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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 7, Jul-25
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Poisoned Pawn Variation (B97)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
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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!
Aug-03-12  Cemoblanca: 41.h4!! Wowsky!! ;0)
Dec-21-13  AlbertodaCruz: Merry Christmas and 2014 with lots of health and peace for everyone and everything that dream come true.
Mar-11-15  Howard: So exactly what's the consensus after 47.Rd3+ ? Does it win or not ?
Mar-11-15  psmith: <Howard> Whatever the consensus, 47 Rd3+ draws at best as can be seen from <Peligroso Patzer>'s post.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Alternatives to the moves played (part 1 of 4)

Several questions have been raised whether Fischer or Spassky could have won with different moves than the moves played in the game.


<RookFile> If memory serves, 31...Ne3 and Spassky may well have resigned.

<Peligroso Patzer> 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.

<Billy Ray Valentine> According to Gligoric, Black's 31st move was a mistake (?), and could have done better with: 30...Kg6, 31...Ne3


<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?

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.


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


<Benzol> Could Spassky have won at move 47 with 47.Rd3+ instead of 47.Ree4?

<LarryJordan> 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.

<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+!

<LarryJordan> White wins with: 53.Rxd2 Nxd2 54.Ne2+ Kf5 55.Nd4+ K any 56.Kxd2.

So let's see how Komodo 8 and Stockfish 6 evaluate these possibilities.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Alternatives to the moves played (part 2 of 4)

A. After 31...Ne3:

click for larger view

Komodo: [-3.36], d=26: 32.Rg1 Rxd6 33.Nxd6 Bxd6 34.Rb1 Ra8 35.gxf4 Bxf4 36.Rb3 Nf5 37.Rxb6 Rxa4 38.Rb1 Ne3 39.Kg1 Ra3 40.Kh1 h5 41.Rd2 Ng4 42.Re2 Kg6 43.Rb6+ f6 44.Rb1 Rh3 45.Rb3 Rxh2+ 46.Rxh2 Bxh2 47.c4 Bd6 48.Rb5 Nf2+ 49.Kg2 Nd3 50.Kf3 h4 51.Ke4 Nc5+ 52.Kd5

Stockfish: [-4.24], d=34: 32.Rg1 Bxd6 33.Nxd6 Rxd6 34.gxf4 Re6 35.fxg5 h5 36.Rb1 Rc8 37.Rb3 Nd5 38.Rd2 Nc3 39.Rd4 Ne2 40.Rd2 Rc4 41.Ra3 Nf4 42.Kg1 Re5 43.Rb3 Rxa4 44.g6 Rg5+ 45.Rg3 Rxg6 46.Rxg6+ Nxg6 47.c3 Ra1+ 48.Kf2 Rc1 49.Rb2 Ne5 50.Rxb6 Rxc3

So, yes, it looks like Fischer should have won after 31...Ne3. Odd that he didn't see the potential of the octopus knight which should have been obvious even if he had been in time trouble (I don't know if he was or not, but I doubt it; he was usually a fast player).

B. After 43...Rxe8:

click for larger view

Komodo: [0.00], d=24: 44.Rxd8 Kf5 45.Rc6 Rc1+ 46.Kf2 Rc2+ 47.Kg3 Rc3+ 48.Kh2 Rc2+ 49.Kg1

Stockfish: [0.00], d=40: 44.Rxd8 Rc1+ 45.Kh2 Rc2+ 46.Kg1

If instead 45.Kg2 Rc2+ 46.Kf1 (with the idea that if 46...Rc1+, 47.Re1) then 46...Nd2+ 47.Ke1 Nf3+ 48.Kd1 Ra2 49.Rdd6 Kf5 50.Rxf6+ Ke4 51.Rf8 Ra1+ 52.Kc2 Nxh4 53.f5 Nxf5 54.Re6+ Kd5 55.Rxb6 Nd4+ 56.Kb2 Rxa4 57.Rh8 Kc4 58.Rxh5 Rb4+ 59.Rxb4+ Kxb4 (Stockfish, [0.00], d=35). And even after 46...Rc1+ 47.Re1, Stockfish gives [0.00], d=36 after 47...Rc3 48.Re4 Rc2 49.Re2 Rc3 50.Re4.

