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Robert James Fischer vs Bent Larsen
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966)  ·  Spanish Game: Open. St. Petersburg Variation (C82)  ·  0-1
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Given 40 times; par: 32 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-15-04  PivotalAnorak: 31. Bf6 d4 32. Qxh7+ Kxh7 33. Rh3+ Qh6
If White tries something else, Black's c and d pawn should ensure the win.
Apr-11-05  sfm: <Sorenbohr>"....really discombobulated the U.S. player and led to the amazing blunder of 29. Qh3." But what would then have been the right move? If 29. bxc4, d4 wins the white bishop. If not, how to cover c3? If ..,bxc3 can't be prevented, winning a pawn and getting an advanced c-pawn with a close d-pawn partner in stock, the position seems totally defenseless in any case? So - what would be the right white 29th move?

Hmm. After looking a little more it seems 30. f3 hold well. :-)

Sep-21-05  Udit Narayan: What about 30. Bf6? White's e-rook can return to the 1st rank and his bishop is protected, threatening black's queen. White seems as if he can hold the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: After 30.Bf6, White's Bishop can't attack the Queen. Black simply plays 30...c2 and seems to force 31.Ree1 and White's attack is gone. If 31.Qh6, c1/Q+; 32.Rxc1,Qxc1+; 33.Kg2,Ne6 looks like the game, but with an extra Rook for Black. Perhaps you meant Bh6 on a different move? Perhaps I'm missing something?
Sep-22-05  Udit Narayan: Yeah I meant 30.Bh6 (Sorry about that).

Sep-22-05  Koster: 21. Qf1 seems a little passive for Fischer. Maybe a4 instead? Also the ending after 23. Qxc4 looks slightly better for white with the bishop pair. Larsen I guess disagreed and thought bishops were overrated. Qg2 loses time, g4 is dubious and Re3 worse. White should be looking for a draw by now not trying to attack. Larsen plays the excellent 28...b4! (29. cxb4 d4 and the rook is pinned. 29 Qh3 isn't good, but white is probably losing by then anyway so it might be the best practical chance.
Sep-23-05  iron maiden: If Fischer ever had a meltdown, this is the game. In just eight or nine moves a good position is transformed into a lost one.
Sep-23-05  ughaibu: 28.b3 looks bad to me, wouldn't 28.Rae1 give enough to draw?
Sep-23-05  Udit Narayan: 28.Rae1...Qxb2
Sep-23-05  Hesam7: <iron maiden: If Fischer ever had a meltdown, this is the game. In just eight or nine moves a good position is transformed into a lost one.>

The first half of Santa Monica 1966 was a total disaster for Fischer. I think his score was even negative in the first half.

Oct-15-05  waddayaplay: Credits to Larsen for winning with black against Fischer. In Euwe vs Eliskases, 1947 white had played 15.Bf4, and eventually won.
May-01-06  Hesam7:

click for larger view

<LARSEN: Perhaps nothing is wrong with Black position except it is difficult! I recalled my game against 16 year old Bobby in the Zurich Tournament of 1959, in which I had to defend a difficult position with two knights against Bobby's beloved pair of bishops for about 70 moves to score a half point.

I was now ready to sacrifice a pawn, for instance: 21. Qf3 Ng5 22. Qxd5 Rad8 23. Bxg5 Qxg5 24. Qc6 Re6 25. Qxc7 Rd2, with good chances. Fischer finds a very interesting maneuver.>

May-01-06  Hesam7: Comments on Larsen's comments:

[1] This is the game Larsen refers to: Fischer vs Larsen, 1959

[2] Fischer's plan in the game is not interesting, it is worse compared with the other available options.

[3] The following position arises after the continuation given by Larsen:

click for larger view

Now White can continue with:

26. Bb3 Qf4 27. Rf1 [27. Qc5? Nd4 28. Bd5 Qxf2 29. Kh1 Nc2 30. Qxf2 Rxf2 31. Rf1 Rxf1 32. Rxf1 Re7 =; 27. Qa7 Re7 (27... Nd4? 28. Qa8+) 28. Qb6 Nd4 29. Qf6 Ne2+ =] 27... Qxe5 28. Qc8 Re8 29. Qxa6 Rxb2 30. Rad1 Kg7 31. Rd7 Re7 32. Rxe7 Nxe7 33. c4 bxc4 34. Qxc4 Qf6 35. Qc5

[4] Larsen's move order is inaccurate it gives Black a chance to equalize (We know White gets an advantage from the above diagram) as follows:

21. Qf3 Ng5 22. Qxd5 Rad8 23. Bxg5 <Rxd5> 24. Bxh4 Nxh4 25. Rad1 Rdxe5 26. Rxe5 Rxe5 27. Kf1 =

May-01-06  Poulsen: I'm sorry <Hesam7>, I don't see, how you can conclude, that white gets a clear advantage from the diagram. Why should black - on 26.Qb3 - attempt 26.-,Qf4?

