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Robert James Fischer vs Pal Benko
"Rook, Line and Sinker" (game of the day May-24-2006)
US Championship (1963/64), New York, NY USA, rd 10, Dec-30
Pirc Defense: Austrian Attack. Weiss Variation (B09)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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  perfidious: <TheFocus> Indeed, that <LOL> which transcends all.
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  TheFocus: In <harry>'s case, he is a student of Transcendental Irritation.
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  TheFocus: Oops, forgot to add LOL!
Dec-18-12  leka: My 32 mgz computer solved this 19.rook f6!! 1 minutes 50 seconds.2,5 giga herz computer is 1000 times faster it solved this under second.Fischer was a genius but the chess era from 1962 to 1972 was the weakest in the history.The computers today solved all Fischer famous moves under seconds thinking time like against Byrne bishop e6! Larsen rook e5! Gligoric rook f6! only Fischer move computer thinks is against Minic knight e5!
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  perfidious: <leka> You've an unusual MO-instead of coming to game pages with combinative ideas and telling us how quickly you solved them, you regale us with tales of how fast your engine was in doing the job.

Sheer genius, that engine of yours!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HAPERSAUD: <perfidious> and that is why my friend, chess has gone to hell in a hand basket, everyone thinks they know everything even when parroting an engine
Mar-05-13  RookFile: I think 16. Qg4 may be the hardest move to find in this game. What would the rest of us do - something like Rad1, Rf2, or Nd5 instead?
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  perfidious: <HAPERSAUD> Afraid so.
Oct-05-13  jackmandoo: 19. RF6 made me cry when I first played through this at boarding school when I was 16. Once I realized the reasoning behind the move I got goosebumps and shed tears. It was quite a moment.
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  MJCB: Move 19 Rf6 is reminiscent of move 23 Rxf6 in the game Mikenas vs N Lebedev 4th Georgian Championship 1941 Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern Variation (D53) 1-0 (I do not know how to set hyperlinks) except that Fischer takes a tempo to sac a rook while Mikenas took a Bishop with his rook. As for Jackmandoo and many other I am sure, this made a deep impression on me.
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  diceman: <HeMateMe:
But, you didn't address the question of innovation--did he substantially *change* the way chess was played, or did he just play it better, than anyone of his generation?>

I guess <TheFocus:> said it best:

Do some of you even read your posts before submitting them, or do you just randomly hit keys?>

Mar-09-14  Eduardo Bermudez: Happy birthday dear Bobby !
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  Mating Net: I often wondered how a move such as 19.Rf6!! even gets considered.

I propose that one of Fischer's most famous moves was the result of Fischer learning from one his own mistakes.

Consider the following position from a game played one year previously: Fischer vs J H Donner, 1962

25 White to move Fischer vs Donner 1962

click for larger view

After sacrificing his Knight, if Fischer had played the zwischenschach 25.Qg3+ it would have lead to the following moves: 25Kh7 26.h5! and the resulting position would have been as follows:

click for larger view

This would have guaranteed the immobility of the Black f pawn and prevented f5 due to Qg6#. My silicon friend evaluates the position as dead even at 0.00. I would definitely take White because he can bring the Rooks into the attack starting with Rd4 while the Black Queen is in exhile on a7. (This is not my analysis Karsten Mueller gave the variation on his tactics DVD)

I think Fischer realized that there is tremendous value in freezing the Black f pawn in such positions and that lesson enabled him to conjure up Rf6!! against Benko.

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  Petrosianic: <Mating Net>: <I often wondered how a move such as 19.Rf6!! even gets considered.>

This is a hard question to answer without making it sound as though the move is obvious. It's not an obvious move by any means, but it gets considered because it's based on sound positional blocking, deflection and restraint principles.

I once saw a position in a Reinfeld book, where a long series of exchanges led to a position where White had a Rook on f1, Black's king on f8, pawn on f7, and at the end of the combination, white wins a bishop on e6, which is not protected because the pawn on f7 is pinned. That situation existed on the board at the <beginning> of the combination, but was not important because other pieces were in the way. A GM would see the <potential> pin and look for a sequence of moves to exploit it. This is very important, to not only look for weaknesses, but for things that might be a problem later.

So, in this position, the thing that catches the GM's attention is, of course, the Bishop on d3 and Queen on h5, both bearing down on that pawn on h7. But how do you take advantage of it? If white plays e5, then black blocks with f5.

So at this point, the GM starts looking for a way that he might prevent f5. Once you've gotten that far, a move like Rf6 becomes something that might be considered.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MJCB: Fischer Move 19 ♖f6 reminded me of the game V Mikenas vs N Lebedev, 1941 with the position:

click for larger view

White to play: 23 ♖xf6!

Players on both game take a tempo to block the opponent position. But I have to say Fischer move is even more beautiful as he sacs his rook on an empty square (while Mikenas took a Bishop with his rook - when already a rook down though)

It seems that great chess thinkers think alike but common mortals like me are still left with the privilege of being fascinated by such combinations like children by magic.

Jun-22-14  Ulhumbrus: <Mating Net: I often wondered how a move such as 19.Rf6!! even gets considered. >

Fischer has indicated the explanation in his book <My 60 memorable games> (and Horowitz and Battel have also given some indication in their book <The best in chess>): The move 18 Rf6 is a zwischenzug which is intended to improve on the more direct 19 e5. For on 19 e5 Black can play 19...f5! which is what Benko intended and which according to Horowitz's book sets up a perfect defence.

The sacrificial thrust 19 Rf6!! delays Black's pawn advance ...f5 by two moves at the cost of a tempo and a rook, so we can say that overall it delays Black's pawn advance ...f5 by one move at the cost of a rook.

On 19...Bxf6 20 e5 Black lacks a vital tempo to play both 20..Bg7 and 21...f5 before White mates him by 21 Qh7 mate.

This tempo is therefore worth more than an entire army to Black, and so certainly worth giving up a rook to gain.

The resource remains of course brilliant for all that

Dec-11-15  sakredkow: <azi: Part of what I think is amazing about this game are the 3 subtle white Queen moves, in a row, which Fischer plays to advance his Queen to a dominating postion. It is a beautiful and stealthy manuever. When it is completed on move 17, the game is over.>

This is a really good comment that helped me to see the game a little better.

Jul-01-16  celsochini: Thanks Resignation Trap ! Nice book Pal Benko, My Life, Games and Compositions
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  diceman: At the victory/trophy celebration, Fischer was presented with a cake that had the position after 19. Rf6!

Jul-02-16  Harmonics4321: Why has no one offered 1... g6 to be the game losing move for black. You shouldn't need an engine to understand this game was thrown right off of the blocks. And an engine probably won't even tell you that. My first Kibitz ever!!! It's feels good to finally become part of a community.
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  Domdaniel: <Harmonics> - <Why has no one offered 1... g6 to be the game losing move for black.>

Probably because 1...g6 is a good move.

May-01-17  Mithrain: I have never seen such positional sacrifice! Chapeau.
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  HeMateMe: In M60MG Larry Evans titled this game chapter "In the Iron Grip of Fischer."
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  Jonathan Sarfati: A variation on this theme A Carpinter vs K W Lynn, 1976
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  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
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