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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
"Crime and Punishment" (game of the day Jul-22-10)
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Poisoned Pawn Variation (B97)  ·  1-0
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Given 52 times; par: 36 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-22-14  Howard: Perhaps what ChessYouGood actually meant was that despite being down by three points going into the 11th game, Spassky nevertheless steeled himself and won.

I'll add this comment---when Spassky jumped to a 2-0 lead, a lot of people no doubt thought that it would be an arduous task for Fischer to overcome that deficit but little was anyone to know...........that for the remainder of the match, Spassky was to win only ONE more game--period !

Be honest---how many people could have anticipated that fact at the time ?

Aug-22-14  Petrosianic: <Be honest---how many people could have anticipated that fact at the time ?>

Suspected it, maybe. Predicted it, probably not. The same thing happened in 1963. After winning Game 1, who would have predicted that Botvinnik would only win one more game? Not many. But you sometimes get extreme results in even a long match, so I doubt anyone was flabbergasted either.

Aug-22-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Might be better for us to stick to facts than to take excursions into the thought process of someone who is obviously lacking in knowledge of these great champions.
Aug-25-14  coldsweat: Spassky was a great chess player, the reigning world champion, and this game shows him being strong and creative over the board.

I love his firm refusal to trade pieces with Fischer, which Bobby was desperately trying to make him do. In this, he kept the initiative, and his opponent on his heels.

I love seeing fully developed engagements like this, with pawns advanced deep into enemy territory. Through move 22 there had been only a couple of minor exchanges!

When Boris seemingly sacrificed his Bishop with his twenty-third move, I almost wet my pants! Later, I got the feeling that his 27.Qf6! stunned the beast from Brooklyn.

He outplayed his brash challenger on his own turf, just as he had done to Spassky a few games earlier.

How boring computer-generated games are, at least to me, compared to the creativity of humans struggling against one another such as is displayed here!

Aug-25-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: 'Beast From Brooklyn' is an appellation describing Fischer which, I must confess, never occurred to me.
Aug-26-14  Petrosianic: <When Boris seemingly sacrificed his Bishop with his twenty-third move, I almost wet my pants!>

We really didn't need to know that. Especially since for the players themselves, the game was already over by that point. What did you expect? 23. Qxb5 Bxb5, and White has both Bishop and Exchange hanging?

If Fischer had still had any thought at all of holding the game, why 24...h3, rather than Qxf1+, at least getting a Rook for the Queen instead of giving it up for nothing. When you were soiling yourself, the players were already just going through the motions. The really exciting part had happened earlier.

Aug-22-15  BarcelonaFirenze: can any of you guys explain me the purpose of 11,...,h5, please?
Aug-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <BarcelonaFirenze: can any of you guys explain me the purpose of 11,...,h5, please?>

After white plays 11.Be2,


click for larger view

he is intending to play 12.Bh5.


click for larger view

Fischer thought that was worth preventing, and he did so by playing 11...h5.

Aug-22-15  Nerwal: <can any of you guys explain me the purpose of 11,...,h5, please?>

It's a standard move in the Rauzer structure with gxf6. The main point is that ♗h5 is annoying in many circumstances :

* when White plays f5 threatening fxe6
* Black cannot go 0-0-0 because f7 hangs
* after 0-0 Black cannot play things like ♔h8 and ♖g8 because f7 hangs again.

That said, in that specific position many strong players have successfully tried to go without h5.

Aug-22-15  BarcelonaFirenze: Offramp, Nerwal, thank you very much.
Dec-30-15  ChessYouGood: Massacre
Feb-22-16  ZonszeinP: 14-Nb1....is one of my favourite moments in chess history...:) :) :)
Aug-07-16  Albion 1959: One of Fischer's pet lines is crushed ! He got into a horrible mess and was unable to extricate his queen. However, unless I have missed something here / on move 17 Fischer played Nf5. Why could he not have played Qd6 instead? The Queen can now retreat safely, okay so Spassky's position is better. If he continues with c4, then Fischer has the counter Nf5!? This was the last real chance that Fischer had to rescue the queen. If on move 19. Qb6 instead of Nd6,then 20. Bxf5 exf 21. Re1+ leaves Fischer positionally crushed ! Surely 17. Qd6 was his best chance and had to be better than what followed ?
Sep-09-16  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I have to admit to being baffled by Fischer's play in this game. First, after white's 14th and 15th moves, he seems to have convinced himself that he was going to lose his queen.

