5 , Be6  /9. Nbd2 , Nc5 / 10. c3 , d4 / 11. Ng5 !!?.  Korchnoi found his way through the complications and the game ended in a draw in 44 moves.

This line was played later in other GM games. The curious thing is that once I saw the game I decided I had to play it one way or another. .. But I had to wait around 20 years (!) to have the opportunity of using it in one of my CC games. Incidentally, I won that game thanks to a last-minute imprecision on my opponent’s part…

The last position I want to show is from the 22nd game (W.: Karpov), when the score was 4-2 in Karpov’s favour. Had he won this game, perhaps it would have meant a somewhat easier victory instead of the disaster he was about to suffer in the final part of the match (in the last six games, Karpov lost 3 of them allowing Korchnoi to level the score 5-5. At last, Karpov won the 32nd game and kept the world title…

 22 game  W.: Karpov

The game continued: 30. f5, Ng4 / 31.Ne3!, Nf6 / 32. d5, Nxh3/ 33. d6, Rd7 / 34. Nd5!, Nxd5 / 35. Rxd5 , Ra8 / 36. Be3, Ng5 / 37. Bb6, Ne4 / 38. Rfd1, a4 / 39. R5d4, Re8 / 40. Rxb4, Rxd6 / 41. Rxd6, Nxd6/  And here Karpov could have sealed his next move. If that had been 42. Rxa4 Korchnoi would have resigned according to M.Stean, one of his seconds at Baguio. Instead, Karpov played on and spoiled the victory! : 42. Bc7?! Re1/ 43. Kc2 Ne8 / 44. Ba5, a3 / 45. Rb8 , Re7 /46 Bb4??   definitively spoiling the game! . Larsen wrote “46.ba3 wins , 46. b4 wins”.  The game ended in a draw  in 64 moves…


Have the reader ever felt the pains I have here exposed?. It’s a real nightmare. This is why , from time to time, one gets the odd feeling that one knows nothing at all of Chess. How can it be possible and continue living????


Now one game from Baguio 1978:

W.: A. Karpov (1)

B.: V. Korchnoi (0)

Baguio 1978. World Championship Match.

1.e4, e5 / 2. Nf3 Nc6 / 3. Bb5 ,a6 / 4. Ba4 , Nf6 /5. 0-0 , Nxe4 /6. d4 , b5 / 7. Bb3 , d5 / 8. de5 , Be6 /9. c3 , Bc5 / 10. Nbd2 , 0-0 / 11. Bc2 , Bf5 / 12. Nb3 , Bg4 / 13. h3 , Bh4 / 14. g4 , Bg6 / 15. Bxe4 , de4 /16. Nxc5 , ef3/ 17. Bf4, Qxd1 / 18. Raxd1 , Nd8! /19. Rd7, Ne6 /20. Nxe6, fe6/ 21. Be3 Rac8 /22. Rfd1 , Be4 /23. Bc5 , Rfe8/ 24. R7d4, Bd5?! /25. b3 , a5 /26. Kh2, Ra8 / 27. Kg3, Ra6? (27…Bc6 -Larsen) / 28. h4, Rc6 ( according to Larsen, the decisive mistake)   /29. Rxd5!, ed5/ 30. Rxd5, Rce6 / 31. Bd4, c6 /32. Rc5, Rf8/ 33. a4!, ba4 / 34. ba4, g6  /  35. Rxa5, R6e8/ 36. Ra7, Rf7 / 37. Ra6!, Rc7 / 38. Bc5, R7f8 / 39. Bd6, Ra8 / 40. Rxc6, Rxa4 / 41. Kxf3, h5/  (Adjourned)   42. gh5 , gh5 / 43. c4, Ra7 / 44. Rb6, Kf7 / 45. c5, Ra4/ 46. c6, Ke6/ 47. c7, Kd7/ 48. Rb8, Rc8/  49. Ke3 , Rxh4/ 50. e6!   and Korchnoi resigned.

