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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Poisoned Pawn Variation (B97)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Could Spassky have won at move 47 with ♖d3+ instead of ♖ee4.

47.♖d3+ ♔f4; 48.♘g3
If 48...♘e5; 49.♖xe6#
Or 48...♘d2; 49.♘e2+ ♔f5; 50.♘d4+ and 51.♘xc2

Jan-31-04  ossolinskm: there is also: 47. Rd3+ Kf4 48. Ng3 Rc1+ 49. Kf2 Rc2+ 50. Ke1 Rc1+ 51. Ke2 Rc2+ 52. Kd1 Nb2+! and white will be up a rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: So white should just take the perpetual.
Dec-15-05  RookFile: If memory serves, 31.... Ne3 and
Spassky may well have resigned.
Jan-26-06  MorphyMatt: this is the only draw i've seen in the poisened pawn variation
Feb-11-06  rigel1503: Yes RookFile, I agree. I heard that Najdorf claimed that Fischer missed 10 chances to win this game!! Maybe an exaggeration, but when you get to the endgame as black in the poisoned pawn retaining your extra pawn, you should nearly always win, as the hard part of repelling White's attack has been achieved. One line I see:

31. ... Ne3 32. Rfe1 f3! 33. Rxe3 Bxe3 34. Rxe3?? Rd1 mates

Feb-11-06  HannibalSchlecter: Looked like Spassky had the initiative the whole way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Fine says that 43...Rxe8 (instead of 43...Kf5) 44.Rxe8 Kf5 45.Rc8 Ke4 46.Rb3 and Black can probably manage to draw. But 46...Rc1+ 47.Kg2 Kxf4 48.Rb4 Rc2+ 49.Kf1 Rc1+ 50.Ke2 Kg3 51.Rcxc4 Rxc4 52.Rxc4 Kxh4 53.Rc6 f5 54.Rxb6 Kg3 55.a5 wins for White. Does Black have an improvement to draw in this variation? In this variation, instead of 44...Kf5, perhaps better is 44...Nd2 45.Re2 Nf3+ 46.Kf2 Rc4 47.Rxf3 gxf3 48.Kxf3 Rxa4 49.Rb2 Ra5 50.Rxb6 Ra3+ 51.Ke4 Rh3 52.f5+ Kg7 53.Kd5 Re3 54.Rb7+ Kh6 55.Kd6 Re5 56.Rb3 Rxf5 57.Ke6 Rf4 58.Rg3 Rxh4 59.Kxf6 Rf4+ 60.Ke5 Rf1 61.Ke4 h4 62.Rf3 Rb1 63.Ra3 Kg5 64.Kf3 Rg1 65.Kf2 Rg4 66.Ra5+ Kg6 should draw.
Jul-20-07  Billy Ray Valentine: According to Gligoric, Black's 31st move was a mistake (?), and could have done better with:


So black's 31st move blows the win I suppose? 31... Ne3 is a clear win according to Gligoric.

Gligoric gives exclamation marks (!) to White for his 32nd, 35th, 37th, and 40th, 42nd, and 47th moves, and a double exclamation mark (!!) to his 41st move--which was the sealed move. And of course, Spassky spent 45 minutes on his sealed move, which salvages the draw.

Gligoric says 43...Rxe8! 44. Rxe8 Nd2! was better, but that after 45. Re2 Nf3+ 46. Kf2 Rc4 47. Rxf3 gxf3 48 Kxf3 Rxa4 49. Rb2 with an easy draw for White despite being a pawn down.

Jul-20-07  Billy Ray Valentine: I forgot...

27...Nc6! would also have been better, depriving white of any counterplay.

Dec-13-07  melianis: Happy holidays.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <So black's 31st move blows the win I suppose? 31... Ne3 is a clear win according to Gligoric.> Black didn't need ...Rc8 so yeah ...Ne3 seemed obvious, but not really...
Mar-29-08  LarryJordan: <Billy Ray Valentine: Gligoric gives exclamation marks (!) to White for his 32nd, 35th, 37th, and 40th, 42nd, and 47th moves...>

Gligoric/Wade in "The World Chess Championship" (RHM Press, 1972) point out that Spassky's 47. Ree4 was an error. 47. Rd3+! Kf4 48. Ng3 wins.

Timman and Euwe give 48...Nd2! 49. Rf6+ Ke5 "and the king escapes", but miss 49. Ne2+ Kf5 50. Nd4+ where white wins black's rook at c2.

Fischer's 44...Kxf4(?) loses. 44...Kg6 would have drawn.

Apr-08-08  LarryJordan: I missed Benzol's earlier post which addressed this very point. Sorry for the redundant effort. I'll scrutinize the earlier posts more carefully next time.

I see that no one responded to Benzol. It's as if this blunder by Fischer and missed win by Spassky has disappeared down some hole.

Apr-21-08  Aspirador: 47.Rd3+ Kf4 48.Ng3 does not win for white: Black has a draw here by simply checking

48...Rc1+ 49.Kf2 Rc2+ 50.Ke1 Rc1+ 51.Ke2 Rc2+ 52.Kd1 Rd2+!

May-15-08  LarryJordan: White wins with: 53. Rxd2 Nxd2 54. Ne2+ Kf5 55. Nd4+ K any 56. Kxd2.
May-15-08  Aspirador: <LarryJordan> I'm looking at some engines here and they give 53...Kxg3!

There might follow 54.Rd4 Rc8 and black does not need to lose this since h4 is weak.

May-19-08  LarryJordan: Please let me know what they think the best continuations are to some clarifying depth. Which engines?
May-19-08  Aspirador: I'm just using Toga, nothing special. But I think the engine has a point. I don't think Black has to lose that position.
Apr-28-09  WhiteRook48: why didn't he develop his h8-rook earlier?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Benzol: Could Spassky have won at move 47 with Rd3+ instead of Ree4.

47.Rd3+ Kf4; 48.Ng3

If 48...Ne5; 49.Rxe6#
Or 48...Nd2; 49.Ne2+ Kf5; 50.Nd4+ and 51.Nxc2 >

<ossolinskm: there is also: 47. Rd3+ Kf4 48. Ng3 Rc1+ 49. Kf2 Rc2+ 50. Ke1 Rc1+ 51. Ke2 Rc2+ 52. Kd1 Nb2+! and white will be up a rook.>

But in the line given by <ossolinskm>, Black has 52. … Rd2+ because White’s g3-Knight hangs after 53. Rxd2.

After 53.Rxd2 Black does best to continue 53. ... Kxg3 with two connected passed pawns as more than sufficient compensation for the exchange-minus. (Less good would be: 53...Nxd2 54.Ne2+ Kf5 55.Nd4+ Kf4 56.Kxd2.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: BTW, another error in published analysis of this game can be found in the generally good “Fischer World Champion!”, 3rd edition, by Euwe and Timman, New in Chess, ©2009, at page 86. In their analysis of 31...Ne3 (as a better winning try in lieu of Fischer’s actual 31. ... Rc8), Euwe and Timman analyze 32.Rfe1 f3 33.Rf2 Ng4[?] missing the much stronger 33...Ng2!, which wins outright.

But in this line White can improve with 32. Rb1.

Jun-11-12  hottyboy90: That game was confusing but moreover I am never playing that variation.Too complicated!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Cemoblanca: 41.h4!! Wowsky!! ;0)
Premium Chessgames Member
  AlbertodaCruz: Merry Christmas and 2014 with lots of health and peace for everyone and everything that dream come true.
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