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Robert James Fischer vs Viktor Korchnoi
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 5, May-09
Pirc Defense: Austrian Attack (B09)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Some call me Tim: Fischer once said he feared Korchnoi more than any other opponent in the 1971 Candidates' because he couldn't understand his moves. Here it is strange he did not see the threat of Korchnoi's buildup on the b-file but it is characteristic of his poor play in the first third of this tournament. An exchange and two pawns down by move 17. Disaster.
May-13-09  FlashinthePan: First, I didn't understand Fischer's 33.Rg3, apparently giving the exchange. Then I saw the trap of 33...Bxg3 34.Nd4 Q moves (e.g. to b2) 35.Qf6+ with perpetual check. Ultimately, this ill-inspired trap will have allowed Kortchnoi's brilliancy of 33...Qxg3, precipitating White's end.
May-13-09  AnalyzeThis: Well, the alternative move at 33 was to plain old resign. Once you think that way, a little cheapo at the end doesn't hurt anything.
May-13-09  FlashinthePan: That's right, but my point was that Fischer may well have overlooked 33...Qxg3. Otherwise, given his legendary ego, chances are he wouldn't have given Kortchnoi the opportunity of this dazzling coup de grace.
May-13-09  AnalyzeThis: I don't agree with that last point, but Fischer certainly get his butt kicked in this game.
Jul-13-09  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 11 Nd2, according to Korchnoi "He should have played 11 Nc4! It is true that with 11...Ng4 Black could have forced White to sacrifice the exchange ( 12 Bxg4 Bxg4 looks bad for him) but for fine compensation; 12 Nd5 Nf2+ 13 Rxf2 Qxf2 13 Be3 Qh4 15 Ncb6 Rb8 16 Nxc8 Rfxc8 17 g3 Qh6 18 f5 g5 19 Qd2 Bf6 20 h4, or 19...Bxb2 20 Bxg5 Qg7 21 Rf1- Black has a difficult position.

Instead of the Knight thrust to g4 there was also 11...Bg4. After 12 Be3 Qh5 13 Bxg4 Nxg4 14 h3 Nxe3 ( 14...Bxc3?! 15 bxc3 Nf6) 15 Qxh5 gxh5 16 Nxe3 White's position is slightly better." (Korchnoi)

Jul-13-09  Open Defence: if they played a match for the WC it would have been something!!
Sep-18-09  Ulhumbrus: <Open Defence: if they played a match for the WC it would have been something!!> That is one match which it was a pity did not take place. A few other historical examples of other matches it would have been interesting to see the result of are Morphy- Staunton, Morphy- Steinitz ( Morphy was only a year older than Steinitz), Lasker- Pillsbury, Lasker- Nimzovich, Capablanca- Rubinstein, Alekhine- Capablanca ( return match), Alekhine - Lasker, Alekhine- Botvinnik, Alekhine- Fine, Alekhine - Reshevsky, Botvinnik- Fine, Botvinnik- Reshevsky, Tal- Fischer, Spassky- Petrosian ( return match), Fischer- Karpov and Kasparov- Fischer.
Sep-18-09  DrCurmudgeon: A Fischer - Korchnoi match probably would have ended up like the Fischer - Reshevsky match.
Sep-18-09  apple pi: <Ulhumbrus> Alekhine-Flohr and Kasparov-Tal would also be nice, if perhaps one-sided.
Nov-09-09  remolino: 13.g4 was an oversight by Fisher. Wonderful tactical alertness by Korchnoi. This is 1962.
Dec-24-09  M.D. Wilson: Korchnoi played well against Fischer in general. Korchnoi was certainly someone who wouldn't collapse at the sight of Fischer, he just did things his own way. In their nine or so games together, I think Korchnoi held an edge (just an impression of the general character of these encounters), although they broke even with three wins each. A match between these two would have been really interesting. Fischer once said of Korchnoi, "I don't know what to play against him!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <they broke even with three wins each.>

Two wins each. We're adding in blitz games again.

It's true that they broke even, but all four of their decisive games came in 1962. I think they only played twice after that, so it's hard to reach any real conclusions about how Korchnoi would have fared against the Fischer of the 70's. But with hindsight, I think it's pretty easy to conclude that Fischer-Korchnoi would have been a better match than Fischer-Larsen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: A few other historical examples of chess championship challenge matches it would have been interesting to see the result of:

Thanks for the idea <Open Defence> and the list <Ulhumbrus> respectively. I got just another one: Kasparov versus Carlsen ;-))

Dec-25-09  M.D. Wilson: <Two wins each. We're adding in blitz games again.> Pluralis Majestatis, Petrosianic. Why not add in the blitz games? Afterall, this was during Fischer's great blitz performance. Yes, they broke even with two wins each. I think a match between these two in the 70s would have been interesting. Do you think Korchnoi was a better played in the 70s than he was in the 60s, Petrosianic?
Feb-24-10  newzild: I tell you something, Magnus Carlsen is a better player now (age 19) than Fischer was during this game (age 19).

Can you imagine Carlsen getting whupped like this?

Feb-24-10  AnalyzeThis: Korchnoi was pretty good too. Don't think you can tell much from one game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Do you think Korchnoi was a better played in the 70s than he was in the 60s, Petrosianic?>

Oh, yes. I'd heard that he gave up (or cut back) on drinking, got parts of his personal life in order, and really went on a roll. He was great in the 60's, but he was really at his best from 1973-ish to around 1982.

Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: Fischer said once that he didn`t understand Korchnoi`s moves at all. That seems strange for a GM to say. I would think a GM would understand every move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: If that were true, every GM would be world champion.
Jul-26-10  Call me Ishmael: <If that were true, every GM would be world champion.>

How does understanding chess moves automatically make someone World Champion? Another stupid post by <Petrosianic>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Here's a photo from this game:

Apr-28-11  depraved: <M.D. Wilson: I think, that at his best, Korchnoi had all the elements of Lasker, coupled with a killer instinct>

Do you think Lasker didn't? This statement is fatuous.

Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: Great photo it is, technical draw. Thank you for posting.
Aug-01-11  DrMAL: After 12...Nb4 (unusual but good) Fischer's novelty with 13.g4?! was simply poor and Korchnoi, someone who enjoyed challenging such moves, exemplified why (via 15...Nxc2!). With 16.Nb5 (best) black ended up with a rook and two pawns for two knights (one badly placed on a1), a big advantage.
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