BOBCH #2: Petrosian vs. Hazai (1970)

By now, there are several thousands of games on this site. How is one supposed to find games that are interesting? The answer is that one is not. One can, from now, look at the Best Of Belgian Chess History posts to find some of the more interesting ones. One can even make suggestions to the webmaster. One is very lucky, indeed.

The scene:

For years, the chess club of the small town of Schilde organised an international tournament. In fact, it was the only international in Belgium for years and attracted international stars like Ljubojevic, Speelman, Nikolić, and Ehlvest. In 1970, the 6th  edition was underway. Before the last round, Burkhard Hemmert was leading the field with half a point on Christofoor Baljon and Arshak Petrosian. Hemmert was hanging on by a thread against Radulović and Baljon never got much against De Jonghe. Petrosian, on the other hand, got a winning position against Hazai. Suddenly, his opponent gave away his queen.

The protagonists:

White: Arshak Petrosian, 16 years old

Although he is not very well-known in Western chess circles, Arshak Petrosian (no relation to Tigran the great) was an extraordinary player, winning the Armenian championship twice, gaining the GM title in 1984 and, dixit chessmetrics, reaching as high as number 45 in the world. Nowadays, he mainly works as a trainer and coach. Of course, in 1970 this was all yet to come: he was a very young talent from the Soviet Union in a small town for what, as far as I can ascertain, was his first tournament outside the USSR.

Black: László Hazai, 17 years old

Hazai is a few months older than Petrosian but never climbed quite as high. He did win the IM title (in 1977) and did reach the top 100 (reaching place 98), but he did not earn the GM title and did not break the top 50. He, too, seems to be mainly active as coach nowadays.

Why did I pick this game?

Because it is a classic of chess curiosities. It is a rare example of a complete blockade against a queen. The move 45….Qb6 reached place 38 in Krabbé’s list of the 110 most fantastic moves ever played.

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