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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
"Figure Eight" (game of the day Apr-03-10)
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  English Opening: Symmetrical. Mecking Variation (A39)  ·  1-0
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Given 55 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-03-10  Atking: Well I suspect Spassky played b5 knowing Ba7 but he was asking for some mobility and space. He is a player who needs a minimum space on the center. At this point Fischer has the control of it. Simple moves like h3 (threatening again Ba7 and Qe3) g4, f4, Bf2, e4 (With or not Rfd1) are possible. Indeed the kind of position Spassky likes on white side.
Apr-03-10  Chess Network: <Chess Addict> He just wanted to be able to play f6 to begin defense of e5. Of a1 and b2...a1 seems the better of the two since its not in direct view of a white rook.
Apr-04-10  thegoodanarchist: <Sbetsho: Someone please explain the pun.>

It was the 8th game of the match.


Fischer was always robbed of his

RJF had a subsystem of the Nimzo-indian, in the Rubinstein system, which also he doesn't get credit for.

But the sozin is in which opening?

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <thegoodanarchist:
But the sozin is in which opening?>

(heh, heh)
See what I mean?

In general its Fischer's use of Bc4 as white in the Sicilian Defense. (doesn't have to only be in the Sozin which is a particular line)

Apr-04-10  thegoodanarchist: <diceman> Your posts are usually insightful, especially concerning RJF. Thanks.

One question: Are you jealous of my avatar, "dice" man? :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: So in the Fischer biopic "BF against the world" this is called "a game of placid beauty"???
Jun-07-11  Petrosianic: <Supposedly Mecking only played it once, and they questioned why Mecking got to name the variation.>

I guess if you're going to name it after someone who only played it once, most people would pick the first person to play it once, rather than the second one.

Jun-27-11  Garech: 100 chessbucks to the man who can explain 26...Ba1



Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: According to Gligoric: <Trying to stop e5 by ...f6, but his position is hopeless enough.>

See this nice post by: <keypusher> <Chess Addict: I really do not understand the 26...Ba1 maneuver. Can someone please explain the idea behind this move?>

<Spassky wants to play ...f6 against Fischer's looming f2-f4 and e4-e5 (which would undermine the knight on c5, which in turn is keeping White's rook on c4 from penetrating).

But Spassky doesn't want to block his own bishop on g7, and doesn't want to move it off the long diagonal either. Moving it to e5 would just beg for f2-f4, d4 and c3 are out, and b2 blocks his own rook and puts the bishop in jeopardy (though the immediate 1.Rxc5 dxc5 2.Bd3 can be met by 2...Bc1, it looks like). That leaves ...Ba1.

Black is totally lost at this point, so in a sense it doesn't much matter what Spassky does.>

Pay up. Send 50 to me and 50 to <keypusher>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Garech: 100 chessbucks to the man who can explain 26...Ba1> Not so hard. Spassky expected Fischer to play 27.f4, and wanted to respond to it with 27...f6. He also wanted to keep his bishop on the long diagonal without it being locked in behind the pawn he was going to move to f6. So he had to move the bishop forward along the long diagonal to some square where it's not hanging. There are three such squares. 26...Be5 is no good because then 27.f4 comes with tempo. 26...Bb2 is possible, but he didn't want to limit his rook's movement along the b-file. That leaves 26...Ba1.


Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Dang it. keypusher and TheFocus beat me to it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <keypusher> did it last year.

Pay him.

Jun-11-12  hottyboy90: Interesting game and a great variety of comments although some were repetitive.I have to say first time I tried studying the English I was a complete beginner and it didn't seem to be the greatest choice.It still isn't.I would pick e4(best by test), any day of the week.
I am now a far better player(about 130 ecf) and after watching this I think it would be a good idea to try this out again next season in a couple of games and see what happens purely out of interest.There are many intricacies to the English I wasn't aware of 2 years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: 11..... Nd7 was a chance to make things murky in this game. It threatens ....f6.
Jul-27-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Fischer vs Spassky, 1972.
Your score: 69 (par = 63)


Oct-11-12  nblock0910: seems like black had some chances at the end. what do yall think?
Oct-11-12  nblock0910: Knight e4 , bishop D3?
Nov-10-13  kyg16: The game looks even until 15... b5 ??

What is the point of that move??

As user Garech also said 26... Ba1 looks equally nonsense

Jul-07-14  Ke2: <diceman:

Fischer was always robbed of his

The increment clock is another forgotten credit. It was only patented in 1988.

<beenthere240: So in the Fischer biopic "BF against the world" this is called "a game of placid beauty"???>

That's game 6

<Spassky fell into a threepenny trap and lost his rook to a pair of marauding bishops. It was downhill after that.>

That's just the surface. The exchange sacrifice was very, very, very likely intentional. The gross blunder is 19...Nd7, which misses the intermezzo.

Jul-07-14  Ke2: Also recall Fischer's description

<He can blunder away a piece, and you are never sure whether it's a blunder or a fantastically deep sacrifice.>

Aug-23-14  coldsweat: As the game opened, Bobby's moves were so unexpected that all Boris felt safe to do was to mirror him. His eleven minutes on his third move show this.

The seventh was his downfall. Bobby had controlled the positional unfoldment up to this point, and now offers a sort of poisoned pawn with 7.d4. If Boris could have foreseen the disastrous consequence of taking this pawn, he would have broken out of Bobby's control with a move like 7...e6 ... or something.

But he took the bait, and by 9.Qd4 Bobby has control of the center, is more developed with his pieces, and is preparing to strike with his disorienting and powerful 11.Qf4 surprise, upon which Boris pondered for 59 minutes.

Boris is in a hole at this point, and Bobby tenaciously bears down with perfect chess the rest of the way, giving his opponent no chance to climb out.

To the question of who this variation should be named after, I think the question should be How obscure a person, playing in how obscure a venue, should have precedence in giving a title to a line of chess?

The game we're looking at here is a startling win in one of the most interesting and studied championships of all time. Does that really get trumped by someone playing an insignificant game against an insignificant player?

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Spassky was fine up until move 15.
Nov-23-14  Ninja Trash: Stockfish rating jumped from +0.8 to +1.5 after black's move 19. ... Nd7. Is it that much bad move? If yes, why?
Nov-24-14  Petrosianic: Yes, it's a bad move, because it loses a pawn for no compensation. 19...Kf8 would have been much better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: That's the point. With a pawn for the exchange, maybe Spassky could yet get a draw, especially if he could get white's a pawn off the board somehow. Once Fischer won that pawn, it was over.
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