So it looks like after the exchange sacrifice 43...Rxe8 Black gets sufficient counterplay for a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: C.1. After 44...Kxf4:

click for larger view

Both Komodo (d=28) and Stockfish (d=34) evaluate White's best line at [0.00] after 45.Rd4+ Kg3 46.Nf5+ Kf3 47.Ree4 Rc1+ 48.Kh2 Rc2+ 49.Kg1, resulting in a draw by repetition.

So it doesn't look like 44....Kxf4 loses. In spite of being 2 pawns up Black has no alternative to the draw by repetition since at d=32 Stockfish evaluates both 47...Rg2+ and 47...Rc3 as losing:

a. [+2.77]: 47...Rg2+ 48.Kh1 Rc2 49.Rf4+ Ke2 50.Ng3+ Ke3 51.Rxc4 Rxc4 52.Rxc4 f5 53.Nxf5+ Kf3 54.Rc3+ Ke4 55.Ng3+ Kd5 56.Kg2 Rh7 57.Rb3 Kc6 58.Rb5 Ra7 59.Nxh5 Rxa4 60.Rb1 b5 61.Kg3 Kc5 62.Nf4 Kc4 63.h5 Ra7 64.Kxg4 b4 65.h6 Rh7 66.Kg5 b3 67.Kg6 Rb7 68.h7 Rb8 69.Kf5 b2

b. [+3.40]: 47...Rc3 48.Rf4+ Ke2 49.Rf2+ Ke1 50.Re4+ Kd1 51.Rxc4 Rxc4 52.Ne3+ Kc1 53.Nxc4 Rc8 54.Nxb6 Rc6 55.Nd7 Ra6 56.Nxf6 Ra5 57.Kg2 Kb1 58.Ne4 Kc1 59.Ra2 Kb1 60.Nc3+ Kc1 61.Ne2+ Kd1 62.Nf4 Kc1 63.Nd3+ Kd1 64.Kg3 Rf5 65.Nf2+ Kc1 66.a5 Kb1 67.Ra4 Kc2

Komodo at d=28 has similar evaluations although not quite as pessimistic for Black, [+2.10] after 47...Rg2+ and [+2.57] after 47...Rc3. But still likely losing.

C.2. If instead 44...Kg6:

click for larger view

Komodo: [0.00], d=30: 45.f5+ Kh6 46.Rxf6+ Kxg7 47.Rg6+ Kf7 48.Rd7+ Ke8 49.Ra7 Rd2 50.Re6+ Kf8 51.Ra8+ Kg7 52.Rg6+ Kf7 53.Rxh8 Ne5 54.Rh7+ Kf8 55.Rf6+ Kg8 56.Rxh5 Nf3+ 57.Kf1 Nh2+ 58.Kg1 Nf3+

Stockfish: [0.00], d=38: 45.f5+ Kh6 46.Rxf6+ Kxg7 47.Rg6+ Kf7 48.Rd7+ Ke8 49.Rb7 Rd2 50.Re6+ Kf8 51.Rb8+ Kg7 52.Rg6+ Kf7 53.Rxh8 Ne5 54.Rh7+ Kf8 55.Rxb6 Nf3+ 56.Kf1 Nh2+ 57.Ke1 Nf3+ 58.Kf1

And both Komodo (d=30) and Stockfish (d=38) evaluate 45.Rd7 Rc1+ 46.Kg2 Rc2+ 47.Kg1 at [0.00] and a draw by repetition. So 44...Kg6 seems to lead to a draw also.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: Alternatives to the moves played (part 4 of 4)

