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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Gligoric System Bernstein Defense (E56)  ·  1-0
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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer (1972)

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 22 OF 22 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Offramp> No, 29...bxh2 fully deserves a "?" or maybe even a "??" since prior to that move the game would most likely have been drawn and after that move Fischer had a lost game. See the analyses I posted on p.17 on Nov-26-12.
Apr-30-14  diceman: < AylerKupp: <Offramp>

No, 29...bxh2 fully deserves a "?" or maybe even a "??" >

Depends on your anti Fischer bias.

<Karpov suggested that Spassky was afraid of Fischer and wanted to show that he could draw with the white pieces, while Fischer wanted to disprove that as the game headed for a stale draw.>

<Robert Byrne wrote, "The wonder is that, even though he now loses the bishop for two pawns, he would have been able to draw had it not been for his later mistakes.">

Apr-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <diceman> I have no anti-Fischer-the-player bias. On the contrary, I think that he was one of the greatest players ever, if not the greatest. My only reason for not considering him the greatest is that he left the game prematurely and did not stay at the top for very long. And to me that's an very important criteria for being considered "the best", although others may not consider that as important as I do.

But a blunder is a blunder, no matter who makes it and no matter what the reason. To convert a likely draw (or a win) to a loss as a result of one move makes that move a blunder in my book, although you may have different criteria as to what constitutes a blunder. And Robert Byrne was wrong, Fischer could not have drawn the game against best play by Spassky not matter what he played. And so was Speelman who claimed in http://www.scribd.com/doc/60176029/... starting on p. 75 that some of the subvariations were drawn. Neither Byrne nor Speelman had access to computers and were not able to do the in-depth analysis that's needed. That Fischer was lost after 29...Bxh2 is shown by my posted analysis (with more than a little help from Rybka 4.1) shows, starting with Spassky vs Fischer, 1972.

Be objective, don't let your pro-Fischer bias cloud your judgment. If you or anyone else can produce more detailed and thorough analysis that shows the contrary I'll gladly look at it and investigate those possibilities presented in greater detail. But until that happens I'll stick with my belief that Fischer was lost after 29...Bxh2 against best play by Spassky no matter what he did.

And no, this was not a "psychological ploy" by Fischer as you have claimed before. Fischer made a blunder, plain and simple. I don't understand why so many consider it necessary to pretend that Fischer was incapable of blundering from time to time, just like anyone else, only less often.

Apr-30-14  Petrosianic: <AylerKupp>: <My only reason for not considering him the greatest is that he left the game prematurely and did not stay at the top for very long. And to me that's an very important criteria for being considered "the best">

It's important because it shows how well or poorly the world was able to adapt to you and your style. Take Tal, for instance. Had he retired, or been hit by a bus in Summer 1960, he'd have the same kind of reputation that Fischer and Morphy had. People who tried to argue that the world would eventually have adapted to his style and pushed him back into the pack (although not very far back) would be largely ignored by the fanboys. The impression he left from his short-term exploits was just that good that people wouldn't want to see it end (and of course many people believe just what they want to).

<And Robert Byrne was wrong, Fischer could not have drawn the game against best play by Spassky not matter what he played.>

ASSUMING that Spassky played perfectly, which is a big assumption. It was long believed that the losing move was 40...f4. It took decades of time and computer analysis to prove differently, and those wouldn't be a factor at the board. I never heard Spassky claim he had a win at Move 30. It seems likely (though not guaranteed) to me, that Spassky would not have won after 40... Kd5.

<Be objective, don't let your pro-Fischer bias cloud your judgment. If you or anyone else can produce more detailed and thorough analysis that shows the contrary I'll gladly look at it and investigate those possibilities presented in greater detail. But until that happens I'll stick with my belief that Fischer was lost after 29...Bxh2 against best play by Spassky no matter what he did.>

I think it's more likely that Fischer was NOT lost after 29... Bxh2 than it is that diceman will do what you just suggested. You're forgetting who you're talking to. Silk purse? Sow's ear?

<And no, this was not a "psychological ploy" by Fischer as you have claimed before. Fischer made a blunder, plain and simple. I don't understand why so many consider it necessary to pretend that Fischer was incapable of blundering from time to time,>

Fischer is a religion to some people. A symbol of enormous power that they can share in by sacrificing their credibility on his altar. The irony is that the Fischertarian religious fanatics often <avoid> studying his games too closely, for fear of finding imperfections, and rely on generic, gushing praise (see: Harrylime).

Apr-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Petrosianic> Oh, I know all that. But whenever we try to decide on the merits of a <position> and whether one player should have won or drawn a game from a difficult position we need to assume that their opponent will play the best moves. If not, all we're really saying is that if our opponent will not play the best moves then any set of dubious moves will win or draw.

