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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
"Best by Protest" (game of the day Feb-20-2007)
Spassky - Fischer World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 6, Jul-23
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. Exchange Variation (D59)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 15 OF 30 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-08-11  rogl: Ray Keene gives an in depth commentary on this game here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M2o...
Aug-08-11  drnooo: The focus as usual has the skinny on bobby

if he truly was yelling like that it coould easily have caused someone with half a brain and pride to tell himself jesus h christ what in the hell am I doing here and look at the result complete collapse till it was too light

to his credit Spassky said by 72 Fischer was stronger though even that carries a codicil stronger perhaps simply because Spassky no longer cared particularly about anything but the money and getting to France I was one never entirely convinced that the better player, given Spassky truly wanting to hang onto the title that Fischer would have beaten him

Aug-08-11  fab4: <drnooo>

You are joking ? Yeah ?!

Fischer had Spassky's number in the mid 60's, when spassky was challenging the python. Only the lack of games then prevented this reality from being known to all.

Aug-08-11  Petrosianic: Honestly, Fischer would probably have beaten the Spassky of 1969 also. Maybe not by 5 points, and maybe Spassky wouldn't have made the howlers he made in 1972, but if it were possible for Fischer 72 to play Spassky 69, with no forfeits, I'd predict a 12-10 win for Fischer. If it were Spassky 69 vs. Fischer 69, I'd predict just the opposite.
Aug-08-11  Pensive: <fab4> Before 1972, Fischer and Spassky played each other five times. Spassky won three of those games, with two draws. Yes, that's not a lot of games, but I think we can say with certainty that Fischer did not have Spassky's number. If anything, it was the other way around.
Aug-08-11  fab4: < Pensive: <fab4> Before 1972, Fischer and Spassky played each other five times. Spassky won three of those games, with two draws. Yes, that's not a lot of games, but I think we can say with certainty that Fischer did not have Spassky's number. If anything, it was the other way around.>

I'm sorry.. I take the opposite view. Fischer was the Lion of the chess world in the 60's... Kotov recognised his genius at Stockholm in 1962... The portents and inevitibility were all there always...

Sure, Spassky v Fischer in 69 would've been closer.. ( the 72 match was wider than the result suggests.. forfeit and coasting) But the result would've been the same.

Aug-10-11  Everett: Just reminding those who care about this: Kasparov indicates a belief that Fischer was ducking Spassky when he left Sousse.

If this is possible, then The Fischer of '71-'72 was only that strong because he knew that the Spassky of '72 is no longer hungry for the championship. If the Spassky of '68 (hungry for the championship) went against the Fischer of '72.... Well, in this scenario, it simply wouldn't happen. Fischer would find another excuse not to compete.

Fischer is an amazing player, but not so stable. If he wasn't granted all of his demands for this match he likely would have bailed. He must have had an amazingly puffed up ego after all his demands were granted.

Just speculation, of course.

Aug-20-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Well thought out, and 100% agreed.
Aug-20-11  positionalgenius: <fab4> There is no clear evidence that fischer would have beaten spassky in 1969. As i recall, spassky defeated fischer in 1970 ... fischer didn't beat spassky once until 1972.
Aug-26-11  M.D. Wilson: <fab4: < Pensive: <fab4> Before 1972, Fischer and Spassky played each other five times. Spassky won three of those games, with two draws. Yes, that's not a lot of games, but I think we can say with certainty that Fischer did not have Spassky's number. If anything, it was the other way around.> I'm sorry.. I take the opposite view. Fischer was the Lion of the chess world in the 60's... Kotov recognised his genius at Stockholm in 1962... The portents and inevitibility were all there always...

Sure, Spassky v Fischer in 69 would've been closer.. ( the 72 match was wider than the result suggests.. forfeit and coasting) But the result would've been the same.>

You have a tendency to always ignore hard facts and results in favour of your own subjective opinion. Spassky's results against Fischer prior to their match speak for themselves, yet you claim Fischer was better in the 60s. Right.

