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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Benoni Defense: Knight's Tour Variation (A61)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-10-13  talisman: I think this might be the most "interesting" game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ThumbTack: This game has been analyzed over and over again, but it seems to me (with the aid of stockfish4) that 15.Bd2 was a big mistake for White. 15.f3 (as someone else pointed out earlier) leads to a significant White advantage. After 15.f3, stockfish4 playing itself has White eventually winning a pawn (exploiting the known weaknesses of the Benoni pawn structure plus the additional weakness of the doubled h file pawns) and then winning the ensuing endgame. There are other moves in other places which could have saved White, but 15.Bd2 was definitely not one of them.
Aug-13-14  kaushikr8: Y m I unable to download even a single game pgn???? Plzz help
Aug-18-14  coldsweat: Sevenseaman : "<31...Bxc3>!! The move removed a defender of the e4 point to make it 3 vs 2 and hence the logical advance. It was an intensely expected move in battle for control of e4."

Friend, would you mind explaining your point a little more ... by whom was this move intensly expected? I guess not Spassky?

Aug-19-14  coldsweat: With his back to the wall, the loner American comes out swinging with the slithery Benoni, playing with subtle perfection for the win.

His brilliant opponent was prepared for the Benoni. He knew that in 1970 at the Palma de Mallorca Fischer had defeated both Uhlmann & Gligoric with it, and the following year Taimanov had used it to twice crush Grigorian, first at Leningrad, then at the USSR Championship, both times in 32 moves.

He chose the Nimzowitsch or Knight's Tour variation with his 7.Nd2. He was ready for a good fight. So, what happened to his meticulous preparation? I believe his first error was to sacrifice his king's bishop with his twelfth move in the extermination of the pesky black knight at h5. This was too high a price to pay. He could have established some basic defense with a simple g3 and kept his very important bishop for crucial later uses.

His second error was to churn his wheels with his 13th & 14th moves, first advancing, then retreating with the same knight. With his opponent's 14...Qh4, he lost the initiative and was playing on his heels, reduced to throwing whatever stray counter punch seemed most appropriate at the moment.

Interestingly, in preparing to write this little commentary, I checked the 1992 rematch, and, lo and behold, Boris the Barbarian soundly hoisted Badboy Bobby by his own petard, trouncing him in the 14th game in a brilliant Hromodka Benoni in which he resolutely held on to his bishops, using his king side pawns to fend off the intruding black horseman, and then using his bishops in the endgame in some of the most wonderful bishop play I've ever seen.

Oct-02-14  GarloPemberton: if 26.Ra1! b4 27.Ra6 bxc3 28.Rxd6 Qh5 29.Rxd7 Rxd7 30.Bxb8 ... then Spassky is up a pawn and all over Bobby. I'm not aware of anyone else having ever found this particular variation of game 3. Garlo Pemberton is a Baller.
Oct-02-14  Petrosianic: In your variation, instead of 29...Rxd7, Black has the zwischenzug 29...Ra8!, which wins a Rook while White is defending against the checkmate.
Oct-05-14  GarloPemberton: rather than 26.Ra1, 26.Ra2 is the move, if 26.Ra2 b4 27.Ra6 bxc3 28.Rxd6 Bb5 29.Rxg6 Bxd3 30.Rxg7+ Kxg7 31.Bxb8 Rxe4 32.Rxe4 Bxe4 and white is strong
Dec-17-14  dunamisvpm: <hottyboy90>This was a good game,I'm not big into analyzing games to death but I am pretty impressed by what I saw and was wondering why Spassky resigned and as usual CG has a great source of information and many knowledgeable people.Thanks! >>> Wherever the white king moves after the check, the black queen will move to give two threats: white will loss a piece or face mate. Have fun! GOD bless
Dec-17-14  RookFile: There are some inaccurate comments on this page. I think that some would benefit from playing over this game. Gligoric improved on Spassky's play and won handily:

Gligoric vs Kavalek, 1972

Dec-17-14  Petrosianic: <rather than 26.Ra1, 26.Ra2 is the move, if 26.Ra2 b4 27.Ra6 bxc3 28.Rxd6 Bb5 29.Rxg6 Bxd3 30.Rxg7+ Kxg7 31.Bxb8 Rxe4 32.Rxe4 Bxe4 and white is strong>

In that variation, instead of 27...bxc3, Black can play Bxc3!, attacking the Rook that's on e1 in this variation, instead of e2. If we continue with 28. Rxd6 Black plays f6 instead of Bb5, and everything looks bad for White. 29. Rxd7 Rxd7 30. Bxb8, and Black has 30...Bxd1, since this variation left the Rook there, and black is a Rook up.

