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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 Osterbek, 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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Apr-10-14  Petrosianic: Fischer DID say no to Korchnoi, when Korchnoi found a couple of million in backing, and challenged Fischer in 1980.
Apr-10-14  RookFile: Right. I was thinking of a few years earlier. File it away under coulda woulda, shoulda.
Apr-10-14  Everett: I'll file it under wishful thinking.
Apr-10-14  Everett: <maxi> it doesn't really matter how much you know about guys like Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov. Their opponents studied their games inside and out and still lost all the time. And when they went head to head, Kasparov only pulled away from Karpov, barely, after Karpov hit 40.

Think about it. The maniacally driven and fantastically talented Kasparov aims all his guns on one player for match after match, and is victorious, but just barely. He thought he was going to simply crush Karpov in '90 (a Karpov with minimal top level help) and even then it did not happen.

Karpov is a special case, with both Spassky and Kramnik saying, in different ways and decades apart, that Karpov's chess was not so easy to understand. And he certainly made Garik scratch his head from time to time too. I can imagine Fischer looking over his games and thinking that there is something different in the way this guy thinks about chess.

His dismantling of Kamsky in 1996 is very impressive to me. And though Anand had no break to prepare in 1998, the lazy, tired, 47 yr-old acquitted himself quite well in that match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Everett> Yes, Karpov was a special kind of player, with his game following mysterious paths.

The mind benefits from focus and guidance, and, of course, from the new concepts. Alekhine studies the new trails Capablanca has opened in the study of chess and learns chess anew, learning from the creator to the point of eventually playing even better than Capa.

Kasparov had Karpov. Karpov is his hero and nemesis, but, mainly, his guru to the new chess.

I don't know, but possibly it stops there. Now the interconnection is too fast and complex. Everybody contributes a little bit all the time, and very often it is more in the openings than anywhere else. The contributions are worldwide and permeated by computer ideas (if one can speak this way). The kids mature (in chess) much faster, and thus get stronger sooner, while still very young.

For a while, at least, we are witnessing something new.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Been taking a much closer look a all the letters published by David Delucia in his 'Triumph and Despair' from Bobby to Gliga and this is an item I was never aware of before. Hoping it will interest many of you. Bobby writes to Gliga in 1977 telling him that he offered new proposals to Karpov in his meetings with him in Japan and the Philippines. He DROPPED the even result ( 9 to 9 tie Champ retains title) even though no other World Champion has ever played a match giving up this advantage. In favor of an extra 3 games if the match was 9 all. So if the match is tied at 9 games a piece, instead of a drawn match and Champion retains title, they continue to play until the first to win 3 more games. I'm assuming this was to be played outside of FIDE. So many letters hand written by Bobby in this book, and some are very difficult to read due to his poor penmanship or lack thereof!! Thoughts?
Jul-21-14  MissScarlett: I've heard about this first-to-12 proposal before. I think it was originally an idea of Steinitz's.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: all right, maybe it did originate with steinitz's, but this is NOT first to 12. If somebody wins 10-8 it's over. What Bobby is proposing, is taking away the champs advantage for a drawn match. Might be pointed out that all previous World Champions NEVER gave this up!! So if the match is temporarily tied at 9-9, they will go on until whoever wins 12 first. The favorable drawn portion of the match is thus now taken away from the champ.
Jul-21-14  Everett: <Joshka > my thoughts are that it doesn't matter what Fischer said beyond taking the WC out of FIDE and calling it professional. Karpov and the Russians were not going to go for this.
Jul-21-14  Petrosianic: <Might be pointed out that all previous World Champions NEVER gave this up!!>

For "never gave this up", substitute "always gave this up", at least when it was a Pure Wins match. Only in Best Of matches did the champion have draw odds.

Now, the Alekhine-Euwe and Alekhine-Bogo matches were an unusual set. In those matches, the champion DID have draw odds if it was decided within 30 games, but did not have draw odds if it went longer than that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Everett> Sure I see your point, I just find it particularly peculiar that Bobby had now, given in a bit on his demands, and that this was never reported by Chess Life, or any other mainstream sporting news agency for that matter. Here we are, in the 21st Century just finding out about it!! Thanks for your input!
Jul-21-14  MissScarlett: If Fischer's private correspondence with Gligoric is the sole source for this revelation, how could the information have previously made its way into the public domain?
Jul-21-14  RookFile: That's one of those little details that interrupts the narrative that so many push here. There was a way Fischer and Karpov could have played a chess match and Karpov avoided it.
Jul-21-14  Everett: <Jul-21-14 RookFile: That's one of those little details that interrupts the narrative that so many push here. There was a way Fischer and Karpov could have played a chess match and Karpov avoided it.>

Subjective. I say Fischer avoided it by refusing to simply follow the basic format. I also say the Soviets are to blame because they were pulling strings and playing chess politics with the professional/amateur issue.