Nov-03-11  Everett: <Caissanist: I think Kasparov said it well: <Fischer had his strong principles, but the predator in him was well aware of the effect his antics had on his opponents.>> Kind of like Kasparov's histrionics at the board, in press conferences, off-stage slamming doors, rocking the table whole screwing pieces into the board, etc... Just his nature and principles I'm sure, but the predator in him is well aware of the effects.
Nov-05-11  DrMAL: It was big mystery to Soviet GMs why Spassky played 14...a6 in response to 14.Bb5 instead of 14...Qb7 prepared by Geller and him. 14...Qb7 gets off of pin and prepares c4 to cut B on b5 so that in preparation, 15.dxc5 was expected with line going 15...bxc5 16.Rxc5 Rxc5 17.Qxc5 Na6 and then white has two choices. First is endgame 18.Qc6 Qxc6 19.Bxc6 where black can go 19...Rb8 for simple advantage (e.g., 20.0-0 Rxb2 ) or 19...Rc8 20.Ba4 Rc1+ 21.Bd1 (21...Rb1 or 21...Ra1) for equal double-edged game with some initiative.

Second is 18.Bxa6 Qxa6 where white is up pawn but white K cannot castle. Geller had opportunity to play this preparation shortly after match (Timman vs Geller, 1973) and Timman chose this option. Geller used this enduring edge from white K position to create decisive attack for beautiful win. Perhaps 20.Qc3 was better in that game (20...Rb8 21.Qxc4 dxc4 22.b3 cxb3 23.axb3 Rxb3 24.0-0) but black would still have solid advantage in endgame. Indeed, computer today shows 14...Qb7 as best, although score is somewhat lower because line in preparation computes as very slightly imprecise.

Spassky was severely criticized for 14...a6 some were even saying he was traitor. In looking at this game through American eyes, where Fischer is still regarded as superhero (even though he never played a single official game after match), try to keep in perspective that, at the time, Fischer was on "mission from God" having been personally called by Henry Kissinger to go and defeat opponent for USA, whereas Spassy was under enormous pressure to retain title and save face of Soviet Union. This was greatly compounded by Fischer's behavior prior to game; not showing up for drawing of lots, forfeiting game and making big unheard of demands to go into back room for next game. Spassky was a wreck, his play already showed this by mistake of 14...a6 ignoring preparation, but other unusual mistakes followed in this game.

Nov-05-11  AnalyzeThis: < You have a tendency to always ignore hard facts and results in favour of your own subjective opinion. Spassky's results against Fischer prior to their match speak for themselves, yet you claim Fischer was better in the 60s. Right. >

Spassky's plus score in the 1960's was based upon a limited number of games. Meanwhile, Fischer had the higher rating, because he consistently had better tournament results as a whole than Spassky did.

Nov-05-11  AnalyzeThis: <DrMAL: It was big mystery to Soviet GMs why Spassky played 14...a6 in response to 14.Bb5 instead of 14...Qb7 prepared by Geller and him. >

The only mystery is why the Soviet GMs are lying and claiming that they predicted before the match that Fischer would play the Queen's Gambit with the white pieces. Apparently, the more absurd a lie is, the more believable it is.

Nov-05-11  DrMAL: <AnalyzeThis> QGD is chosen by black after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Fischer was likely to play something other than 1.e4 for at least one game of match. He played 1.Nf3 and 1.b3 before too but either way all things reasonable must be of course prepared for. Idea of not preparing for 1.d4 is ludicrous. I have no idea what point you are trying to make, what big GMs lie? Sounds silly.
Nov-05-11  DrMAL: Back to game, here is computer eval after 14.Bb5

