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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Robert James Fischer
"Analyze This" (game of the day Jan-31-2018)
Varna ol (Men) fin-A (1962), Varna BUL, rd 10, Oct-07
Gruenfeld Defense: Russian. Smyslov Variation (D98)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Here's a picture of the two men at the board for this game:

Maybe after 11.Qc5 ... ?

<Game six, Fischer-Gligoric, comes from the Varna Olympiad in 1962, and it is a magnificent struggle. The game is presented by GM Ivkov (Ivkov, Borislav, Povratak Bobija Fišera, Chess Press, Novi Sad, 1993, pp. 33-35) who paints a vivid picture of how the game unfolded.

<‘In the previous Olympiad in Leipzig 1960, the Americans pushed us away from our ‘silver’ position. That was the first time Fischer played for the US. To Zlatni pjasci [which translates to Golden sands], the famous resort near Varna, they came as gold prospectors. Silver was not enough for them. They were lead by Fischer, who went into the match with us [the Yugoslav team] as the acknowledged moral victor over Botvinik.>>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <Petrosianic: <Thanks. So how in the world was Fischer "cheated" out of a win?>

He wasn't, but he claimed he was. Check Eliot Hearst's column in the July 1964 Chess Life.

The way Botvinnik tells the story, after Fischer made the big blunder that threw away the win, Botvinnik got up, walked over to his team captain, Abramov, and said one word: "Draw!".

According to Hearst, the way Fischer told it, Botvinnik was getting outside help, and asked for a formal protest to be filed. Everyone else regarded it as too incredible to imagine that Botvinnik would even listen to, much less solicit help from someone so much weaker than himself (not to mention that it happened after Fischer made the big boo-boo) and so no protest was filed.

According to Hearst, many US players who had been willing to listen to Fischer's charges of collusion at Curacao became much less open to it afterwards. Every time Fischer suffered a reverse, in his mind it was always a conspiracy. After he won the title, most of this was forgotten, of course, and as much history as possible got rewritten to make it part of Fischer's grand struggle against the Russians, that culminated at Reykjavik.>

By now, however, I guess that a substantial number, if not a majority, of US chess players realize that Bobby was just an embarrassment.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: <AylerKupp: <cro777> Thanks for the info. Your knowledge of chess is remarkable.>

For English readers, Botvinnik's "Half a Century of Chess" (Pergamon 1984) is the best source. I guess that the analysis of this game is similar to that in the reference <cro777> cites. In the book, this game is game 82 out of 90 that are analyzed.

An interesting feature of Botvinnik's book is that he includes not only analysis of the games, but also forthright comments about the tendencies and character of the notable players among his opponents. For example, for this game, he writes, after 41 Kg3 Ne4+:

"It was here that my opponent's deficiencies of character begin to show. Thinking that the game was easily won, he was angry with me for continuing the battle and although the time control was already passed, he took a rash decision. By 41... Rb4 42 a3 Rd4 43 f3 a5 black could have created a zugswang position: the white king must guard h4, the rook - c4, and the bishop - d1."

He also recounts the story of analysis that was published after the game, The main bone of contention was about whether black could have won if he had chose a different move 51: ..Kd4 instead of ... b5.

Fischer declared that black's position was still won at that point and published the following position after white's move 64, claiming it was won for black:

click for larger view

"Fischer then continued his analysis:

64 ... Qb3+ 65 Ke2 Qd1+ 66 Ke3 Rb1 67 Qf8+ Ka2, and concluded that 'white's king will be without shelter from the coming avalanche of checks'. "

Botvinnik, however, stated that after 68 Qc5, white could draw.

He then states: "But an even more elegant way to draw was found in the same year (1977) by 13-year-old Harry Kasparov (Baku): 67 Rc4 (instead of 67 Qf8+) 67 ... Rb3+ 68 Rc3 Qe1+ 69 Kd3 Qf1+ 70 Kd2 (70 Ke3? Qh3+!) 70 ... Qxf2 71 Kd3 .

"Thus, not only did the young Fischer display a careless attitude to the adjourned game, but also as a mature grandmaster he showed a lack of care in published analysis."

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Hmm.. 38... Rd4!
Just shows what an incredible chess genius Fischer was! 39. Bc2 a5! and black wins. Remarkable innit? ;)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Now I understand why Botvinnik felt so relieved; 40... Ke5 (instead of Kg5) also wins :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: So where did Fischer miss the win?
I think it's after 41... Ne4.
Fischer should've played 41... Rb4.

It's funny if one thinks that Botvinnik felt 'relieved' after move 38.

Sep-30-16  Allanur: "A rebuttal from 13 year old Garry to Bobby"

What kind of name could have been given to this game?

May-24-17  vermapulak: Pics :-

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Ayler Kupp> Thanks for your posts on this game.

