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Mikhail Tal vs Robert James Fischer
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)  ·  King's Indian Defense: Petrosian Variation. Normal Defense (E93)  ·  1-0
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-11-06  whatthefat: Well, the Petrosian Variation was certainly causing black a bit of a crisis at this time - white won 5-0 in the games played at the 1959 Candidates.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: <RookFile> Thanks, that was quite interesting.

Still, it's surprising that Fischer would play the KID, only to become so negative later on. Why no just play something like the QGD if all he wanted was equality?

Jul-12-06  RookFile: Yes, I forget whether it was Petrosian, or Korchnoi that said this, but he said this around this time:

"If somebody wants to play the King's Indian defense, you shouldn't prevent him!"

Jul-12-06  RookFile: I think that Tal's choice of the Petrosian system for this game was something of a surprise, he more typically played the Saemish variation.

My memory from My 60 Memorable Games is, Fischer later used a better system against this Petrosian system that in fact involved keeping the g7 bishop:

F Olafsson vs Fischer, 1959

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: Interestingly Fischer repeated his ...Bf6 experiment against Reshevsky a few years later, and lost again. Reshevsky vs Fischer, 1961

However, it can't be all that bad because many years later Kasparov used a similar idea to beat Gulko. The difference is he didn't try and play ...f5 afterwards(keeping the position closed), and he had already played ...a5, and ...Na6(slowing down White's play on the Q-side). Gulko vs Kasparov, 1995

So probably there is nothing wrong with ...Bf6 in itself, it's just best not to open the position after the exchange of bishops. I'm not sure how important it is to have played ...a5, and ...Na6, but maybe it gives Black enough time to create some counter-play on the K-side.

Jul-17-06  whatthefat: Fischer does seem to have believed in the line. In fact, the example given above by <RookFile>, F Olafsson vs Fischer, 1959, isn't really conclusive, since Olafsson deviated first with 11.g4, and under these circumstances, the ...Bf6 plan no longer looks tenable. Fischer was certainly known to stick to his openings through thick and thin. I believe Tal even commented on how this aspect of Fischer's play cost him in this tournament.
Jun-08-07  sanyas: Obviously 12...f5 is bad due to 13.exf5 Rxf5 (not 13...gxf5? 14.Bh5) and White owns e4.

"After the game it was revealed that the young American had spent ten hours analysing this variation. Alas, it did not improve the variation, but it left Fischer tired." - Tal.

Apparently 21...cxb4 was the crucial error, and Fischer should have played 21...Qg7 instead.

May-20-08  ChessYouGood: Tal demolishes Fischer in his pet Kings Indian. Too many useless knight moves against aggression himself. Also, maybe Fischer should have spent less time trying to win the B and C pawns and more time activating his light squared bishop. Fischer may have been young at this event but he was already a hot shot in the USA. Great to see Tal spank him.
Jun-24-08  Jesspatrick: The thinking behind exchanging the dark squared Bishop was probably based on this. Since White has committed himself on the queenside with 12.b4, he will avoid meeting a later ...f5 with exf5 which would make the Bishop very powerful. Instead, White will answer ...f5 with f3 effectively imprisoning the dark squared Bishop. In light of this, there is good reason to trade off that piece.

As others have observed, after this Bishop is traded off, it's better to keep things closed.

Dec-01-08  ChessApplet: I hope this would be the GOTD soon. Love the knight sac
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Tal> never won against <Fischer> again after this game.
Feb-14-09  WhiteRook48: Fischer the KID
Feb-16-09  WhiteRook48: the King's Indian Defense is one of my favorite openings. The only opening I play more than that is Bird's Opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Game Collection: Fischer and Kasparov play the KID
Apr-23-09  wanabe2000: <jessicafischerqueen: <Tal> never won against <Fischer> again after this game.> This game was Rd.3. Tal also beat Bobby in Rd.10, and Rd.21. I don't know if Tal's victory in Beograd was before or after these three games. Tal had Bobby's number in 1959 but, as you stated, no losses after this year.
May-05-09  shalgo: <wanabe2000> I'm pretty sure that this game was from the third "cycle," but actually the 20th round of the tournament. Tal had previously won in rounds 6 and 13 and won again in round 27. This game was thus Tal's penultimate victory over Fischer.
Jul-28-09  WhiteRook48: 12...Bf6 does not make sense
Aug-11-09  WhiteRook48: KID favors white
Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: <KingG: Sure, but it's not like Fischer had much choice in the matter. He had to play ...f5 eventually, or he has no counter play, but once he does that, Tal will obviously open the position.

If Fischer had somehow already played ...f5-f4, then i could see the logic in exchanging the bishop, but not in the position in the game. Then again, i'm not Fischer.

Is this kind of bishop exchange played in other variations of the KID?>

Black is often happy to trade off his bishop on g7 because his pawn on e5 makes it an ineffective piece.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: <Black is often happy to trade off his bishop on g7 because his pawn on e5 makes it an ineffective piece.> I think this is a bit too simplistic. The bishop on g7 isn't so ineffective once the diagonal opens up, and even if it doesn't, it can often be a valuable defensive piece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: <KingG: Black is often happy to trade off his bishop on g7 because his pawn on e5 makes it an ineffective piece.

I think this is a bit too simplistic. The bishop on g7 isn't so ineffective once the diagonal opens up, and even if it doesn't, it can often be a valuable defensive piece.>

Yes that's true totally, *if* the diagonal opens up. Oftentimes white will perform what I consider the ridiuclous and time-wasting manoeuvre of placing his bishop and queen on the c1-h6 diagnoal and then playing Bh6 in order to trade off dark-squared bishops. Those resulting positions and similar ones are what I meant with regard to trading off the Bg7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This game, amongst others from this event, is an example of some of Fischer's Soviet adversaries adopting lines in the opening which were not normally part of their repertoires. Keres' essaying the Caro-Kann, both here and at Bled 1961, is another.

Black's plan of exchanging his dark-squared bishop, while normally strategically well-motivated, comes to grief here once the centre is opened and White responds to 1....f5 with the standard plan of 2.exf5 gxf5 3.f4.

Nov-09-11  DrMAL: Modern main line of KID/Petrosian/Keres is in Kramnik vs Kasparov, 1994 up through 11.h4 but back then Soviets played the variation here up to 12.b4 Ng5 or so. This line was very weak for black and white nearly always won (an exception was J Vesely vs Jansa, 1960). Fischer played along, not sure exactly why, but he also had novelty 12...Bf6 antipositional move that made matters even worse for himself. Line was played out logically and accurately from both sides, it contains basically zero counterplay for black so I guess Fischer got frustrated and played Ng8-f5 dubious plan to at least get some K-side space.

19.f4 was the beginning of a brilliant plan to sac pawns for initiative. Fischer played into this, taking both pawns offered, and giving Tal even bigger potential advantage in very sharp position. Tal's play was very accurate whereas Fischer started making mistakes. First was 22...Qf6?! (instead of 22...Qd6) possibly losing already, but second error next move 23...Qxc3?! was certainly decisive. Tal simply outclassed Fischer again here, finish with its tactics and material imbalance was another masterpiece.


Nov-09-11  AnalyzeThis: 21. Bd3 is one of those moves - when you see Tal play it, and you have the black pieces, you know you're in trouble.
Nov-21-13  zydeco: It looks like everybody has their suggestion for how Fischer could have improved! I like 19....e4 instead of exf4. That way, black keeps the e and f files closed and has a protected passed pawn. If 20.Nd4 Ndf6. 20.g4 definitely requires calculation, but 20....Qg7 and 20....Ndf6 both look plausible.
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