Houdini_20_x64: 31/75 5:38:00 208,251,210,297
+0.22 14. ... Qb7 15.0-0 c4 16.Qc3 Bf5 17.Ne5
0.00 14. ... a5 15.0-0 a4 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Rc3
0.00 14. ... Kf8 15.dxc5 Rxc5 16.Rxc5 Qxc5 17.Nd4
0.00 14. ... a6 15.dxc5 bxc5 16.0-0 Nd7 17.Bxd7
-0.02 14. ... Nd7 15.0-0 a6 16.Be2 Qf8 17.dxc5
-0.03 14. ... Rc7 15.dxc5 bxc5 16.0-0 Nd7 17.Nd4

Spassky's 14...a6?! missed advantage that 14...Qb7 preparation would have gained. As starting line suggests, 16...Ra7 was inaccurate compared with 16...Nd7 but difference was very small. Spassky made several such tiny errors during the next 10 or so moves, overall plan he chose gave Fischer big advantage. Fischer played very well, computer shows a few tiny errors too, one can always argue which is right but after several moves showing one plan versus another, it becomes apparent. Spassky's play showed that his judgment was way off, here is eval on move 26.

Houdini_20_x64: 29/68 22:31 14,139,484,858
+1.07 26.f5 Qg5 27.fxe6 a4 28.bxa4 Ng6 29.Qg3 Qxg3

Pressure has mounted, f5 pawn break will lead to Rs participating in attack. Plan with 26...Qg5 to get black pieces more active, hopefully trading Qs along way, still offers some hope for black to survive. Instead, Spassky played 26...exf5? helping Fischer get R going, this was unusual mistake for him and losing move.

Houdini_20_x64: 28/72 37:42 23,558,973,549
+2.36 27.Rxf5 Nh7 28.Rcf1 a4 29.Qg3 axb3 30.axb3

Fischer's finish was beautiful he played fabulous game. But it was all possible through Spassky's errors starting with opening, the fact that he did not play preparation already showed his judgment was unusually poor, and moves played after showed he was simply not playing as WC Boris Spassky should. Few games ago Fischer beat Spassky for first time ever, since then he took 3.5/4 points to become a point ahead in the match.

Nov-06-11  JoergWalter: <DrMAL: It was big mystery to Soviet GMs why Spassky played 14...a6 in response to 14.Bb5 instead of 14...Qb7 prepared by Geller and him.>

From Euwe/Timman's book on the match:

<14.... a6
Another idea is 14.... Kf8 [...]. In one of his theory books, Pachman indicates 14.... Qb7, also threatening 15.... c4. I don't agree with him, as after [...].

15.dxc5 [...] bxc5 16.0-0 Ra7
Three other methods of breaking the pin on the rook have been suggested here: 1) 16.... Qb7. Geller's idea.>

14.... Qb7! <Pachman> not <Geller>? How accurate are Timman's comments?

Nov-06-11  SimonWebbsTiger: it's not unreasonable that the Soviets prepared the QGD for the simple reason Fischer had played the English Opening a few times in 1970.

One solid line is 1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5. This will lead to a Reti (unlikely from Bobby), a Catalan (he played it just once, as a junior) or a QGD. Spassky always had the QGD on his repertoire.

Fischer was also changing his repertoire at the time, the middle 60s on, with more Benonis as well as the Alekhine appearing instead of his otherwise automatic Najdorf Sicilian and KID.

Nov-06-11  JoergWalter: From GM Keene's comments on this game, indicating that 14. ... Qb7 was not prepared before the match:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M2o...

<after a year of intensive analysis the soviet analytical machine discovered that the right move in this position is 14....Qb7 simply sacrificing the pawn on c5" and "it took their best brains a year to find this and of course poor Spassky had to confront this problem over the board.">

Karpov wouldn't address 14. ..Qb7 at all in his video on this game.

