Petrosian plays blitz!

Since lichess.org. is practically melting at the moment, I thought I would go back to a time before the Internet, when they played ‘Blitz’ with proper chess clocks! There are a lot of very wonderful black and white photos chess on Twitter at the moment and this is one of them. Acknowledgments to whoever I’ve stolen it from. I can’t really remember:

A very young Bobby Fischer and a very thin (compared with the Teddy Bear that he later became) Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian. Look at the size of the chess clock!

Here’s the story to go with it from p.220 of Kasparov’s ‘My great predecessors’ volume about Fischer:

“Grand master Vasyukov relates: Bobby came as a result of an agreement between the USSR and The USA Chess Federations, in order to play two training matches before the Internal tournament-with Spassky, the former world junior champion and with the Moscow champion Vasyukov. But when he arrived in Moscow he suddenly announced that he he would only play the world champion Botvinnik. This was received with a smile and he was courteously refused. Fischer frequented the Central Chess Club, where for two weeks from morning to evening he tirelessly played blitz, crushing everyone right, left and centre. And then they invited the three leading blitz players of that time: Bronstein, Petrosian and me. But Bronstein did not come, saying: “What’s the point of playing a boy.” Petrosian won the first two games and then played with alternating success, retaining an advantage of two two points. With me, Fischer took a one point lead in the first five games. But Then I adapted to his style of play and won by a big score(!). He reacted calmly to his defeats, except that each time he would set up the pieces for a new game with a discontented appearance(!).”

Here’s a game in which Petrosian absolutely crushed Fischer, though it’s not blitz! It came after he’d beaten two other Grandmasters of the time (Larsen and Taimnov) 6-0 in match play.

Peter

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