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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 59 OF 59 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: It is a great picture taken at the right place at the right moment.

It appeared on the cover of the December 1956 Chess Review with the title 'Game of the Century' page 370. The Byrne-Fischer game appears on page 374. The game on page 370 is Smyslov vs Pachman, 1956 (the other game of the century)

My links above have collapsed as the picture holding site no longer exists.

But they are here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: I thought the same - a great photo taken at the right time. And it seems to present an atmosphere of purity, and innocence, when what mattered was whether the move of the century was going to work or not.

Nowadays, people with mobile phones would create the photo by resetting the position after the game and getting poor RJ to pose. In the 50s it's hard to imagine that. And whoever took the photo had a flash and a sense of the right time to take it.

Do we know who did take the picture and why?

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Did they really call him "the corduroy killer," or is that just some embellishment that came later when Bob got REAL famous?
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  TheFocus: Corduroy Kid
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  HeMateMe: I've seen "killer" mentioned in books. It reads better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I did a search for "corduroy killer" at, and nearly all examples date to 1971-72.

The Evening Press (Binghamton, N.Y.), July 30th 1971, p.10: <He became known as "The Sweatshirt Kid," "The Boy Robot" and "The Corduroy Killer.">

There's a sole 1963 reference to his having been called <TCK>, but nothing from the period itself - was it 1960 he began wearing suits?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: The Corduroy Killer has been mentioned a few times on here.


Robert James Fischer (kibitz #24776)

Sinquefield Cup (2016) (kibitz #538)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Yeah, but not before 1960.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Miss S.

I was looking at Robert James Fischer (kibitz #24776) where there is a source and the time given matches up to when RJF was a youngster.

The other poster might be able to elaborate where they first heard it. W.P.E. is still active here.


Sep-20-18  karik: Is the photo from the actual game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: regarding the picture, this was discussed here in D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956 (kibitz #1275)

which in turn led to.

Above is the only picture showing Fischer during the Game of the Century. Incredibly it was taken while he was pondering the position just before the queen sacrifice. The picture appeared on page 11 of the Lima News, Feb. 12, 1957, and also appeared in the Hammond Times of Feb. 24, 1957.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: Odd that such photo would be allowed so late in the game. It would never be allowed now - except with live video.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: < The picture appeared on page 11 of the Lima News, Feb. 12, 1957, and also appeared in the Hammond Times of Feb. 24, 1957.>

The earliest example I can find is February 11th in the <Index Journal> (Greenwood, S.C.) but it features numerous times in smaller American papers over the next few weeks, always accompanying the same Associated Press report.

Sep-21-18  karik: So the Dec 1956 issue of Chess Review wasn't published before Feb 11 1957?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Sally Simpson> Thanks for posting this from the 1958 Time magazine:

<"In the cosmopolitan cant of chess players, it is legend that masters of the game are all meshuga—Yiddish for a little batty.

But when they talk of Brooklyn's Bobby Fischer, the newly crowned U.S. champion, the kibitzers are moved to uncommon awe.

Bobby, they declare, is ganz meshuga, which is to say that he is quite addled.

Though he celebrated his 15th birthday only last week, he already shows all the marks of the great grand masters of one of the oldest, most intricate games known to man.

A floppy, abrupt young gangle-shanks, he stumbles through the physical world of school and subways and summer vacations in a tangle of arms and legs not quite under control.

But in the neatly ordered empire of the chessboard, he moves with vast precision. Swiftly he picks his way among the possibilities; haughtily he sidesteps the traps.

Experts compare his aggressive, scientific style to that of Russia's famed Alekhine, his flair for combinations to the touch of the U.S. master, Morphy.

He eclipsed such comparative greybeards as Samuel Reshevsky, 46, and Arthur Bisguier, 28, to win the U.S. title.">

The first thing I thought of was the extreme Swedish metal band, Meshuggah.

The writing is different than you might find this day and age. A bit more sophisticated.

I didn't realize that Fischer was already thought of as "meshuga" at the young age of 15. I assumed that came much later in his career.

<A floppy, abrupt young gangle-shanks...> What a terrifically visual description; and then to contrast that with his sublime chess piece movement is just good writing.

Poor ol' Bisguier, to be called a greybeard at 28, even if "comparatively".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Check It Out,

It is good writing and reading. I read most of the whole magazine on other subjects. Excellent.

I also enjoy reading the Victorian and Edwardian chess notations as well. They seem to have a charm all of their own and of course 'Three Men in a Boat' (pub 1889) is one of the two non-chess books I have read thrice. (Catch 22 is the other.)

These days text speech is murdering the language and although I use 'sacced' I still shudder and look over my shoulder for my English teacher every time I type it.

Not yet used sac-bak (to return material) but I will one day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: < So the Dec 1956 issue of Chess Review wasn't published before Feb 11 1957?>

Chess periodicals do have a reputation for unreliability of issue, but no, the AP article was evidently inspired by <Chess Review>. They cite Kmoch's 'game of the century' tag, and he's quoted, <For his age, I don't think there is any better chess player in the world. He is a genuine prodigy and one of the best players in our club. [...] The outlook is brilliant. If he continues to proceed the way he has the past year or two, he's likely to become one of the greatest players of all time.>

As to who took the photo, and who now holds the picture rights, one can only guess.

Dec-19-18  MrJafari: I found a last move to be part of the game of the century!: 41.B.a3!?
Feb-12-19  cliffordagoodman: The game of the century!! (last century)

This century?? Probably alphabay(sp?)
alphazero!! versus anyone!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Last century - maybe. This century - no, the game was played before this century started. alphabay? No - you're ranting. alphazero!! versus anyone!! No, I think alphazero is no more.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Only one ! for 11...♘a4 is a bit mean. It took me an hour in bits and pieces to work through all the pins and forks and overloading motifs that make 12. ♘xa4 a bad move, and it's a pleasure just reminding myself of them.

Unless that was a known theme with this opening (the ♘ ♘ ♘ version), surely this is a stunning discovery on its own.

I don't usually try to learn a chess game by heart, but for this one I make and exception.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Sorry <cliffordagoodman>. I don't think I made much of a go at interpreting your gnomic utterance. Still not sure what you can have meant, but what the hey, time has passed.
Mar-09-19  DonChalce: speechless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Amazing all Byrne has to do is take that knight on his 18th move and Game of The Century never happens!
Apr-20-19  crazyim5: If ever our beloved game of Chess is shown to aliens as a showcase of human intelligence this game would be my pick!
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