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Borislav Ivkov vs Robert James Fischer
Bled (1961), Bled YUG, rd 19, Oct-03
Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation (D35)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I've always regarded Ivkov as one of the most boring GMs ever, but he had some great battles with Fischer.

Here, White's attack looks crushing around move 30, but Fischer hangs on and is clearly better by adjournment (no doubt Ivkov was in terrible time pressure between moves 30-40). In the ending Ivkov comes up with a nice knight sacrifice to hold the draw. Has anyone ever seen this game annotated anywhere?

Jun-12-08  dTal: Havent see it annotated but some nice off the board bylines discussed in Tal vs Najdorf, 1961
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Playing it over with an engine, it looks like White's attack reached its zenith at ~move 26, when either 26.Ne2 or 26.Bxh7+ look stronger.

(White move 26)

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Actual play: 26.Rg3!?

The idea is to exploit Black's cramped defenders to open center and Q-side for attack.

Sep-25-16  Howard: Mednis analyzed the knight ending in a CL&R column back in 1977, pointing out that even though Fischer was a passed pawn up, the ending was not winnable.
Sep-25-16  Retireborn: I've attempted to analyze this with the help of Houdini.

The opening line is quite rare; after 6.Bg5 you usually see 6...Be7, or if 6...h6 7.Bh4 then 7...Bf5 rather than ...Be7. I don't think Fischer ever played this again.

Houdini doesn't like 23...b5 and suggests 23...Qc5 (attacking e3) instead; after 24.h5 Bh7 White can't play 25.Qc2 as in the game. I suggested 24.Rg3 when H gives 24...d4 25.exd4 Rxd4 26.Rxd4 Nxd4 as equal. One notices that after 24...d4 White never has time to play Bxg6 or Bxe6 in this line; that brings the thought that 23...Qc5 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.f5 may yet keep a small advantage for White.

Apart from 26.Ne2 and 26.Bxh7+ (already pointed out by zanzi) White's best chance of advantage was 28.Ne4! c5 29.Nd6 Rxd6 (best according to H) 30.exd6 Qxd6 31.Rd1 with a material plus.

Ivkov faffs about with his queen (Qc2-d2) in time trouble, and after 33...g6! the advantage changes hands. Yet the seemingly natural 37...Rd2 dissipates it, as 38.Qc6 gives White counterplay. Houdini suggests 37...Qe4+ to exchange queens is the way to play for a win.

56.Rc6!? is an incredibly insouciant move; if Ivkov knew or could calculate that it would draw one can only admire him. Certainly Houdini is unable to find a convincing winning line.

63.Nxf5! is pretty and easy to understand.

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Featured in the Following Game Collection[what is this?]
19th round
from Bled sep-oct 1961 (rounds 11-19) by Kopenhagener

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