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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky (1992), Sveti Stefan & Belgrade YUG, rd 12, Sep-30
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Panno (E83)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-01-04  Knight13: Lots of pawn moves.
Aug-02-04  white pawn: Wow... No pieces are exchanged until the 19th move
Aug-02-04  Stavrogin: I still... a decade later.... wonder how Fischer would have handled himself against a stronger opponent in 1992. The romantic in me wants to believe that he would have put up a good fight - astonishing everyone. The quality commentator in me says he would have gotten crushed against top 20 opponents. Maybe he could have hoped not to lose in an all too exxagerated way, maybe he wouldnīt have stand totally without wins... but altogehter: crushed. When i say that the romantic in me would have liked a favorable outcome for Fischer in such a real comeback, if it would have been, I reffer to the romance that I find in a man stating a comeback 20 years (not 19 or 21, but 20!) after winning the wch. The fact that he chosed Spasskij for his opponent was, of course, not a bad call if talking drama... so the same romantic also likes that decision. BUT after that win of his he should have taken it further if to be taken seriously (but being taken seriously is hardly one of the manīs priorities I realize). Now we will never know, even though we know... which, probably/maybe was the only intent of the man in question.
Aug-02-04  Dick Brain: If you want to go by the numbers, Spassky during the match was rated 2570 in '92 and Kasparov was rated around 2750. Fischer beat Spassky in the match by an excess of 5 wins in 30 games so Fischer's performance was:

2570 + 400*5/30 = 2637

If this was representative of their strengths, then Kasparov exceeded Fischer's rating by about 123 points. The excess of wins expected in a 30 game match would be

30*123/400 = about 9

Maybe Kasparov-Fischer '92 30 game match would end in favor of Kasparov +13 -4 =13, i.e. a blowout, unless Kasparov just started playing for draws when he got hopelessly ahead.

But of course you said *TOP 20* and the jump from Kasparov down to, say, #20 Zoltan Ribli was large. Ribli was rated around 2620 at the time of the match. I don't see why Fischer would get blown out so bad against this player.

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Performance ratings based on single events are interesting, Korchnoi won the Marx Gyoergy Chess Memorial Tournament with 2780 so probably he'd draw Anand in a match.
Aug-02-04  Dick Brain: Obviously the error is great basing somebody's strength on just 30 games but that's all there is to go by in this case. And judging by a performance rating in a single tournament of a few games of course is even worse. However, if Korchnoi could average 2780 in five tournaments in a row then I would start to think he could have even chances against Anand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Yup. Or maybe it is even worse to base it on the results of many games against one single player? He might have been in really bad form or overrated for some other reason, while such things even out if you play many different persons.
Aug-02-04  Dick Brain: All true. Matches results often make no sense. Tal blows out Botvinnik then Botvinnik blow out Tal: they can't both be better. Not only that, but for somebody who hasn't played in many years, it's probably easier to prepare for one player rather than many. Enough tournament games will find the better player more accurately. It would be better to have 100 games against many players but in this case that information isn't available.
Sep-27-04  DhavalVyas: This match really doesn't evaluate Fischer's strength in 1992. He was badly out of practice, old, tired, and lacked the will to win. This wasn't the same Fischer who would push to win no matter how small of an advantage. The will to win wasn't there anymore. In the website, it is measured that after this match, Fischer would be rated somewhere in between 15th and 25th in the world. Judging by how he played in the match though, Fischer would have been no match by Kasparov or any other top grandmaster. Kasparov was in his prime and knew the opening theories in and out. Fischer vs. Kasparov in 1992 or after would have been a blowout. How Kasparov or Fischer would do in a shuffle chess match is a different story. The Deep Blue matches pretty much prove that Kasparov is clueless and weak when not playing standard opening theories! Even Fischer had the gall to call Kasparov's play "utterly weak" during the Deep Blue matches. Fischer was right, but the real question, how strong is Fischer in the shuffle chess?
Nov-09-05  AverageWoodpusher: Fischer and Kasparov still might play.
Nov-10-05  Koster: Fischer's play was far from perfect, but good enough to win this match. The question is how much farther he could have raised his level of play if needed. I would guess he would beat Ribli (who after all lost to a much older Smyslov) and would not lose too badly against Karpov (if at all), despite Kasparov's opinion. Against GK or Anand he would be in trouble, but that's about it. that was in 92 of course - today he seems just too far gone.
Nov-29-05  seeminor: 29. Rbf7?? is a horrible move by fischer, destroying his own great defence. 29.Qd7 was necessary to aim at g4.
Jan-20-06  morphyvsfischer: 10...Nd4! is far, far superior. For the pawn, Black gets open lines and severe dark square compensation.
Jan-28-07  Brown: In '92, Karpov would probably embarass Fischer, if only because Karpov was in fighting shape, and also has a style that would give Fischer fits. (Petrosian-like with greater aggression, and, dare I say, accuracy.)
Aug-10-07  RookFile: Spassky played a strong game, Fischer was too passive.
Dec-18-07  Atkins: <seeminor: 29. Rbf7?? is a horrible move by fischer, destroying his own great defence. 29.Qd7 was necessary to aim at g4.> The opening looks here just too bad <seeminor> On your 29...Qd7 there is 30.Nh4. The idea of Rbf7 is then after NxNh4, f3. No time for that. Spassky played it very well. The weakest point of Fischer on this match was the opening phase. When he got a good opening he was, as his usual, crusching.
Dec-18-07  Riverbeast: <10...Nd4! is far, far superior. For the pawn, Black gets open lines and severe dark square compensation.>

Yes, according to Keene's book of the match 10...Nd4 is the only move, after 10...Ne7 Fischer is already in "hot water".

He gives as best 10...Nd4 11. Nb3 c5 12. dxc6 bxc6 13. Nxd4 exd4 14. Bxd4 c5 15. Be3 Rb8 according to Spaskky-Gheorghiu, 1962.

However, Spassky won that game also. Maybe the whole variation is bad.

Dec-18-07  D4n: This game doesn't seem like Fischer's normal style...he didn't play agressively as he used to...
Dec-18-07  Riverbeast: In game #28 of this match, he improved with 10...Nd4 11. Nb3 Nxb3 12. Qxb3 Kh7. He exchanged dark square bishops with ...Bh6 and then put his rook on h8 to brace against g4.

He held the draw, but that was about it. He didn't exactly get active play.

Dec-18-07  RookFile: Fischer said once that in playing the King's Indian, what he feared was the Saemisch variation.
Jul-25-09  WhiteRook48: with a reason also
Nov-15-09  WhiteRook48: how was Fischer hoping for a draw in this ending??
Dec-10-09  birthtimes: In the last game of this match, Fischer improved with 9...Nd7! rather than 9...e5. Everyone needs to remember that 8.h4 was a prepared innovation by Spassky which had never been played by anyone before this match...
Sep-19-11  bigatin: it's even worst than I expected:

Jul-14-13  Ulhumbrus: 15...c5 immobilizes Black's queen side pawns, whereupon Spassky castles on the queen side while on the king side White's pawns are able to open lines. This suggests looking for an alternative to this for Black eg 15...f4 16 Bd2 c6
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