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Robert James Fischer vs Mikhail Tal
"French Drawings" (game of the day Oct-15-07)
Leipzig Olympiad Final (1960)  ·  French Defense: Winawer. Retreat Variation Armenian Line (C18)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Robert James Fischer vs Mikhail Tal (1960)

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < ChessYouGood: ....Tal had absolutely owned Fischer (already the USA champion) up until 1960, 4-0 (and would subsequently lose only 2 classical games to Fischer over the rest of their encounters)....>

That would be 4-0, with two draws, prior to this battle royal; moreover 'only' two classical losses doesn't make sense-they played four classical games after this. If you want to indulge in slanted posts, you'll be well ahead of the game if you practise such when the facts are less clear-cut.

<....With a nil score against the world champion and having been dumped on repeatedly, you would think that black's easy draw here wouldn't exactly need to be the catalyst for Fischer's recognition of Tal's superiority....>

The score wasn't nil; see above.

This draw was far from 'easy'-it was hard-fought despite its brevity-but why let facts get in the way of a good story?

Aug-31-12  diceman: < ChessYouGood: ....Tal had absolutely owned Fischer (already the USA champion) up until 1960>


Fischer as kid: negative score
Fischer as adult: positive score

Aug-31-12  ephesians: 4 to 0 is nothing compared to some other lopsided scores out there between well known players.
Aug-31-12  Petrosianic: If 4-0 is nothing at all, then 6-0 isn't that much better. Sure you don't want to re-think that rationalization?
Aug-31-12  ephesians: I didn't say that 4-0 is nothing at all, I said it was nothing compared to higher lopsized scores out there.
Aug-31-12  ephesians: Tal was the world champion around this time. He was putting lopsided results up against everybody. Surely we would not want to deny Tal his due during these days.
Oct-01-13  thegoodanarchist: <TheFocus: <ChessYouGood> You are a little mistaken here.

According to Tal himself, he was interviewing Fischer at the 1962 Varna Olympics:

<The first question I asked him was: "Whom do you consider to be the strongest player in the world?" He looked at me with such surprise that I hurriedly added, "Excluding yourself, of course." He again looked at me carefully: "Well, you don't play badly.>"

At this time, Bobby had defeated Tal twice.>

@ <TheFocus>: Thank you for the anecdote. From context one might gather that perhaps Fischer couldn't bring himself to admit that Tal was the best, but given the conditional of excluding himself, was alluding to that.

IMO at that time Tal was still the world's best chess player, if healthy. Of course he lost his crown back to Botvinnik in part because of ill health.

Oct-01-13  thegoodanarchist: Also, after 41 years playing chess I am just now realizing that folks who want to bring the queen out early and move around with her instead of developing other pieces.... should play the French!

Er, I mean, they should get their opponents to play the French against 1.e4.

Oct-01-13  thegoodanarchist: The photo makes me want to weep. Two of my heroes, both gone.
Oct-02-13  ughaibu: If ever there was a draw that should be suspected of being prearranged. . . . particularly with all the buddy-buddy sympaticosycophanticisms quoted above.
Oct-05-13  thegoodanarchist: <ughaibu: If ever there was a draw that should be suspected of being prearranged. . . . particularly with all the buddy-buddy sympaticosycophanticisms quoted above.>

You are clueless of the facts and of history, per usual. Fischer was notorious for avoiding draws. Tal was notorious for avoiding <late> draws.

And <ughaibu> is notorious for attacking Fischer.

Three for three says you are wrong.

Nov-17-13  King.Arthur.Brazil: The photo was taken when Tal played 7... Ne7 as you can see by the game lines. Fisher showed to have extra attention (little nervous perhaps) while Tal seemed to be easy.
Mar-29-14  Tigranny: No offense or anything, but I fail to see the immortality of this draw. It's a basic game with mistakes on both sides who seemed to play anxiously. Some of the moves given exclaims are pretty obvious, especially 19.Kh1. GM draws ending in perpetuals like this to me don't rank high on how a game should be acclaimed. JMO. :/
Mar-29-14  Petrosianic: <Tigranny>: <No offense or anything, but I fail to see the immortality of this draw.>

Well, I'll be happy to try to explain it. It's a tactical scrapfest by a world champion against a future world champion. Tal had beaten Fischer in their last four encounters, but Fischer came out gunning for blood anyway. The occasion wasn't all that important, they could easily have avoided a scrap, but went for one deliberately. The game ended in a perpetual not because both players felt like it but out of necessity. The attack had petered out and it was either repeat moves or lose.

You say 19. Kh1 was obvious, but with a computer engine, most good moves are obvious. You referred to mistakes, but didn't mention any specific ones. As short draws go, this surely must be one of the better ones ever played.

Mar-29-14  Tigranny: <Petrosianic> I meant mistakes like the ones pointed out the analysis of this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: Absolutely love the suits, what class.

The game was very exciting, as <Penguincw> pointed out, 9 captures in a row at one juncture. Who said the French was dull?

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Thank you, CG. This photo is a timeless classic in the annals of chess history.
Feb-12-15  HeMateMe: Some Fischer photos have taken on a Zapruder thoroughness. Who is the chessplayer on Fischer's left, intently leaning over the board to observe the position?
Feb-12-15  zanzibar: Site = "-". WTH!?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Remember:
<No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.>
Mar-08-15  jith1207: <diceman: hat on lap.> What did they call that those days, a Laptop?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HaydenB: I find all of this ignorance of Fischer ironic. 1. Tal did not "own" Fischer. In Tals own words, Tal was Tal but Fischer was not yet Fischer. 2. They were friends. They became friends at the 1958 Interzonal. 3. Fischer was the only player to visit Tal while he was hospitalized during the 1962 Candidates tournament. There's an old saying: don't speak ill of the dead.
Apr-15-15  ughaibu: "Tal did not "own" Fischer. In Tals own words, Tal was Tal but Fischer was not yet Fischer."

I would have thought that that was why ChessYouGood wrote "Tal had absolutely owned Fischer (already the USA champion) up until 1960".

"Fischer was the only player to visit Tal while he was hospitalized during the 1962 Candidates tournament."


Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Anyone forgetting that the first two games between them were draws?
Apr-22-15  Howard: True, but Fischer probably should have won their first encounter, as the 1958 interzonal.

By the way, it's been argued that Fischer could have taken the bishop on move 19, but the drawing path would have been tricky.

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