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Robert James Fischer vs Lev Polugaevsky
Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)  ·  English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Mikenas-Carls Variation (A15)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-25-06  Father Karras: Poor Polugaevsky must have wondered why he was favoured for Fischer's first 1.c4 ever!
Nov-24-06  MrPatzer: "Poor Polugaevsky" drew with the black pieces against Fischer in 1970. I wouldn't feel terribly sorry for him.
Nov-24-06  setebos: Actually he was very proud of his achievement according to the authors of "The Russians vs Fischer"
Nov-01-07  dixi82: Polugaevsky was a Sicilian expert, maybe Fischer tried to avoid his expertise on that opening.
Nov-01-07  D4n: It seems odd for Fischer to open with 1. c4, but if Polugaevky was a sicilian expert it explains a lot.
Nov-01-07  RookFile: Fischer was a Sicilian expert too. Around this time, Fischer was fooling around with these flank openings, and had at least 3 games with 1. b3, for example.
Nov-08-07  dixi82: As far as i know, there were certain developments in the Sicilian that maybe Fischer wanted to avoid - simply there are too many variations to learn and keep track of. Otherwise, Fischer being the Sicilian expert, why would he play King's Indian Attack as White against the Sicilian, as he did? Avoiding preparations is worth at least half a pawn. Especially against experts :D
Nov-25-07  HOTDOG: excellent game by both players
Jan-17-08  Petrosianic: No reason to assume he feared anything. Fischer was simply broadening his repertoire around that time, as can also be seen in games like this:

Fischer vs Mecking, 1970

And this:

Browne vs Fischer, 1970

Jan-17-08  RookFile: <dixi82: dixi82: As far as i know, there were certain developments in the Sicilian that maybe Fischer wanted to avoid - simply there are too many variations to learn and keep track of. Otherwise, Fischer being the Sicilian expert, why would he play King's Indian Attack as White against the Sicilian, as he did? Avoiding preparations is worth at least half a pawn. Especially against experts :D >

I believe that Fischer viewed this game as just a battle in a long war. The prize, of course, was to beat Spassky for the world championship, but to do that, Fischer would have to get there first.

Fischer may have thought, for example, that after 1. e4, Polugaevsky would play 1....c5 and play the Najdorf defense against him. This is the same defense Fischer himself uses, and Fischer probably didn't want to be put into the position of showing how to refute his own defense. In a couple of games before, Geller had tried this tactic against Fischer, and in those games, Fischer varied from his usual 6. Bc4 for these same reasons, playing 6. Bg5 instead, and didn't do well.

Fischer may also have already been envisioning using 1. c4 against Spassky, as he later did, and wanted to get some practice with it.

Jan-17-08  veigaman: <I believe that Fischer viewed this game as just a battle in a long war. The prize, of course, was to beat Spassky for the world championship, but to do that, Fischer would have to get there first.> Good post, agree

Feb-07-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: this may be the only game that Fischer started with 1.c4?
Feb-07-11  AnalyzeThis: Nah. This is the most famous one, there are others:

Fischer vs Spassky, 1972

Feb-07-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <wordfunph>This wasn't even the only game with 1.c4 from this event-his last-round attempt at a game with Oscar Panno also featured the English.
May-02-11  weepingwarrior: I think that Fischer was thinking that if Polugaevsky is an expert on the sicilian, lets give him an opportunity to try an Sicilian Reversed with the English opening. But Polugaevsky avoided any reversed Sicilian against Fischer. A wise choice on his part.
Mar-05-12  ewan14: This game is far better than Spassky's meek capitulation in 1972 , game 6
Mar-06-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "It's true that in Palma de Mallorca the day that I arrived in the tournament hall and I realized that he had played l.c4, I couldn't believe my eyes; I even thought for a minute that I had the wrong table!"

- GM Lev Polugaevsky

Source: Sicilian Love by Lev Polugaevsky

Mar-06-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <AnalyzeThis> <perfidious> thanks guys!
Mar-06-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <dixi82: Polugaevsky was a Sicilian expert, maybe Fischer tried to avoid his expertise on that opening.>

Polugaevsky was actually an opening expert on many things, not just the Sicilian, and he knew quite a bit on the English opening, which he played often. Fischer devoted his whole life to chess, and he wasn't scared of anything, including playing the Sicilian against a Sicilian expert. He was probably just expanding his repertoire, experimenting, or saving some Sicilian weapons for later. But he was also paranoid in many ways, and if he got fixated on the idea that Polugaevsky had prepared some new move to play against him on the Sicilian, he may have chosen to disappoint him.

In sum, it seems I agree with everyone and with no one. Sigh.

Mar-06-12  ewan14: Kasparov praises '' Poly '' as an openings expert in O.M.G.P.
Mar-06-12  RookFile: Well, he certainly was. As was Fischer, by the way. I read Polugaevsky's book on the Queen's Gambit, it's really excellent.
Mar-06-12  Penguincw: < wordfunph >

Games where Fischer played 1.c4.

Repertoire Explorer: Robert James Fischer (white)

He has a better winning record with 1.e4 then 1.c4.


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