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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 38 times; par: 116 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 16 OF 16 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-30-17  MariusDaniel: Great game!
Mar-04-18  PJs Studio: This game from me 35 onward is absolutely stunning. Karpov said it had an enormous effect on the way he played endings. Transformative was the word I think he used.

Very good play by both players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: A titanic struggle in all its phases, played when Spassky was finding his sea legs after being knocked completely off balance in the second stage of the match, which saw him go from two points ahead to three points down.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: I think what was discouraging for Spassky is having won game 11 to stop the bleeding, and narrowly missing in game 12, in this game (which did have a lot of errors) he let a very plausible win drift into a draw and then let that slip into an actual loss

This had to have been very discouraging


Mar-10-18  tgyuid: i say electro
Apr-01-18  The Kings Domain: Wild and thrilling game, both players go for broke.
Apr-19-18  Justin796: Anish giri would crush these guys in 1774!
Apr-20-18  ZonszeinP: He needed to beat Philidor first
Sep-19-18  Howard: According to the computerized analysis accompanying this game, 39...a2 yielded an advantage to Fischer of over two pawns !

So, where did he subsequently go wrong---the analysis doesn't seem to indicate such.

Sep-19-18  CharlesSullivan: < 1. White moves into losing territory>

Fischer won a pawn early, but Spassky had the initiative. Spassky could have regained the pawn with 23.b3 c5 24.Nxc5 Qc7 25.Qb4 axb3 26.cxb3 Rac8 27.Ne4 Be6 28.Bg3 Nd5 29.Qb5 Qd7=.

Or he could have played what several commentators agreed was best two turns later: 25.e6! Smyslov followed his idea with 25...Nc4 26.Qe2 Nxb2 27.Nf5!! when White has a very strong attack. It seems Kasparov and Timman, among others, think that Black probably loses this position, but 27...Nxd1 28.Nxg7 Kxg7 29.Qe5+ (Kasparov) 29...f6! 30.Qxd5

click for larger view

30...Ne3! 31.Rxe3 a3 32.Re1 a2 33.Ra1 Ra5 leads to an unbalanced but roughly equal position.

After 25.e6 a3 (suggested by Prins) 26.f5 (Timman) 26...Nc4, White could have thrown everything at Black's king: 27.Qf4 Nxb2 28.f6 Bxf6 29.Bxf6 exf6 30.Qxf6 Qd8 31.Qxf7+ Kh8 32.Nf5 gxf5 33.Rxd5 Qxd5 34.Qf6+

click for larger view

but White must settle for a draw by perpetual check.

In the game, after 26.Kh2, everyone sees that Spassky's game is bad. Timman thinks that 26.Ra1 "could have kept a grip on the enemy position," but 26...Bf8 27.f5 (Timman) 27...exf5 28.gxf5 g5 and a brief search on the computer gives <-3.08> at depth 38.
After 26.Ne4, both 26...Bxe4 and 26...a3 probably lead to a large Black advantage.
Kasparov does mention 26.Nb5 as a possible improvement, but goes no further.

I cannot prove it, but I think 26.Nb5 does lead to an endgame that White can hold: 26.Nb5 <-1.13, 10 hours, depth 60> Nc4 27.Ne4 a3 28.Nxa3 Nxa3 29.bxa3 Ra4 30.Rd4 Qa8 31.Rxa4 Qxa4 <-1.49> 32.Qd3 Ra8 33.Be7 Qa7+ 34.Kf1 b5 <-1.65, 7 hours, depth 62> 35.Qxb5 c6 36.Qc5 Qa4 37.Nf6+ Bxf6 38.exf6 Rb8 <-1.59> 39.Qc3 Qxf4+ 40.Kg1 Rb2 41.Qe3 Qb8 <-1.73> 42.Rc1 g5 43.Bb4 Ra2 <-1.83> 44.Be7 Qb2 45.Kf2 Be4 46.Re1 Bxc2 47.Re2 Qb8 48.Qe5 Qb3 49.Qe3 Bd3 50.Rxa2 Qxa2+ <-2.31, depth 69> 51.Ke1

click for larger view

and the opposite colored bishops help to prevent Black from winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <Petrosianic: Probably because it has too many mistakes on both sides.>

But we can ignore your opinion regarding these players because you have an agenda

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Karpov played Korchnoi in 78 ..

Given ALL the state help and Soviet GM assistance at that time towards the "Rebel" Korchnoi (an OLD MAN waaaay past his best) for Karpov .. he nearly blew it lol lol

And that Karpov Korchnoi match of 78 compared with Fischer Spassky of 72 regarding beauty and sexiness in chess scores a big fat zero.

Fischer would have killed Karpov in 75.