<I did find some interesting if brief analysis of this game with notes by both Fischer and Botvinnik here: which I will refer to as the <gameknot> link for convenience.>

I'm with you, I don't think there was any joint analysis. Whoever made that post on gameknot seems to have just lifted the annotations from Fischer's <My 60 Memorable Games>. There, Fischer reprinted earlier analysis from Botvinnik. I don't know when or where it was originally printed, or to what extent it differs from that printed in <"Analytical and critical works">.

<Fischer/Botvinnik joint analysis: Black's winning line is 51...K-Q5! 52 RxP P-N4 53 P-R5 P-N5 54 P-R6! P-N6 55 R-N4 ch K-B4! 56 R-N5 ch K-B3! 57 R-N6 ch K-N2! 58 R-N7 ch K-R3! 59 R-N6 ch K-R4! 60 R-N5 ch K-R5! 61 R-N4 ch K-R6 62 R-R4 P-N7 63 P-R7 P-N8 (Q) 64 P-R8 (Q) Q-N6 ch! 65 K-K2 Q-Q8 ch 66 K-K3 R-N8!! 67 Q-B8 ch K-R7, leaving White's King with no shelter from, in Fischer's words, "the coming avalanche of checks".>

Again, that's just a straight lift from Fischer's notes in 60MG. Botvinnik definitely didn't agree with fact he later published a refutation from Kasparov, as discussed in other posts.

May-24-17  Howard: "Your move, Bobby" is what Soltis wrote about this game back in a 1980 issue of CL.

In other words, Fischer's M60MG apparently had given faulty analysis of this clash, and Soltis was stating that it was up to Bobby to prove otherwise. To my knowledge, Fischer never got around to it.

Jan-31-18  RookFile: I'm sure Botvinnik is right and Fischer is wrong about this specific position.

Fischer got outplayed in the spin war after the game too.

The story should have been that the world champion, with the white pieces, playing a prepared variation, only managed to hang onto a draw by the skin of his teeth against a teenager, and Botvinnik needed terrific help by Geller in finding a miracle draw.

Had Botvinnik been foolish enough to play that match with Fischer in the late 1960's, you can be sure Fischer would have beaten him as badly has he could. You shudder to think of what the score might have been.

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Perfect pun. Well done.
Jan-31-18  newzild: <andrewjsacks>

It's not a pun, but it is a good title nonetheless.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One of those games that if it had been played between any lesser players it would have been forgotten about 2 hours after it finished.

There is another game in 60MG that Fischer admits is without interest: Fischer vs Bisguier, 1963. The game ends with a note, <"A pity that <just when the game was getting interesting>, Black has to make this terrible mistake.">. The game ends 2 moves later.

So the game was not interesting, then Black made a terrible mistake and the game ended.

It doesn't really help that the opening was 73 years old.

Of course, it was up to Fischer what went into the book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: <offramp>

Tell me, how could such a game be played by 'lesser players' at the time?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <WorstPlayerEver: <offramp> Tell me, how could such a game be played by 'lesser players' at the time?>

If this game had been played by say Petrosian and Korchnoi, or Geller and Smyslov, it would never have received the amount of attention it has. It is a pretty dull game, apart from 17...Qxf4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: <offramp> Do you know of any games that are the reverse? Games that should get a lot of attention but don't because they were played by "lesser players".
Jan-31-18  Retireborn: <norami> Must be quite a few. This one comes to mind:-

F Parr vs G Wheatcroft, 1938

although I see that it has attracted some attention. Also games that end in draws, because the patzers like blood:-

Szabo vs Flohr, 1946

Jan-31-18  Sally Simpson: Hi Offramp,

That 'uninteresting' Fischer - Bisguier from 1963. Was that not the game where Fischer fell asleep. Looks like he did not find it interesting till Bisguier made a blunder (he woke up Fischer).

Brings a whole new meaning to the term: "I could beat you in my sleep."

Re-lesser known players and their games. When I started writing about chess in newspapers, magazines, news letters and my own magazine 40 years ago I made it my task to only use lesser players games.

They are much more instructive (and more fun to note up) than GM games.

Why study GM games and their current crop of openings when you are not going to play any. Better to see games of your peers and learn how to spot blunders.

They (we) are the bread and butter of the game. Without us to buy the books, pay club subs and entrance fees etc...etc... chess would possibly fade away.

Let them stroll in the sunshine and see their mini-masterpiece in print.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jith1207: Agree <Sally Simpson>

On another post in this page, I got a laugh at Harry Kasparov :)

Jan-31-18  Pirandellus: Hi! Who is GM Szabo?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: I don't understand why black didn't play Kf6, keeping the g pawn (which seems important for defensive purposes) and winning a tempo for advancing the connected pawns, which don't need to be supported by the king (for example, 50...Kf6, 51. Rb7 Ra5 followed by b5, a6, etc., with the black pawns hobbling forward.) White certainly can't queen his isolated pawns with the black g-pawn in the way and there are no mating threats, either.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: I let the CG Stockfish engine chew on 38...? Its recommendation is surprising! Kf6. In second place is Fischer's choice of Rd4. Re1 doesn't make the top three.

