Petrosian-Botvinnik, World Championship Game 5

Petrosian-Botvinnik, World Championship Game 5

Sep 24, 2015, 6:30 AM |

If there was a game I wish I had been able to play, it's this one. There are no specatular sacrifices or dazzling combinations. To me, this is high level chess. Clear, logical, overpowering. It is ... Petrosian.


I must have played through this game 10 times today, mesmerized by how Petrosian can get so much out of so little.


Petrosian writes: "Every chess player has games which he remembers especially well. One such for me is the fifth game of our match, and not only because it was my first victory over Botvinnik in official competitions. The game also saw a succesful opening experiment, which overturned the verdict of theory".

Opening Theory: Grunfeld 6. Be2



Here Petrosian writes at lengths of how 6. Be2 was condemend because of 6. ... e6. He had planned to use ideads of Makagonov with b4 at some stage.


Theory now considers 6. ... c5 best (rather then 6. ... dxc4).


Writes Petrosian of opening books: "However, the present example shows the funadmental weakness of many such opening books. Thei authors do not seek new paths in well-known variations, they do not pay attention to the characteristic modern device of transplanting ideas from one opening to another, but simply dole out unjustified exclaimation and question marks to extracts from old -often very old - games".


It's this level of attainment in chess understanding that I hope to strive for: using ideas from one system to apply to another. To me, that's expertise.

End Game after 11. ... fxe6


Petrosian recounts that impatient members of the press were already starting to pack up to go home.

He recounts that deep down he was not happy about this early simplication, but what could he do. His opponent had ideas, and so had he.

Legend had it that there was a story that he had told the press that he had announced at home beforehand that he could win this ending.

It is not so much that White will target the isolated e-pawn. It is the square in front of it that is key. I had seen this position in Chessimo's Strategy section, now I know where it came from.


Training Questions: White to Move

"Sharpening up a position that appears totally calm" - Petrosian.

Training Question: Find White's best move in this hypothetical position

Dream Endgame Position
This is such an instructive endgame position to model one's thinking on.
White's centralised army versus Black's scattered forced. 
"The Rook in the corner, and the bishop on the empty diagonal a5-e1, both seem to have abandoned their monarch to its fate" - Petrosian.

Training Question: Can you find Petrosian's sealed move as White

Training Question: White to move after hypothetical 45. ... Rxa4

Game Annotations and Analysis