D. After 47.Rd3+:

click for larger view

Komodo: [0.00], d=28: 47...Kf4 48.Ng3 Rc1+ 49.Kh2 Rc2+ 50.Kg1

Stockfish: [0.00], d=38: 47...Kf4 48.Ng3 Rc1+ 49.Kf2 Rc2+ 50.Kg1. If White tries to avoid the draw by 50.Re2, then 50...Rxe2+ 51.Nxe2+ Ke5 52.Nc3 Ke6 53.Nd5 Nb2 54.Nf4+ Ke5 55.Ng6+ Kf5 56.Rd2 Kxg6 57.Rxb2 Ra8 (two connected passed pawns up should be a win) 58.Rb4 Ra5 59.Ke3 Re5+ 60.Kf2 Re6 61.Kg3 Re3+ 62.Kf4 Rf3+ 63.Ke4 Ra3 64.Kf4 Rc3 65.Ke4 Rc2 66.Kf4 Rf2+ 67.Ke4 Re2+ 68.Kf4 Rh2 69.Rxb6 Rxh4 70.a5 Rh3 71.Ra6 Ra3 72.Ra8 Ra4+ 73.Kg3 Kf5 74.a6 Ra3+ 75.Kf2 Kf4 (Stockfish, [-2.68], d=37) and Black comes out on top.

So Gligoric and Wade were wrong, White does not win after 47.Rd3+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: Thanks for that Ayler.

<So, yes, it looks like Fischer should have won after 31...Ne3. Odd that he didn't see the potential of the octopus knight which should have been obvious even if he had been in time trouble (I don't know if he was or not, but I doubt it; he was usually a fast player).>

I remember there was a site that had the clock times listed for each move of the match.

...but don't remember where or when I saw it.

...other than "years ago."

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <diceman> Some time ago I stopped referring to things that happend "years ago" and started to refer to things that happened "decades ago". Sigh ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <AylerKupp> So it has gone with me also in recent years....
Mar-14-15  Howard: Aylerkupp, I don't know what I'd do without you. Thanks very, very much !

By the way, what about the 17th game of Fischer-Spassky? The adjourned position looked like a possible win for Spassky until he stumbled into a three-fold repetition. What do your engines say about that game ?!

Jun-18-15  Howard: Someday, I have to figure out how Fischer drew this game without ever moving his king rook !
Jun-18-15  Petrosianic: Drew it? He nearly won it.
Dec-26-15  CygnusX1: I was thinking of posting the Fischer v Spassky Game 7 Position after Move 46 at the Online Chess Club with the caption 'White To move and win' based on Wade's analysis given in 'The World Chess Championship'. However, on checking the analysis after 47.Rd3+, I was not convinced. The critical variation appears to be 47.Rd3+ Kf4 48.Ng3 Rc1+ 49.Kf2 Rc2+ 50.Ke1 Rc1+ 51.Ke2 Rc2+ 52.Kd1 and here Wade gives 52...Nb2+ 53.Kxc2 Nxd3 54.Ne2+ Kf5 55.Nd4+ and 56.Kxd3. However, instead of playing 52...Nb2+, it seems that black can get the advantage by playing 52...Rd2+ 53.Rxd2 Kxg3! So, it seems that it would be best for white to allow black to keep checking with the rook (i.e allow the perpetual).

Opinions about this game and position differ widely:

Gligoric gives 47.R6e4! However, just before this move, he wrote: "46...Kf3 Hoping a little for 47.Rd3+ Kf4 gaining a vital tempo by attacking the knight." So, Gligoric seems to think that 47.Rd3+ is inferior to 47.R6e4. Yet, after 47.Rd3+ Kf4, white plays 48.Ng3 and should definitely draw.

Wade in 'The World Chess Championship' gives 47.R6e4?? (because he thinks that White can win by 47.Rd3+)

Edmonds & Eidinow in 'Bobby Fischer Goes To War', Page 179: "Spassky...ended up clinging to an embattled draw..."

Wade in 'The Games of Robert J.Fischer', Second Edition just gives 47.R6e4

C.H.O'D.Alexander just gives 47.R6e4

D.N.L.Levy in 'How Fischer Plays Chess', Page 157: "Spassky...should have lost at several different points in the game...but the game was drawn after enormous complications."

P.S. I had an interesting idea for Fischer v Spassky Game 1: Instead of playing 29...Bxh2? could Fischer have played 29...h5 possibly threatening 30...Bxh2(?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: What a great game! Amazing tactics by both players.
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