TRAWLING the chess news in my never-ending quest to fill white space, I had to pinch myself when I read: "Petrosian and Kasparov among the leaders." Reality soon set in, though: it was GMs Tigran L Petrosian and Sergey Kasparov playing in an open tournament in India, and not the two former world champions of the same name.

The headline did remind me of a wonderful story involving these two legends and how some unconventional advice taught a young Garry Kasparov how best to "handle" the late, great Tigran Petrosian. In their first two encounters, young turk Kasparov launched ravaging attacks that many leading grandmasters would have capitulated to, and he was flummoxed as to why he had lost both games.

The most famous defeat was in today's game, where Kasparov believed he had the old fox on the verge of collapsing, only to be rocked by the remarkable winning resource of 35 ...Kc6!! But in his recent book How Life Imitates Chess, Kasparov tells how he then sought out Boris Spassky – who played Petrosian in two world championship matches – for sage advice on how best to play against Petrosian.

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Spassky told him that the key to playing Petrosian was not to launch an all-out attack but to apply pressure, but just a little, steadily. And as an 18-year-old Kasparov was taking all of this in, he then added with a typical Spassky turn of phrase: "Squeeze his balls. But just squeeze one, not both!"

G Kasparov - T Petrosian

Tilburg, 1981

Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 Bg4 5 Bxc4 e6 6 h3 Bh5 7 Nc3 a6 8 g4 Bg6 9 Ne5 Nbd7 10 Nxg6 hxg6 11 Bf1 c6 12 Bg2 Qc7 13 0–0 Be7 14 f4 Nb6 15 g5 Nfd7 16 Qg4 0–0–0 17 Rb1 Kb8 18 b4 Nd5 19 Na4 f5 20 Qg3 Nxb4 21 Bd2 Nd5 22 Rfc1 Ka7 23 Qe1 Ba3 24 Rc2 Qd6 25 Rb3 Qe7 26 Qe2 Rb8 27 Qd3 Bd6 28 Nb2 Rhc8 29 Nc4 Bc7 30 a4 b5 31 axb5 cxb5 32 Ra2 Kb7 33 Bb4 Qe8 34 Bd6 Ra8 35 Qb1 Kc6! 36 Rba3 bxc4 37 Rxa6+ Rxa6 38 Rxa6+ Bb6 39 Bc5 Qd8 40 Qa1 Nxc5 41 dxc5 Kxc5 42 Ra4 0–1

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