As you said, how realistic is that? I would say that it depends on the position as well as other factors such as remaining time on the clock, one's overall mood, how clearly we can focus on the game, etc. The position after 29...Bxh2 does not seem all that complex, king and pawns on one side and king, pawns, and bishop on the other side. Spassky was a fairly good player (it's hard to become world champion unless you are!); I don't think that it is any more unreasonable to expect him to find the best moves from that position than it is to expect Fischer to also find the best moves. And I don't think that it means anything to say that Fischer could have drawn the game if Spassky had not found the best moves; you can say that about practically any game. If one or both players make less than the best moves from a position, all that proves is that they are both human.

As far as <diceman> or anyone else to do what I suggested, that's up to them. And if they wish to continue thinking that Fischer could have drawn the game after 29...Bxh2, that's up to them also. We all believe what we want to believe. I don't think that it demeans Fischer in anyway to point out that he was only human and that he occasionally made mistakes, oversights, miscalculations, or whatever other euphemism you want to use for "blunder". But that's just me, I guess.

Apr-30-14  Petrosianic: True. We decide on the merits of a position from the position itself. But it's a jump from "this position is objectively won" to "Player A SHOULD have won it." That partly depends on who the player was. In this case, it was the World Champion, so if anyone should have won it, he should, of course. But if nobody found the win until years later, I'm hesitant to say that he should have won, only that he could.

On the other side of the argument, you can say that Spassky never found the win because he didn't look too hard after the game was over, but that he would have found it over the board if he'd had to. There's a story from Curacao, where Petrosian agreed to a draw against Korchnoi in their first game. According to Vasiliev's book, after the game, Geller came up and showed Petrosian a move which would have left Korchnoi with "barely soluble problems" (you can check the game out yourself if you want to see). According to the book, Petrosian wasn't upset, and thought "I saw that move but didn't realize it's true value, so I wouldn't have won anyway." That always struck me as a bit of a rationalization. Maybe he didn't see the value of it then, but he might have a few moves later if he had kept playing. So, "would" he have won if he had played it, despite not seeing how good the move was? Possibly.

www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1081426

This is vaguely similar to the print war Fischer and Botvinnik had over their game, that continued for several years, in My 60 Memorable Games and other places on both sides. Botvinnik took issue with Fischer's analysis, and accused him of not only misplaying the game over the board, but getting the post game analysis wrong too. It went back and forth several times.

Apr-30-14  Bartacus: Fischer made two comments that I'm aware of about ...Bh2. The first was at the time, when he complained about the cameras and that he was distracted when he played it. I've seen footage of him making the move, and it does seem that he wasn't concentrating fully; he made the move quickly. As is well known, his complaints about the camera led to the forfeit of Game 2. The other comment was at the beginning of the 1992 match with Spassky, when a reporter asked if he played the move to unbalance the position, to which Fischer replied "essentially, yes". I tend to place more reliance on the first comment than the second, though he did at times take unreasonable chances; see his loss against Mednis in the 1962 U.S. Championship.
Apr-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi AylerKupp:

Your gripe with Fischer is a wee bit strange,

"...is that he [Fischer] left the game prematurely and did not stay at the top for very long."

So I take it you don't like Morphy either. He dropped the game and lived for another 20 years without pushing a tournament pawn.

Apr-30-14  Petrosianic: <So I take it you don't like Morphy either.>

He didn't say he didn't like Fischer, he said it was hard to regard him as the best player ever. Very few people regard Morphy as the best player ever, so yes, I imagine the pattern does hold equally true for him too. Why wouldn't it?

May-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Sally Simpson> <Petrosianic> is correct. I have no gripe against Fischer the player, only that in my book, in order to be consider "the greatest" at anything, one must hold that position for a substantial amount of time, with the definition of "substantial" depending on the individual. Othewise a single spectacular - though not replicatable - performance would qualify that person for the title of "the greatest". And I don't think that would be right.

As far as Morphy is concerned I must admit that I had not thought about it. But I suppose you're right, Morphy's relatively brief stay at the top would also disqualify him in my book from consideration as "the greatest", even though I admire his games as much as I admire Fischer's.

May-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi AylerKupp,

I thought it was something like that, just mis-understood your post.

Often wondered if the mad word twisting media we have now had been around in Morphy's day what they would have done to one of his interviews.

'The Greatest Ever Chess Player.'
Good luck with that discussion.

I'll put in a vote for the whole of the Spanish court who re-vamped the game and gave us the game we play and love today. Turning the Queen in to a Rook and Bishop combined was a stroke of genius.

May-01-14  Petrosianic: Was that the Spanish Court? I was under the impression that it was the Italians who gave us the game we have today.
May-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: According to that unimpeachable source, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...) citing an article by Ian Riddler http://www.silk-road.com/newsletter... (which makes no mention of the queen's movement), "The queen and bishop remained relatively weak until between 1475 AD and 1500 AD, in either Spain, Portugal, France or Italy, the queen's and bishop's modern moves started and spread, making chess close to its modern form." Talk about being non-committal!

