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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Spanish Game: Exchange. Gligoric Variation (C69)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-24-03
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Spassy was up a pawn,but alas and alack,they were all on the same two files-and thus,a dead draw.
Nov-24-03  thekleinbottle: Did black have any winning chances in this endgame at any point? After White's 32nd move, black has a passed a-pawn. Doesn't this sometimes offer winning chances in this type of rook endgame (R+3P v. R+3P)? Someone please tell me why the following try for winning chances by black is a bad idea: 32...Re2+.

If 33. Kf3 (or 33. Kd3), then 33...Re6. I don't think white can enter the K and P endgame at this point.

If 33. Kd5, then Rd2+ followed by the exchange of rooks and the K and P endgame leave black with the passed a-pawn.

Why isn't this a better try for a win?

I'm no rook endgame expert (or K and P endgame expert)--I'm sure my analysis is incorrect, but I'd like someone to tell me why it is incorrect. The line Spassky opted for was a textbook draw.

Jun-19-04  fred lennox: It may be a better try for win though white doesn't have to exchange the rook at 34.Rxe6 34.Rd4 is an option.
Feb-18-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <thekleinbottle ... Someone please tell me why the following try for winning chances by black is a bad idea: 32...Re2+> It's a fine and tricky play. But White still holds after 33.Kf5 g6+ 34.Kg5 Re6 35.Rd5 Re7 36.Ra5 Ra7 37.f4 ... because of good position of all of his pieces. After the K-side pawns trade down some, the position becomes a dead draw. Similarly, 33...Rxf2+ 34.Kg5 Rf6 (34...Rxh2 35.Rxa6 is pretty much same as the game) 35.Rd7+ Ke6 36.Ra7 does not win the game. But if White gets too gready or too clever in the latter line, he could lose via 36.Rxg7? Rg6+! 37.Rxg6 hxg6 38.Kxg6 a5 ...
Jul-06-05  Giancarlo: 32.rxd6 and I think a very intresting position arises. I think there are 2 reasonable options that Spassky had to consider.

i) keep the A pawn and let white have the King-side majority. This is intself the most risk taking of the options. It is vauge what the long-term prospects of this will bring, especially since the black rook is in front of the pawn, not behind it. On the benefical side, it keeps Black with some counter play, but minimizes his rook activity.

ii) Take on Rxf2, which seems to be the better of the 2 options. Establishes pure advantage and atleast a draw in the position, which is very safe and logical for black. Also it allows the rook to become more active.

I wonder, on 33.rxa6, instead why not try and preserve the H pawn, and play h4, and the A-pawn can perhaps be taken later?

I think that in any effect, taking the a-pawn immediatly stil secures the draw, and is less risk involved.

Feb-29-08  Knight13: De Berlijn Verdediging is voor poeskatten! Ik kan niet geloven dat Fischer in in een wereldkampioenschap speelde!
Feb-29-08  euripides: <Knight> No need to believe it. This is not a Berlin but an exchange variation; one of Fischer's favourites in which he had played several excellent games, though as far as I remember his play in this game avoided the theoretical recommendation without ever looking very persuasive.
May-02-08  Whitehat1963: Defensive puzzle in what may be a well-known game (or because it was a draw, maybe not so well known) after 22...Rxb2.
Jan-19-09  M.D. Wilson: Spassky really pushes Fischer in these series of mid-match draws, but the hole he had dug for himself earlier in the match was too deep.
May-04-09  WhiteRook48: 4. Bxc6?!
Jul-16-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: The players could have literally agrred to a draw here after 33 moves. (Why did they play on for so long?)

I think that Byrne likened seeing these two giants play out this ending to "two kids playing in a sandbox."

Jul-16-10  kurtrichards: 22. ... Rxb2 23. Rxb2 c3! ... in my opinion is advantageous to black...
Apr-25-11  bronkenstein: <22. ... Rxb2 23. Rxb2 c3! ... in my opinion is advantageous to black...>

Not really , its draw all the time , and they both knew it .

Spassky even prolonged playing elementarily drawn 2 vs 1 rook ending , for , in Gligoricīs oppinnion , purely psychological reasons (due to some Fischerīs off the board demands that took part prior to this very game , I don`t remember what it was exactly ).

Shortly , Fischer had this one in controll all the time, and having , on purpose , a pawn or two less in some variations was only due to his famous will to keep complicating and looking for winning chances anywhere .

Apr-25-11  fab4: < kurtrichards: 22. ... Rxb2 23. Rxb2 c3! ... in my opinion is advantageous to black... >

Fischer played Kf3.. what's your point?!

Apr-26-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <fab4: < kurtrichards: 22. ... Rxb2 23. Rxb2 c3! ... in my opinion is advantageous to black... > Fischer played Kf3.. what's your point?!>

What's yours, other than to gratuitously put down <kurt>?

Had he, instead, begun the note with 23.Rxb2, would that occasion some other method of demeaning him?

As to the way this ending went, Black never had anything resembling serious winning chances, but needed to gain some psychological stability after the disastrous turn this match took for him, whilst Fischer was content to move one-half point nearer his life's goal by keeping his comfortable overall lead in hand.

Apr-30-13  hudapri: Spassky "used his symbolic material advantage for a little psychological torture" - Gligoric
Apr-30-13  RookFile: Sure. Fischer couldn't complain, he did the same thing to Taimanov and actually won a drawn ending.
Jul-03-14  Howard: The book Chess World Championship (by the late Larry Evans and Ken Smith) makes the comment at the conclusion of this game, "Finally, after a marathon of nonsense the contestents agree to a draw."

In other words, the last 25 moves were totally unnecessary....even if one player actually managed to threaten mate-in-one at one point in the last 15 moves. Anyone see it ?

Jul-03-14  Petrosianic: It's silly to complain that a game went on too long. If you're playing a 100 move game out, and you can see at Move 50 that it's a dead draw, and can also see that that's how it ended up, then you can safely stop playing the moves. The problem with chess is games that are too short.
Jul-03-14  Howard: If you think that it's "silly" to complain about a game going on too long, what if YOU are one of the two players and you just wanna call it a day and agree to a draw, but your over-stubborn opponent disagrees and wants to keep shoving the pieces ?

That aforementioned book, by the way, also states that some people suspected that Spassky deliberately dragged out the game because he was getting increasing annoyed with Fischer's behavior during the match.

Jul-03-14  Petrosianic: <If you think that it's "silly" to complain about a game going on too long, what if YOU are one of the two players and you just wanna call it a day and agree to a draw, but your over-stubborn opponent disagrees and wants to keep shoving the pieces ?>

That only applies if one player offers a draw in a dead drawn game, and the other refuses. If neither one offers a draw, as was the case in this game, where's the beef?


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