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Vasily Smyslov vs Robert James Fischer
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 28, Oct-29
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Main Line (B99)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-21-08  safar: <Brown: <Jim Bartle> It remains that Fischer never showed superiority against any champion BEFORE they became champion, and this is a curious fact that many ignore.> This is not a very valid comparison. When Tal, Smyslov and Botvinnik were champions Fischer was still coming up. Petrosian is the only who can be compared to Fischer this way, and he has a plus score against Fischer till 1962 (they played 2 draws in 1966 when Petrosian was champion - so Fischer did no lose!). But again Fischer was still not quite at his best while Petrosian was.

Such across the time zone comparisons just don't mean anything!

Nov-21-08  Riverbeast: How many 16 year olds have ever beaten recent world champions so convincingly?
Nov-22-08  Brown: <safar>

I agree with much of what you say, but my point stands: the most strong and uncompromising chess is played by those just before becoming champion, with all but the greatest champions falling off almost immediately afterward. Those greatest champions, by this definition, are Kasparov, Karpov, Alekhine and Lasker.

Fischer had the luck to miss Korchnoi and arrive just before an ascending Karpov. One can argue, that despite his extremely strong play, he may have sensed that Spassky was more formidable in '66 and '69 then in '72, and avoided being beaten. His meltdowns and opting out of competitive play during Spassky's ascendency remain curious facts.

Comparing Petrosian's record vs Fischer pre-, during, and post-champion years support my argument perfectly, though, of course, your point re: results affected by their age and experience is also supported.

The very sad truth is that Fischer greatly benefited from the tremendous loss of life in Russia during WW II, decimating the population for a 20 year period. I am NOT saying he was happy about it, but that he benefited from it: an opportunity created by one of the ugliest chapters in human history.

Dec-17-08  notyetagm: Great game by Fischer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Travis Bickle: <Riverbeast: How many 16 year olds have ever beaten recent world champions so convincingly?> Thats why he was the greatest ever! And he didnt have databases playing out the 1st 25-30 moves of an opening he could easily have memorized!
Dec-17-08  notyetagm: <Travis Bickle: <Riverbeast: How many 16 year olds have ever beaten recent world champions so convincingly?> Thats why he was the greatest ever! And he didnt have databases playing out the 1st 25-30 moves of an opening he could easily have memorized!>


Dec-17-08  notyetagm: 16 ... ?

click for larger view

I just *love* how Fischer meets the White kingside attack with a <COUNTERATTACK IN THE CENTER> in this game.

16 ... d6-d5!

click for larger view

Only two(!!!) moves later the White central pawn mass has been demolished after 18 ... e6xf5.

18 ... e6xf5

click for larger view

Dec-31-08  Tom Bird: Fischer gives no note to 14 ... Bb7 in My 60 Memorable Games. I think this move is a mistake. Nc5 is the best way for black to exploit Bh3 as it prevents white gaining a slight advantage with 15 Bxe6.
Jul-10-09  Whitehat1963: Very nice game from the young Bobby over an at the time recent world champion. Clearly, by the time he was 16, Bobby was among the very best in the world.
Jul-10-09  g man 0550: Hi Marmot PFL just about your comment of Smyslov-Fischer 1959 yugoslovia Cand. Tourn. You had 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Nxe6 Qa5 17.Nxg7+ Kf7 18.Qh3 etc... as good for white I think with better instead of your 16...Qas is 16...Qc4 and now not 17.Nxg7+? 18.Kf7 as now whites 18 Qh3 is met by 18...Bxe4 and black should be winning. so after 16...Qc4 white must play 17.Nd4 to which black has 17...Nc5 to force 18.Ng3 and then simply 18...0-0 19.h4 and now maybe just 19...Qxa2 is fine for black
Oct-08-09  euripides: < g man, marmot> 15.Bxe6 was played by Tal against Gligoric a few years later, with some success:

