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Fighting Defense

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | Feb 9, 2012
  • | 10570 views
  • | 31 comments

Chess isn’t all about winning games as if proving mathematical theorems. It isn’t all about obtaining an advantage through superior preparation and then using technique to coast to victory. A big part of chess strength is craftiness in the heat of battle, and – often – saving inferior or lost games by setting the biggest possible obstacles in front of the opponent. No matter how strong a player, he can never see everything, and even the best can fall into an inferior or even lost position. Additionally, there is a chance that you may fall into a prepared line and be left with a worse – or even lost – position.

If there were no chances for the side with the disadvantage to come back, then our beloved game would be nothing but arithmetic. Chess is a battle, as Emanuel Lasker saw it; the players are human and always will be. No matter how great is your preparation with Houdini or Rybka or whatever, provided your opponent did not commit a major blunder, it will never give you more than a comfortable advantage. Then you are on your own.

This week I will show a game between Bobby Fischer and Tigran Petrosian. This game was a huge and complicated fight. The game could be called a “theoretical battle” if you will, because earlier in the tournament the same two players had played the same opening up to move thirteen. That said, it was a very toothless variation Fischer chose in which to make his stand – however, it is interesting to see how the players evaluated differently this basic position. After a couple inaccuracies, Fischer gets the worse of it. But then Petrosian begins to play badly, overestimating his position in the heat of the battle. By the time control at move forty, there are four queens on the board and Petrosian’s position is lost...

 

I originally was going to title this article "Petrosian's Fighting Defense", but then I realized that it didn't make sense, since Fischer spent at least the same amount of time in this game with a lost position! After the opening and early middlegame clearly went in Petrosian's favor, it appears he became quite careless, which was somewhat out of character. Winning in the same variation with black twice maybe made Petrosian a little self-satisfied, as if he was teaching his young opponent a lesson.

Whatever the reason, with a lot of help from Petrosian, Fischer managed to climb back in the game, and even obtain a won position. Then Petrosian dug in and found the only chances to hold on, with his crafty king march and the further maneuvers to create counterplay. Just when the pendulum had swung the opposite direction, the game was truncated. Most likely it would have ended in a draw anyway, after it was Fischer's turn for dour defense. I get the sense neither player was destined to win this game.

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    chessContact

    Just a thought on Fighting defense.

    Defense, or instict to survive, cannot and must not be purely passive resistance. As Clausewitz wrote, the defense is “not a simple shield, but a shield made up of well-directed blows.”

    The truly decisive element of the defense is the counterattack. Thus, the offense is an integral component of the concept of the defense.

    "Attack'", in Checkmate, performed by British Royal Ballet, 2007

    [more on attack and defense on my blog at http://iplayoochess.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/whats-superior-attack-or-defense/]

  • 3 years ago

    chessContact

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 3 years ago

    SaiKrishna_K

    Nice one..

  • 3 years ago

    OldChessDog

    "I have a complaint about the format, I've noticed this again and again and I am asking anyone more familiar than I am to redirect this to the right place if this is not where it belongs.  Why is the chess viewer window so short??? PLEASE MAKE IT LONGER..."

    Word has a feature where you can split the screen on a word document. I use it all the time. Would it be possible for the folks who design this site to add a similar feature? Don't know if it is, but I think pask brings up a good point.


  • 3 years ago

    waynedickinson2

    good  game to watch

  • 3 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    Er, is the Canadian gentleman below attempting to troll or flame?  I get the two confused sometimes. 

  • 3 years ago

    AllogenicMan

    Perhaps a more apt title for this particular game should've been: 'Early Attempts In Fishy Random Chess'[?] ...

    What I'd really like to know, though - was 48...Qh1 actually played in this game, or did Petrosian simply agree to the draw beforehand?

    Nonetheless, even though this example was truly a great strategically-thought out plan by both icons, I believe this game should've ultimately drawn out much earlier, perhaps somewhere around after move 20 or so.  Almost all the maneuvering leading from beyond that point was unnecessarily uncalled-for as Petrosian should've been able to rather [at least] easily draw with either the immediate 20...Nxb4!? or the simple 20...Rhf8[!].  This certainly was not one of Fischer's greatest games (nor of Petrosian's either, for the same matter), but perhaps aptly put - only one of his most memorable ones ...

    On a side note, for all the 'cry-babies' here who can't seem to wean themselves from reading between 'aesop lines' inside a boxed crib - for Christ's sake, get your thumbs out of your mouths and open your blurry eyes - or come up with your own - perhaps 'better[?]' - boxed-up annotations!

    And that's the way I see it! ...

  • 3 years ago

    elbowgrease

     awesome  :P 

  • 3 years ago

    pask

    SirBenjamin, thank you for passing my suggestion on to the staff.

    GargleBlaster, thanks for your support.  Let's see if we can get this improved, it should be simple to do.

  • 3 years ago

    khachik

    nice

  • 3 years ago

    ChessBrutality

    nice

  • 3 years ago

    novzki41

    How can Fischer play this type of game at age 16 against one of the greatest players ever? GOODNESS!!

    http://amisapremier.blogspot.com/

  • 3 years ago

    Matir

    thanksCool

  • 3 years ago

    SirBenjamin

    Pask, GargleBlaster, I've submitted a formal suggestion to staff.  I've had this same frustration many times over & glad to know I'm not alone. Smile

  • 3 years ago

    -simonus-

    I'm complete amateur, but I think even I can pull away a fairly comfortable win from that poisition. Black king is safe from all queen attacks and controls queens side pawns, black knight controls passed pawn on H. On other hand, black is threatening checks with queen and knight that can easily force a queen exchange and a win for black.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    I second pask's comments about the move window.  As is, the widget forces annotators to choose between an arbitrarily small (Twitter-esque, even) text limit or forcing readers to scroll awkwardly through in-depth commentary.

  • 3 years ago

    TwoMove

    Unlikely don't think Russians where eager to reward Fischer for anything at anytime.

  • 3 years ago

    -simonus-

    Its a draw, but isn't the game decided for the black with that last move? Did Petrosian just give away that win? I know something like that happens all the time. A master will award a younger player for a bold play with a draw.

  • 3 years ago

    Anubhav_2000

    very interesting

  • 3 years ago

    diogens

    Very interesting IM and thanks 4 thorough game annotations.

    Better white didn't promote the g pawn. 5 Queens OTB!!! Too much

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