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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer
"The Game of the Century" (game of the day Mar-09-2013)
Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956), New York, NY USA, rd 8, Oct-17
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights Variation. Hungarian Attack (D92)  ·  0-1


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

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 20 OF 58 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-24-05  scared money: Thx: I wonder at what move into this game is most likely the trigger point for the queen sacrifice,also from that point how far did RJF see: scared money.
Nov-24-05  KingG: <scared money> Probably he saw the Queen sacrifice when he played 11...Na4. Once he sacrifices the queen, the rest isn't that difficult, so he didn't need to see that far(say up to 19...Ne2+, the rest is fairly trivial).
Nov-24-05  RookFile: What you're not taking into account is: many, many Fischer games are characterized by these deep combinations. They don't tend to have many 'branches', which is what Kasparov specialized in - but Fischer was often seeing 20 moves deep into a game, especially when there is a transition to the endgame.
Nov-24-05  KingG: <What you're not taking into account is: many, many Fischer games are characterized by these deep combinations.> Really, can you give a few examples?

<Fischer was often seeing 20 moves deep into a game> I doubt this.

Nov-24-05  scared money: KG: Thx for the reply:I will take this into advisement: I havent been looking at this site too long(1-3 yrs.):Kibitzing even less than that:I sense that you have a more practical approch to RJF than many others:however I also sense that your admiration or opinion for him is greater than your words declare:Thx: scared money.
Nov-24-05  RookFile: Ok, let's look at some of Fischer's
DEEP games. In my opinion,
the following game, against Donald
Byrne's brother, is Fischer's best
ever game, and his deepest combination:

R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963

This game, in my opinion, is the one
where Fischer saw the deepest. The
reason why is: you do not play 43. Rd3, unless you can visualize the bishop demolition some 25 or 30 moves

Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971

But perhaps these are too well known.
The following are lesser known examples, but ones where it's obvious Fischer is calculating more deeply than his strong opponent.

In this one, Fischer snatches a pawn
that his opponent was sure couldn't be taken, and must have seen to at least 26.... Bd7, saving the a pawn. Is this position a win or a draw? Not easy for me to tell, the doubled pawns might make it a draw. But: Fischer KNOWS it is a win. If he didn't, he would have left the d pawn were it was, instead of going in for 14... Nxd4, and tried a different way of outplaying Bisguier.

Bisguier vs Fischer, 1961

There are other examples, but this
little known game is a personal favorite of mine. I've played over tens of thousands of games, but I am unaware of another example of a queen being trapped on the open board quite like Fischer did here:

Fischer vs S Schweber, 1970

Golombek made this point, and I agree wholeheartedly. Fischer's perhaps strongest ability, which set him apart from perhaps any other player, ever, was in the transition from the middlegame to the endgame. What this is saying is: Fischer is seeing an awful lot of moves ahead.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Rookfile:...So, that's all that happenned. A 13 year old boy passed up the natural moves that a master would have made, and launched a sequence at least 10 moves deep that requires a queen sacrifice to justify it.

That's an awful lot, my friend. Happy Thanksgiving.>

Please forward this message to everyone you know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Fischer did play a great game as a very young boy, but it's not this one, it's Fischer vs J Sherwin, 1957.
Nov-25-05  RookFile: Certainly that is a great game. For my money, Fischer's most impressive childhood win is beating Keres
in 1959.

Are you kidding me? Keres! A man
who unquestionably was world championship strength, who prepared an opening innovation for Fischer, who
simply refutes it right over the
board. Unbelievable.

Keres vs Fischer, 1959

Nov-25-05  ughaibu: Fischer was 16 at the time, there are limits to what can reasonably be called childhood.
Nov-25-05  alicefujimori: I have to agree with KingG. In my opinion this game, although brilliant, is overrated by calling it "The Game of the Century".

There are some games that could at least match this game's complexity and beauty. (Kasparov-Topalov, Linares 1999 is one very good example.)

A lot of people rated that game lower than the Byrne-Fischer game simply because Topalov COULD OF avoided all the tactics and combos if he had played 24...Kb6! But we could equally say that Byrne also "COULD OF" avoided all those sacrifices had he not played Bg5.

True, the fact that Fischer was only 13 yrs old when he played this game was just amazing. But "age" is only just another factor that made this a famous game. It DOES NOT increase the "beauty" and "power" of the combination itself in any way.

RookFile said that "Bg5" was wrongfully comdemned. I really disagree with this statement. Nunn correctly pointed out that Byrne has violated the basic principle of opening play by moving the same piece twice in the opening. Of course, that statement alone is not enough to condemn Bg5. Let's analyze the position before 11.Bg5 again.

