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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner Variation. Main Line (E41)  ·  0-1
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Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Under 2000 level? Really?
Mar-07-13  Chris321: Thanks NM J Rousselle(yea obviously!...the version of the game i had had the pawn on h7 wrong diagram!)
Mar-07-13  diceman: <perfidious: Under 2000 level? Really?>

1863 to be exact.

Apr-10-13  teddysalad: Did Spassky ever comment on why he resigned so early in this game? After losing for the first time ever under unusual circumstances to Fisher in the little ping-pong room in the back in game 3 he played a strong draw against Bobby back in the main hall in game 4; yet here he bails out after 27 moves in a position that people who know a lot more about chess than I do say he could have fought for a draw. To me, this is the key game of the match, not games 3, 6 or 13. This is the game that Boris seems to acknowledge that Fischer is a better chess player than he is at that moment in time and seems more intent on saving energy to wait for a battle he could win.
Apr-10-13  Just Another Master: this was a bad game for a 2400, for Spassky its quite unbelievable
Premium Chessgames Member
  DWINS: <teddysalad: Did Spassky ever comment on why he resigned so early in this game?>

He resigned because his position is hopeless. He either gets mated or loses a bunch of pawns. The people who believe he could have fought for a draw were probably referring to the position before he blundered with 27.Qc2.

Apr-10-13  Petrosianic: Yeah, no comment is necessary here.
Apr-10-13  RookFile: Gligoric described Fischer's ...Ng6 as a great move by a great player. I believe that Fischer learned from this loss - here he waited too long, and Reshevsky was able to put that h4 knight into f5 instead:

Reshevsky vs Fischer, 1965

Jul-06-14  Ulhumbrus: <RookFile: Gligoric described Fischer's ...Ng6 as a great move by a great player.> Perhaps that move warrants a double exclamation mark. The exchanges 13 Nxg6 and 13 fe isolate Black's e pawn but White's pieces turn out to lack access either to the square g6 or to the square e5. This suggests that there was at least one thing which Spassky did not foresee when making these two choices
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <LIFE Master AJ: A positional crush.>

<Calli: Almost all annotators came to the conclusion that the position was won for Black without Spassky's blunder.>

Frankly speaking, I don't see it. It is true that white Bishops are nothing special in the position with blocked center and QS and that white has no available active plan here but I don't see any convincing winning plan for black too. How will black progress after 27.Qb1? In case of his active advance on the KS, he must take into account potentially dangerous Pd5 and any opening of the position will free white Bishops too. In my view with a bit careful play avoiding tactical traps white should not lose this position. 27.Qc2?? was a howler running just into such a tactical trap, actually not very deep to put it mildly. Spassky was not himself since the game 3 of the match. 27.Qc2?? and 19...Nd7?? from the 8th game of the match (Fischer vs Spassky, 1972) are clear sign of his very poor form during this phase of the match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Honza Cervenka> Timman thinks black's strongest move after 27.Qb1 is g4 and leaves the question whether the game is drawn or won for black unresolved. Just wondering whether there is an in-depth analysis available with all those wonderful engines around?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <john barleycorn: <Honza Cervenka> Timman thinks black's strongest move after 27.Qb1 is g4 and leaves the question whether the game is drawn or won for black unresolved.> g5-g4 played at once or after some preparation is essential if black wants to try anything. But let's say 27...g4 and white will play (just the first quick idea) 28.Bh4 with potential possibility to play Bd8. What now?
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Honza Cervenka> Timman after 27.Qc2??:

"27....g4, when White's situation becomes precarious. Black's king can walk to c7, but White can often parry subsequent attacks against his weak pawns by regrouping. I will have to leave the question of whether the position is still drawn or just won for Black, unresolved."

So I guess Timman meant 27.Qb1 g4 28.Bh4 Ke8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: "The players from 1962 to 1972 played against Fischer really badly.Gligoric Larsen Taimanov Spassky Panno Benkö Portisch and so on..."

Najdorf on being asked why so many masters made blunders against Fischer than any other master.

"Because Fischer plays like a machine forcing his opponents to calculate variation after variation and because of that they become exhausted."

Quoted by Alexnder in his book on the '72 match.

So did Spassky take the lazy way (as, according to some was his habit) by ignoring variations and played simply on principles....

click for larger view

Two Bishops, protected passer, backward pawn on an open file (b6).

Perhaps toss in just a wee pinch of over confidence. This was game 5, he had good chances in game 4. The loss in game 3 was played in freak conditions in a room described as a large cupboard.

He is still leading by one point (the default), that terrble Fischer blunder Fischer played in game 1. (blunders always come in pairs - Russian proverb).

I doubt if we will ever know all the answers why Spassky lost.

Of course the answer that Fischer played the better chess in the match is the correct answer, but that is too simple an answer. We chess players seek complications to feed out curiosity. (and drive us out of our minds.)


click for larger view

There is nothing wrong with 3.Bc4 here. It develops a piece, preps castling, stops the freeing d5, hits the weak spot f7.

And yet the majority of us will play 3.Bb5 sham threatening the e5 pawn that cannot even be taken soundly after 3...a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6. And we are quite willing to batter our thick skulls against the Berlin Wall.

We are all crazy.

Jul-11-14  Howard: As I recall, some analysts had said that in the event of 27.Qb1, Spassky's position still would have been difficult especially because his e4 pawn would have been difficult to defend.

Note that Fischer could have trained all three of his pieces on it, while Spassky could have protected it with only two.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: We can sit here in a vacuum, better than forty years after the fact, averring that Spassky might well have saved this with dour defence, but try playing perfect defence against such a formidable opponent, or even an 'ordinary' grandmaster.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Howard: As I recall, some analysts had said that in the event of 27.Qb1, Spassky's position still would have been difficult especially because his e4 pawn would have been difficult to defend.>

I would say that after 27.Qb1 practical chances to win the game for black are significant especially in OTB game, where "perfect play" is rare occurrence even on the top level but such attempt is not without any risk (especially due to Pd5, weak Pb6 and white Bishop pair). But objectively the position of black is hardly "won by force", and I think that analysts should avoid to be much influenced in their conclusions by result of the game or even by the names of players.

Jul-11-14  RookFile: Black moves his king to the queenside to protect the c7 pawn. Then he moves his kingside pawns up to attack further. How does white improve his position further? He doesn't. Does it all win for black? I have no idea, but sure wouldn't want to play it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <RookFile: Black moves his king to the queenside to protect the c7 pawn. >

There is no pawn on c7 :-).
Black king on c7 to protect the b6 pawn.

Jul-12-14  Howard: Let's put it this way---the late Larry Evans stated in his book on the match (which was co-authored by Ken Smith), that after 27.Qb1, Black would be "clearly better, but a forced win would be a long way off."
Jul-12-14  Howard: He also stated, by the way, that 27.Qc2 ?? might have been the biggest blunder of Spassky's career.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Howard> as I mentioned before where are all the engines and the wizards operating them to finally get a definite answer? Or is it all classified material? I start regretting that <AJ Goldsby I> cannot contribute here any longer...
Jul-12-14  Howard: What do ya mean he can't ?!

Why not ?

Jul-12-14  RookFile: Yes, that's right, I meant King to c7 (or a7) to protect the pawn. Thanks.
Jul-15-14  joddon: 27 qc2 is just terrible move.....fischer doesn't look for good exchanges just bad ones for his opponents....delaying longer possibilities just makes spassky uncomfortable....I mean up 2-0 he only needed one game and fischer would never be the fischer he is today....fortune is made for those who earn it before they receive it I guess......spassky must have been quite distracted to lose so badly.
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