To make justice to Korchnoi, I include the excellent endgame he won in the 29th game. (You can learn a lot trying to guess White´s moves and trying to understand all the possibilities.):

 29th game Position after 40…, Be7/

W.: Korchnoi (1)

B.: Karpov (0)

29th Game

41. Rh6, Kf7/ 42. Rh7, Kf8 / 43. Rh8, Kf7 / 44. Bd2,Nf8/ 45. Rh1, Kg6/ 46. Rd1, f5   (Defending actively. Larsen believes this is a conceptual mistake and advocates a passive defence) 47.Nf2, Bd6 / 48. Bc3, Nd7 /49. gf5, ef5/    50. g4!,  Nb6/ 51. Kf3, Be7/ 52. Ba5, Rf6/ 53. Kg2, fg4 / 54. Nxf4, Re6/ 55. Kf3, Bf6 / 56. Nxf6, Rxf6 / 57. Kg4!, Nc8 / 58. Bd8!, Tf4 / 59. Kg3, Rf5 / 60. a4, Kf7 / 61. Rd3, Re5 /62. Kg4, Kg6 /63. a5, Re4 / 64. Kf3, Tf4 / 65. Ke3, Rh4/ 66. Rd5, Rh3 / 67. Kd2!, Rxb3/ 68. Rxc5, Rb8/ 69. Rc6, Kf5 / 70. Rxa6, g4/ 71. Rf6, Ke4/ 72. Bc7!, Rb2/ 73. Kc3, Rb7/ 74. Bh2, Rh7/ 75. Bb8, Rb7/ 76. Bg3, Rb1/ 77. Rf4!, Ke3/ 78. Rf8, Ne7 / 79. a6 and Karpov resigned. 


Boris Spassky.

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World Champ. Spassky

“I am not afraid of having nothing . I’m afraid of having nothing and being ill.”  Boris Spassky is supposed to have said this after having to flee to Moscow from his home in France, where apparently he was being ill-treated/abused. He made no open accusation but everybody knows who he was referring to. His son tried to intervene and bring him back to France but he did not accept it an remained in Russia (Moscow) under the care of the people who had helped  and saved him. The untimely and unfortunate intervention of his sister in a strange press conference was also dismissed by Boris and helped to compose a curious scenery of near conspiration against him. I BELIEVE HIM. The only thing I would like to hear now is that he is completely recovered from the second stroke he suffered around two years ago. (The following link  very kindly provided by one of the readers, Mr.Wychodzca may be very useful:

When one has lost everything, one may realise that one may hardly need anything … except some tenderness and support from a very few- perhaps only one person- people. And one must learn , the hard way, that one may have done everything right and , nonetheless, the final result is wrong…  Maybe in these moments one of the signals of intelligence is learning to keep on living with all those painful and nearly unbearable thorny uncertainties life throws in our paths. If we accept that life implies constant change it is easy to deduce that when we are in those lovely rosy days the only possible change is for the worse. But the opposite is also true… Some people call this “hope”. To me is sheer survival. Some people also say hope should be the last thing to lose. I think if you even lose it, then you must try to strongly keep,at least , your dreams.Some people keep on calling this  “hope” again…

Professional chessplayers, even those charismatic World Champions, are ,primarily, human beings. Like you and  me. All right, we tend to see them as “very fortunate” and so on. Indeed,  they are Chess geniuses. But they are men and women with feelings. And feelings can be shared, but can also be hurt and even destroyed.

In 1966 the Chess World Championship match featured the clash between “iron” Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian and Boris Vasilievich Spassky who had managed to qualify after beating  Keres ,Geller and Tal in the Candidates’ matches. Petrosian was considered the representative of the ultra-positional/solid style while Boris’ style was universal, fresh, aggressive… Many cliches have been repeated ad nauseam as if they were absolute truths. But Gligoric wrote that Petrosian was an excellent tactician, and that one can only become Champion of the World after winning many games against the best chessplayers in the world.  As everybody acknowledges, Petrosian was an overwhelming strategist too. So, they were the best players in the world at that moment.