Elsewhere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_(chess)) Wikipedia states that "The modern move of the Queen started in Spain during Isabella I's reign, perhaps inspired by her great political power". Yet it also says that "During the 16th century the queen's move took its modern form as a combination of the move of the rook and the current move of the bishop." Since Isabella I died in 1504 the statement about the 16th century is could technically be true, but by a small margin. So, if Isabella I was the inspiration, the 15th century is a safer bet.

The inspiration for the modern queen move has also been cited as being Joan of Arc (died 1431) so in that case the 15th century would also be a good bet, as well as establishing a French Connection. I wasn't able to find any tie-ins to either Portugal or Italy.

The most authoritative source is probably "A History of Chess" by H.J.R. Murray, first published in 1913, if only because of its length (more than 900 pages) and scholarly treatment. Amazon.com is currently offering a reprint of this original edition for $ 16.16. If someone has a copy maybe they can settle the issue, or maybe someone can find a copy at their local library. Do local libraries still exist?

One comment in one of the Amazon.com reviews made me chuckle. The reviewer, apparently a chess enthusiast, gave the book 3 out of 5 stars and, even though he or she earlier noted that "This is a direct copy of the 1913 edition", seems to mildly criticize the author because "Also the writing style seems like it is 100 years old."

Hopefully this reviewer is a member of chessgames.com I think that such an insightful observation would fit perfectly within the confines of this and other pages.

May-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: As I understand it the Moors brought the game to Spain. When the Moors left the Spanish jazzed up the game increasing the power of the Queen and Bishop and perhaps giving the pawn the two move option.

They were really keen on the game and then came the Spanish Monk Ruy Lopez and his 16th century book.

I've actually held a copy of an original of this 1560's book. True!

It has an advert for chessbase inside the back cover...not quite true.

So next time some non-player asks you who invented chess, you are on reasonably safe ground if reply that the game we play today came from the Spanish court around about 1500.

My money is on the court jester.

May-01-14  gezafan: Spassky played similar positions against Fischer in their 1992 match with some success.
May-01-14  SChesshevsky: <And if they wish to continue thinking that Fischer could have drawn the game after 29...Bxh2,>

While a computer might draw it or a couple hour analysis at home might find a draw, the chances that Fischer over-the-board could draw it are pretty slim.

He had an almost assured draw had he not taken the pawn and most experienced end gamers know a piece down for two connectors is a very difficult win even with advanced pawns.

Since zugzwang in these positions is usually a critical element, it's most likely Fischer miscounted along the line and saw a win that wasn't there.

After that realization, plus the need to play great moves just to draw while Spassky only needed to play decent moves would seem to make it almost a miracle if Fischer held.

Had the position arose later in the match when Fischer was confident and Spassky off his game, I'm guessing then Black might've had at least some drawing chances.

May-02-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<SChesshevsky> While a computer might draw it or a couple hour analysis at home might find a draw, the chances that Fischer over-the-board could draw it are pretty slim.>

Rybka 4.1, which I consider the strongest endgame-playing engine, couldn't find a draw after almost 19 hours of computer analysis with 6 different starting positions and forward sliding. So forget about Fischer finding a draw over-the-board.

May-02-14  RookFile: It's official: Bxh2 was a mistake.
May-02-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: It was a blunder, pure and simple. Fischer would not have found a draw over the board.

Before this blunder, it was a colorless draw. The players could have shaken hands and Fischer would have gotten over his first-game jitters and had White the next game.

He can say in 1992 that he was deliberately trying to complicate the game, but even a Class II player would see through that BS.

May-02-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Jonathan Speelman, in his book <Analysing the Endgame>, devotes an entire chapter (18 pages), trying to (unconvincingly to me) prove a draw.

SNORE!

May-02-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <RookFile> <It's official: Bxh2 was a mistake.>

One need only glance at the photograph. :)

May-02-14  Zonszein: Ouf! Thank you. It took 42 long years
May-03-14  PJs Studio: I have to agree Fischer did not only play to win. He was a scientific player who took last chances against strong competition. Spasski was plenty strong in '72.

As I said, he overlooked Bxh2 as the ultra dangerous move it was. It's ok, he mutilated Spasski after game 2. Just as he had destroyed the candidates months before.

May-03-14  PJs Studio: As far as the greatest players Morphy was WAY ahead of his time, but his competition wasn't up to snuff. The really strong players came after Staunton. By Lasker's and Tarrash's times things started to heat up.

Kasparov, Fischer, and to some degree Capa outdid their peers at a time when the competition was anything but fish.

Jul-22-14  jerseybob: <Shams> <"One need only glance at the photograph".> Exactly. I've always loved this shot, and the look on Fischer's face echoes how I, a Fischer fan, felt at that moment. And after the Game 2 forfeiture, even more so!
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