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Robert James Fischer vs Raymond Allen Weinstein
USA-ch (1960), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Dec-18
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation (C19)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-05-05  lentil: ouch! a blow on the opposite wing forces win of a piece. bolt from the blue!
Aug-24-06  tonsillolith: What is the purpose of 7. a4? Ive noticed it in several games but i dont understand it.
Aug-24-06  chessarmenia: i dont claim to be an expert, but after looking at the game, a4 helped support the rook lift to b5 and eventuallly the doubled rooks attacking combined with the eventual queen sac and bishop support threatens mate; possibly fishcer worked out this attack in his home prep, and decided that the early a4 would save a tempo or something
Aug-24-06  chessarmenia: also a4 is surprisingly resourceful in that black will have trouble starting anything on the queenside as he cant do b5 anymore, and a5 prevents the queen from getting there
Aug-24-06  Tactical: In the position after 6...c5, another purpose of 7.a4 is to develop White's QB on the a3-f8 diagonal, where it dominates the dark squares.
Aug-24-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Smyslov devised 7. a4 to prevent Black from blockading the queenside and leaving white's QB without prospects with ...Qa5 and ...Qa4. Here's an example of the blockade.

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1941

7. a4 was Fischer's favorite, but eventually passed out of fashion.

Aug-24-06  Robyn Hode: 7 a4 also prevents Black's blockading attempt with Bd7-a4. After 8 Qd2 Black can improve on 8...Qa5 with either 8...Nbc6 or 8...b6 preparing 9...Ba6.
Aug-24-06  RookFile: I just had to chuckle with the idea, posted in this thread, that the purpose of a4 was to support a rook lift to b5. LOL!
Jul-15-07  Some call me Tim: <keypusher> Smyslov did pioneer 7.a4 and in fact Fischer said this was "Smysov's favorite, largely responsible for Botvinnik's giving up the Winawer Variation." (My 60 Fav Games p. 150, notes to Fischer-Darga W. Berlin 1960). As you have deftly noted the purpose is to prevent Black from blockading at a4 with Q, B or N, a common Winawer technique. Incidentally he also says the position in the Weinstein game is equal after 16...Bd7. Black blundered with 28...e5?? giving Fischer an opportunity to flash his tactical genius with some pretty moves against b6 and b8. Kasparov says Korchnoi put 7. a4 out of business (OMGP IV at p. 396) but the opening manuals still have it so it is playable but not a way for White to fight for advantage. Nunn cites Smyslov-Uhlmann Havana 1964 as the main sequence after a4 and says it equal but Fischer no doubt had something different in mind. Fischer last "officially" played against the Winawer in his first match game vs. Larsen in 1971 (I haven't checked the Sveti Stefan games) and played 7.a4, so by then he was still convinced it was the best move. Larsen played 8...Bd7 rather than Qa5.
Aug-02-07  LexBenaim: With all this talk, don't forget that the opening that Fischer had the most trouble with was the French Winawer. Fischer only lost 88 games in professional career, but he was only 12 wins 8 losses 10 draws with the Winawer. If we talk Sicilian Fischer's word is god, but in the French it doesn't mean much more than Silmans.
Dec-24-08  Ychromosome: If 30...axb6 31.Qxb6+ and both king moves are mating.
Mar-27-09  devt: This is 49 years later, and I am not a chess regular, but I was recently reading a book about/by Fischer and it mentioned this game. Has anybody else already noticed that a Qf8 (♕f8) or Rff8 (♖ff8) might have prevented a checkmate? Or am I doing something wrong here?
Mar-27-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <devt: This is 49 years later, and I am not a chess regular, but I was recently reading a book about/by Fischer and it mentioned this game. Has anybody else already noticed that a Qf8 (f8) or Rff8 (ff8) might have prevented a checkmate? Or am I doing something wrong here?>

<devt> After 33...Rff8 or 33...Qf8 White has 34.Qxe6. If 34...Rxh3 then 35.Qxc6+ and it is mate if the f-rook went to f8 or mate next move if the queen went to f8 as Black still has 35...Rb7 36.Qxb7#.

If Black doesn't take the bishop on h3 he's simply a piece down in a bad position.

Mar-27-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Travis Bickle: Hey I didn't know Fischer played Kasparov's uncle.
Mar-27-09  parisattack: <LexBenaim: With all this talk, don't forget that the opening that Fischer had the most trouble with was the French Winawer. Fischer only lost 88 games in professional career, but he was only 12 wins 8 losses 10 draws with the Winawer. If we talk Sicilian Fischer's word is god, but in the French it doesn't mean much more than Silmans.>

Any speculation on why the Winawer gave Fischer a rough time? Closed position? But he did fine with KID...

Mar-27-09  AnalyzeThis: It just lead to murky positions where black is fighting back. White should win, but black always had a puncher's chance, to take advantage of any slip up.
May-21-10  jerseybob: I'd say white's the one with a puncher's chance in this game; strategically black's certainly on top with a pawn in the bank. But Fischer could definitely punch when given the chance. Instead of 28..e5??, Qf8 brings the queen back for both attack and defense. It guards f6, frees one of the rooks to occupy the g-file, and keeps Qd8 in reserve in case b6 needs extra defense. Or black might, after Qf8, shoot for h5 right away. The white king's a little vulnerable too.
Mar-30-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: White to Play and Win after 29 ... fxe5.

White to Play and Win after 32 ... e4.

White's dsb plays a key role in both combinations.

Mar-30-18  RookFile: <jeserybob: I'd say white's the one with a puncher's chance in this game; strategically black's certainly on top with a pawn in the bank. >

I think both sides where happy when black played ...Qxa4. Fischer didn't mind having an extra line heading towards black's king.

Mar-30-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < Some call me Tim: <keypusher> Smyslov did pioneer 7.a4 and in fact Fischer said this was "Smysov's favorite, largely responsible for Botvinnik's giving up the Winawer Variation." (My 60 Fav Games p. 150, notes to Fischer-Darga W. Berlin 1960). >

Side issue, but Fischer doesn't appear to be right about this. For starters, Botvinnik only has two games with the position after 7.a4 in the database, in 1943 and 1944, and he drew one and won the other.

What I think scared Botvinnik off the Winawer was cave-in-your-kingside games like C H Alexander vs Botvinnik, 1946 and Tal vs Botvinnik, 1960 and Tal vs Botvinnik, 1961. And it might not have been the merits of the position so much as deciding that he was too old to keep playing lines like that.

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