Spassky lost the match by one point (12.5 – 11.5). Some people believe he tried to meet his opponent in the wrong battlefield…

In 1969, after three new Candidates’ Matches, Spassky was again knocking at Petrosian’s door. The match took place from April 14th to June 17th, once more in Moscow. This time Spassky had learnt the lesson. Gligoric wrote that the events in the match had helped to create an Armageddon atmosphere. The match was a terrible fight, with both players out for blood while the supporters on both sides held the breath one game after another. No more “fencing courtesy” , total struggle for the sake of it. The 17th game was the key turning point. With a total score of 3-3 so far and a maximum of 8 games to go, Spassky manages to win that game in 58 moves. After a draw in 60 moves in the 18th, Spassky won the 19th (the most famous one of the match) in 24 moves leaving Petrosian trailing down. But the wily Armenian won the 20th ( clear signal of the dramatic events taking place in   the match) in 50 moves and Spassky answered back winning the 21st in 53!. The 22nd was a draw and  in the 23rd Spassky offered a draw to sentence the match because in case of rejecting the offer, Petrosian would have had to face a new defeat… This World Championship match deserves close study. Sometimes beauty , learning and truth are hidden while everybody repeats what other people say or do  without an inkling of independent thought.

The truth  we may learn will be that we will be able to  discover on our own and by ourselves, not what other people say they have discovered for us…

W.: T. Petrosian (0)

B.: B. Spassky (1)

Moscow 1969. World Championship Match

1. c4 , e6  2. d4, d5  3. Nc3, Be7  4. Nf3, Nf6  5. Bf4, c5   6. dc5, Na6   7. e3, Nxc5   8. cd5, ed5   9. Be2, 0-0   10. 0-0      , Be6  11. Be5, Rc8  12. Rc1, a6  13. h3, b5 14. Bd3?, d4!   15. Bxd4, Nxd3  16.Qxd3, Bc4   17. Qb1, Bxf1   18. Rxf1, Nd5   19. Ne2, Bf6  20. Rd1, Qc7   21. Bxf6, Nxf6   22. Nfd4, Qe5   23. Qd3, Rfd8  24. a4!, ba4   25. Ra1, Ne4!   26. Qxa6, Ra8  27. Qd3, Re8  28. Nf4, g6  29. Qa3, Qf6  30. Nd3, Rec8   31. Rd1, Rc4   32. b4, Rac8   33. b5, Rc3   34. Qa1, Rxd3!   35. Rxd3, Qxf2   36. Kh2, Qg3   37. Kg1,  Qf2   38. Kh2, Qg3   39. Kg1, Nf2   40. Nc6,  Nxh3   41. Kh1, Nf2   42. Kg1, Nxd3  43. Ne7, Kf8  44. Nxc8, Qxe3/ White resigned.

From the recent Spanish Chess Team 1st Div. Championship, León, Spain, the following confrontation:

W.: Lenier Dominguez (2734) (1)

B.: R. Ponomariov (2735) (0)

1. e4, e5   2. Nf3, Nc6   3.Bb5, Nf6  4. 0-0, Nxe4  5. d4, Nd6   6. Bxc6, dc6    7. de5, Nf5   8. Qxd8, Kxd8   9. h3, Ke8   10. Nc3,  h5   11.Ne2, b6   12. Rd1, Ba6   13. Nf4,   Rd8  14. Bd2,  Nd4   15. Nxd4, Rxd4   16. a4,  Bc8  17. a5, c6   18. Be3, Rxd1   19. Rxd1, b5  20. Nd3, Be7  21. Bc5, Bd8  22. Nb4, Rh6  23. f4, f5  24. c3, Bh4  25. Rd3, Rg6  26. Kh2, Bb7  27. Nc2,  Bc8  28. g3, Bd8  29. h4, Be6  30. Nb4, Bc8  31. Rd2, Bb7   32. Rd1, Bc8   33. Rh1, Bb7  34. Kg2, Be7  35. Nd3, Bd8  36. Kf2, Rh6  37. Re1, Bc8   38. Nb4, Kf77  39. Rd1, Ke8  40. Re1, Kf7   41. Re3,  Rg6   42. Ke2, Rh6  43. Kd2, Rg6  44. b3, Rh6  45. c4, Rg6  46. Kc3, Rh6  47. Nc2, Re6  48. Nd4, Re8  49. Rd3, bc4   50. bc4, Bd7  51. Re3, Be7  52. Bxe7, Kxe7   53. e6, Bc8  54. Kb4, Kf6  55. Kc5, Bb7  56. Nxc6, g6  57. e7, Ba8   58. Re5, Bb7  59. Nd8,  Bg2  60. Nc6, Kf7  61. Nb4  Rxe7  62. Rxe7, Kxe7  63. Nxa6 , Kd8  64. Nb4, Ba8  65. Nc6, Kc8  66. a6  , Black resigned.