Have you analyzed the simple 26.-,Nh4?

Then 27.g3,Nf3+ 28.Kg2,Qf5 looks pretty grim for white (just an impression). Maybe whites best is 27.Qb7, but I don't see a clear advantage.

May-01-06  Hesam7: <Poulsen> After:

21. Qf3 Ng5 22. Bxg5 Qxg5 23. Qxd5 Rad8 24. Qc6 Re6 25. Qxc7 Rd2 26. Bb3 Nh4 27. Qb7 Re7 28. Qa8+ Kg7 29. Qe4 Rxb2 30. Rad1

click for larger view

White is a healthy pawn up. I think it is winning. Btw the above move order is the accurate one (compared to Larsen's line).

Jun-14-07  euripides: It's interesting how well the knights and queen cover the 'weak' black squares.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Interestingly, despite Fischer's loss in this game it was mentioned as an example of how strong he is in the Open Ruy Lopez, in a report on his play composed by Boleslavsky, Polugaevsky, Shamkovich and Vasyukov for the USSR chess federation after the match with Taimanov:

<At the tournament in Santa Monica, Larsen sprang a little known variation upon him, which he could hardly have expected [probably meaning 11...Bf5, which was quite rare at the time compared with f5 or Nxf2]. But Fischer found the best reply and his subsequent loss of the game was due to the wrong plan he adopted in the middlegeme.> (From "Russians versus Fischer")

Seems that Fischer lost his patience at a certain stage and tried to force the game too early; it was more typical of his style to exchange queens - e.g. by 21.Qf3 Ng5 22.Qf4, or later 23.b3 Qxf1+ 24.Kxf1 - trasposing to an endgame in which the bishop pair would give him a pleasant advantage .

Sep-10-10  psmith: <Hesam7> a plan can be both (humanly) interesting (as a plan) *and* (objectively, checkable by computer) worse than other available options. These are not exclusive alternatives.
Feb-01-12  drukenknight: we been discussing this for about 8 years it more likely that ...Ne6 was unexpected and Fischer just got stunned for a moment? What was his clock at at this pt? I have the tournament book here somewhere.
Mar-14-12  Garech: Who in their right mind would a) play g6 after giving up their dark squared bishop against Fischer and b) defeat Fischer with the black pieces in the Ruy Lopez? I have therefore come to the conclusion that Larsen was temporarily insane during his lifetime and happened to play this game at the same time.



Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Larsen, as in his annotations to several of the games in this tournament, talks about "being very nervous" during this game. I think of him as being a pretty cool, confident player - especially in his willingness to keep playing in almost any position - but maybe, as with Botvinnik, Larsen's 'good nerves' were really a kind of heightened, adrenaline-riddled energy.

At move 16: Larsen writes, "Solid and good was 16....Nf8. I don't like to weaken the black squares around my king that way [with 16....g6] and I don't know what go into me, but it was something about playing as energetically as possible."

At a guess of what happened, I imagine Fischer might have calculated 31.Rh3 Qxg5 32.Qxh7+ Kf8 33.Qh8# and forgot that the bishop had already been taken. Hard to know.

Maybe Fischer's real mistake was playing the weak move 28.b3, instead of say, 28.Bf6. That gave Larsen a chance to breakthrough on the queenside with 28....b4, which seems to have shaken up Fischer and prompted the subsequent blunder.

Aug-04-16  todicav23: Fischer was in a bad shape in this tournament (at least in the first half of it). Still, this must be one of the worst games he ever player after he became a grandmaster.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Hesam7: <iron maiden: If Fischer ever had a meltdown, this is the game. In just eight or nine moves a good position is transformed into a lost one.>

The first half of Santa Monica 1966 was a total disaster for Fischer. I think his score was even negative in the first half.>

Fischer scored 3.5 from the nine games in the first cycle.

<todicav23....this must be one of the worst games (Fischer) ever player (sic) after he became a grandmaster.>

His position was favourable in the middlegame, but he came unstuck towards the finish.

There were worse games--though naturally not many--during the great man's top-level career.

Aug-05-16  rune ohlsson: No one has mentioned that 28. f3 or even 29. f3 gives White at least equal game.
Aug-05-16  Olavi: Larsen gave both moves in his Selected Games and the latter one in the tournament book.
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