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  WCC Overview
Fischer vs FIDE, 1975
Fischer forfeits.

After defeating Spassky in 1972, Bobby Fischer stopped playing serious chess, turning down several lucrative offers to play in public.

Fischer, circa 1971 In 1974, Fischer's challenger was decided: he was an emerging Russian chess superstar, Anatoly Karpov, who had defeated Korchnoi in the candidate's final to earn him the right to challenge Fischer.

In September, 1973, Fred Cramer, Vice President (Zone 5) of FIDE, proposed that the world championship match be decided on 10 wins, draws not counting. He also proposed that the champion retains his title if it were a 9-9 tie. This became known as the Cramer proposal. Fischer telegrammed FIDE informing them that they should adopt the Cramer proposal.[1]

Opponents of the proposal argued that the unlimited format is impractical, and that the 9-9 rule affords the champion too great of an advantage. Proponents claimed that the proposal would encourage exciting chess (because draws do not count) and that it more accurately determined the better player. Fischer argued the merits of the proposal in a 1974 letter to FIDE:

The first player to win ten games, draws not counting, with unlimited number of games wins the match. If the score is nine wins to nine wins, draws not counting, the champion retains title and the match is declared drawn with the money split equally. Versus the old system of the best of 24 games wins the match (12.5 points) and if 12-12 the match is drawn with the champion retaining the title and prize fund is split equally. Draws do count in this system.

The unlimited match favors the better player. This is the most important point, because in the limited game system the match outcome can turn on a very low number of wins, giving the weaker player a chance to "luck out." Also, in the limited game system the player who takes a game or two lead has an advantage out of all proportion. This creates an added element of chance. The player who wins the match should be the player who plays best over the long run, not the player who jumps off to an early lead.[2]

In June, 1974, the FIDE Congress in Nice approved the 10-win regulation and the elimination of draws from the scoring, but imposed a 36-game limit and rejected the 9-9 proposal. On June 27, 1974, Fischer sent a telegram from Pasadena, California to the FIDE Congress:
As I made clear in my telegram to the FIDE delegates, the match conditions I proposed were non-negotiable ... FIDE has decided against my participation in the 1975 World Chess Championship. I therefore resign my FIDE World Championship title.

In March, 1975, an extraordinary FIDE Congress was held in Bergen, Netherlands, and it was agreed to have an unlimited number of world championship games, but still refused the 9-9 rule (32 votes for it, and 35 votes against it). [3] Fischer, unwilling to budge, refused to defend his title.

In Karpov's memoirs he recounts how he was disappointed to not have a chance to become champion in the traditional manner:

I don't know how Fischer feels about it, but I consider it a huge loss that he and I never played our match. I felt like the child who has been promised a wonderful toy and has it offered to him but then, at the last moment, it's taken away.[4]

On April 3rd, 1975, Karpov was declared the 12th World Champion.


  1. Robert James Fischer, by Bill Wall
    2 Bobby Fischer letter to FIDE, 1974
    3 Robert James Fischer, by Bill Wall
    4 Karpov on Karpov: Memoirs of a Chess World Champion, by Anatoly Karpov, Athenuem Press, 1992.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <RookFile> I have no objection to a tourney format that would produce two opponents who then play head to head for all the marbles. Imagine a yearly match from say St. Louis to show off to the country our chess champion. Recall when Ali (Clay) challenged Sonny Liston who was an ex-con for the Championship belt. Imagine Charles Whitaker (ex-con) playing a 12 game match against the US Champion back in those days. It's an event that all would easily recall, ect. Tourney winners are soon forgotten. The general chess public had much admiration for Brownie and Larry C. did simul tours all over the country these two were great promoters of chess. Having them contest a match or say with Jude Acers when he was in his prime...these would have helped the depleted fans thirst for some real chess excitement, left over from Bobby's departure.
Nov-10-17  Mazymetric: Fischer, Robert J:

Years covered: 1963-1972
Number of tournaments and matches played: 25
Average performance: 82.36%
Closest someone comes to this performance is Kaspy.

Kasparov, Garry:

Years covered: 1982-2000
Number of tournaments and matches played: 79
Average performance: 69.83%
So Fischer is clearly superior.

Nov-10-17  ZonszeinP: We know what Mark Twain said about statistics....
Nov-10-17  ughaibu: Why is Kasparov assessed over twice the period that Fischer is?
Nov-10-17  Isilimela: Whenever I see the title "Karpov - Fischer World Championship match" it gives me goose bumps! In some lucky alternate universe it happened I guess.

