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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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Mar-28-17  ZonszeinP: Semyon Abramovivh and the others had already armed Karpov with the latest secret weapons in all the opening systems that Fischer played :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Petrosianic,

That is probably the best indicator.

"Fischer's Friends Fear He'll Never Play Again".

This is from those who knew him, Larsen also said he doubted if Fischer would ever play again. Other opinions don't matter nowhere nearly as much as those who knew him.

"It's very hard get back into chess once you've gotten out."

Tell me about it. I'm trying a comeback after 6 years but am making the worse blunders of my life. The board is swimming after move 30.

But there is a huge difference between me at 66 and one of the greatest players the game has known. A very huge difference.

Remember he did play again 20 years later and some of the old magic was still there. (One game hit the 100 best of all time according to 'The Mammoth Book of The World's Greatest Games ' Fischer vs Spassky, 1992 )

You do not go from being the greatest player in the world to a poor player in three years.

I think if Fischer wanted to play he would been just as good as he was in 1972 though without the goal, no burning ambition, just the fear of losing the title and did he want to go through the whole 1972 circus again?

With no games between the two the yardstick method from 1970-1975 comes in from a different approach but of course it is very questionable and proves absolutely nothing. (but good fun).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Nok,

That picture from 1975.

Karpov is using a mobile. (he'll get into trouble for using that during a game.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Didn't cell phones in 1975 look like small refrigerators?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Look at the picture. That is a Russian mobile. Karpov is downloading the Tennis Ping-Pong App.


Not long back from watching a kids training session. At the end gave a few of them a puzzle that went down well. (kept them quiet whilst waiting for their parents to pick them up.)

White has a King, Rook and a Bishop.
Black has a King and a Rook.

Using a clear board set up a position with both Kings in Checkmate. One eventually got it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Keyser Soze: <tamar> yup

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: The only way to win is to not play their game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ...or the only way not to lose was not to play.

Everyone knew Karpov was an exceptional player in 1975, but no one knew how much he would dominate chess in the coming years.

If his results after 1975 had been mediocre and he lost the title to Korchnoi in 1978 then this thread would not exist. It would be taken for granted that Fischer would have won in 1975.

Mar-31-17  bac213: Fischer were stronger!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Sally Simpson> I didn't think that mobile phones existed in 1975 but I was wrong. The first one apparently made an appearance in 1973, see

However, I doubt that whatever Karpov is holding in is a mobile phone. Compare that picture with the picture of the first mobile phone in the first link above. Technology moves fast, but I don't think that mobile phones could have evolved that quickly in just two years. Compare what Karpov is holding with the picture of the 1997 Nokia 6110 also shown in the first link above.

So what is Karpov holding in his hand? Maybe a hand-held calculator. The first and-held portable was developed by Texas Instrument in 1967, and in 1973 Sinclair offered a smartphone-looking calculator, although a dark color. See

Then again, Karpov might have been looking at a notepad that contained notes about his latest opening analysis. Those have certainly been around for a while!

I did learn something new from the first link above. Apparently more people in the world today have mobile phones than toilets. That perhaps says a lot for what our priorities are.

Mar-31-17  Strelets: I've seen a lot of posts on this page comparing the respective records of Karpov and Fischer against certain GMs and I'll just say this: Rudolf Spielmann was the only player to have played at least ten tournament or match games against the adult Capablanca with an even score (+2 -2 =8). Does anybody here seriously think that Spielmann was better at chess than Alekhine?
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: It was taken for granted in 1975 that if Fischer and Karpov actually play, Fischer wins. I know that Kasparov tried to rewrite history after the fact, but at the time there wasn't a GM anywhere in the world that thought Karpov could beat Fischer in 1975.
Mar-31-17  Olavi: <Strelets: Rudolf Spielmann was the only player to have played at least ten tournament or match games against the adult Capablanca with an even score (+2 -2 =8).>

Alekhine too, to be precise, exhibition games are normally not counted.

Mar-31-17  nok: <So what is Karpov holding in his hand? Maybe a hand-held calculator.> <That is a Russian mobile. Karpov is downloading the Tennis Ping-Pong App.>

Pong app, you mean. Or it could be another case of this:

Mar-31-17  Strelets: <Olavi> I didn't realize that they played two exhibition games in 1913.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi AlerKupp,

If Napoleon Solo had pen-phones in Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the early 60's then the Russians had pocket mobiles in 1975.

This picture proves it.

Not only that but using the PHOTOSHOP X-RAY facility you can read the message on Karpov's phone.

The message was sent on the 9th of November 1975 and reads:

"Hi Anatoly, Please tell Tal 'Happy Birthday.' Bobby Fischer."

Apr-01-17  john barleycorn: Why do a lot of people try to be witty about an event that very regretfully never happened?
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Sally Simpson> You're probably right. And I forgot about Dick Tracy's watch with which he could communicate with others as early as 1946. I even found a site ( where you can buy a replica but, alas!, without the 2-way radio. Apparently they didn't call these portable communication devices "phones" in those days. That would probably have stretched credibility.
Apr-01-17  Clement Fraud: The FIDE Congress' acceptance of the "first to ten wins" Cramer proposal (setting a thirty-six game limit and rejecting the "nine wins apiece champion retains title" idea) in 1974 was absolutely correct.

Matches for the world championship ought to be settled in this way now... then at least we would all be spared from any more non-events like Carlsen Karjakin last year.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Clement Fraud> Well if you had chess warriors like Kasparov/Karpov running FIDE then you would. But not criminals like Kirsan!! Also, young players today are very lazy and do not want to commit to a long grueling schedule. The younger generation is interested in quick/fast playing. Also more of the traditionalists are just a dying breed, it's a new world. They'll probably come a time when rapid will just replace the classical time controls even al together. But your preaching to the choir when you talk about the long traditional match!! AMEN!! THANKS!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Clement Fraud> <non-events like Carlsen-Karjakin> Yes, also, this younger generation grew up WITHOUT winners and losers. It's not politically correct to be a loser nor winner. This way neither player really loses, nor wins. Losers get trophies in schools now JUST for "Non Event" is actually what they prefer!!!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi John,

" Why do a lot of people try to be witty about an event that very regretfully never happened?"

it did another time zone.

Sometimes some of the posts from that time zone appear on here.

You probably do not know this, but in that other time zone you and me are married to each other.

PS: In our married time zone Fischer Won in 1975 and lost to Tal in 1978. It's an exciting Time Zone for Chess that one. (Korchnoi does not defect, everyone else does.)

Apr-02-17  john barleycorn: < Sally Simpson: ...

You probably do not know this, but in that other time zone you and me are married to each other. ...>

Please, don't remind me of that misstep in my life.

Apr-02-17  Howard: Are you two still legally married ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Clement Fraud> Also, with regards to long dramatic matches, the days of good vs evil seem to be over in World Chess Championship Matches.

These kids are all buds/Facebook 'like' friends, everybody knows everybody's personal's just way different environment.....I see Lebron James hugging his opponents in professional day in the not too distant future, the combatants in a chess championship will be slapping each other on the backs, high fives and all that happy bs.....oh well

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