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Robert James Fischer vs Orest Popovych
"Pop Quiz" (game of the day Nov-24-2013)
57th US Open (1956), Oklahoma City, OK USA, rd 10, Jul-26
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-27-04  wall: Instead of 41...g5, perhaps 41...Ke5. Instead of 42...Rf7, perhaps 42...Rh6 protecting his rook pawn. Maybe Black can draw with 47...c4. After 52Rxg5, White wins after 52...h3+ 53.Kxh3 Kxf3 54.e5.
Oct-06-11  altai: Why not 17...Ne4?
Oct-07-11  sneaky pete: <altai> Because of 18.Bc4+ Kh8 19.Nf7+ .. when black is forced to give up the exchange with no counter chances at all.
Sep-30-13  han jobb: forgive my ignorance, i'm a beginner. Why does black give up his rook on 20.?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Black might have been worried about white's two connected passed pawns. On the Rook sac he gets a minor + Pawn for the Rook, and some semblance of an attack, but it really peters out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <han jobb: forgive my ignorance, i'm a beginner. Why does black give up his rook on 20.?>

No need to apologize. It's a perfectly reasonable question. According to Houdini 3 (a chess engine), 20...Rxf4 is indeed the best move for Black, but that is not at all obvious. My guess is that most people would not play that move. Black's c-pawn is attacked, and the question is what he should do about it. 20...Rf7 is also possible, when 21.Rac1 Nf6 (counterattacking the e-pawn) 22.Re1 Ne8 23.b3 leaves Black in an unpleasantly passive (though by no means hopeless) position. Alternatively, 20...c6 21.d6 leaves White with two connected passed pawns in the center; 21.dxc6 is also possible, when Black's isolated c-pawn is weak.

As I say, Houdini says that 20...Rxf4!? is the best try. Black ended up with bishop and pawn for his rook, which is almost enough compensation. Also, after 21.Nxf4, 21...Bxb2 (instead of 21...Be5) deserved serious consideration. According to Houdini White would still have the advantage with 22.Rab1 Be5 23.Nd3 Bxh2+ 24.Kh1 Bd6 25.Bh3 b6 26.Rbc1 Ne5 27.Bxc8 Rxc8 28.Nxe5 Bxe5 29.d6!

It is a complicated position, and none of this at all obvious. I would guess that Black though a while before playing 20...Rxf4, and decided that even though it gave up material it gave him better chances than the alternatives.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: On move 20. Rxf4 is almost forced but Black has good chances after the R sac as the B comes into play on ef, c7 is no longer under pressure, and his N is active near the White King
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  Richard Taylor: Without a using a computer 24. ... h5 looks better than 24. ... Ne5 and Black can keep some pressure on White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: It is an exchange sac and often they win or equalize but in this case it was hard: but black made some good play.
Nov-24-13  morfishine: Interesting note on Popovych: He won the New Jersey Open 4-times, the first in 1959 and remarkably the latest in 2001


Nov-24-13  talljack: Patzer Alert! I don't have Houdini plugged in. I can't see what's wrong with 26. BxBe6 27.dxe6, Re8 28. Rd7, Rxe6 29. Rad1(Rd8+ doesn't seem to go anywhere.) Re8 30. b2-b4, h5 31. Rd8, Kf8 32. R1d7, g5 and I can't see how White makes progress. Am I looking at an entirely wrong line, or just missing something in between?
Nov-24-13  scormus: <FSR ... It is a complicated position, and none of this at all obvious> Certainly not at all obvious. I was curious about it and tried it on Rybka, who spent a long time before deciding that 20 ... Rxf4 was better than ... Bxb2, although the continuations are similar. It says something about the standard of the young Bobby Fischer's opponent.

<talljack: Patzer Alert! 26 .. Bxe6> after a moderately deep search, Rybka gives this slightly better than ... Kg2. But BK remains on the back rank and B was no doubt concerned about it being stuck there if W played Rd7. Quite understandable.

Really, this is quite a classy game

Nov-24-13  RookFile: It actually reminds me of Carlsen vs. Anand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black gives up rook for knight and a little loose string.
Nov-25-13  Moszkowski012273: Stronger play stems from 9.Qb3+... Wins the exchange earlier with a better position.
Nov-25-13  Moszkowski012273: And 19.Nxg6... was another miss by Fischer. Would of made this game a whole lot easier to win.
Nov-25-13  Moszkowski012273: Shoot... Not nearly as easy as I thought.... But still better.
Apr-06-14  talljack: Thanks Scormus.
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