Thursday, April 30, 2009

Great Rivalries: Petrosian vs. Larsen (Part 5)

Petrosian and Larsen met for the third time at the Nimzowitsch Memorial in Copenhagen. Petrosian dominated the tournament, scoring 11.5/14 against the largely weak opposition. Larsen could finish only fourth, behind Petrosian, Geller, and Stahlberg.

Tigran Petrosian-Bent Larsen
Copenhagen (Nimzowitsch Memorial) 1960

I am not sure about the order of moves at the beginning of this game. Chessbase gives a completely different sequence from that in P.H. Clarke's Petrosian's Best Games of Chess 1946-1963. In any event, Petrosian gained a large advantage with a menacing pawn majority on the kingside after some passive play from Larsen in another Old Indian. The position after 22 moves was:

There followed:

23. Qh5 Rxd3 24. Rxd3 Rd8

25. Nf6+!

Not the only winning move (25.Rg3 and 25.Rh3 also do the trick), but certainly the most pleasing one. The idea is that after 25.Rh3 Black's best, though still inadequate, defense is 25...h6. After 25.Nf6+ gxf6 26.Rh3, that move would just hang the h6-pawn and lead to mate in three.


If 25...Bxf6, Clarke gives 26. gxf6 Rxd3 27. Qg5 Kf8 28. fxg7+ Kg8 29.Ne4! when Black's best is 29...Qd8 30.Nf6+ Qxf6, which is completely lost after 31.exf6. In this line, 28. Qxg7+ Ke8 29. Qg8+ Kd7 30. Qxf7+ wins even more quickly.

26. Rh3 Kf8 27. Qxh7 Ke8 28. g6! Bf8 29. g7

By this time, almost everything wins: 29. e6, 29. exf6, 29. Ne4.

29...Bxg7 30. Qxg7 Qe7 31. Ne4 Rd1+ 32. Kf2 f5 33. Nf6+ Kd8 34. Rh8+ Kc7 35. Re8 1-0

Once again, Petrosian wins by trapping Larsen's queen.

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