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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 1, Jul-11
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 41 OF 41 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Bobby whacked Boris in this match.

Greatest Ever v Russia's greatest.

Can't get a better match up than that .

May-28-18  QueensideCastler: <beatgiant> how can you say "nowhere near fortress position" when it occur at the very end of the line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <QueensideCastler> Ah, now I see what you mean. I thought the analysis was only the part in brackets.

In the ensuing line though, which is very long and gives no branches or explanations, the following position is reached:

click for larger view

I'm not sure what's the best move here, but surely <41. a5??> as posted, voluntarily setting up the fortress, must be one of the worst. Can Black still hold even if White plays something normal like 41. Be3 instead? Maybe, but it would take a lot more analysis to prove it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: The reason I don't get involved in stuff like this is COMPUTERS and the NET.

lol lol lol

Both of which RJF was waaaaaaay ahead of his time ....

May-29-18  QueensideCastler: White can't improve position after 40...

Engine evaluate position as +4 because it's a fortress. Engine normaly don't associate fortresses as draw.

7-men syzygy will help engine with vital fortress information. Once engine can consult that particular tablebase position, it will immediately evaluate the position as draw.

That's what i believe.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <QueensideCastler> <White can't improve position after 40...> From the diagram above, suppose Black plays passively and never touches his pawns, White will maneuver to reach a position like this:

click for larger view

and soon Black will be in zugzwang and must either move one of the pawns, or allow White's king to reach d5. Either of those are a material improvement in White's position.

For example, 1...Kd6 2. Bb4+ Kc6 3. Bc5.

So you can't just hand-wave it away saying <White can't improve position>. It's necessary to do some actual analysis.

<7-men syzygy> but there are 11 pieces in the diagram, so what's your point?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<harrylime> The reason I don't get involved in stuff like this is COMPUTERS and the NET.>

In other words, you look for every possible reason not to give your opinion because you don't have any basis for it. All you know what to do is regurgitate the same thing over and over. How sad.

May-29-18  QueensideCastler: <beatgiant> Only if black play poorly, white can reach that winning position. There is unfortunately defense against the infiltrating king march plan.

You simply can't toss the wK from g3 to c4 without allowing black to do opposing resistance.

For example:

click for larger view

1. Kf3 Kd6 2. Be3 a5 = draw

1. Kf3 Kd6 2. Be3 Kc6 3. Ke2 a5 4. Kd3 f5 5. exf5 gxf5 = draw

As you probably know by now, the a8 square is of the opposite-color to the wB, increasing black scopes of draw considerable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <QueensideCastler> From the diagram above:

1. Kf3 Kd6 2. Be3 a5 3. Ke2 Kc6 4. Kd3 f5 <5. Ke2> and now White walks the king back toward h4. Black will either have to play more pawn moves or allow White's king to g5.

<White can improve his position> so Black needs to show some resource for drawing this. Yes there is the <a8 square is of the opposite-color to the wB> but here White also has the b-pawn. If all the kingside pawns come off, this would be a White win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <QueensideCastler> and <beatgiant>: Hopefully you can help me understand.

<QueensideCastler> I followed the link and I see the board on the left pane and a game score on he right pane. The game score which follows the actual game until 32...h3 instead of the actual game continuation 32...Ke7. The game score (analysis?) shown continues 33.Kg4 Bg1 34.Kh3 Bxf2 35.Bd2 reaching the following position:

click for larger view

The main line (?) is shown as 35...Ke7 with two alternatives:

(1) [35...a6 36.Kg2 Bxg3 37.Kxg3 e5=]

(2) [35...e5 36.Kg2 Bxg3 37.Kxg3 a6=]

And the main line (?) then continues 36.Kg2 Bxg3 37.Kxg3 which is the same position achieved in the actual game except in his instance White's bishop is on d2 and in he actual game it was still on c1. The main line (?) continues 37...e5 38.a4 Ke6 39.e4 a6 40.b6 g6 41.a5 f5 42.exf5+ gxf5 43.Kh4 Kd7 44.Kg5 Kc8 45.Kxf5 Kb8 46.Kxe5 reaching the following position:

click for larger view

At this point the 7-piece Lomonosov databases indicate that the position is a draw after 46...Ka8. But the analysis continues 46...Kc8 (tablebase draw) 47.Bf4 Kb8 (tablebase draw) 48.Kd6 Kc8 (tablebase draw). Yet at this point the main line (?) shows a 1-0 result.