Tal vs Gligoric, 1963

Nov-15-09  WhiteRook48: Fischer was in his half-prime
Jun-13-10  elohah: In the note in 60MG, after Black's 9th, (where Bobby is quoting Gligoric-Bobotsov, Hastings, '59): there is an alternative in 13...Qc8! 14 Nxg7+Kf8 15 exf6 Bxf3 16 fxe7+ Kxg7 17 gxf3, which only seems to give Gligoric unclear attacking chances with only two B's for the Q. Black's not out of the woods by any means (Bf5 may gain a tempo upcoming, for ex.) but he does only have TWO minor pieces here.
Jun-13-10  elohah: To show how close this game could have been (without Bobby's excellent precise play), check out 24...Qe5? 25 Qxe5 Rxe5 26 h4 Rd5 (or White siezes the d-file) 27 Rb6! a5 28 Rb5 Ra8 29 Nxe4!
And if 27...Rd4? 28 Ne2!

And why didn't Smyslov play 26 Qc7!

26...Bc8 is all I find. Black's prob. still better.

Jun-13-10  elohah: Oh, for heaven's sake! I've missed
(after 29 Nxe4?) 29...Nxe4! 30 Rxb7 Nf2! winning.
Jul-28-10  tentsewang: WoW!! Fantastic play by young Fischer, He must have been very happy of the result. Merry Happy Fischer...
Aug-29-10  Grantchamp: After blacks last move t is basically a rook versus two pawns losing since the king won't help
Jul-15-12  sakkimies: Instead of whites there something wrong with bxe6?! i think it looks guite strong...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <sakkimies> See the game mentioned above (Tal vs Gligoric, 1963) for an example of Bxe6 after the slower 13.a3, which was eventually cast aside when 13.f5 became all the rage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: This is game 15 in Fischer's <My 60 Memorable Games>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <sakkimies> <instead of 15. Kb1?... is there something wrong with Bxe6?!... I think it looks quite strong> You're correct. Bobby states in his notes from 2007, "Previously, in M60MG, I mentioned that 15. Bxe6 was "speculative", but it is now evident that this is strong for White. Continue 15...fxe6 16.Nxe6 Qc4 17. Nxg7+ Kf8! ( better than 17...Kf7) and I no longer believe this favors black. White has the strong 18. Rd4! Qxa2 19. Rxb4 Nc5 (not 19...Kxg7? 20. Rxb7 Rhd8 21. Nc3 Qe6 22. Nd5!) 20. Nf5 Rc8 ( not 20...Qa1+? losing a vital tempo 21. Kd2 Qa5 and now Qc3! ) 21. Nc3 Qa5 22. Rxb7! Nxb7 23. Rd1 Qa1+ 24. Kd2 Rxc3 25. Rb1 Rxc3 26. Qxc3 Qxc3+ 27. Kxc3 Nd8 28. Rb6 . The recommended line from M60MG was 15. Ng3? which time has demonstrated to be a faulty play for stability. This single, "cautious", pseudo-building move will allow black to castle kingside onto true "terra firma", and, in so doing, turns over the initiative: 15...Nc5 16. Qe3 (getting off the a8-h1 diagonal) and securing f4) 16...g6! 17. Bg4 e5! 18. Nf3 exf4 19. Qxf4 O-O .
Apr-03-15  Howard: Any computer-based improvements to this game ?
May-26-16  tootal4euwe: Well, from what I can see from my computer the line Fischer gave in 2007 had a big hole in it. After 23..Qa1+ 24.Kd2 black should not play 24...Rxc3 as the simple 25.Qxc3 Rg8 26.Rxa1 is a mate in 11 for white. Instead black plays 24...Qxb2 25.Rb1 Rxc3 26.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 27. Kxc3 and Komodo gives this as +.90 for white
Jun-14-16  ewan14: Fischer drew with Korchnoi in 1970

A match in 1971 could have been close
There was no luck considering RJF
played Petrosian rather than Korchnoi

( a draw in 1967 also )

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Smyslov may have underestimated Fischer's 19..g6! expecting instead 19..0-0? 20 Nh5!..g6 21 Qg3! and if 21..Bd8 22 Rxd8..Qxd8 23 Nf6+ and wins. White's king would have been too active after 38..Rxg5 39 Kxb4.
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