Nov-06-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: The comment by TheFocus 10/13/10 is absolutely correct.
Nov-06-11  DrMAL: <JoergWalter> I don't know about Timman comments like Pachman he was not Soviet player (In 1972 Pachman went to West Germany), neither was Keene. Soviet team tried as much as possible (it was order from Kremlin) to help Spassky, who was overconfident and usually playing tennis prior to match. There were few practice games where Spassky quickly got advantage, making him even more overconfident. Regardless of all this, yes, Geller and Spassky came up with 14...Qb7 as preparation, this is not excuse nor is it anything but simple fact. <SWT> also made good point, Fischer also played English in WC match next time as white Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 idea that Soviets only prepared for 1.e4 move is ludicrous anyway, I have no idea where this crazy comment about Soviet GMs lying comes from. Funny how idea of Spassky not having preparation comes from people who were not part of Soviet team and had no idea LOL, cheers.

Keene video is cute made-for-TV chess somehow making big drama from obvious. It is good video for very low level non-club player but is silly to anyone higher. First, 11.Rc1 Be6 12.Qa4 c5 13.Qa3 Rc8 was main line theory, not some big genius Fischer thing, see Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966 for one of many examples. Second, move 14.Bb5 was played two years earlier Furman vs Geller, 1970 where Geller, playing 14...a6 lost. One might just think that "Soviet machine" MIGHT have thought to examine alternatives to 14...a6 during the two years that transpired! LMAO. Keene's comment about it not being discovered is completely offhand remark that has ZERO backing, it just simply makes ridiculous statement. Keene video is simply wrong, perhaps he did this for some sort of politics, he was political animal. Idea that 14...Qb7 was discovered a year later is wrong and very misleading. It creates more falsehood about Fischer being super-hero for "fighting big bad Soviets" it is understandable that he was national hero for USA in getting into WC (and winning) to begin with. This is akin to Russian baseball star joining otherwise lousy team and hitting grand slam to beat Yankees in World Series. Great accomplishment, but no need to dramatize by falsely accusing Yankees of using minor league pitchers, cheers.

Nov-06-11  JoergWalter: <DrMal> thanks for the reply. Of course, I don't believe everything that is on TV. However, another remark from Karpov comes to mind.

Karpov said that Spassky was overestimating himself and did absolute nothing 20 days before the match started and illustrated this with the preparation in the Sozin sicilian which appeared in game 4. Geller had prepared 13....a5! Spassky looked at it and showed no particular interest in the analysis but rather said "ok, the rest I can find over the board" and went to play tennis. Then he (Spassky) forgot everything.

Karpov does not even mention 14...Qb7 when commenting game 6. Isn't this a bit strange?

Nov-06-11  DrMAL: The reason why I wrote "low level non-club player" stems from very silly question in video about where black bishop should go on move 11. Answer by old guy 11...Bb7 is something one might see in AJ post, based on his computer being used for 30 seconds and giving poor output LOL. Club player knows 11...Be6 is correct, drama behind this shows level that video is directed to.

<JeorgWalter> No I don't think Karpov not mentioning 14...Qb7 is strange. He had reason to not address that 14...Qb7 was prepared, it was embarrasing that Spassky chose not to play it.

Nov-06-11  I play the Fred: Spassky applauding Fischer here reminds me of Reggie Jackson's three-homer game in the 1977 World Series. After the third HR, Steve Garvey of the opposing LA Dodgers was applauding along with the Yankee Stadium fans. IIRC he later said that, while he didn't love that his team was losing, he felt he was privileged to be a part of history.

I really enjoy accounts of good sportsmanship. And for all the bad press athletes/competitors get - deservedly, too often - most of them are gracious in victory and defeat alike.

Nov-06-11  AnalyzeThis: < DrMal: <AnalyzeThis> QGD is chosen by black after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Fischer was likely to play something other than 1.e4 for at least one game of match. >

No, more likely would have been c4 followed by g3, as Fischer played against Polugaevsky. It would be reasonable to believe Fischer would choose essentially a Benoni or King's Indian setup with a move in hand, since he was so well versed in those setups.

The Russians spent time preparing Spassky to face the Queen's Gambit? I don't think so. Bird's opening would have been just as likely.

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