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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
"Fischer King" (game of the day Nov-01-2008)
Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 13, Aug-10
Alekhine Defense: Modern. Alburt Variation (B04)  ·  0-1


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Given 36 times; par: 116 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  chesspino: What a beautiful game of chess!!. Fischer just changed the history of chess and the perception of it by the world in 1972. The USA women's soccer team just did the same in soccer a few days ago in Canada. Personally, I was impressed at those times by Fischer's pawn formation after his move 31. Spassky successfully broke it but was unable to defeat the great Fischer. In just a few more moves Fischer did almost the same with his pawns in the Queen's side (after move 36). An excellent game!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Wasn't it a certain hockey game that won a cold war?
Feb-07-16  clement41: This fabulous game is central in the end of a thriller novel by Arnaldur Indridason
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: It is interesting to go through this game with a computer. It shows quite clearly how silicon monsters still have no clue what's going on in ending. For example, my Houdini shows big fat score 3.99 in black's favour after 62...f4 (instead of Fischer's 62...Kc6, after which the evaluation drops close to zero) but after 63.Kb2 b3 64.Rd1 f3 65.Kc3 f2 it fails to produce anything constructive. To my human eyes of club level patzer it is dead draw at first glance because black King cannot cross d-file without loss (sac) of his h-Pawn, after which the draw is apparent.

Anyway, it is quite unfortunate that such a marvelous game was in the end decided by such an atrocious blunder like 69.Rd1+? but already 66.Kb2?! was dubious (making defense a bit more complex task), when "primitive" checking of black King would have held the draw with ease: 66.Rd1+ Ke4 67.Re1+ Kf3 (what else to try here?) 68.Rf1+ Ke2 69.Ra1! with idea 69...f4 70.Kxc4, and now if 70...b2, then 71.Rxa2 pins the b-Pawn. And of course, 70...f3 71.Kxb3 is simple draw.

Apr-29-16  drollere: this game, #13 in the match, is listed as #20 in the match menu "Spassky Fischer 1972"; the forfeited #2 is listed as game #21. the games should be numbered in match sequence.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I pick this game as my all-time favorite game (and this is my 10,000 post)
Oct-04-16  dehanne: Best Alekhine's defense of all time. Although Spassky didn't conduct the opening very well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Travis Bickle: Fischer = Real Genius!!
Oct-04-16  RookFile: It's a great game to show anybody just learning about chess to illustrate all the rich and amazing possibilities the game has.
May-03-17  Helios727: If this game continued would it devolve into a Queen v. Rook endgame or is there a better pathway for Black?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Games 13, 15 and 18 were the best in the match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: alright first week of October, 1974;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Disregard my last posting.
May-04-17  User not found: I enjoyed going through this game but I don't remember a game before where I've done so much going back and forth through moves to get a decent understanding, maybe because it's an older game, I dunno. Today's players are more "precise" and predictable, I can sometimes pick up half way through a game and get a half decent feel for the board, this position here completely fried my brain and I had to get the engine going to see if it <wasn't> a draw..


click for larger view

Blacks g8 rook is trapped and rendered useless by the Bishop on f8 (which also defended a3 brilliantly) and pawn on g7, looked like a draw to me because of the lack of options due to tied up busy pieces and then, Bam..

click for larger view

Rd1? I'm guessing Spassky was in time trouble? Either that or he was shattered and worn out, Fischer really ground this win out of him by the looks of it...all whilst his last major piece was trapped. Very clever and unlucky Spassky.

Aug-09-17  ProLogik: This game boggles my mind.
Aug-10-17  tonsillolith: This is probably my favorite voracious-will-to-win game. How can you compete against someone who wants to win this badly?

He exhausts every possible resource, even the ones that seem like a longshot and require walking a terrifying tightrope.

I also like what they say of Karpov, that after defending a hard position for hours, he finally equalizes, and both players are tired out. The opponent offers a draw, but no!, Karpov scoots in his chair and starts playing for a win!

I love the spirit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <This is probably my favorite voracious-will-to-win game. How can you compete against someone who wants to win this badly?>

That's actually pretty insulting, to suggest that in 14 games of the match, Fischer simply didn't want to win (because if he had, he would have) or at the very least didn't want to win as much. The best thing about a game should be the game itself, rather than pop psychology theories about the game.

