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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 5, Jul-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner Variation. Main Line (E41)  ·  0-1

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Kibitzer's Corner
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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.

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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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
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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Feb-20-16  Party Animal: This game demonstrates Fischer's genius! Spassky never seen Bxa4 game winning move, coming!
Dec-31-16  DrGridlock: A temptation for any kibitzer / annotater to avoid is "reverse engineering" commentary driven by the game outcome. That is, "player x won the game, therefore any move played by player x during the course of the game has a deep and profound meaning." This temptation seems to be greatest when kibitzing on Fischer games.

I came across this game in John Watson's section on the Nimzo-Indian opening in "Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 2." Watson writes of the position after black's 7th move ... d6:

"This is the 'real' Hubner Variation, made famous by Hubner himself, but also by Fischer with his positionally devastating win over Spassky in their world championship match."

"Positionally devastating" seemed to me a game worth further study. However, upon further review (some extensive deep analysis with Komodo) a surprising finding is this:

<Black never has a positional eval in his favor until Spassky's blunder 27 Qc2.>

It's clearly time for us to re-think how we remember this game, and in particular to remember it more as a "blunder" than as "positionally devastating." Along this re-thinking, we need to re-examine Petrosianic's suggestion that the Gligoric / Mecking 13 o-o and 14 f5 are "improvements" on Spassky's gameplay. Komodo finds a .37 eval for Spassky's fxe5 continuation, and a -.03 eval for Gligoric's "improvement" (which is a curious eval difference for an improvement).

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Shortly after this game my real chesslife started.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: So where's the analysis. Is it a secret?
Jan-01-17  DrGridlock: There is the prior claim that,

<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.>

There is no line that I can find to back up this claim. There seems to be an claim that White's e-pawn is a weakness which black can attack, but I can find no plan to attack White's e-pawn.

After 27 Qb1 by white:

Boris Spassky - Robert James Fischer

click for larger view

What I find are lines like this one:

1. = (0.07):
28.Bd2 Kg8
29.Be3 g4
30.g3 Nh3+
31.Kf1 Bd7
32.Ke1 Qf6
33.Be2 Qg6

Black's pieces merely "dither" around. At some point, one of his pieces or pawns is going to have to move (in Bronstein's terminology) "across the equator." How he can do this Komodo cannot find.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: The one minor annoyance for black is that b6 needs to be defended. The queen would rather be attacking. Black can address that by trotting his king over to the queenside - let's say a7 - and then the queen and pawns and powerful knight can press forward on the kingside. As you can imagine, this may take 15 moves to implement, but it is a clear plan.
Jan-01-17  DrGridlock: Noting all the positional features:

(i) there is one passed pawn in the game - and it is White's d-pawn.

(ii) Black's b-pawn can never advance.

(iii) Black has a pawn majority on the kingside, but it's not clear how he can ever create a passed-pawn out of that: he can advance either his g-pawn or his h-pawn, but say he advances his g-pawn to g3. White does not exchange, but advances his h-pawn to h-3, and the pawn structure is locked.

(iv) If White has a weak e-pawn, black's e-pawn is equally weak. With two bishops, White will always have one bishop to defend his e-pawn, and one to attack black's e-pawn. Black is very in the squares from which his bishop can attack White's e-pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <tamar....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....>

The reason Fischer switched openings and adopted new ones in 1972 was his respect for the Soviet analytical team and their capabilities, much as he loathed their methods--he was fortunate to hold the game played before this, and never again adopted the variation employed in that game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Let's think schematically, like Capa used to do. Let's just magically pick black's king up and put it on c7. (c7 might be preferable to a7 to ensure white's d pawn isn't going anywhere.)

We'll just assume a position that looks like this, after both sides have shifted wood:

click for larger view

I let Stockfish run for a couple of minutes, it's showing an advantage of roughly -0.5 to -0.6 for black. Apparently, the first committment by black (crossing the equator) is the move ...g4.

Jan-01-17  DrGridlock: <Rookfile>

If I run Komodo on your position, I get this line:

... h5
Bf2 Qf6
h3 g4
hxg4 Bxg4
Bxg4 hxg4

New game

click for larger view

Which Komodo evaluates as -.07.

Note that Black's pawn majority on the king-side has been converted to two doubled pawns on the g-file, opposed by White's single pawn on the g-file. None of these pawns are going anywhere in an endgame.

Sometimes, more important than an evaluation in these positions is an examination of the continuation. Does have Black have a line which advances towards a winning position?

In my mind, the key to finding winning chances for Black are two:

(i) attack and win White's e-pawn

(ii) convert black's king-side pawn majority into a passed pawn.

Unless someone can demonstrate a line which advances one of those two strategic goals, I'll have a hard time believing that Black, "is winning" after 27 Qb1

Jan-02-17  alphamaster: I think the right plan is to attack the e pawn with 3 pieces when White can defend it with only two. Maybe Black must bring his Knight at d6 to attack both weak pawns and of course his King at Queen side. Anyway Black must not exchange his strong Bishop for White's bad bishop. So Kommodo's plan is wrong. According to Fischer this was his best game in the match.
Jan-02-17  ZonszeinP: Spassky wasn't his own self in the first half of this match. Something similar happened to him against Kochnoi in 1977. He was never ready to play against players who started the battle even before the first move was made on the board
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: It's a miserable position for white. Black is the one making the plans, white just gets to react to them. It may not be lost for white but black is definitely the one playing for the win.
Jan-02-17  ZonszeinP: 11-f4 is an ambitious move..
A novelty at the time
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Yep. Perfectly logical too - let's open the position for the two bishops and all. ...Ng6 was terrific by Fischer.
Jan-03-17  ZonszeinP: Yes!
Strong and (I understand) played almost instantly
Mar-30-17  Vyrak: Would you like to tell me, an ignorant, why is Ba4 winning
Mar-31-17  ZZpatzer: <Vyrak> if Qxa4, then 28...Qxe4 and mate soon after. if 28. Qd2, then 28...Bxd1 29. Qxd1 Qxe4 29. Qd2 Nd3 with -5.15 according to Shredder
Apr-09-17  ZonszeinP: This game is a typical example in this match,
That Spassky was not playing at his normal level
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