03 January 2008

Petrosian on the 1970-72 Cycle

Excerpts from 'Petrosian's Legacy' by Tigran Petrosian, on the 1970-72 Candidates Matches:

'The recent match system of competition for the World Championship was introduced [for the 1964-66 cycle]. In my opinion, it was the triumph of a more objective system. The principle of playing "one against one" is after all, the essence of our game. In addition up to 1965 the challenger passed all steps by playing only in tournaments, whereas the summit match was for 24 games against a single opponent. Not too logical.'

'The fact that these matches should be preceded by a drawing procedure was completely overlooked. [...] I could not understand why the drawing of lots for the Soccer World Championship was a crowned ceremony where reporters, TV, and film cameramen were present, while similar "events in chess" were completely passed over and neglected.'

[He attributed the 6-0 scores of Fischer against Taimanov and Larsen partially to the match venues. Both matches were played in North America, Fischer's backyard, and in both the venue was not fixed early enough in the negotations.]

'I cannot say I was glad to have Huebner as my first opponent. He was one of the most unpleasant rivals for the first round. A young and very strong player. [...] The match was extremely difficult. Especially when I got what was probably a lost position in the very first game and narrowly escaped.'

'Next was my match with Korchnoi. [...] I think Korchnoi had some good opportunities in the first half of the match, but when he failed to win the fourth game his chances went down sharply.'

'Now it was my turn to play Fischer. [...] Just look at the way in which he has been able to impose his will on the authorities, and get all his conditions. At the same time his opponents do not achieve the same results. It makes one uncomfortable to know beforehand that the town, the hall, the lighting, and even the furniture is designated by your opponent.'

'If you look attentively to the games played in the first half of our match, you will see that in almost all of them, except the first game, he was driven into schemes which had occurred but very seldom in his games. In those situations which Fischer has studied a lot and played many times, he makes errors very seldom.'

'What happened in Buenos Aires is still mysterious. Petrosian dominated in five initial games, but then "degraded" down to the level of Taimanov and Larsen. What Petrosian managed to do in games one and five was a great achievement. He demonstrated that it is possible to compete with Fischer.'

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