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The Fischer - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1971) and Petrosian - Korchnoi Candidates Semifinal (1971) was followed by a match between Fischer and past World Champion Petrosian, scheduled in Buenos Aires from September 30 - October 26, 1971. The winner would be the challenger for the World Champion title, in a match against Boris Spassky.
For the first game, Petrosian prepared 11...d5, an interesting improvement to three other tries: 11...♕b6 (W Schmidt vs Matulovic, 1964 0-1 - but the move doesn't appear in the database again before this match commenced), 11...♘e7 (Karpov vs Taimanov, 1971 1-0), and 11...♘d4 (the two prior games were Fischer vs Najdorf, 1966 1-0 and Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971 1-0). The feat in the first game by Fischer secured his streak at 20 consecutive wins - an exceptional performance for 20th century chess!
With his first white in the match, Petrosian placed a halt to the streak in the second game. They followed the opening moves of Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1961 (1.d4 ♘f6 2.c4 g6 3.♘c3 d5 4.♗f4 ♗g7 5.e3). Fischer declined the Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit (D83) 5...0-0 by instead choosing 5...c5. Petrosian won, before securing three draws in games 3-5. The opening in the fourth game was a repeat of Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969 (by transposition).
Petrosian tested the Sicilian once more in the sixth game, but in the adjournment he struggled to hold. With Lothar Schmid overlooking, his lack of defensive resources in the games nearing the wane of the match decided the winner. During the week before Halloween, Fischer returned with a 4 game winning streak in games 6-9. Fischer agreed to tour Argentina to give simuls after this match was finished.
Fischer vs. Petrosian 1971: 6½-2½
Our 1971 journey continues and ends with Tigran Petrosian and Bobby Fischer's match to decide who will challenge the raining champion of the time, Boris Spassky.
We hope you enjoy the five matches we will present, and that you will be inspired by these two grandmaster's!
After all this chess talk and a small history lesson, you absolutely must play a game or two of chess with Chess Universe!