Looking at alternate line (1) we reach the following position after 37...e5:

click for larger view

And the following position after alternate line (2):

click for larger view

This position is not too different from the position in the actual game after 35.Kxg3. White's bishop is on d2 instead of c1, Black's e-pawn is on e5 instead of e6, Black's a-pawn is on a6 instead of a7, and Black's king is on f8 instead of e7. Are these differences significant in influencing the outcome of the game? I have no idea. Both positions contain 11 pieces to a 7-piece tablebase cannot be used to determine the game's outcome from that position.

At any rate, the analyses shown on the link do not necessarily represent best play by both sides after 29...Bxh2 so they cannot be used to "prove" that Black could still draw after that move.

<beatgiant> I have no idea how you reached the following position based on the information presented via the link:

click for larger view

Was this the result of your own analysis? Or was there an analysis in the link that <QueensideCastler> provided that I wasn't able to find?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<QueensideCastler> 7-men syzygy will help engine with vital fortress information. Once engine can consult that particular tablebase position, it will immediately evaluate the position as draw. >

I don't mean to insult you but perhaps you don't know how table bases work. If you don't, then perhaps this might help (see, for example, If you do, I apologize.

Tablebases contain a file for each set of combination of pieces; e.g. KBPKP, KQPPKQ, etc. Each of these files contains (or from them the tablebase probing code can derive) the set of all possible moves for each possible starting position for the number of pieces that the file contains.

During the chess engine's search tree expansion, once the chess engines reaches a position containing 6-pieces (in the case of using 6-piece Syzygy tablebases) the table base probing code finds the appropriate file for the number of pieces in the position being analyzed and the position being analyzed. The tablebase probing code returns the outcome from this position; in the case of the Syzygy tablebases this is either 2 (if the side to move is winning), 0 (if the position is a draw), or -2 if the side to move is losing. If the 50-move rule is being enforced it returns either a 1 (if the position would be a win if it wasn't for the 50-move rule, a so-called "cursed win") or a -1 (if the position would be a loss if it wasn't for the 50-move rule, a so-called "blessed loss")/

So, after a 6-piece position is reached in the node (position) in the search tree, the outcome of that position is known by the tablebases and that branch no longer needs to be expanded. But other branches of the search tree that contain nodes that have more than 6 pieces continue to be expanded and evaluated in the usual manner. And whether the chess engine can ever use tablebases for s particular node in a branch of its search tree depends on whether any node in that branch of the search tree contains a position with 6 pieces or less.

So a 7-piece Syzygy tablebases will help identify a position's outcome one ply earlier than 6-piece Syzygy tablebases (or any other 6-piece tablebases), but that's all. It may be significant or it may not, it all depends on he position. And, since all chess engines use heuristics to prune their search tree to retain only the most promising branches (so that they can reach deeper search depths in a reasonable length of time), it's possible that they might miss searching branches whose nodes contain less promising moves but could actually reach positions with 6 pieces or less. Therefore an engine that prunes its search tree aggressively (like Stockfish) is more likely to miss these. The only way I know to guarantee that the engine will reach all the possible game results from a given position is to disable search tree pruning and force the engine to consider all possible moves from a given position. But, since this will cause exponential search tree growth, it's not feasible with current technology to achieve this in a reasonable length of time except in the case where the number of pieces in the starting position being analyzed is close to the number of positions that the tablebases support.