Now, Black had just played 10...Bg4 threatening to ruin White's kingside pawn structure with Bxf3 which will in turn also weaken white's hold on d4 and e5. All this calls for the natural 11.Be2, which everyone here would agree. But let's look at the position more closely again...Black has finished his development. His king is safely tucked away and is ready to attack White's centre. White in turn has not yet finished development and his king is still stuck in the centre. All these factors again calls for 11.Be2 ready to 0-0 getting the White's king to safety.

So by playing 11.Bg5 Byrne not only violated the opening principle of don't move the same piece twice in the opening, he also violated the principle of not getting his king to safety as soon as possible before attempting any attack of any sort. So 11.Bg5 was indeed rightfully condemned.

Nov-25-05  EmperorAtahualpa: <alicefujimori> Just a small note: The game you're referring to was played in Wijk aan Zee, not in Linares.

Kasparov vs Topalov, 1999

Nov-25-05  RookFile: <alicefujimori>: I'm afraid the position is not as simple as your explanation. As I said: 11. Be2 is a better move than 11. Bg5. However,
this is not a precise statement:

<Now, Black had just played 10...Bg4 threatening to ruin White's kingside pawn structure with Bxf3 which will in turn also weaken white's hold on d4 and e5. All this calls for the natural 11.Be2, which everyone here would agree.>

The reason why is: if 11. Be2 is played, after 11... Nfd7 12. Qa3 Bxf3, Soltis recomends, and Kasparov also
notes, the reply 13. gxf3. (It is
true that you can also play 13. Bxf3 e5 14. dxe5 Qe8 15. Be2 Nxe5 16. 0-0 with a slight advantage. (Flear-Morris, Dublin 1991)

In these types of positions, as Donald Byrne was aware, it is often not necessary for white to castle. Very often in the Gruenfeld, on a ...Qa5 check move from black, you'll see white play Kf1. He reckons that his rook on h1 is just fine to support h4 and h5.

The point of Be2 is not so much to worry about the pawn structure as it is to safeguard the king from pins along the e file and to provide an option of 0-0 or Kf1.

So Byrne had an idea: his 11. Bg5 was geared towards preventing ....e5 and also towards preventing the typical ...Nfd7 from black. Sure, it didn't work: but if Black had played the 'natural' moves 11.... Bxf3 12. gxf3 Re8 13. Be2 Nfd7 14. Qa3!
the position resembles the type of game Soltis is looking for, and is in fact favorable to white.

So, a 13 year old boy was already thinking at a much higher level than a master would have, about this position.

Dec-06-05  ArturoRivera: what was the compensation for the gambited pawn if 5.-cxd5 Nxd5 6.-Nxd5 Qxd5 7.-Bxc7 i know its called something like grunfeld gambit, but what does black gets from it? i think a very good game, but how?
Dec-06-05  RookFile: M Dietze vs Keres, 1943
Dec-06-05  ArturoRivera: that was a very simple trap, white could have proceed with Be2 instead of bringing the queen so early and castle, and then what?
Dec-06-05  RookFile: E Jimenez Zerguera vs Simagin, 1963
Dec-17-05  joelsontang: U all think botvinnik playing a grunfeld against fischer would have fallen for such a nasty combination blows by black??
Dec-17-05  Koster: That actually happened in 1962 and Botvinnik was lucky to escape with a draw. It required all night analysis by several Soviet GMs to save the ending.
Dec-17-05  hangingenprise: Too bad kingg and uggie. This is what this game has been labeled and called, and thus is shall remain! Game of the Century
Dec-17-05  ughaibu: A rose by any other name or who gives a kanawaga, take your pick.
Dec-23-05  THE pawn: For those interested in program evaluation, here are the evaluations made by lesser programs on the move 17.Be6!! (this might have already been done, but I won't go through 20 pages to see if it has, as other wouldn't do):

GNUchess finds this move after 7 minutes of thinking and thinks white is winning eval: 2.01

Chesmaster 3 just doesn't find the move and he doesn't have an evaluation process ( hehe...)

Chessmaster 6 finds this move after 3 minutes of thinking and also think white is winning eval: 1.98

My old battle chess sofware (1991) just doesn't find the move and think white is winning eval: unclear(!)

Chessgenius (1994) finds this move after 23 seconds of thinking, but doesn't get the following combination quickly, so he also thinks white is winning eval: 1.51

Chessmaster 7 finds it in about 7 seconds and he's the first one to get the rest of the moves correctly but strangely he thinks white is winning eval: 0.98 to 1.22

Chessmaster 9 finds it after 0.5 seconds and gives black a good advantage of: 2,93 and he predicts correctly the whole move order after that.

What a difference a couple of years make!

Jan-01-06  syracrophy: Amazing! A brilliant masterpiece that will shine throughout the centuries!
Jan-06-06  blingice: I think that's pretty dramatic...
Jan-06-06  PaulLovric: <THE pawn> what is GNU chess rating?
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