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Wolfgang Unzicker vs Robert James Fischer
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 5, Jul-24
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation (B92)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Position after 36.Bd3:

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Here Fischer missed a win by 36...Ng3+! (a logical consequence of the attacking formation created in the previous moves by Nh5-Bf4-Qg5-Rh8) 37.hxg3 hxg3+ 38.Kg1 Qh4; or 37.Nxg3 hxg3 38.h3 Rxh3+! 39.Kg1 (39.gxh3 g2+ 40.Kg1 Qg3 with quick mate) 39...Rh2 and Qh4; or 37...Nxf1 38.Bxf1 (38.Rxf1 Be3+; 38.Kxf1 Bxh2) 38...h3 39.g3 (39.Re2 Bxh2+!) 39...Bxg3! 40.hxg3 Qxg3+ 41.Kh1 Qxf3+ 42.Kh2 Qf4+ 43.Kh1 g5 and the mass of the connected passed pawns should prove decisive.

Fischer also missed two good opportunities later on: 55...h3! 56.g3 Ng2 winning the exchange, since 57.Re2 Bd8! followed by Bb6 is crushing; as well as 68...Qa6! (with the threat of 69...Rxc1 70.Rxc1 Qf1 or Nf1+) 69.Rxc7+ (or 69.b5 Rxc1 70.Rxc1 Qa3! 71.Ra1 Bd4 72.Rb1 Be3! 73.Nxe3 fxe3 and the queen can't keep defending the bishop on a2) 69...Rxc7 70.b5 Qxb5! (71.Rxb5 Nf1+).

Another example of Fischer's bad - or sloppy - form in the first half of the Santa Monica tournament, which he finished with a disastrous score of 3.5/9, one place before the last, before his fantastic finish in the second half, scoring 7.5/9. In round 2 he missed a relatively simple win against Portisch (with 50.Ne3 in Fischer vs Portisch, 1966), in round 4 he missed good wining chances against Donner by a careless move (30.Bd3?? in Fischer vs J H Donner, 1966), this game was played in round 5, and next he suffered three consecutive losses in rounds 6-8.

Nov-06-09  SugarRaySam: After 63.c4 e4! I believe is a better move for black

(64.Bf1 f4 65.Ng4 e5! and black is blocking white to a very small area, eventually switching rooks to the e file)

so: 64.fxe4 f4! is the main idea

65.Ng4 f3! and White can't prevent f2 and queening square is controlled by the Knight

Oct-07-11  Chessfugitive: Ok Someone said Fischer missed a win with 36 ... Ng3+ What about 37 Kg1?
Oct-07-11  nescio: <Chessfugitive: Ok Someone said Fischer missed a win with 36 ... Ng3+ What about 37 Kg1?>

See <Eyal>'s message of Feb-06-09: 37.Kg1 Nxf1 38.Bxf1 h3 39.g3 Bxg3 etc.

Oct-16-11  Chessfugitive: Sorry but that's not very convincing as you lose your knight and bishop for a knight and 3 pawns. Yeah the king is exposed but mate won't happen with a queen and 2 rooks. Fischer wasn't looking for a draw and chess is never "that simple".
May-07-14  Methodist: Good work by Eyal there, today when looking at this game I found out that Fischer missed 36... Ng3! 37. Kg1 (during the game both GM's saw this idea but didn't see the follow-up which is...) Nf1 38. Bf1 h3! (this is the move they didn't see) 39. g3 Bg3! and black will have four connected pawns vs. bishop with a position close to win and wanted to post this information here, but Eyal did this already 4 years ago! Posting anyway, great tactics there, missed even by great player who, yes, was in a bad form during the first round of this tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Methodist: Good work by Eyal....>

If in no way out of the ordinary; for he has been one of our finest contributors.

Dec-14-14  zydeco: This game is actually pretty far below both players' playing strength.

Unzicker plays the opening very timidly, forgoing a break with 16.f4, and then just kind of moving his pieces around. Fischer has a big advantage but misses his chances to break through: not only with 36....Ng3+ but also with 41.....h3 42.g3 Ng2 43.Re2 e4 44.f4 g5.

Fischer also could have won with 69.....Rxc1 70.Qxc1 Ne2 71.Qe1 Nc3.

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