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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer
"The Game of the Century" (game of the day Mar-09-13)
Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956)  ·  Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights Variation. Hungarian Attack (D92)  ·  0-1
To move:
Last move:

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Given 193 times; par: 76 [what's this?]

Annotations by Robert Wade.      [1 more game annotated by Wade]

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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer (1956)
Cover of Chess Review, December 1956.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 53 OF 53 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-09-14  todicav23: I can't believe Bobby lost the queen in only 18 moves.
Sep-09-14  Petrosianic: <todicav23>: <I can't believe Bobby lost the queen in only 18 moves.>

Why not? Did you think there was some kind of rule saying you couldn't sac your queen before Move 20 or something? Believe it or not, they've come even earlier in a game than that.

Oct-02-14  GarloPemberton: if 12.Nxa4 Nxe4 13.Qb4 Nxg5 (and black is up a pawn) if white continues with 14.Nxg5 Bxd1 15.Kxd1 Qxd4+ 16.Qxd4 Bxd4 and white must lose further material
Oct-02-14  GarloPemberton: Bobby Fischer was a baller.
Oct-24-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <todic: I can't believe Bobby lost the queen in only 18 moves.>

I lost my Queen against Little Chess Partner in 15 moves once. I am proud to be 3 moves faster than Fischer.

Oct-24-14  RookFile: Queen for a king in only 7 moves:

De Legal vs Saint Brie, 1750

Nov-17-14  sharpnova: This game is unimpressive.

11. Bg5 is a move that even a club level player would never play.

I guess chess has come a long way. But should we pretend that garbage from the past is a gem just because of its age?

I guarantee you every single game played between super GM's in the last 20 years has far more strength and beauty than this game.

And don't get me started on Anderssen's Immortal or Morphy's Opera House. These games were nothing but blunders by both sides, with the losing side's blunders being more consistent.

Nov-17-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: 2/10 on the trolling (points deducted for needlessly invoking Anderssen and Morphy).
Nov-17-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <jnpope> Anderssen and Morphy woulda bin jes 2100 players today anyway--probly not even as good as me, and Ah aint played since Ah throwed out mah back plowing the nawth forty one day.
Nov-17-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: You are funny, <sharpnova>.
Nov-17-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Yes, <RookFile>, but is it legal to give up your Queen, just like that?
Nov-17-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: And as far as I am concerned it is kind of cheesy to accept all the pieces that are offered to you.
Dec-02-14  yurikvelo: http://pastebin.com/SsuZDqhu

this game multiPV

Dec-02-14  RookFile: <This game is unimpressive.
11. Bg5 is a move that even a club level player would never play.>

Blah blah. It's black to move in this position:


click for larger view

Most of us here would have to admit that we would not play ....Na4 in this position for black. I want to start with this assumption.

The problem is that we need to play some move with black. Assuming we don't see ....Na4, what would we do?

A) ...Nfd7, a typical Gruenfeld move, is out due to pressure on e7. (By amazing coincidence, I think this is what Byrne was thinking).

B) ....Bxf3 cedes the two bishops and strengthens white's center.

C) ...Qd7, to get off the pressure from the g5 bishop, allows Ne5 at some point.

D) ....Nbd7 is laughable because then black would have wasted a tempo with this knight.

I probably would have selected ....Bxf3 and followed up with ....Qd7 and ....e6, trying to put the pawns on white squares to give black a measure of white square control after having ceded the two bishops. Then, somewhere around move 40, it would be 1-0 for Byrne, after a nice positional grind.

Fischer knew it was time for black to go "all in" here.

Dec-13-14  nowo: <Pawnny><todicav23> It doesn't matter what black plays at moves 35 and 36; the evaluation is around -27 and the game is completely lost for black.
Dec-13-14  nowo: <Rookpawn><Petrosianic> Sacrifice - the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.

Is this any less a sacrifice than Petrosian's queen sac, for example?: Petrosian vs Pachman, 1961

Dec-13-14  nowo: <Rookfile> <Sharpnova> I agree with Rookfile. Easy for us to play "Monday morning quarterback" and second guess other's moves. However, we seem to forget things like pressure, nerves, stress, fatigue, etc. Playing OTB is completely different than analyzing and criticizing while sitting at our computers. Byrne may have simply been over-confident and thought the kid would crack under the pressure he was applying. He made some mistakes and Bobby made him pay - that's part of chess.
Dec-26-14  reti: Everyone should remember that Donald Byrne was an International master playing a 13 year old kid named Bobby Fisher.
Dec-26-14  Petrosianic: Actually, he wasn't. Byrne got the IM title in 1962.

But here's something that does get forgotten. This is one of only two Fischer wins in the tournament, against 4 losses. Here's his other win, which has gotten far less fanfare.

Fischer vs Seidman, 1956

Dec-26-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Wow! Almost the Game of the Decade--if you ignore several by Tal.
Dec-26-14  Petrosianic: <nowo>: <Sacrifice - the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.

Is this any less a sacrifice than Petrosian's queen sac, for example?>

It's a niggling distinction to be sure, but put it this way. Would you call it a sacrifice if you gave up a Rook for 3 minor pieces? Probably not, because the 3 minors are worth more than the rook. Giving up a Queen for a Bishop is generally considered a sacrifice, yes. Because you give up <more> material than you get. (Although since a King is worth infinite material, you could argue the opposite side of that question too).

In this game, Fischer gives up Queen for Rook, Two Minors and a Pawn (and an attack). Is that a sacrifice? Well, on the one hand you could argue no, because he got more material than he gave up. On the other hand you could argue yes because he gave up a queen, and didn't get his opponent's queen (and people see the queen as being a special case). Even with my Rook for 3 minors example, some might consider it a sac just because no single piece you got was worth as much as that rook.

Third question: If a player gives up Queen for two Rooks (and no particular attack), is that a sacrifice? Opinion would probably be pretty heavily divided on that. If we go strictly by the point system in those beginner books, a queen is worth 9 points, and the two rooks worth 10. So, not a sacrifice by that measure. And I think most of us, in a neutral position (where we're not in danger of being mated) would make that trade and feel we were coming out ahead, not sacrificing.

Feb-25-15  amurph64: @ todicav23 Bobby didn't "lose" his Queen. He chose to sacrifice it to set up a winning attack.
Feb-25-15  Petrosianic: <He chose to sacrifice it to set up a winning attack.>

Again, it's debatable if it's a sacrifice <at all>, if you get more than a Queen's worth of material in exchange for it. If I give up a Knight, that's not a sacrifice if I win a Rook at the same time.

Feb-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <Again, it's debatable if it's a sacrifice <at all>, if you get more than a Queen's worth of material in exchange for it. >

It's a sacrifice when played, even if the result is to win material. Almost all combinations (except forced mates) fall into that category.

Feb-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As Peter Griffiths wrote on one of John Nunn's games, Fischer's brilliant idea was a matter of technique: a transaction.
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