Written by QChess

November 22, 2012 at 7:43 am

Mijail M. Botvinnik: deviatii diagonal*

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* “the ninth diagonal

My feelings towards Botvinnik are , today in 2012, contradictory. Some 30 years ago Botvinnik’s games taught me the art of planning in Chess. You may know strategy, you may be able to play combinations, calculate variations, etc. But one day you realize you are not progressing… That happened to me: I could understand any positional game, no matter if that was played by Petrosian or Karpov. And?. And you have to learn how to  make plans and integrate them in the framework of a chessgame. I even discovered , on my own, that planning was not only referred to “strategical planning”, and realized there was also “tactical planning” : I called it “tactical strategy” .

(I will explain my method of training with Botvinnik’s games later. )

Botvinnik was the first Soviet chessplayer in becoming World Champion of Chess. He was an exceptional strong player: hard-working, talented, with a scientifical mind he applied to Chess, absolutely self-disciplined and goal-oriented, with a deep positional knowledge and accurate calculation skills, able to study and prepare in a systematic unprecedented way, who spent much time devoted to his engeneering work and was able to keep ready for the Chess battles holding secret matches at home… He also made a thorough study of the openings and the typical middlegame positions stemming from them

Botvinnik learnt Chess at 12, and became a GM in 1950. Champion of the Soviet Union in seven times.  In 1948 a match-tournament was decided as the way to find the Chess World Champion. Alekhine had died two years before and the old method of choosing a challenger died with him as FIDE took over the ruling of the Chess world. The “chosen few” were Botvinnik, Smyslov, Keres, Reshevsky, Fine and Euwe. Reuben Fine declined to take part and when the smoke of the battle cleared Botvinnik had won the event.

In 1955 he defended the title against Bronstein and retained it because the rule was that in the case of a final tie the Champion retained the crown (later Bronstein hinted at having suffered some sort of pressure not to win the match…)

In 1954 the same happened in his match with Smyslov: a final tie with Mijail Moiseyevich retaining the crown…

In 1957, Smyslov defeated him becoming Champion of the World. For cases like this , Botvinnik had secured a return match in a year’s time. In 1958 he regained the title.

In 1960 Tal beat him but in 1961, again in a return match, Botvinnik defeated his opponent… Again World Champion.

In 1963 Petrosian defeated him this time with no return match. It was said that Bovinnik never forgave FIDE for such a “treason”.


Botvinnik had to learn to live -as the rest of the USSR citizens- in the terrible Stalinist era. Apparently he knew how to do it. He was the Chess “blue-eyed-boy” of the regime, and he knew how to move his pieces on the political board too. Not only in the Keres’ controversy, but also when he feared he could not be taken as the best to play against Alekhine… Apart from Stalin himself – remember Chess was  a “matter of state” in the former USSR, it seemed he was in good relations with names like V. Snegirov, Nikolai Krylenko (1885-1938), People’s Commissar of Justice and Prosecutor General of the RSSFR and, in the 30’s,  also head of several sports associations,with  Chess among them. The last was V. Molotov (1890-1986): Stalin’s protegee, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, Minister of Foreign Affairs, First Deputy Premier.

Many pages have been written about all this. I have my own opinion, of course… But curiously enough, all his political influences could not prevent him from being excluded of the Soviet Union Chess Team for the Helsinki Chess Olympiad. Botvinnik explained that was due to two bad results (The Maroczy Memorial and the USSR Chess Championship) but he was far from pleased since he wrote that the decision was taken in a “strange way” by voting it among the rest of Team members : Bronstein, Keres, Smyslov, Boleslavsky and Geller (remember what had happened with Keres before, and later with Bronstein…) The result of the “poll” was unanimously against him with a blank ballot (!) .-So he would never know who to really blame for the offence!-.