Or you can use a tablebase generator like FinalGen (see which can generate tablebases for positions of more than 6 pieces under certain conditions. I encourage you to download it and try it. We attempted to generate tablebases for the position after 29...Bxh2 but it proved too complex for FinalGen to evaluate.

One problem with FinalGen is that, even if it is able to properly evaluate a position, it might take it a long, long time to do so, and require a lot of disk space. For example, in the last position you posted:

click for larger view

FinalGen estimates after about 5 minutes of running that it will take it around 65 hours (on my admittedly slow computer) and 923+ GB (uncompressed) of disk space. I have neither the patience for the former or the available disk space of the latter. And the last time I tried to use FinalGen it crashed, so I would not be certain that it would ever get to the end from this position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <AylerKupp>
<I have no idea how you reached the following position based on the information presented via the link.>

That is the position just after Black's 40th move in the analysis posted there, just before the analysis went off the rails with <41. a5??>

May-29-18  QueensideCastler: <AylerKupp>

You're hopeless. 6-men syzygy accesses that fortress position as +4. 7-men syzygy will undoubtedly eval it as 0.00

I gave up on FingalGen couple of years ago as final outcome is "either or" draw or win. First let FinalGen generate for hours if not days then after generation come up with it's either win or draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: The correct evaluation of the <fortress position> is well understood even without tablebases and is not under dispute. Sometimes, we forget that humans, too, are capable of understanding chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<QueensideCastler> You're hopeless.>

Perhaps, and maybe even likely. But I don't see how or why you can be so sure that, just because engines using 6-piece Syzygy table bases evaluate the fortress position as [+4.00] (which I think that's what you mean, Syzygy tablebases apparently don't return a value of [ ±4.00], it's the engine which converts the value returned by the Syzygy tablebases to [ ±128 ±<something>]) how you can be so certain that 7-piece tablebases will "undoubtedly" evaluate the position at [0.00]. For example, given how engines/tablebases work, why would a starting position with > 7 pieces, assuming no captures, obtain a result using 7-piece tablebases at all since there will always be > 7 pieces on the board? The best that tablebases of any size do in that situation (which is still useful) is determine whether a particular line involving captures is desirable when going for a win and when it isn't. But since engines typically only look at a small number of possible lines from that position, they don't have the ability to evaluate <with certainty> from that position that the result is a win, draw, or loss. The best you can do is to determine what the <most likely> result will be. If your goal is to determine the result <with certainty> you must either use an engine that allows you to entirely suppress search tree pruning (assuming that you can live with the greatly increased execution time to reach a desired search depth) or look at other approaches.

As far as FinalGen is concerned, yes, it has its limitations. And it's frustrating to have it analyze for hours or days only to get a conclusion like "White wins or draws" which according its author, means that a win is certain after some Black moves from that position but it's a draw after others; i.e. a win by White from that position is not certain. I don't think that's useless information; in fact it means that a White win is not certain, which is probably what you wanted to know in the first place, that the game is not necessarily lost by Black.

And FinalGen is just a tool, useful in some situations and not in others, just like most tools. Have you decided against using chess engines as a tool just because currently they have difficulty coming up with the proper evaluation of fortress positions?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<beatgiant> That is the position just after Black's 40th move in the analysis posted there,>

Thanks. I'm not sure how I missed that since I went over the line move by move. But, there you are.

And, FWIW, FinalGen estimates that in my computer it would take it about 80 hours and almost 900 GB of (uncompressed) disk space. And, again, I have neither the patience nor the disk space available to let it finish.

<Sometimes, we forget that humans, too, are capable of understanding chess.>

We are, some more than others. But, again FWIW, when I started looking at this position I felt that in order to satisfy the most diehard Fischer fans, the only way to convince them that Fischer was lost after 29...Bxh2 (if indeed that was the case) was to come up with irrefutable evidence. If that were even possible. So I thought (hoped?) that a definitive analysis from FinalGen or a combination of several engines, FinalGen, and Lomonosov tablebases, might do the trick. I was pretty certain that "mere" analysis, even by some of the best players on this site, would be enough. Or, for that matter, from some of the best players in the world. After all, if you've already made up your mind and it's a question of faith, no amount of facts and evidence will convince you otherwise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: You guys are bonkers !

