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Victor Ciocaltea vs Robert James Fischer
Havana (1965), Havana CUB, rd 3, Aug-29
Alekhine Defense: Exchange Variation (B03)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-15-04  Welshwizard: Am I right that this game was played via cable because Fischer was not allowed to go to communist Cuba? The first move came through as 1.d4 so Fischer played 1...Nf6 heading for his usual KID, Grunfeld or Nimzo-Indian. Then Ciocaltea's second move was recieved: 2.e5! Apparently Fischer refused to change his opening move, despite the communication problems.
Sep-15-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <Am I right that this game was played via cable because Fischer was not allowed to go to communist Cuba?> Yes, it was also after a break from tournament chess for 19 months. As we all know it wasn't the last time US authorities tried to tell him where he couldn't play chess.
Sep-15-04  iron maiden: I don't see why the State Department wouldn't let Fischer go to Havana. Larry Evans was allowed to go there to play in a tournament just a year before.
Sep-15-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: And of course, just the next year he played in the Olympiad on Cuba.
Dec-14-06  Maatalkko: I am surprised Fischer didn't lodge a protest about this situation. This would have been a very strong complaint compared to many others he made.
Feb-03-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: <The first move came through as 1.d4 so Fischer played 1...Nf6 heading for his usual KID, Grunfeld or Nimzo-Indian. Then Ciocaltea's second move was recieved: 2.e5! Apparently Fischer refused to change his opening move, despite the communication problems.> This might be a myth. See http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/... #6194, near the bottom of the page.

<Do contemporary reports corroborate this account? We see nothing in Chess Life, Chess Review or the tournament book (published in Buenos Aires later in the year).

The game was played on 29 August 1965, and the following day the New York Times (page 22) noted that Fischer ...

‘... pulled two surprises yesterday in his third game of the Capablanca Memorial tourney: He adopted an unusual defense, and he discharged his referee.’

The report stated that Frank Brady, whose task was to oversee Fischer’s moves in New York, was dismissed ‘even before the game got under way’. His book on Fischer, Profile of a Prodigy, had been published the previous week.>

Feb-03-10  CruyffTurn: <KingG> But it could also be true, I doubt we'll ever know. To me it *feels* right - Fischer fully devoted to the Najdorf etc., and it was a full five years before he played the Alekhine again. I guess this game gave him a flavour of it, probably nudging him into taking it up and playing it in 1970-72.
Feb-03-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: <To me it *feels* right> To me it doesn't. Fischer was known for complaining about all kinds of trivial things, and he doesn't complain about something like this? I also think this kind of thing would have been widely reported in the chess magazines of the time, or in the newspaper report the following day. I mean, it would have been quite a dramatic scene, and it was right at the beginning of the game, so why would no one report it?

Still, I suppose it is possible, but I find it suspicious that it wasn't reported until 7 years later. Soltis is also very unreliable when it comes to these kinds of stories, and he almost never gives any sources.

Apr-10-10  rune ohlsson: Something about the game, too. I think Fischer is very, very close to lose here. Is´nt that correct?
Dec-15-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <KingG>He adopted an unusual defense, and he discharged his referee.’

The report stated that Frank Brady, whose task was to oversee Fischer’s moves in New York, was dismissed ‘even before the game got under way’. His book on Fischer, Profile of a Prodigy, had been published the previous week.>

<KingG>,
Here is a report from the Reading Eagle, dated August 30, 1965:

"Chess Champion Fires Referee

US Chess Champion Bobby Fischer, overseen by a new referee, was to resume long-distance play this morning in the Capablanca Memorial Chess tournament in Havana.

Fischer, 22, fired his original referee yesterday, only an hour before beginning a match via teletype to Cuba with Romania's Victor Ciocealtea.

The ousted referee, Frank Brady, 31, said that he received a long-distance call from Fischer's attorney in Massachussetts, who said the young chess master didn't want him around.

'I talked to Bobby later and he said he felt it would disturb his concentration if I was in the room with him', Brady said. 'The problem is with the book I wrote about him. He didn't like it.'"