Sep-19-18  CharlesSullivan: < 2. Black hangs on to victory by a thread >

Black's 26...Nd7 was very good, but Stockfish detects that the strongest move in the position is 26...a3 <-2.37, 6 hours, depth 51> and now best play is 27.bxa3 Na4 28.Na4 Rxa4 <-2.48, 8 hours> 29.Qe3 Rc4 30.Rf1 Qa8 31.Rf2 Qa4 32.Rd3 <-3.18> 32...b6 33.Ne2 Bb7 34.Bf6 Rxc2 35.Bxg7 Kxg7 <-3.10> 36.f5 exf5 37.gxf5 Qe4 38.fxg6 Qxe3 39.Rxe3 fxg6 40.Kg1 Rc4 <-3.84> 41.Nc3 Rc5 42.Rd2 Bc6 43.e6 Kf6 44.Rde2 Ke7 45.Rf2 Rf8 46.Rxf8 Kxf8 47.e7+ Ke8 48.Kf2 Rf5+ <-4.13> 49.Ke2 Rf7 50.Kd3 Rxe7:

click for larger view

which is winning for Black.

As the alternative to Spassky's 27th move, I examined, at length, 27.Ne4, 27.Nb5, and 27.Nxd7. The relative best was 27.Nxd7 <-2.08, 7 hours, depth 51> 27...Qxd7 28.Qd3 (Kasparov) 28...Ra5! <-1.84, 21 hours, depth 52> 29.Bg3 Rea8 30.f5 c5 <-2.69> 31.Ne2 c4 32.Qd4 b5 <-3.11> 33.Qb6 Qa7 <-3.64> 34.Qxa7 R5xa7

click for larger view

and Black's extra pawn and pair of bishops is a winning hand.

Smyslov and Timman correctly propose 32...c4 as a stronger move for Black, but Fischer's 32...hxg5 "does not spoil the win" (Timman).

Smyslov pointed out that 34...a3 <-3.64, 9 minutes> is probably stronger than Black's 34...Kf7, but even so, Black was still winning.

Sep-20-18  CharlesSullivan: < 3. Trying to win, trying to lose, Part One >

Or, "Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?"

Playing 36...b5, Black finally let slip his winning advantage. Timman writes, "It was too late for 36...a3 37.♖f1 ♖a4; after 38.♗f6 the d-pawn is unstoppable." So, of course the winning move is 36...a3!!

click for larger view

If 37.Rf1, then 37...b5!! 38.Rf4 Rh8!! <-3.94, depth 47> and we reach (by transposition) the main variation for Black's 37th move that I will discuss in my next posting.
The road to victory is long and tortuous, but a best-play variation shows it can be navigated: 36...a3 <-2.47, 2 hours, depth 55> 37.Bf6 a2 38.Kg3 Bc6 39.d7 Red8 (Kasparov essentially reached this far in his analysis, but then showed us nothing more) 40.Bxd8 Rxd8 41.c4 Bxd7 42.Ra1 Ra8 43.Kf4 Ke7 44.Ke5 Ra3 <-2.58> 45.h4 Bc6 46.c3 Bf3 47.h5 Bxh5 48.Re3 Bg4 49.Ree1 Kd7 50.Kf6 <-4.89> 50...f4:

click for larger view

Black wins; for example: 51.Kxg6 Ke7 52.Kh6 Ra8 53.Kg7 Bf5 54.Re2 Bb1 55.g6 b6 56.Re1 Bd3 57.Re5 Kd6 58.Ree1 Bxc4 59.Kf6 Rf8+ 60.Kg5 f3 61.g7 Rg8 62.Kh6 f2 63.Rh1 Ke7 64.Rh2 f1=Q 65.Rxf1 Bxf1 66.Rxa2 Bd3:

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Spassky immediately fumbled the draw by playing 37.Rf1 after only 1 minute of thought. Kasparov and Ivo & Byrne mark Spassky's move with an exclamation, but 37.c4!! <-0.36> is the way: 37...Bxc4 38.d7 Red8 39.Bf6 b4 40.Rd6 a3 41.Kg3 a2 42.h4 Bb5 43.Rb6 Bxd7 44.Bxd8 a1=Q 45.Rxa1 Rxa1 46.Bf6 Rg1+ 47.Kf2 Rh1 48.Kg3 <-0.20>:

click for larger view

Once again, White can hold a material-minus game if there are bishops of opposite colors.

Sep-20-18  CharlesSullivan: < 4. Trying to win, trying to lose, Part Two >

Fischer thought for 6 minutes and produced a startling move: 37...Rh8. Timman calls it a "subtle trap." Kasparov gives it an exclamation point. Only Byrne had doubts: he thought Fischer was "playing superficially."
The truth appears to be that Black could have played ...a3 (that move again!) and won, fairly easily. After 37...a3 <-4.37, 38 hours, depth 57> 38.Rf4 Rh8 39.d7 a2 40.c4 Bxc4 41.Bf6 <-5.15, 7 hours, depth 52> we have reached, in analysis, the position that is reached in the game after White 41st move:

click for larger view

In this position, as Kasparov was the first to point out, 41...e5 wins; also winning is 41...Be2. (I will discuss both at Black's 41st move.)

