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Pal Benko vs Robert James Fischer
Portoroz Interzonal (1958), Portoroz SLO, rd 4, Aug-10
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E80)  ·  1-0


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Given 30 times; par: 69 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-19-04  aragorn69: Benko comments this game in his new book "Pal Benko: My Life, Games and Compositions".

[About 11.-g5?] : “The impatience of youth! Here Bobby couldn’t stand the pin on his f6-Knight any longer, and breaks it at huge cost: his f5-square is now seriously weakened. An experienced tournament player would think twice before making such a move. Though f5 can’t be exploited right away, it is bound to lead to further concessions in the long run.”

A long, very favourable review of the book is at

Jul-30-04  Knight13: Good game.
Jun-19-05  Knight13: I bet Fischer was upset losing this game. He played worse in this game than any other games he played against Benko.
Jun-27-05  sfm: After 29.♘d5 it is quite clear that the black position is not the best one.. :-)
Apr-03-06  ycensor: A great positional game by Pal Benko.
Beginning with 26 Qg5!, he shows how
not to be a material grub but instead put pieces on devastating squares.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Blacks position looks pretty shaky but it is hard to believe that 18..c5 is the right move. Benko did not play 24 Bxf6..Bxf6 25 fxg because the bishops of opposite colors would have given black good defensive chances. Benko doesn't mention 26 Bxd8 though it clearly looks suicidal for white. After 28..f6 Fischer had clearly lost the strategical battle. 39 Kh2 would have won even quicker.
Sep-22-07  D4n: I'll have to read that book...
Jun-09-12  GrenfellHunt: 38. Rd7! is a lovely move. Put that one in a tactics book. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: A good win by Benko -- I'm surprised that there hasn't been more commentary on it, given the popularity of Fischer. Or maybe that's the reason -- Fischer fans don't like to see losses? I used to have a copy of Mednis' book 'How to Beat Bobby Fischer'. Not that I ever got the chance to try...
Apr-12-14  john barleycorn: <domdaniel> "How to Beat Bobby Fischer"? Is it another try to swing out a dollar of Fischer's name? Looks like those "funny" books on gambling that show you how to become a casino's worst nightmare. And of course, a fan doesn't like to see losses of her/his hero. What do you expect? But losses are part of the game.

What exactly is your point?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <JB> Uh, read the Mednis book. It's about 30 years old.
Jul-12-16  Zoroastre1o1: I read this in chess-com yesterday:

" The famous American grandmaster and chess composer has probably played hundreds of thousands of moves throughout his illustrious chess career. Which one is the best?

Here is what Pal Benko wrote in Chess Life magazine (April 2016).

"With my long career it is difficult to pinpoint a single 'best move'. I find it more interesting to give my best move against Fischer, which occurred in our first meeting." "

Mr. GM Benko enphasises on 19. h4!, as the topic of the article in is "best pawn move". "Waekening the king side" he says, even when both players castled king side.

This is exemplary lasting initiative carefully conducted to brilliant conclusion. Against strong player, even Bobby Fischer could do nothing against a bad position.

Aug-10-16  zydeco: Benko's notes on this game are very good and reveal his state of mind for his first game against Fischer. He knew that Fischer was a strong opponent but thought he could outfox him with a tricky opening.

Sure enough, the surprise move 7.Bg5!? (varying on Fuster's play against Fischer earlier in the tournament) provokes Fischer into unnecessarily giving up the centre. The right approach, says Benko, was 7....Nc6 8.d5 Nd4 9.Nxd4 exd4 10.Qxd4 h6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 with compensation for the pawn.

Benko felt pretty good about things after 11....g5 and 13....d6 - he felt that Fischer was playing like a typical teenager in a positional game, psychologically incapable of solid, passive defense and creating weaknesses out of impatience.

With 14....Qa5, says Benko, he began "to appreciate the skills of [his] young opponent." The move is a positional sacrifice: if 15.Qxd6 Rfd8 16.Qa3 Qxa3 17.bxa3 and white's queenside is "a shambles."

But Benko was a step ahead and switched back to the kingside, showing that Fischer's queen was misplaced.

Benko was also impressed by 17....Qc7 and 23....Qf8, both of which showed good judgment.

After 26.Bxd8 Bd4+ turns the tables, but 26.Qg5! is a complete answer,

39.Kh2 was much simpler. Benko says that he was in terrible time trouble and missed black's reply to 39.Kf2.

Aug-30-17  Toribio3: Good job by Benko. The kingside of Fischer was weakened by several pawn pushes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Pay Pal?

Marvelous work by Benko.

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