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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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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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.
Jul-12-14
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.
Aug-19-14  coldsweat: I believe Boris was already lost by move 27.
His pivotal mistake was not seeing the enormous danger of Bobby's 23...Nh5, which leads directly to this knight's fatal position on f4. Blindly, instead of taking immediate action to defend against this deadly knight, he chose rather to exchange both Rooks. After this exchange he was a goner.
Aug-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <coldsweat> 27.Qc2 is indeed a blunder. I just checked with Stockfish to confirm. The engine says 27.Qb1 or 27.Qf3 and chances are about equal.
Aug-19-14  Petrosianic: You hardly needed Stockfish to tell you something that has been known by everyone who cared since 1972.

Unfortunately, slavish reliance on your engine ("The engine said it, I believe it, and that settles it") won't give you an accurate picture. White is significantly worse, possibly lost, even after 27. Qb1 or Qf3. It's just that the strategic problems with White's position exceed Stockfish's horizon.

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Petrosianic> "Slavish reliance on my engine"? I always use my head before looking at the engine. But I posted it that way to be nice to the guy who was saying that Spassky was lost already. Of course, I could have said "It has been known since 1972 that Qc2 was a blunder, don't you know your chess history?" But I am a nice guy, in person and online.

White has problems. White is not lost.

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Methinks <Fusilli> is more'n capable of playing without an engine: to wit, one of last week's POTD featured this fine player.

K Gulamali vs M Sana, 2014

Aug-20-14  Petrosianic: <Fusilli>: <But I posted it that way to be nice to the guy who was saying that Spassky was lost already.>

All right, it's nice to be nice, just don't be patronizing. You really don't need an engine to see that Qc2 is a blunder, and quoting one may make the blunder sound harder to identifiy than it really is. Especially in this case, where the engine's eval is not entirely reliable. White may not be actually lost after Qb1, but he has some serious problems to deal with that the engine doesn't see. My engine shows a slight plus for White after Qb1, which is very misleading. So, if we're using the engine to answer two questions, and it's definitely wrong on one of them, why use it to settle the other one, when we don't need to?

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Petrosianic> I don't follow your logic. How can you say the engine is definitely wrong when it shows a slight plus for White after 27 Qb1

It is very surprising, sure. But the difference between a Komodo -.05/30 and a very slight advantage for White by some other engine is negligible.

You could say in fact that the engines agree that the position is even.

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Petrosianic> Frankly, I think you are influenced by your knowledge that the player manning the black pieces was Fischer, and we know how this match ended up. But white's position is sustainable. It's not clear to me what kind of plan black should follow that cannot be thwarted. And simplification would benefit white, who has a potentially winning pawn endgame.

The problem with engine evaluations is that engines are unable to judge how difficult it can be for humans to find the good moves, but white is not walking on a minefield here.

Aug-20-14  Petrosianic: Maybe I am influenced by that, but I'm not claiming White is dead lost, only in trouble. Given Fischer's ability for grinding wins out of positions like these, I think it's quite possible that he might have succeeded. Maybe not. Spassky was the world champ, after all, and at least it's not a tactical minefield, as you say. But I think White would have been made to work hard for that draw if he got it, and given Spassky's form in the first half of the match, who knows?
Aug-20-14  Howard: Regarding Tamar's comment from three comments back....White has a "slight plus" after 27.Qb1 ??

That's news to me ! How about if someone could post some engine analysis supporting that claim?

Good luck !

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: One thing I blame Fischer for is that he never annotated this match or his run up to the title. The plan he had in mind after 27 Qb1 would be invaluable in giving a verdict.

I'm not discounting that Spassky would have blundered later- he acknowledged that the most difficult part of playing Fischer was matching his concentration level during play.

I keep hoping they find a locker with a secret thick notebook ( and its not Ed Trice who finds it!)

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Howard> It's not so strange. I don't have the analysis for that evaluation. Komodo 5 gives a very slight edge to Black, but a .06 variance would put it in plus White territory.

As Fusilli said, engines don't give an idea how hard it is for humans to find all the resources available in a position. They just indicate they are there.

Aug-20-14  Petrosianic: I'd be happy to see Spassky write a book on the match.

In no way, shape or form, does White have a plus after 27. Qb1. He might not be lost, but he doesn't have a plus. The computer might be overrating the two Bishops.

Ask yourself this. If this were Game 24, and the score was Fischer 12, Spassky 11 (meaning Spassky HAD to win, while a draw gives Fischer the title), what possible winning attempt could White make if Black were determined to draw? All but two of White's pawns are blocked, and the kingside pawns are outnumbered. There's no way the Bishops could get into Black's rear area and pick anything off. If Black were determined to draw this game, White could do nothing to stop him. I'd submit that if Black can try for a win, but White can't, that White can't possibly have any advantage.

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Petrosianic>I'd wager that if you gave the engine more time, it would veer toward 0.00 or into Black territory.

What the plus for White is likely telling you is that you interrupted analysis of a line that was favorable for Black at lower levels, but at higher levels was shown to have created counter chances.

Aug-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Petrosianic: Maybe I am influenced by that, but I'm not claiming White is dead lost, only in trouble. Given Fischer's ability for grinding wins out of positions like these...>

Okay, that's fair.

Aug-21-14  Petrosianic: One notable footnote to the game. Gligoric came up with a significant improvement a few months later against Mecking.

Gligoric vs Mecking, 1972

Instead of Spassky's 13. fxe5, which locked up the center and left his Bishops passive, Gligoric played O-O and f5 and got a much better game. He was pressuring for a while too, but didn't bring home the full point.

Aug-21-14  Olavi: And Larsen vs Ivkov, 1973 is another classic in this line. Then, Unzicker vs Timman, 1981
Aug-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Kasparov made it his thesis in "Revolution in the 70's" that the Fischer -Spassky match triggered a surge in opening preparation.

Had Fischer chosen to play in 75, he would have had to revamp all his openings, because his ideas, while new, had flaws that came to light when countless masters experimented with them.

Fischer was talented enough to adapt, but it would have entailed working with others, which he hated, or later, working with computers, which he thought was cheating, just to process all the new information.

Aug-21-14  Petrosianic: I think Karpov also described Fischer as the last of the "Old School Champions", who worked mainly on his own. Players are backed up by teams of analysts these days.
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