1) -1.67 (37 ply) 38...Kf6 39.Bc2 Rd4 40.Kg3 Rd2 41.f4 a5 42.h4 Ke6 43.Re3+ Kd6 44.Bb1 Rd1 45.Bc2 Rg1+ 46.Kf3 Ra1 47.a3 Rf1+ 48.Kg4 Ne6 49.Rd3+ Kc6 50.Rc3+ Kd7 51.Rd3+ Ke7 52.Bb3 h5+ 53.Kg3 Nc5 54.Re3+ Kf6 55.Bd5 Rg1+ 56.Bg2 Rd1 57.Kf3 Rd4 58.Bh3 b5 59.Bf1 b4 60.axb4 axb4 61.Re5

2) -1.62 (37 ply) 38...Rd4 39.Bc2 Kf6 40.Kg3 Rd2 41.f4 Ke6 42.Re3+ Kf7 43.Rc3 Kf6 44.h4 Re2 45.Kg4 h5+ 46.Kg3 Re1 47.Rf3 Rg1+ 48.Kh2 Rg4 49.Rg3 Rxg3 50.Kxg3 b5 51.Kf2 Ne6 52.Bd3 b4 53.Ke3 a5 54.Bc2 Ng7 55.Kd4 Nf5+ 56.Bxf5 Kxf5 57.Kc4 Kg4 58.Kb5 Kxh4 59.Kxa5 Kg3 60.Kxb4

3) -1.49 (36 ply) 38...Rb4 39.Bf3 Kf6 40.Bc6 Rb2 41.a3 Rb3 42.Re3 Rxe3 43.fxe3 Ke5 44.a4 a6 45.Kf2 Kd6 46.Be8 Kd5 47.Kf3 Ke5 48.h4 Ne4 49.Bc6 Nd6 50.Kg4 Nf5 51.h5 Nxe3+ 52.Kg5 gxh5 53.Kxh5 a5 54.Kh6 Kd4 55.Kxh7 Kc5 56.Bb5 Nf5 57.Kg6 Nd6

Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: After Rd4, the CG Stockfish recommends:

1) -1.69 (38 ply) 39.Bf3 h5 40.Re3 Kf6 41.Be2 h4 42.a3 g5 43.Kf3 Rd2 44.Re8 Ra2 45.Re3 Rc2 46.Kg2 Ne6 47.Bg4 Nf4+ 48.Kf3 Rc4 49.Bd7 Rc1 50.Bg4 Rc2 51.Rb3 Nd5 52.Rd3 Ke5 53.Bh5 Rc1 54.Bg4 Rc4 55.Rb3 Kd6 56.Ke2 Rc2+ 57.Kf3 Kc5 58.Bf5 Ra2 59.Bg4 Kc4 60.Be6 Kxb3

2) -1.74 (38 ply) 39.Bc2 Kf6 40.a3 a5 41.Bb3 Rf4 42.f3 Ke5 43.Bg8 h5 44.Rc2 h4 45.Rb2 Rf8 46.Bc4 Kd4 47.Rc2 g5 48.Bb5 Ne6 49.Bf1 Nf4+ 50.Kf2 Rf5 51.a4 Rc5 52.Rd2+ Kc3 53.Rd6 Kb4 54.Rxb6+ Kxa4 55.Ke3 Ka3 56.Ke4 a4 57.Rb8 Rc3 58.Rb5 Ne6 59.Ke5

3) -1.94 (37 ply) 39.Rc1 h5 40.Be2 Rd2 41.Bc4 Ne4 42.Rf1 Kf6 43.a4 Nc5 44.Ra1 Rd4 45.Bb5 a6 46.Bc6 a5 47.Rb1 Rb4 48.Rd1 Nxa4 49.Bxa4 Rxa4 50.Rd6+ Kf5 51.Rxb6 Ra1 52.Kf3 a4 53.Rb5+ Ke6 54.Rb6+ Kd5 55.Rxg6 a3 56.Ra6 Kc4 57.Ke2 a2 58.Ra8 Kb3 59.Rb8+ Ka3 60.Ra8+ Kb2 61.Rb8+ Kc3 62.Ra8

Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Stockfish evaluates 38...Re1 as:

1) -1.44 (37 ply) 39.Bf3 Rb1 40.Bc6 Rd1 41.Re3 Rd6 42.Bb5 a6 43.Be2 Kf6 44.Bc4 Rd2 45.Rf3+ Kg5 46.Rg3+ Kh5 47.Bg8 Kh6 48.Rf3 Kg7 49.Bc4 Rd4 50.Bb3 Kh6 51.Re3 a5 52.Bf7 Kg5 53.Rg3+ Kf6 54.Rf3+ Ke5 55.Re3+ Kd6 56.Bg8 h6 57.Rf3 Ke5 58.Rf8 Nd3 59.Kf3 b5 60.Re8+ Kf5

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