Botvinnik had a natural talent for strategy and planning. He tried to find an “opponent-proof”  opening repertoire focusing on the English/ Catalan/ QG as White and the French as Black . Against the QP he used several defences within QGD boundaries but also the Grünfeld though one of his pet lines was the Dutch. He made a great contribution to the theory of the middlegame systematizing many positions and procedures.

The two big questions which will never be answered are:

– Is the Bronstein story true?

-What happened in the Keres case?

The same I said in the post about Keres (nº. 2) I believe happened -if it really happened- with Bronstein.

The Soviet authorities had many ways to do things. They did not bother to kill Petrov as you know. In the Keres case, he knew what he had to do to survive and did it. In the Bronstein case I suppose the adequate hints operated the miracle. But we will never knew the truth. In the case of chessplayers nobody can explain why some suffered such criminal treatment while others could speak even criticize openly without too many problems.

Well, going back to Chess, I must say that Karpov had taught me how strategy worked in practice but Botvinnik taught me how strategy worked in theory...


If you want to use my method, follow the folowing steps:

1.- Copy a Botvinnik game in a sheet of paper in columns.

2.- Play the first ten-twelve moves on the board.

3.- Cover Botvinnik’s moves with a paper and try to find them one by one. Once you ave cosen your move (the move you think Botvinnik played, uncover it and check it against he move you chose.

4.- Once you have finished the exercise, replay the game writing down why you thik Botvinnik played each move.

You can obtain the percentage of the moves you managed to guess following this method:

-take the total number of moves of the game.

-take down the number of opening moves you played.

-add two zeroes to the number of moves you have guessed.

-divide this number by the number you got in step two.

For instance: let’s suppose the total number of moves was 40. You played ten opening moves. So, 40 -10 = 30.

20+oo = 20000

If you have guessed 20 moves, then 2000/30= %

A percentage 0f 70% or + is excellent.

This is the way I used to train.


P.S.  The blog has been flooded by spam comments so from now on it will be necessary to register to leave a comment.

I hope you understand this decision and encourage you to leave comments. Thank you very much indeed..- Questchess.

Tigran Petrosian: The Wizard of Chess Strategy

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In the previous post I mentioned that when I began to play CC at last I could speak of having a Chess trainer. Indeed it was so. I will never forget the friendship Herr Fritz Oppenrieder, from Heidenau  in the former East Germany , showed to me. A Master of Chess, he played lots of postal games with me, sent East German Chess books to me too and exchanged ideas for some years -I am speaking of the late eighties of the 20th century- . When I came across him -we were paired together in a match- , he lived alone, and he made me realize that if one day he stopped writing that would mean… Well, you can guess. We spoke about Chess, chessplayers -I mentioned him my admiration for his fellow-contryman GM. Uhlmann, we tried openings, and so on. I have always considered him as my Chess Trainer and he seemed happy of finding a “disciple” in the last part of his life. I never knew who took charge of his affairs after his death. I tried to find but had no success at all . This is why I would like to contact GM Uhlmann to try to sheed light on this and ask himif he remembers Herr Fritz Oppenrieder, but so far I have been unable to . – Any ideas?- . Somebody said that a man never dies until the last man who knew him disappears too. In this case, I prefer thinking that my Friend Fritz is still there…

My first Chess book was the collection of Petrosian games by Alberik O’Kelly. I cannot say how many times I will have read the book and replayed the games. But that was my “fire trial” and I began to try to understand the art of positional Chess. That book is one of my treasures.

Petrosian was born in Tbilisi (Georgia, USSR) in an Armenian family. His childhood was far from easy. After 1946 he moved to Erevan (Armenia, USSR) and a few years later he established himself definitively in Moscow. As most other Soviet chessplayers he started to play at the famous Pioneers’ Palace, pride of the Soviet system.

