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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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Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Some good posts and interesting points above.

I feel Fischer was the first 'universal' player in chess history, regarding his style.

Before the communications revolution Fischer was 'the internet' in chess.Fischer preempted the silicon age.

Fischer's 'will to win' and willingless to play on in seemingly barren positions, mentally grinding his opponents down, should not be under appreciated as facets of his style too....

As for the player in chess Fischer took most from.. I think it was Steinitz. Tho he belongs to the great American line of Morphy.. Capa .. Fischer .

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: As regarding the game above, well Spassky is a natural chess genius.

Combined with a super power hell bent on chess dominance....

Aug-03-12  RookFile: Spassky was a universal player. He could play the King's Gambit one day or the Closed Sicilian the next.
Sep-08-12  howian1: This is one of the most impressive games of the match for Spassky. We learn a few things.

1. Substandard openings will, as always be severely punished by Fischer. One of the more amazing things, with white by move 14, Spassky was busted. Anyone remember a world champion in such a bad position with white so early?

2. A lesser player than Spassky, particularly given the pressure of the match, prior losses, might have collapsed. Play over the game, and Spassky keeps developing chances, maintaining activity, and is ultimately rewarded.

3. Fischer's buggaboo is seen. Like game 2 of the Taimanov match and the famous game with Botvinnik, Fischer can get lazy or lose the thread in a winning position that should be a matter of technique and here, he fails to convert a won game into a win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: 15. ...d5 seems to be the ? move.
Mar-28-13  The Rocket: Brilliant game by Spassky. He was marvelous, with small initiatives. Fischeres d5 is domehwat logical but a bit dogdy, better is ne7! to give a nice c6-square for the queen. In any event the queen is never in danger of getting trapped, which fischer might have missevaluated. Fischer first went seriously wrong with h4?? and decisive blunder was ne7??, the knight is in no danger of being taken, this would only be to blacks advantage.

Games like these show that Fischer was far from invincible, even in the early 70s. This was not a case of one move blunder, no. Fischer clearly showed misjudgement.

Mar-28-13  Jadoubious: @Petrosianic: In a interview Petrosian said something I glad to read coming from someone with his authority on the subject of chess. When confronted with the popular idea that decisions on the chessboard teach something about decisions in life, he wasn't buying and dismissed it with "Wooden pieces, wooden decisions".
Mar-28-13  diceman: <howian1: This is one of the most impressive games of the match for Spassky.>

Its his only "real" win.

Game 1 a gift, and 2 didnt happen.

Mar-28-13  The Rocket: It may be his only "legit" win, but he sure beat him down. Fischer was made to look like a punk.
Mar-29-13  Petrosianic: <When confronted with the popular idea that decisions on the chessboard teach something about decisions in life, he wasn't buying and dismissed it with "Wooden pieces, wooden decisions".>

If I've heard that quote, I don't remember. I think Petrosian did a college thesis (he went back to school after becoming world champion), about Logic and Chess, but I've never seen it.

I don't think the moves of the game teach you much about real life decisions, but in general the game has some lessons about objectivity. You can say that a move is good without believing it but if it's bad and you play it, you might lose whether you admit it's bad or not.

But chessplayers don't always learn the lesson, and for proof of that take any message board. Players, even good ones sometimes spout blatant untruths and deny the nose on their face rather than admit an error. You can't pay chess that way and they don't. But they don't apply the lesson about truth on the board to truth off the board.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I think Petrosian did a college thesis (he went back to school after becoming world champion), about Logic and Chess, but I've never seen it.>

It was later published in book form. I have a copy of it. Not so easy to find. It is a nice read.

I once offered to re-print it here at <CG>, but never did. Too much typing.

Mar-31-13  The Rocket: Kasparov voiced in a 2000 documentary, that chess and real life decisions are strictly separated. Apparently he felt very differently when retired and writing the book: "How life imitates chess".