Dec-19-14  Petrosianic: It does look like a good idea, trying to get one of the rooks over to the a file. It just doesn't quite work. But still, it is remiss of most of the books not to explore such a plausible-looking sequence and show the problems with it.
Aug-21-15  anema86: <RookFile>, are you kidding? People don't play over games anymore. They just plug the moves into an engine and see what the engine says, then often parrot it back like it's their idea (see a comment further above). Self-analyzing games is obsolete.

I'm being facetious, obviously. I see very little value in computer analyses except as confirmation and refutation for my own self-analyses. The vast majority of people prefer to just bow to the engine without knowing or caring why something is a good or bad move. "The engine says so" is good enough for them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <anema86> Well, in the end, what is analysis for other than confirmation or refutation of either your own or others' self-analysis? And I suspect that the vast majority of people just bow to a grandmaster's analysis without knowing or caring why something is a good or bad move. "The grandmaster says so" is good enough for them.

So how are engine analysis and grandmaster analysis all that different? I'll tell you (of course I will!): <Properly conducted> engine analysis is more accurate. The key is <properly conducted>. The analysis should be of sufficient depth to have reasonably good confidence in the result, there should be a human review and/or forward sliding to guard against horizon effects, and it should be performed using multiple engines since each engine has a unique evaluation function and their evaluations could be either a little or a lot different. And, if a low-piece count endgame is within the range of the search depth, tablebases should be used to get a definitive assessment of the result.

Take, for example, Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 and the infamous 29...Bxh2. Several grandmasters, including R. Byrne and Larsen but most notably Speelman in his "Analyzing the Endgame", analyzed the endgame after 29...Bxh2 extensively (without the help of computers and chess engines; good ones were not available at the time) and concluded that Fischer could have held the draw with best play. But they were all wrong. Computer analysis (mine, with a "minor" assistance from Rybka) showed that after 29...Bxh2 Fischer was lost against best play by Spassky (see analysis starting at Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 (kibitz #455)).

That is the key however, "best play by Spassky". It's easy (though time-consuming) to sit in a chair in front of a computer, have it analyze line after line, review the results, and document a conclusion. But players OTB don't have that luxury, no matter how good they are they make mistakes, particularly understandable when in time pressure. So there is no guarantee that OTB Spassky would have always found the best moves.

But that works both ways. There is no guarantee that Fischer would have always found the best moves OTB either. Indeed, being continually on the defensive and struggling to get a draw, is almost a guarantee that the best move in each position will not always be found. And, indeed, some of Fischer's moves were criticized as throwing away the draw. But the draw was not there in the first place - the computer says so.

Nov-14-15  alisog: Shift the crucial black elephant takes the horse in c3
Jan-02-16  Dionyseus: <AylerKupp> My computer analysis shows that Fischer could have drawn the first game with 31...Ke7. I posted my analysis at Spassky vs Fischer, 1972
Jan-02-16  Howard: Just looked at it....doesn't look like very computer-like analysis to me.
Jan-02-16  Dionyseus: <Howard> <Just looked at it....doesn't look like very computer-like analysis to me. >

I assure you it is. I have experience as a correspondence chess player. If you find any improvements for white in my line let me know, and if you'd like to play against my 31...Ke7 line I'd gladly do so. We could play at the rate of a move a day if that's alright with you.

Aug-17-16  maseras: 11...Nh5?!
nice. In my opinion, fischer has already knew that 11...Nh5?! is too risky. 12.Bxh5 gxh5 13.Nd1! or 13.Kh1 could be the end of World Championship Match for Fischer.
Aug-17-16  RookFile: Yes, Gligoric found this recipe, it makes black look bad. Here's one example:

Gligoric vs Browne, 1972

I think that Fischer had played over so many games of Spassky's that he started to think like Spassky. For that reason, Nd1 didn't occur to Fischer because it was not the type of move Spassky would play.

Aug-17-16  RookFile: Here's another:

Gligoric vs Kavalek, 1972

Aug-17-16  Petrosianic: Clearly if he played Nh5, he did not believe it was not too risky to play.
Aug-17-16  Howard: Mednis once wrote in Chess Life that various players "chipped away" (that was the expression he used) at Fischer's strange knight move over the next several years.
Aug-17-16  RookFile: It's not like Spassky was an idiot. He played Nc4 and Ne3 with the idea of controlling f5. Evidently, one of the virtues of the unexpected Nd1 is that it allows (after a4) Ra3 and if needed, the rook on a3 can swing over to the kinside. The other is that white can also play the bishop to c3 and challenge the g7 bishop (this happens all the time in the Benko Gambit).
Sep-13-16  ZonszeinP: But he (Spassky) was playing that game under very odd conditions. To put it mildly
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