Understanding before Moving 171: Chess history in a nutshell (52)

by ChessBase
3/31/2024 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 171st episode of his ChessBase show "Understanding before moving" Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and continues to take a look at the unique style of Tigran Petrosian, World Champion fro 1963 to 1969. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Tigran Petrosian (4)

If there was anyone who knew how to turn manoeuvring into an art, it was Petrosian. The ninth World Champion regularly chose the French opening to make use of his speciality. And especially in the system with ...b7-b6, in which Black ends up with little space, he was a true master of the appropriate placement of his pieces.

In this "shuffling" on the square centimetre, as the Dutch grandmaster Hans Ree once let slip, Petrosian excelled. Ree said that when he tried to imitate it himself, he sometimes suffered a painful defeat.

In this episode we see two fine examples of the former world champion using many subtle manoeuvres to knock his opponent off his stride. Having been fascinated by these games, I thought it would be nice to give it a try. So I swapped my favourite Sicilian for the French Defence in an Open Dutch Championship rapid, in which I had decided to answer 1.e4 consistently with 1...e6 and preferably with the ...b6 system of the old master.

That didn't go too badly for me, so a few months later I confidently took up this opening again in a classical game against IM Arthur Pijpers (NED) in a summer tournament in Ghent (Belgium). Actually, I should have been warned, because all my rapid games had been played on live boards, so chances were that he had prepared for this. Especially as Pijpers is known for his excellent opening preparations.

And indeed: I ran into the knife. He had prepared a great novelty with the help of the ChessBase Megadatabase and Stockfish, which more or less ended Black's set-up.

Obviously I could have played better than I did in the game, but the engine shows a large to decisive advantage in almost every line. To make the link from our modern times to the past, I naturally wondered how Petrosian would have stood up to all this violence after that amazing novelty in which White successively sacrificed a pawn, a knight and a rook...

Do you have any idea what formidable move Pijpers pulled out of his hat here?

Master Class Vol.13 - Tigran Petrosian

Considered a master of prophylaxis, Petrosian sensed dangers long before they actually became acute on the board. In his prime, Petrosian was almost invincible. Let our authors introduce you into the world of Tigran Petrosian.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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