In 1951 he became IM, and in 1953 he achieved the GM title. Many commonplaces and tales has been written and copied from author to author about him. In fact his Chess career is impressive, and his games are full of lessons not only in the field of defence. People speak of him as a “tame” player, a drawish GM, etc. I am going to give a short account of his Chess career:

Petrosian won 4 Soviet Championships: 1959 , 1961, 1969 (tied first) and 1975 losing two games all in all. He was Champion of Armenia, of Georgia, of Moscow, played in many team events with outstanding results, played in ten Chess Olympiads with an overall result of  +78 -1 =50 (losing a single game):  Münich 1958,  Leipzig 1960, Varna 1962, Tel-Aviv 1964,  Havana 1966, Lugano 1968,  Siegen 1970,  Skopje 1972,  Nice 1974 and Buenos Aires 1978. He won  nine team gold medals, one team silver medal and six individual gold medals… He played in Interzonal and Candidates’ Tournaments and reached the World Chess Championship in 1963 by beating no other than Botvinnik by +5 -2 =15.  In 1966 he defeated the challenger Spassky and in 1969 he lost to the same Spassky after being World Champion for nine years. This cannot be the story of a tame chessplayer,  rather of a little understood and greatly misinterpreted one…

Petrosian was an excellent tactician, a strong blitz player who excelled at prophylaxis and preventive thinking, who lost very few games throughout his career. He declared that his aim was “…restriction of the opponent’s possibilities, strategic play over the whole board, gradual tightening of the ring around the enemy king”. He was able to carry out a “constant assessment and reassessment of the hierarchy of the strategic factors” with a broad view free of any sort of prejudices. Of course he showed a tendency for dry positional games, but he was also able to restore to tactics whenever necessary, and mastered the art of the exchange sacrifice. In the same way I must say he, by nature, was a defensive player with all the shades this imply…

You have to be an extremely strong chessplayer to become Champion of the World, Champion of the USSR, to play -and win-  in tens of team events, scores of tournaments, etc. Of course, he preferred closed positions to impose his overwhelming strategical  knowledge without being bothered by sudden tactics. And you must be very good to impose this style on your world-class opponents.

Petrosian could apparently do nothing for hours on end, constantly manoeuvring, with his opponents deprived of any trace of counterplay or even activity. Then, of a sudden , the enemy position collapses and he cashes in on it. He understood the laws of Chess strategy a different way other players did. He never rushed, but manoeuvred back and forth waiting for the least drawback in the opponent’s moves. Once he managed to break the coordination of the opponent’s forces or compel him to commit his position -to defend himself from positional threads-  in one way or another, then the situation was ripe for a deadly attack. Like a Zen monk, he apparently did nothing so that everything would be done. But in Chess this “doing nothing”  is absolutely difficult, because you have to move on your turn. The key lies in his extreme ability to get control of the position depriving the opponent of any possibility of active plans/moves, foreseeing any possible threat well in advance and while keeping one’s position firmly coordinate.

You may like Petrosian’s style or not. But I believe that one should study his games to become a much better chessplayer.

On the other hand, is it possible ,with the present state of Chess, to play like Petrosian?. Well, the matter is not to play like Petrosian but to learn the strategical,positional and defensive lessons he left for us. (You cannot play like Morphy either, but you can learn how attacking ideas and combinations work, for instance.  Please, understand what I say.).

But here a curious thing appears: in correspondence chess, with the intrusion of the programs, many people are trying to find how to play against them -or the opponent aided by them-. Have a try at Petrosian approach to Chess by studying his games and perhaps you could learn a lesson or two… (I have revealed enough!)


W: Furman (0)

B.: Petrosian (1)

USSR Chess Championship 1961

1.  d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. h3 Nf6 6. Be3 c6 7. Bd3 Qc7 8. 0-0 e5 9. Re1 Nbd7 10.a4 Re8              11. Qd2 b6 12. Rad1 a6 13. Ra1 Bb7 14. de5: de5: 15. Bh6 Qd6 16. Bg7: Kg7: 17. Qe3 b5 18. Bf1 Qb4 19. Nd1 Qe7  20. Nd2 Nc5 21. Nc3 Rad8 22. b4 Ne6 23. Na2 Nd4 24. Qc3 ba4: 25. Bd3 Nh5 26. Nc4 Nf4 27. Bf1 c5              28. bc5: Qc5: 29. Nc1 Bc6 30. Qa3 Qa3: 31. Na3: Nh3: 32. Kh2 Nf2: 33. Bd3 Nb3 34. Rb1 Nc5 35. Rb6 Ncd3: 36. cd3: Nd3: 37. Nd3: Rd3: 38. Rc6: Ra3: 39. Rc7 Re6 40. Ra7 Ra2 41. Re3 Rf6 / White resigns