He seems to have contrived to deprive his queen of escape squares.

I cannot agree with Gligoric that 22... Qb5 was forced, as it means losing the queen by placing it on a white square!

Finally, Fischer forgoes the chance to get rook for queen on move 24, opting instead for bishop for queen.

Very strange.

Sep-10-16  PJs Studio: NOF not strange. By that point in the game black was completely busted.
Sep-10-16  PJs Studio: I've always thought that Fischer specifically played the Poisioned Pawn in Game 11 with the attitude "let's see what your team has developed" - but only After he had a commanding lead in the match. His entire match strategy up until that point was to avoid all of his previous lines with black (no gruenfeld, no KID, Alekhine's defense, Nimzo...of course all of this is well known.)

Possibly(?) he was interested in sticking his head into the lions mouth in G11 only to see if he could pull it out fast enough? Does anyone know if he ever commented on why he stepped into their preparations in this game?

Sep-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think his nerves were shot, and he had a brain fart.
Sep-10-16  Howard: That reminds me of what Soltis said in his book about Fischer's best games, which came out about 13 years ago. He stated that in the first game of Fischer-Petrosian, 1971, Fischer played a line which he knew that Petrosian would probably be prepared for. So why did Bobby take the chance?

"I just wanted to see what he (Petrosian) had (prepared)", he was quoted as saying.

Fischer almost paid dearly for it, but he still won anyway.

Sep-10-16  thegoodanarchist: < PJs Studio: I've always thought that Fischer specifically played the Poisioned Pawn in Game 11 with the attitude "let's see what your team has developed" - but only After he had a commanding lead in the match. His entire match strategy up until that point was to avoid all of his previous lines with black (no gruenfeld, no KID, Alekhine's defense, Nimzo...of course all of this is well known.) >

Which is why I am skeptical of the arguments in favor of Karpov winning if they had played in 1975.

It might even have been Kasparov writing in OMGP that many of Bobby's favorite defenses had been exposed by Soviet theoreticians by 1975, or words to that effect.

Bobby himself stated that he was studying chess between 1972 and 1975, as reported by Betty(?) Roberts.

It seems to me that Kasparov or whoever made this argument made the mistake of seriously underestimating Fischer's prep, which seems like an impossible mistake to make with a world champion. In the early 1970s Bobby's game was better in all phases than anyone else's.

Sep-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Howard: ...

"I just wanted to see what he (Petrosian) had (prepared)", he was quoted as saying. ...>

that is what I would call selfconfidence on Fischer's side.

Sep-10-16  ZonszeinP: Spassky found 14-Nb1 over the board
Sep-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <PJs Studio: I've always thought that Fischer specifically played the Poisioned Pawn in Game 11 with the attitude "let's see what your team has developed" - but only After he had a commanding lead in the match. His entire match strategy up until that point was to avoid all of his previous lines with black (no gruenfeld, no KID, Alekhine's defense, Nimzo...of course all of this is well known.)>

This was the second Poisoned Pawn in the match. He'd played it in game 7 with a one-point lead.

Spassky vs Fischer, 1972

Because it was the second time the variation had shown up, I've never found Spassky's claim to have found Nb1 over the board credible. I imagine the Soviets did quite a bit of analysis between games 7 and 11.

<john barleycorn> That is a very confident statement, but he had the benefit of knowing he had already won the game. It was Petrosian who varied his openings in every game in the match, whereas against Spassky it was Fischer who repeatedly sidestepped Soviet prep, as PJs Studio pointed out.

Sep-10-16  ZonszeinP: Spassky claimed he found it over the board.
I believe he spent more than 20 minutes on that move. But of course, those who don't believe him could claim that he spent that time trying to remember... Interesting how Karpov beat the same Spassky with the same move (in a different position) 2 years later
Sep-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ZonszeinP> That's right, a beautiful game.

Karpov vs Spassky, 1974


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Sep-10-16  ZonszeinP: That is the one
Thank you
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