I think the younger Kasparov was right, the older one simply wanting to make money, and I suppose and nothing better to do. Because to equate a board game with any real life problems is retarded. No connection with logic in chess and real life, apart from the generality's(of which we did not need chess to know of).

Premium Chessgames Member
  scutigera: Accidental chess talent hasn't been good enough to get you to the top for decades now (since Capablanca at least); you have to study the work of other masters and understand it thoroughly. So chess skill is the focused ability of an entire intellect, and logically, if skill at chess had much to do with skill at life, you would expect masters to be unusually good at life skills as well: interpersonal relations, love, friendship, health and lifestyle choices, career decisions.

I don't find that this theory describes top masters especially well, certainly not as well as the idea that chess skill is an unnatural obsession that happens to be attractive to a relatively common mindset. Some sufferers are far enough gone that they post essays on life and psychology as comments to old chess games.

May-16-13  Rookiepawn: Well, we will never know whether Fischer would have beaten Karpov had he tried to, truth is: he lost against Karpov, simply because he refused to play, which in my opinion is the worst way of losing. He surely deprived chess of many interest games.

Chess implies, as any competition sport, the responsability of showing up and demostrate you are the best.

This is not being anti-Fischer, who was an exceptional player, it is just fact.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RandomVisitor: After 13.Kh1

click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64:

[-0.05] d=28 13...Bd7 14.Nb1 Qb4 15.Qe3 Ne7 16.a3 Qa4 17.Nc3 Qc6 18.Na5 Qc5 19.Qxc5 dxc5 20.Nxb7 Nc6 21.Rab1 Nd4 22.Rfd1 Nxe2 23.Nxe2 Ba4 24.Rb2 Bc6 25.Nc3 f5 26.Na5 Bxe4 27.Nxe4 fxe4 28.Rb7 h4

May-19-13  RookFile: I think RV's analysis shows that Fischer had a bad day for this game. Certainly his opening judgement was vindicated and his results overall with the poisoned pawn Sicilian were exceptional.
May-19-13  Olavi: In a practical game an attacking player would be unlikely to take the b7 pawn. Nei suggests 17.c4 Rc8 18.Nc3 Qc6 19.Rab1, possibly Spassky's intention as Nei was one of the seconds.
May-16-14  Llew: to say that his overall results were exceptional is a gross understatement - this game is Fischer's ONLY loss(!) in the PP variation. definitely a bad day for greatest of all time
May-16-14  Petrosianic: Technically, Fischer had one other Poisoned Pawn Loss. Against Geller, but Fischer was playing White in that game.

This is his only loss with the variation as Black because he played it so seldom, and, until 1972, only against weaker players. Other than Spassky, Fischer played the line against Parma (+1-0=2), Bilek, Tringov, Mazzoni, and Kavalek. The Kavalek game (a draw) is the most interesting game of that bunch.

May-16-14  Howard: Which Geller game was that ?
May-16-14  SimonWebbsTiger: Fischer-Geller, Monte Carlo 1967.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Petrosianic> <This is his only loss with the variation as Black because he played it so seldom, and, until 1972, only against weaker players.>

He didn't get a lot of chances. Zero chances against super-GMs, with the exception of Spassky. After he started playing the Poison Pawn in 1961, the database shows just 14 games with the position after 7.f4, including three from the 1972 match.

May-16-14  Petrosianic: He got a lot of chances, but his main defense was 7...Be7. Qb6 was one of the secondary lines. Were it the primary line, one would assume there'd be a loss or two prior to 1972.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Petrosianic: He got a lot of chances, but his main defense was 7...Be7.>

Until 1961, yes. He played 7....Be7 a lot in the 50s. But of the 14 games I referenced 1961-1972, 9 were poison pawns (and one of the ...Be7 games transposed to the PPV).

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There was a running battle with Gligoric in 7....Be7 until Fischer surprised his friend by responding 1....e5 to 1.e4 one day (Gligoric vs Fischer, 1960); thereafter, Gliga opened 1.d4 in their games as White and gave his redoubtable opponent a lot of trouble.
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