Jun-07-11  joelsontang: Could Ciocaltea have won?
Jun-08-11  joelsontang: I felt that the first mistake white made was 28.Bf3? after which white still retains an advantage but his advantage is greatly reduced. Instead, he could have taken the opportunity to 28.0-0! since the black Queen has to defend e5-pawn. Even a move like 28.h5 maintains white's sizeable advantage.

A player like Petrosian might have played 28.Kd2/Kd1 with the idea that the safe place for white's king is the Q-side.

Jun-08-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: On the question of how Fischer wound up playing the Alekhine Defense in this game, let me comment as someone who was present at the Marshall Chess Club on the first day during this game; in fact I was running the wallboard for spectators in the front of the club while Bobby was playing behind the closed sliding doors in the rear of the club.The teletype machine was in the club office just adjacent to where the wall board was located. On the first move when the runner emerged from the office he told me what I heard as e4 ( probably PK4 in those days ) which I put on the board. [ In other words, I got the moves from Havana before Bobby got them in the back room a few seconds later by being played on his board. ] When the runner returned he told me Nf6 (NKB3) which I posted on the board. I was immediately berated by all the spectators that that was impossible because Bobby never played the Alekhine Defense. I responded that I merely posted what I had been given. I do not know what actually happened in the back room. I do not remember who the referee, runner, and teletype operator were; I did not know any of them. I do know that Frank Brady was not present, because I have asked him about it, and I have told this story at a couple Fischer oriented events in which I participated at the Marshall. From the picture in the Winter article, Bill Goichberg may have been the runner. I'll have to ask him what he remembers, if he in fact was the runner for this game. Obviously from when I was told e4 (apparently the correct move) until it got to the back room and was apparently played as d4, somehow someone got confused. I don't know what happened in the office/teletype room when e5 (PK5) was received. I remember a sort of confused ambiance including the spectators thinking I was incompetent as wallboard operator. I'd love to know definitively what actually happened.
Jun-08-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <paulalbert> Do you mind if I use your recollection in my book on Fischer?

Sounds very interesting.

Jun-08-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: <TheFocus> No problem. As part of your research, trying to talk to the referee, the runner, and the teletype operator would be helpful if they can be identified and if they are still alive. If Bill Goichberg was the runner, he could be very helpful with his version of what happened.
Jun-08-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Thank you, sir.
Jun-29-12  King Death: One thing that I've always been curious about in re the controversy surrounding the opening in this game is that Ciocaltea didn't play 1.d4 very often and I'm sure that would have been a surprise to Fischer, especially after Ciocaltea beat him in their second meeting at Varna (V Ciocaltea vs Fischer, 1962).
Jan-24-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <King Death: One thing that I've always been curious about in re the controversy surrounding the opening in this game is that Ciocaltea didn't play 1.d4 very often and I'm sure that would have been a surprise to Fischer, especially after Ciocaltea beat him in their second meeting at Varna (V Ciocaltea vs Fischer, 1962).>

Good point. According to the database Ciocaltea hadn't played 1.d4 in 9 years. But he played it in the very next round!

V Ciocaltea vs Tringov, 1965

For what it's worth, I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell that Fischer thought Ciocaltea had pushed his queen's pawn when he played 1....Nf6.

Jun-22-16  BobbyDigital80: Paul Albert said he played 1.e4 on the demonstration board, and in the Winter article, it says:

"All went well until Fischer played Viktor Ciocaltea of Rumania. Ciocaltea’s first move, 1 P-Q4, was played on the Marshall Club board by a FIDE judge. Fischer replied with his usual 1...N-KB3. Then came the remarkable reply, 2 P-K5!?"

Sounds like Winter is wrong about 1.d4 being played on the demo board.

Feb-09-18  machuelo: Hi Paul Albert: Well, I'm the second one asking your permission to use your name and experience in 1965 for a book on Fischer and Cuba. From my part I will be glad to give you information from Havana and the Cubans side in NY. Please contact me at sanchezpose2000@hotmail.com Thank you. Miguel A. Sánchez
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