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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 51 times; par: 36 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-28-12  Everett: <JoergWalter> Whoops! Sorry to interrupt!
Jul-28-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Buncha slackers that should all know that after 1.e4, White's game is in the last throes. Or is it throws? Gotta git mah Webster's out!
Jul-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <Petrosianic> Nh5 game three...Benoni
Jul-31-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < harrylime: <Richard Taylor> I get so bored reading your anti Fischer diatribes on this site.

Yes. Karpov would've beaten Fischer in 1975. Ok ! lol >

I have no idea if he would have beaten him but he was very good. I actually think Fischer and Karpov had or have similar styles, and I am not anti-Fischer's chess. You have to realise that I was playing over Fischer's games in 1962,3 or so. When I started Chess Tal was World Champion. Botvinnik then regained the title.

Fischer is clearly one of the greats as is Karpov etc but he was clearly "troubled" shall we say.

And there have been other chess players before and since him!

[But I have used opening ideas and some plans by Fischer, just as I have used ideas of Petrosian and others. But I have to say I am not any where near even being an FM or anything ...I'm fairly strong club player so, Harry, I wouldn't take too much notice of what I say! (But I am sure that we can learn from the games of all good chess players.)]

Jul-31-12  RookFile: Regarding Karpov, in his matches with Korchnoi acound this time, he would start strong, but fade late, and barely hand on for victory, usually something like 3 wins, 2 losses and a bunch of draws. Any objective measure of Fischer instead implies a stronger version of Korchnoi.
Jul-31-12  Petrosianic: Wow! Harry <gets> bored??? I thought he was only a carrier.

<I actually think Fischer and Karpov had or have similar styles, and I am not anti-Fischer's chess.>

Do you or do you not think Fischer walked on water. That's the acid test in cases like this. (Whether or not Fischer walked on acid is a different question). Yes, their styles are similar, but their approaches were different. Fisher had a win-at-all-costs-but-without-risks style, which was mildly unusual. Most win-at-all-costs players take great risks to try to achieve this. And most players with Fischer's style were more pragmatic, and willing to take draws when the position demanded it. To me, Fischer seems closer to Alekhine and Karpov to Capablanca than to each other, but Alekhine and Capablanca had some overlap too.

Aug-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Yes, Fischer was closer to Lasker in the sense that he saw chess as a struggle. I recall being surprised when someone compared Karpov to Fischer (obviously we are talking about both players in their prime). So Fischer was more of a "perfectionist" (or tried to be) and his plans and strategical ideas, bishop endings etc, are extraordinary.

Yet he played the Najdorf! (As I do.)

Of course both players could play great attacking an combinational games. As a teenager I was a big fan of Tal who seemed like a magician, but I study Karpov, Tarrasch, Capablanca, Alekhine (who is also much more of a deep positional player* than many think) and Fischer etc to try to understand chess strategy (as I am [or was, I'm not playing any chess just now] myself a bit too addicted to Tal-like games or positions in my own games)...

But Fischer I don't see as "the greatest", good as he was, and on water walkethed he not.

*No chess player can be only "positional" or "tactical", the two aspects interact.

Aug-01-12  Petrosianic: Well, one thing that Fischer has in common with quieter players like Karpov and Petrosian, is that he preferred clear complications.

Tal went in for unclear positions, hoping to set his opponent problems that he couldn't solve in the limited time available. A lot of the time they could be solved in post mortem, but by then it was too late. In trying to cope with Tal's style, Vasiliev's book on Petrosian comments that in the 1959 Candidates, Tal had "beyond any shadow of doubt" incorrectly sacrificed pieces against Smyslov, but he won one game and drew the other. So, Tal's style worked, even if it wasn't sound. And if it works fairly consistently, that's not an accident, so you have to try to find a way to deal with it.

Fischer and Petrosian both played sound chess but not necessarily for the same reasons. Fischer was sound because he hated losing as much as he liked winning and didn't want to chance it.

Petrosian had a much more detached view of it. He lived through World War II, lost both parents, and thought he could find order on the chessboard that wasn't there in real life. With him, you got the feeling that he'd almost rather not win at all than win unsoundly, because winning unsoundly means "breaking the rules". He'd always be writing in his diary that he won this game lawfully, or that his opponent played incorrectly and was punished for it. So, to him winning meant proving that positional principles worked, and deviating from those principles meant that you ought to fail (whether you actually did fail or not). That was one of his biggest failings as a player, he'd always assume that even the weakest players would find the best move, and avoid promising continuations that probably would have worked, because he didn't believe in them himself. Very unlike Lasker in that respect. To him, chess was more of a science than a struggle.

Aug-01-12
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 .

Aug-03-12
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.

Feb-05-13
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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Mar-30-13
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).

Apr-29-13  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.

May-19-13  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.
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