W.: Petrosian (1)

B.: Stean (0)

Moscow 1975

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cd5: Nd5: 5. e4 Nc3: 6. bc3: Bg7 7. Bc4 0-0 8. Ne2 b6 9. h4 Nc6 10. h5 Na5          11. Bd3 e5 12. hg6: hg6: 13. Bh6 f6 14. Qd2 Qe7 15. 0-0-0 Be6 16. d5 Bd7 17. Rh2 Rf7 18. Rdh1 Re8 19. f4 c6  20. fe5: Qe5: 21. Nf4 g5 22. Ng6 Qd6 23.Bg7: Rg7: 24. e5 Re5: 25. dc6:  Bc6: 26. Ne5: Qe5: 27. Rh8  Kf7       28. Rf1 Be4 29. Qe1  and Black resigned

W.: Petrosian (1)

B.: Guimard (0)

Gothenburg (Itz) 1955

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. e3 0-0 6. Bd3 dc4: 7. Bc4: c5 8. 0-0 a6 9. a4 Nc6 10. b3 cd4:              11. ed4: Nb4 12. Ne5 Bd7 13. Bb2 Bc6 14. Qd2 Nbd5 15. Nc6: bc6: 16 Na2 Qb8 17 Nc1 Bb4 18. Qc2 Bd6               19. g3 Rd8  20. Qe2 Nb4 21. Rd1 Nfd5 22. Qe4 Be7 23. Ne2 Bf6 24. Kg2 A5 25. Ng1 Qb7 26. Nf3 Rab8                27. Rac1 h6  28. Kg1 Nb6  29. Be2 N6d5 30. Nd2 Bg5 31. Rc5 Be7 32. Ra5: Na2 33. Bd3 g6 34. Qf3 Qc7           35. Rc5 Be7   36. dc5: Nab4  37. Bc4 f5 38. Re1 Qe7 39. Qe2 Re8 40. Nf3 Kh7 41. Qe5 Qc7 42. Qe2 Qe7           43. h4. Nf6 44. Be6: Ne4 45. Nd4 Rbd8 46. h5 Rd4: 47. hg6: Kg6: 48. Bf5 Kf5: 49. Qh5 Ke6 50. Qg4 Kd5      51. Qf5 Qe5 52. Qd7 Kc5: 53. Rc1 Nc3 54. Rc3: Kb6 55. a5 Ka5: 56. Qa7 Kb5 57. Qb7 Ka5 58. Rc1 Rd1             59. Rd1: Qb2: 60. Qa7 Na6 61. b4 Kb4:  62 Qb6  and Black resigned . One of his favourite games. 

“The Art of Doing Nothing…” (A. O’Kelly):

W.: Petrosian (1)

B.: Cardoso (0)

Portoroz (Itz) 1958

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 d5 5. a3 Bc3: 6. bc3:  c5 7. cd5: ed5: 8. Bd3 0-0 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. 0-0 Re8         11. f3 cd4 12. cd4 b6 13. Bd2 Bb7 14. Ng3 Rc8 15. Rb1 Rc7 16. Qa4 g6 17. Rfc1 Re6 18. Rc2 Qe8 19. Nf1 Kg7              20. Rbc1 Qd8 21. Bb5 Qa8 22. Bd3 Rd7 23. Ng3 Rdd6 24. Kb1 Nd7 25. Qb3 Qd8 26. Ne2 Qh4 27. Qb2 Nf6         28. Rf1 Re8 29. Bb5 Kg8 30. Qc1 Rc8 31. e4 de4: 32. Bg5 Qh5 33.Ng3 ef3: 34. Nh5: fg2: 35. Rg2: Nh5:             36. Qc4 Nd8 37. Qb4 Re6 38. Kg1 Bg2: 39. Kg2: Re4 40. Kf3 a5 41. Qd2  Black resigned.