And I think you understand that Karpov is doing little more than following orders. It is not like he can go rogue on the USSR at that point. Blaming Karpov makes little sense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: At least Fischer admitted he was wrong in 1975.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <offramp> well maybe Bobby is not admitting anything of the sort. He's doing away with champs drawn advantage. But it's Karpov who is champ now, not Fischer!! Nothing is mentioned in the letter really who is champ/who is challenger. To show though how things would be done now, both players would have their sports agents doing the negotiations and really get details worked out. The real problem also was we were dealing with the communist Soviet Union so their chess players were not independent agents. It's over and it never happened, just seems to me there should have been a ground swelling of action to make this happen, thru media, or whatever means. If Bobby didn't want to play anymore, he could have just announced his retirement. He had to have wanted to play. Where was Don King when we needed him!!LOL
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <MissScarlett> Valid point indeed. But still hard to believe Gliga was the only person of chess stature who knew of this new proposal. Bobby would have discussed with with someone else too?
Jul-22-14  Petrosianic: <Subjective. I say Fischer avoided it by refusing to simply follow the basic format. I also say the Soviets are to blame because they were pulling strings and playing chess politics with the professional/amateur issue.>

Not even subjective. The Professional business was a last minute excuse to get out of the match when Fischer literally had the pen in his hand ready to sign the contract. It was surely chosen precisely because it was a demand that couldn't be met. At the time there was some legitimate doubt about whether Fischer wanted to play chess in the 70's, but the jury is in at this point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<RookFile> There was a way Fischer and Karpov could have played a chess match and Karpov avoided it.>

I love attempts at revising history. So now it is <Karpov>'s fault that a Fischer Karpov match never took place? What a joke.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Everett> I also love how everyone always blames the Russians (BTW, they were not "Russians", they were Soviet) and believe that all Soviet grandmasters were simply automatons following the party line. If you read "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" by David Edmonds and John Eidinow, about the 1972 Spassky Fischer match it is clear that the influence of the Communist Party on chessplayers, and Spassky in particular, was not all encompassing, and the players were not just following orders. Each player has their own opinions and so did Soviet officials, and in that sense they were no different than the players from the rest of the world. For instance, to consider Korchnoi a Soviet "automaton" is laughable.

I don't remember the Soviets <successfully> pulling strings to prevent Fischer from playing in the 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal even though he had not qualified to play in it. I suppose they probably tried, but it was Max Euwe, president of FIDE at the time, that bent the rules and allowed Fischer to play. Had Euwe not done that, Fischer would not have played in the Interzonal, would not have played Spassky for the WC title in 1972, and probably would never have been world champion. So if the Soviets were pulling strings and playing chess politics they were not very successful at it when it counted, just as they were not successful in preventing FIDE from imposing a limit on the number of players from any one country that could participate in the interzonals. And what is the professional/amateur issue you refer to?

Jul-22-14  Everett: Relax everyone, I was just being sensitive to the Fischer folk for a moment. Fischer was going crazy and that's about the end if it.

<AylerKrupp> I did say <Soviet>. But if I said <Russian> at some point, I do not agree that it is a big deal.

Further, read up on the name change Fischer proposed at the very last moment. Fischer envisioned something different than the FIDE system, which strikes me as a move from <amateur FIDE <slaves>> to <professional> in hopes for more capital and autonomy for the players. You don't have to agree with my use of terms.

Jul-22-14  Everett: And, yes, Fischer certainly benefited from Euwe's sentiments. Call it nepotism or corruption, both work.
Jul-25-14  RookFile: <Subjective. I say Fischer avoided it by refusing to simply follow the basic format.>

Ah yes. Fischer wins the world championship, and that creates an obligation on his part to follow somebody's else new format, rather than his own. It's all becoming clear to me now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Rookfile> < an obligation on his part to follow somebody's else new format> EXCELLENT. That's what most people simply refuse to recognize, Bobby EARNED the right to set up a legit fair system in which to play, and have it approved. They would not give him his due. Thanks for pointing this simply explanation out!!
Jul-25-14  ughaibu: <Bobby EARNED the right to set up a legit fair system in which to play>

Wasted the opportunity there, didn't he?

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