Re Fischer and Kaspy's stats, just do the same for one Paul Morphy! Just so way ahead of the crowd (for his time) it's not true.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Qindarka: Fischer participated in more mixed field tournaments than akasparov. Winning percentage proves nothing.
Nov-10-17  Mazymetric: Okay. If top 10 players played each other in their prime, Fischer would score 485 while Kasparov would score 471.

Fischer is still better

Nov-10-17  Mazymetric: <ughaibu: Why is Kasparov assessed over twice the period that Fischer is?> I covered years when both were at their peak. After Moscow Interzonal 1982, He is rated #1 on almost every tournament or match but his performance is not that impressive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: Ihis is what Mark Twain said:

<Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review >

Shall we consider for Kasparov the years 1976 - 1985 and compare to Fischer's 1963 - 1972?

Nov-10-17  ZonszeinP: True. However, where and when Disraeli said so is yet to be found, apart from the sentence above
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: Right, Twain seemingly popularized this quote but there is no proof that Disraeli is the originator. however, Twain by his own admittance is not.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: "admission" not "admittance"
Nov-10-17  ZonszeinP: Fischer retired from Sousse in 1967 even though he was playing brilliantly. He didn't play in Lugano 68...he said he wouldn't participate in the USA championships anymore if the number of games were doubled...he said after Curaçao that the Soviets were arranging games and that he would not play anymore for FIDE....He threatened to leave any tournament in which his conditions were not met.... etc etc... Of course, he was the best in his time but..
If I don't play, I don't loose!
So, Twain's (or whoever's) sentence comes to mind. Statistic cannot and do not answer everything!
And never did!
The reasons why one looses an overwhelming winning position... How the actions of an opponent off the board can affect someone else's concentration etc cannot be seen on any statistic.. Fischer-Taimanov match ended 6-0 for instance.
However Fischer himself admitted that this result didn't show the level of the struggle. When we analyse the third game we can see that Taimanov had big chances of winning... He ended up loosing and resumed the second game which was a dead draw and he lost a game which he wouldn't have lost to anybody else in the world... Etc etc etc
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <ZonszeinP> Oh, cry me a river;-) For those of you who think falsely that Bobby was ducking Karpov, I'll share a little anecdote from Harry Sneider who was about as close to Bobby as anyone. Harry was Bobby's personal trainer for many a year, and stated in an interview how Bobby wanted to get the strongest grip he muster so when he "shake's that hand of that little Russian he'll feel his strength' Does not sound like a person who wants to duck anyone.
Nov-10-17  ZonszeinP: Which reminds me that in an interview in 1975 (I read it at the time so won't be able to tell you where to find it in English) Karpov said that there was no doubt that Fischer would beat him in a boxing match but that at the chessboard he would meet his match...(SLT)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <ZonszeinP> Oh If you want the REAL story behind Sousse, get a hold of Fischer's update from 2007. He devotes about 13-15 pages or so explaining the whole Sousse incident.
Nov-10-17  ughaibu: <Fischer's update from 2007>

Where was this published?

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <ughaibu: <Fischer's update from 2007>

Where was this published?>

Second edition of "My 61 Memorable Games"

Nov-10-17  ughaibu: <the REAL story>

<"My 61 Memorable Games">

Not the real story, then.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Joshka has made a career of pretending to believe 61MG is real. You'd think he were getting a kickback from Ed Trice. Of course he knows better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <ughaibu: ...

Not the real story, then.>

The second edition has it. :-)

Nov-10-17  Absentee: <Petrosianic: Joshka has made a career of pretending to believe 61MG is real.>

It's quite possible he really believes it is.

Nov-10-17  nok: You mean you don't have the Deluxe edition, "My 62 Memorable Games"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <nok> I am waiting for the Franklin Mint Readers' Digest Condensed Leather Bound Gold Printed Oxford Limited Collectors' Edition to be released.
Nov-10-17  todicav23: <Mazymetric: Okay. If top 10 players played each other in their prime, Fischer would score 485 while Kasparov would score 471.

Fischer is still better>

Conclusion from the second article:

"...the performance of players like Fischer are all the most impressive, as they are on par with this new generation, while they were far from having the same tools at their disposal."

Computers make a huge difference in chess. These days it is so much easier to access information. But Fischer was able to reach a very high level (by rating he will still be a top 10 player today, even if we don't consider rating inflation). That's because he worked so hard on chess. Like someone said, "he put chess on the first, second and third place in his life".

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