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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 8, Jul-28
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: The ratings are not a true indicator of strength. Does anyone really believe that GMs today are stronger than players like Larsen, Gligoric, Stein, Bronstein, and others of that era just because of their ratings? The ratings of today's GMs are way inflated compared to the strength of the players. What you do see are a lot of "weak" GMs without individual styles. Most are clones of each other. They are not as strong in strategy, or defense or endgame play. Just a lot of "weak sisters."
Jan-11-10  M.D. Wilson: Chess is like a science in the sense that it's a body of knowledge that increases with time, with new enthusiasts standing on the shoulders of giants. Einstein knew more physics than Newton, but no one in their right mind would claim Newton was less brilliant because he didn't figure out relativity. It's all relative (pardon the pun). In a random position or an endgame, I still think players like Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine would be a force to be reckoned with.
Jun-29-11  sophiephilo: excellent end game. that tension is terrible! ust goes to show that a bishop is always more useful in an end game that a knight.
Jul-06-11  Ulhumbrus: 50 Ba2 threatens both Kxa7 and Be6 trapping Black's Knight
Feb-11-12  drukenknight: >>The number of games that Petrosian played in in the 1960's is not some huge amount more than what Fischer played. Fischer played plenty of chessgames in the 1960's, including Santa Monica 1966 where he finished well ahead of Petrosian

Okay that is very true, but let's face it, having Bobby Fischer as your pt man for the western hemisphere is like having Jeff George. On paper he looks great but he winds up having lapses in big moments. I actually saw Jeff George just refuse to fall on a fumble here in Wash DC.

In Fischer's case many times on the great stage when he was at a big moment he messed up and lost it. Do we have to make a list?

62 Curacao
The Match w/ Reshevsky
62 Botvinnik game, not a blow up but he blows the endgame 66 This game, didnt he run off after Spassky showed him some moves? 67 Sousza
[long period of nothing]
72 1st match game w/ Spassky

This is a long list of clinch ups in the big time. A Russian player like this would never get out of first round round. They got 10 other guys who can memorize openings and play tournament chess for two weeks straight. Fischer is all AMerican chess had so they had to coddle him. He doesnt even have to qualify for the interzonal he's so fragile...

Feb-11-12  RookFile: I'll just make one point, which is that a tie with Reshevsky in their match, in games played, exceeded pre-match expectations of almost all the experts. Reshevsky was built to play matches - he won with white and drew with black. Kasparov credits this experience with taking Fischer to the next level. Not a bad result for a teenager.
Feb-11-12  Chessmaster9001: Interesting endgame. Textbook example of advantage of bishop vs knight in an open position.
Jan-10-13  kjr63: Wow, Fischer plays like a lunatic.
Dec-19-14  zydeco: Spassky's notes to the game:

Spassky had won a 1959 game with the sharp 12.f4. He was sure that Fischer had an improvement ready and switched to 12.Qe1.

Spassky suggests 12.....Qa5 as a response.

Fischer thought he should have played 16....Bf8. Spassky planned to continue 16.g4.

If 22....gxf5 23.Nxf5 Qf6 then 24.Qe3. Or if 23....exd3 24.Qg3+ mates.

On move 24, Spassky comments, "Fischer is defending in a precise manner." If instead 24.....Bxe4 25.Nxe4 Qxf5 26.Nf6+ Kg7 27.Rd7+ Kxf6 28.Qh4+ with a mating net.

If 30....Kh7 31.Rxf8 Qxf8 32.h4 and Spassky comments that "white's threats would continue to grow."

Spassky thought Fischer's best chance to draw was 33....bxc5. Fischer didn't like the possibility of 34.Rc1, but Spassky gives the line 34....c4 35.Rc3 Re6 36.Bf3 Kf6 37.Kf2 g5 and black is fighting.

Spassky suggests improvements with 39.Bd5 instead of 39.Ke3; 39....Nd6 instead of g5; 40....Nd6 instead of 40....Nh6.

Mar-28-15  Howard: So, once the queens came off, was it a win for Spassky ?! Still don't have a computer of my own yet....
Apr-10-15  A.T PhoneHome: It's pointless to compare, say, the best players between 1955-1970 to those between 2000-2015.

While the chess theory has expanded enormously, it doesn't mean that the general level of understanding has increased. The best of 1955-1970 were the best in implementing what knowledge they had back then and the best of 2000-2015 were/are the best in implementing what knowledge they had then or have now.

Like hop to year 2165. Magnus Carlsen is the best player today (2015) but during that 150 years, mistakes will be found in his play. Can we say he is a weak player or that he lacks in understanding? No, because we cannot infer anything regarding 2165 from his 2015 results.

Apr-10-15  Petrosianic: <So, once the queens came off, was it a win for Spassky ?!>

Yes, I think 32...Q-B4 was the point of no return.

Apr-10-15  Howard: A suggestion to A.T. Phone Home...

How about looking at Spassky--Tal, 1958
from the Soviet championship.

Granted, Spassky lost that game but he damn well should have won it. In fact....Kasparov includes it in his MGP but it's in the SPASSKY volume (not the Tal one).

It's well-worth checking out.

Apr-10-15  A.T PhoneHome: Thanks, I'll have a look now instead of replying "Going through Boris Spassky's 400 Best Games yada yada". :P

Appreciated <Howard>!

Apr-11-15  Howard: If 32...Q-B4 (still love descriptive notation !) was the "point of no return", how about some computer-generated proof ?

Are you reading this, Avlerkupp ?!

Apr-11-15  A.T PhoneHome: <Howard> I think that Petrosianic is right because, as explained in one above comment, Bishop is usually better than Knight in open endgames like this.

So that's why Fischer made a mistake when he traded down to Bishop vs. Knight endgame.

Apr-11-15  Howard: Yes, but the paucity of pawns here (only three on each side) would have made the win difficult.

As I recall, Spassky's 37.Ke3 was branded a mistake by both Mednis and Mueller. The latter's book on Fischer, by the way, claims that shortly later, Fischer missed a draw.

So.....once the queens came off, was it a win for Spassky assuming best play ?!

Apr-11-15  A.T PhoneHome: Endgames have always been total Hebrew for me. Makes me appreciate strong endgame players even more for that reason.
Apr-13-15  Howard: Someday I'll take a closer look at this endgame. Unless AvlerKupp wants to warm up his computer...
Jan-04-17  The Boomerang: "The ratings are not a true indicator of strength."

Then what are they an indicator of?

Jan-04-17  Absentee: <The Boomerang: "The ratings are not a true indicator of strength."

Then what are they an indicator of?>

Of performance within a given player pool.

Jan-04-17  Petrosianic: And recent performance at that. You could play at the 1830 level for 20 years, have one bad tournament, could cancel all that out and drop you into the 1700's. It's HEAVILY weighted towards recent performance.
Mar-15-17  Saniyat24: absolutely loved Spassky's 21st, 22nd and 47th move...!
Jun-22-18  Justin796: Ratings are relative strength duh.
Jun-22-18  ewan14: 1967 was not a chess clinch up in the big time
Fischer was on course to qualify for the Candidates matches eg he had beaten Stein and drawn with Korchnoi
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