What are you trying to prove ?

lol lol lol

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Bobby Fischer was better than Boris Spassky at this moment in time. Much better.

Bobby Fischer had been the best chess player in the world long before this match.... Soviet Commie influence over FIDE had kept Bobby at bay...

May-30-18  FredGambit: I've never before seen such a fanatical, unshakable determination to say nothing over and over and over again. I'm in awe of <harrylime>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <harrylime> For those with an open mind, we're trying to prove or disprove in a conclusive way whether the game was theoretically lost or drawn for Black after 29...Bxh2. But, since you've already made up your mind and are unwilling or incapable of expressing an opinion, it shouldn' be of any interest to you whatsoever.

But you're right about the bonkers part.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <FredGambit> On your comment: <I've never before seen such a fanatical, unshakable determination to say nothing over and over and over again. I'm in awe of <harrylime>> LMAO, thats why I have this obnoxious boor on permanent ignore: This way he can really say nothing ROFL
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <AylerKupp>
<we're trying to prove or disprove in a conclusive way whether the game was theoretically lost or drawn for Black after 29...Bxh2>

In my case, I was only trying to rebut a claim that the draw for Black was <easy>. <If so, then how did Fischer miss it?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <beatgiant> I don't remember anyone calling a draw for Black <after> 29...Bxh2 as being easy. Before 29...Bxh2 maybe, but not afterwards. All I've ever said is that what was likely a "simple" draw (to at least a top level GM) before 29...Bxh2 became a difficult draw after 29...Bxh2, and it was so hard that Fischer missed the best continuation and lost.

Besides, whatever is proven or disproven as a result of extensive engine and/or tablebase analysis has to be qualified as being "technical". We should never forget that a chess game is played between two human beings under time constraints and, in this game in particular since it was the first round of a WCC match that had attracted a lot of attention, probably with more pressure on either player than usual. Even if the result after 29...Bxh2 was a theoretical draw for Black, it doesn't mean that Fischer would necessarily find it, as indeed he didn't in this game. Likewise, even if the results after 29...Bxh2 was a theoretical win for White, it doesn't mean that Spassky would necessarily find it either, particularly after best play by Fischer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <AylerKupp>
Then I will spell it out for you.

More times than I can count, kibitzers here have claimed to prove a draw with the aid of short and simplistic computer analysis.

In the most recent case, we were shown a long, practically single-branched line containing a horrendous blunder in the middle, ending in a book draw which a computer mis-evaluated, and a firmly stated belief that it would become the analytical main line if only a 7-piece tablebase were added to the engine.

That's the kind of thing I mean by <too easy>.

Jul-12-18  Albion 1959: Forty six years to the day and it is time to revisit the opening game of this historic match. Of course much of the attention has been focused on move 29 Bxh2. Should it be given as ?? or maybe !? or ?!. It certainly livens up the game and avoided what would have been a dull draw. Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have, even more so 46 years later with computers and powerful far-reaching search engines. But back in 1972 things were very different. Fischer obviously miscalculated, maybe he did not carry the analysis further than he should have done? In any event from 30 onwards he was always fighting for a draw and very nearly pulled it off. The analysis all seem to agree that Bxh2 was not in itself the losing move and that Fischer's mistake came later on. Possibly Ke7 on move 30 to centralise the king is an improvement on h5? It is accepted that Fischer's losing move was on move 40 with f4?? instead of Kd5 gaining a tempo by attacking the bishop. However, it needed accurate technique from Spassky to score the win, though he did have the advantage of an adjournment and the use of seconds to find the winning path. I wonder if had to play this ending as an allegro finish, would he still have found the win over the board ? A fascinating endgame study, only made possible by Fischer's refusal to take an easy on draw that was on offer. A trait of Fischer's play (which I admire ) is that he would often take games to their limits !
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