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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer
US Championship (1963/64), New York, NY USA, rd 9, Dec-29
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-28-05  weirdoid: <apple head> actually My 60 included R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963 instead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Nice positional game - I have video annotated it here:-

Premium Chessgames Member
  Resignation Trap: This game clinched first place for Fischer in this tournament when Byrne adjourned and later resigned without resuming. The only question that remained: Will he win all eleven games?

Answer: Yes, he did!

Jun-06-09  totololo: What is the clear winning variation?
Jan-15-11  jerseybob: totolo: The clearest I can see is 46..Nd5 to prevent Kf4, then bring up the king with Kf8-e7 etc. to start an encirclement. With the exchange and a pawn ahead, that shouldn't take long. Byrne would've lost this position to even a much lesser player than Fischer.
Jan-04-13  jerseybob: kingscrusher: Watching your video, you rightly criticize 9.a4!? and 14.c4?, but let 5.f4 and 11.g4 go by without criticism. Comparing Byrne's handling of the K.I.R. with that of Fischer years later, f4 might be premature at this point. 11.g4 is just plain bad. 11.Nb3 might've been worth a look.
Feb-05-15  TheBish: <jerseybob> I don't think there is anything wrong with 9. a4 (gives White the a-file after ...b5) or 5. f4 (standard opening move grabbing space and attacking the center before developing the knight behind it), or even 11. g4 (preparing a future f4-f5 or g4-g5). In fact, I don't think you can give 14. c4 a question mark, as it is pretty much forced. The real culprit is 10. c3?!, as it gives Black a target to attack (which he does), forcing the weakening 14. c4. But if you really want to criticize a move, you need to look at 23. d4? This opens the game to Black's advantage and weakens the e4 pawn (which Black later wins). Better was 23. Nf3, as this knight remains on h4 until move 38, when Black is already winning.

Regarding 14. c4, in his book "Bobby Fischer Rediscovered", Andy Soltis says "White had to cede d4 because 14. Qc2? allows 14...bxc3 15. bxc3 Nd4! 16. Qd1 Nb5!.

Feb-05-15  TheBish: <jerseybob> Further proof that 5. f4 is not a mistake: It is the second-most common move in this database (after 5. Nc3), but the highest scoring for White! Interestingly, in another database (on, 5. f4 is by far the most common! It also scores higher there too. I don't have Chessbase, but someone who does can compare these two moves there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If White plays instead 6.Nc3 or at the next move, this is a Closed Sicilian by transposition, which no-one would be criticising.
May-13-15  jerseybob: perfidious: Right, IF he'd played 6.Nc3 it would be a Closed Sicilian, but he didn't play that and never intended to. As for my criticism of 5.f4, it's only within the context of the K.I.R.; if the game turns into a Closed Sicilian , the move is obviously fine.
May-14-15  jerseybob: TheBish & perfidious: Thanks for your posts; my thinking on this game is evolving. First, to correct my flat-out mistake from 1/4/13: 14.c4 is forced, based on that note from Soltis. And going through Opening Explorer, the move 5.f4 does occur often, and not just leading into a Closed Sicilian, but staying within the K.I.R., so my apologies to you, perfidious. It still seems to me the early f4 is premature - you may want a bishop on that square - but I can't argue with success. Now to you, TheBish, here's my continued quibbles: you endorse 9.a4 which you say " white the a-file after ...b5". But for how long? Except for a brief flash of grabbing the file for a few moves, it's black who benefits most from that opening. Why waste time on preventive moves? How about something like 9.Re1? If black is still determined to break through with those q-side pawns, let him try. And you still see nothing wrong with 11.g4, but what does that accomplish, except waste time? I'm gonna repeat my earlier suggestion of 11.Nb3, threatening d4. That might yet give some meaning to 10.c3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I wonder if Donald Byrne had any idea that his '56 game would be perhaps the most famous chess game ever?
Jul-16-17  peteg000: Could some one discuss the point of Black's 21st move, Re8.
Jul-17-17  Retireborn: <peteg000> In his book, Soltis writes of 21...Re8; "This discourages f4-f5, which would have been effective after 21...Nc6 22.f5!"

Perhaps there is a little more to it; Fischer sees that White will play d4, and having the rook on e8 adds punch to his intended counter with ...e5.

Jul-17-17  peteg000: <Retireborn> funny, as Black, I would have been more concerned about a push to f5 at some point, thus keeping the R on the file. But that's just one of a million reasons why I am not FIscher.
Jul-18-17  Retireborn: <peteg000> Keeping the rook on f8 and aiming for ...f5 is a playable plan, I should think, although it might lead to a rather equal position.
Jul-21-17  peteg000: <Retireborn> actually, what I meant was that keeping the R on f8 would be more prudent in case White tried to push his pawn to f5 and open the f-file.
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