The late world champion Tigran Petrosian was a wonderful fighter in the fifties and sixties, but after he lost his world title to Boris Spassky in 1969 he did not mind making draws. Some of Petrosian's old rivals, including former world champions Spassky and Vassily Smyslov, gathered in Moscow in June to celebrate Petrosian's 70th anniversary of his birth in a 10-player memorial tournament. But instead of trying to imitate the young Petrosian, the tiger, they paid a peaceful respect, drawing 42 out of 45 games. Lajos Portisch and Bora Ivkov won the tournament by winning one game each. Bent Larsen and Svetozar Gligoric lost one game each and finished last.
Perhaps a symposium on Petrosian's craft would have been a better idea, where the same rivals could have shared stories and games with the public. Petrosian's style was not easy to read. Give him one small reason, a weak pawn or even a weak square, and he would strangle you like a boa constrictor. But behind this positional play facade lay a magnificent tactical talent. Petrosian blended both skills in a splendid victory over a Czech grandmaster, Ludek Pachman, in Bled 1961.
1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.e4 (Petrosian loved to play the King's Indian Attack.) 6...Nge7 7.Re1 0-0 (More careful was 7...d6.) 8.e5!? (Petrosian jumps on the opportunity to exploit the black squares.) 8...d6?! 9.exd6 Qxd6 10.Nbd2 Qc7 (Black does not have time to fortify the center with 10...e5 because 11.Ne4 wins the c-pawn. And it is the pawn on c5 Petrosian now encircles.) 11.Nb3! Nd4? (With precise moves Petrosian uncovers the weakness of the knight move. But even the more solid 11...b6 is not satisfactory for black after 12.Bf4 Qb7 13.Qc1 with the idea 14.Bh6 to exploit the weak black squares.) 12.Bf4 Qb6 (Thequeen is forced to dance around the c-pawn. After 12...Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3 e5 14.Be3 white has a strong pressure.) 13.Ne5 Nxb3
14.Nc4! (This "zwischenzug" gives white the winning advantage. After 14.axb3 Nd5 15.Nc4 Qc6 black can still play.) 14...Qb5 (After 14...Qd8 15.axb3 white threatens with either 16.Bd6 or 16.Ra5 to win the c-pawn.) 15.axb3 a5 (Black had to defend against 16.Ra5.) 16.Bd6 Bf6 (After 16...Re8 17.Bc7, threatening 18.Nd6 or to win the a-pawn, black's position collapses.) 17.Qf3 Kg7 18.Re4!? (By sacrificing his queen here 18.Qxf6+!! Kxf6, Petrosian could have closed the mating net with 19.Be5+ Kg5 20.Bg7!, and black has no defense to either 21.f4+ Kg4 22.Ne5+ Kh5 23.Bf3 mate or 21.h4+ Kf5 22.Bh3 mate. But fortunately black can't run anywhere and Petrosian is allowed to give up his queen on the next move.) 18...Rd8 19. Qxf6+! (All is forgotten, all is well again.) 19...Kxf6 20.Be5+ Kg5 21.Bg7! (Black is finished after 21...e5 with 22.h4+ Kh5 23.Bf3+ Bg4 24.Bxg4 mate; or after 21...Nf5 with 22.f4+ Kg4 23.Ne5+ Kh5 24.Bf3 mate.) Black resigned.
One never knows how memorial tournaments will turn out. The old masters should be remembered by their best efforts. During the Petrosian memorial Smyslov drew all his games, but in Moscow 1956 during the Alekhine memorial tournament much younger Smyslov was full of energy and vigor. He created an attacking masterpieces against the German grandmaster Wolfgang Uhlmann in the Queen's Indian defense.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.b3 d5 6.Bg2 Bb4+ 7.Nfd2?! (Too artificial. There is nothing wrong with 7.Bd2!?, for example 7...Be7 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Nc3 0-0 10.0-0 Bb7 11.Ne5 with some advantage to white.) 7...c5!? (Timing is important and Smyslov attacks the center immediately. The sharp 7...dxc4 8.Bxa8 Qxd4 does not quite work after the strong 9.Ba3! and white keeps the material advantage.) 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Bb2 0-0 10.0-0 Nc6 11.Nc3 Rc8 12.cxd5 exd5 13.Na4? (This turns out to be waste of time.) 13...Nd4! (Now the bishop does not have to move. Black attacks the weak e-pawn.)
14.Nc3 (A sad retreat, but necessary since 14.Re1 loses to 14...Nc2! 15. Qxc2 Bxf2+ winning the queen and after 14.Bxd4 Bxd4 15.Rb1 b5 black dominates the game.) 14...Qe7! (Much better than 14...Bb4 15.Ndb1! and white survives, e.g. 15...Rxc3? 16.Qxd4! ) 15.Re1?! (This obvious defense runs into an amazing combination and white's best was to give up the exchange 15.e3 Bxf1 16.Nxf1 Ne6 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.Qxd5 Rfd8 although black should win in a long run.) 15...Nc2!! ( A deep tactical conception, winning at once.) 16.Rf1 (Too bad that Uhlmann was not interested to play the main line, deciding to lose without fanfares. After 16.Qxc2 Smyslov intended to finish the game with a powerful mating attack 16...Bxf2+ 17.Kxf2 [Or 17.Kh1 Bxe1 18.Rxe1 d4 wins for black.] 17...Ng4+ 18.Kf3 Qf6+ 19.Kxg4 Rc4+!! 20.bxc4 Bc8+ 21.Kh5 Qh6 mate.) 16...Nxa1 17.Qxa1 Rfd8 18.Bf3 Ba3 Uhlmann correctly saw no point to continue and resigned.
Solution to today's composition by J. Hoch (White: Ka2,Rb5,Bc6; Black: Ka4,Qh1,Ng7): 1.Bd7!Qh3 2.Rf5+! Kb4 3.Rf4+ Kc5 4.Bxh3 wins. Without the knight black would have 1...Qh7!