A much laboured upon topic has been Nimzowitsch’s influence on Petrosian. In fact Petrosian learnt many things from Nimzowitsch: prophylaxis, overprotection,blockade, attack on same colour square complex, the art of defence, etc. But all that passed through the sieve of the Soviet Chess School and its methods of training/work. It is normal that such a complex personality may create different , sometimes opposite, definitions. Thus while most authors see the Nimzowitsch influence, others have compared him to Capablanca. This is normal: after all, all top chessplayers have absorbed, assimilated and integrated the teachings of their predecessors.

Nimzowitsch would have been proud of the following game, which shows  a trench warfare, overprotection, manoeuvring and the final collapse of the opponent’s position:

W.: Olafsson (0)

B.: Petrosian (1)

Bled 1961

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Qd7 5. Qg4 f5 6. Qg3 b6 7. h4 Bb7 8. Bd3 Nc6 9. Ne2 0-0-0 10. Nd2 Nh6    11. a3 Be7 12. Bb5 Rdg8 13. Qd3 Nf7 14. 0-0-0 Kb8 15. Nf4 Qc8 16. Nce2 Ncd8 17. Qb3 c6 18.Bd3 c5 19. dc5: Bc5: 20. Nh3 Ne5: 21. Bf4 Nf7 22. Bb5 Ka8 23. Nd4 Ng6 24. Rb4 ef4: 25. Bd7 Qf8 26. Rd4: e5 27. Rb4 ef4:  28. Rb6: Nfe5 29. Rb7: Kb7: 30. h5 Qd6 31. hg6: Qd7: 32. Qf4 Ng6: / White resigned.

The last game is a strategical masterpiece:

W.: Petrosian (1)

Black: Gufeld (0)

27th USSR Chess Championship 1960

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 0-0 5. Nf3 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 (the “Petrosian Variation”), … Nh5 8. g3 Na6 9. Nd2 (preventing Black’s …Nc5 followed by … a5) ,… Nf6 10. h4!  (prevents 10… Bh6 : 11.h5!),… c6 11. Nb3    (controls c5) … Nc7 12. Bg5  cd5:  (forced to avoid a weak Pawn after White’s dc6)   13. cd5: h6   (By piling up positional threats Petrosian carries out a clever plan: he will play Bf6: eliminating a Knight and then Bxc8 -leaving Black with a passive Bishop + Knight while keeping his beloved Knights to increase his pressure on the enemy’s position. A study in how to handle positions with this type of centre.)    14. Bf6:!   Qf6: 15. Bg4! h5  16. Bc8: Rac8: (Now the plan will be to pose threats against the Queen side .Black will have to defend it at the cost of  breaking his piece coordination)   17. Qe2 Bh6 18. Na5 Rb8 19. 0-0 Rfc8  (better was …Ng7 and open up the position.But Petrosian’s ability causes his opponents to commit mistakes. Here Black is  enticed into playing on the Q-side passively, instead of defending counterattacking on the K-side. Gufeld was an excellent tactician and an expert in the King’s Indian…)   20. a4 Qd8 21. Nc4 Ne8 22. Ra2 Qc7 23. b3 Qd7 24. Kg2   (White places his pieces on white squares to get control of them because of the lack of Black c8 Bishop Please note how Petrosian attacks  using those squares: occupying c6, attacking d6, etc.)   Rc5?! 25. Rb1 Rcc8 26. Rc2 Nc7 27. Rbb2 Rf8 28. b4 Ne8 29. a5 Ng7 30. a6! ba6 31. Na5 f5 32. Nc6 Rbe8 33. Nb1!  Kh7 34. Rb3 fe4 35. Qe4: Rf5 36. Ra3 Qb7 37. Nc3 Ref8 38. Qc4 Rf3 39. Ra6: Be3 40. Ne4 Bh6 41. Ra7: and Black resigned. 


Written by QChess

April 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

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