Aug-10-17  tonsillolith: <That's actually pretty insulting, to suggest that in 14 games of the match, Fischer simply didn't want to win (because if he had, he would have) or at the very least didn't want to win as much. The best thing about a game should be the game itself, rather than pop psychology theories about the game.>

I don't know where you're getting this, but I'm not positing any theories of psychological states outside of what can be inferred directly from the moves themselves. I'm inspired by the drive that I can feel emanating from this game. If it palliates your sense of insult, you can couch it as a disdain for the common tendency to draw endgames when a victory seems out of reach, rather than dig to unimaginable depths to eek out enough imbalance to tip the scales in your favor.

Or if you prefer, you can interpret my comment as an admission of the banality of my own chess imagination. While most grandmaster endgames are beyond me, this ending feels BEYOND beyond me, not that I am in a position to make such a judgement. Once something is beyond me, how am I to distinguish? Not only would I never come up with the strategy of sacking the rook for several pawns, and not only would I fail to pull it off had I thought to do it, every time I WATCH this game I am flabbergasted at the bravado of Black's endgame strategy and technique. My comment testifies to the extent to which this endgame evokes this feeling moreso than most endgames I have watched.

Of COURSE I know Fischer had an insatiable urge to win, not only in this match but in general. But I can feel it through this game more than most. And that's saying something! You certainly won't find me insulting Fischer, though he and I both appreciate your offense on his behalf.

Aug-13-17  Albion 1959: Forty five years on and it is time to revisit this game. I thought that it would have been a contender for Jon Speelman's Best Chess Games 1970-1980, though it never made it there. Much of the gloss has gone off Fischer's achievement because of Spassky's 69th move Rd3+?? which has universally been condemned as the losing move. Subsequent analysis over the intervening years with powerful search engines supports this. However, I came across a book The Chess of Bobby Fischer by Robert E Burger(Chilton 1975) that features the position (Page 39) at move 61, here Burger adds a new twist and gives an alternative piece of analysis that throws new light onto this ending - He suggests 61. Bf8 c3+ (instead of Fischer's h2)
62. Kd3 h2
63. Rf1 f4
64. Rd1 f3
65. Kd4 f2
66. Kd3 Kc6
67. Kc2 a1 =Q
68. Rxa1 Kd5
69. Kd3 c2
70. Kxc2 Ke4
71. Kd2 Kf3
72. Rxb4 Rxg7
On the face of it, this appears to be a winning line that Fischer missed, maybe back in 1975 this appeared to be a forced win. I am not totally convinced, now with the existence of computers and powerful long-ranging search engines and databases, my gut feeling is that this Burger analysis may be suspect under a forensic examination. I have spent hours on this position from move 61 and yet to master the intricacies that are involved. And as far as I am aware, though I stand to be corrected, no one has yet demonstrated a forced win for Fischer from 61 and that the position was drawn with best play from both sides and that Fischer could not have won (in spite of his best efforts) had Spassky not blundered on move 69 with Rd3+??
Aug-13-17  cwcarlson: In Burger's line 71.♔d2? loses, but 71.♖f1 ♔f3 72.♗c5 holds; if 72...♔g3 73.♖h1 ♖g7 74.♗f2+ ♔g2 75.♖h2+ ♔h2 76.♔b3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: This game is a nesting doll of traps and ideas. Bronstein said "This game tickles me, like a sphinx."
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <Albion 1959:

suggests 61. Bf8 c3+ (instead of Fischer's h2)
62. Kd3 h2
63. Rf1 f4
64. Rd1 f3
65. Kd4 f2
66. Kd3 Kc6
67. Kc2 a1 =Q
68. Rxa1 Kd5
69. Kd3 c2
70. Kxc2 Ke4
71. Kd2 Kf3
72. Rxb4 Rxg7>

Cant play 72.Rxb4 as the rook is on a1.

Oct-02-17  rmayo: I do not understand why this game is not among the best games of all time
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Probably because it has too many mistakes on both sides.
Dec-30-17  MariusDaniel: Great game!
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