So Fischer had a winning move at move 37, but it was not the move he played. In fact, Spassky could have immediately equalized with the "obvious" 38.Bxh8, a move that any patzer would see (and probably play) but that all the experts saw as bad:

Reshevsky: "Bad would be 38 BxR, RxB, and Black would pick up White's QP easily and have an easy win."

Nei: "38 BxR RxB would now be advantageous for Black because the strong QP would fall and, afterward, he could proceed on the queenside and in the center."

Kasparov: "Of course, White does not take the rook: here the bishop is more valuable, since it is participating both in the attack, and in the defence of the a1-square."

Sorry, gentlemen, but Stockfish says that 38.Bxh8 Rxh8 39.Rfe1 Be4
[ or 39...Rd8 40.Kg3 a3 41.Kf4 Rxd6 42.c4!= ]
40.Rd2 e5 41.Ra1 Bc6 42.d7 Ke7 43.Re1 e4 44.Kg3 Ra8 45.d8=Q+ Rxd8 46.Rxd8 Kxd8 47.Kf4 Bd7 48.Rb1 Kc7 49.Ke5 e3 50.h4 Be8 51.Kf6 f4 52.Ke5 Bf7 53.Kxf4 e2 54.Re1 Bc4 55.Ke5 a3 56.Kf6 b4 57.Kxg6 a2 58.cxb4 cxb4 59.Kh6 b3 60.cxb3 Bxb3 61.g6 Bd1 62.g7 a1=Q 63.g8=Q Qf6+ 64.Kh5 Qf3+ 65.Kh6

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is a dead draw. Instead of equalizing with 38.Bxh8!, Spassky thought for 4 minutes and maintained his losing position with 38.Bf6.

Sep-20-18  SChesshevsky: < Howard > It must have been a bit frustrating for Fischer. At 33...f5 he seems much better with 3 passed pawns and good control of light squares. But Spassky does have an advanced passed pawn and good control of dark squares. A problem for Fischer is there's no way to invade to threaten or exchange with rooks.

With 37...Rh8, he even offers the exchange sac to resolve whites hold on the dark squares.

Maybe Spassky makes the mistake of declining and looks like he plays for a win with his advanced pawn. But allows blacks rooks to get active.

Fischer finally ends up with 4 passed pawns and takes out whites passed pawn at the cost of the bishop but also is able to exchange a pair of rooks.

Still a tricky position but given the rule of thumb that a well protected passed pawn in the 6th is often worth a piece, it appears Fischer's plan was principled. Enough to likely draw but still hold the opportunity for winning chances.

Probably leaving all the pressure on Spassky to play excellent defense, which might not have been his strong suit.

I haven't really looked at any analysis, I wonder what the computers idea is to realize the win from 33...f5 ?

Sep-20-18  CharlesSullivan: < 4. Trying to win, trying to lose, Part Three >

All the commentators omit comment on White's 39.Rf4 (played after a 10-minute think). But Spassky had a second chance to play Bxh8! and draw: 39.Bxh8 <-0.31, 2 hours, depth 67> 39...Rxh8 40.Rfe1 Ra8 41.Kg3 a2 42.d7 Rd8

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43.Rxd5!! exd5 44.Ra1 Rxd7 45.Rxa2 Re7 46.Kf2 f4 47.Kf3 Re3+ 48.Kxf4 Re4+ 49.Kf3 Rc4 50.Ke3 Ke6 51.Kd2 d4 52.Ra5 Rxc3 53.Rxb5 Kd5 54.Rb6 Rxh3 55.Rxg6 Rg3 56.Rg7 Kc4 57.g6 Rg5 58.Rc7 Rg2+ 59.Kc1 Rxg6 60.Rb7 draw (according to the Lomonosov tables).

There was no third chance for Spassky at move 40; after 40.Bxh8 Rxh8 <-5.65> 41.Rff1 Ra8 42.Ra1 Ke8 43.Rfd1 Kd7 44.h4 Bc4 45.Re1 Kxd6 46.Rad1+ Ke7 47.Ra1 Ra3 48.Re3 Kd6 49.Rd1+ Kc6 50.Ra1 f4 51.Re4 e5! White is helpless -- 52.h5 gxh5 53.Ree1 gxh5 54.Rg1 Rxc3 55.Rg2 Ke6 55.g6 Kf6

click for larger view

and White can resign.

Fischer spent 7 minutes on his 41st move but failed to find either way to win--
[a] 41...Be2 <-4.58> 42.Re1 Rhd8 43.Rxe2 a1=Q 44.Bxa1 Rxa1 45.Rh4 Kg7 46.Rxe6 Rxd7 47.Re2 Rdd1 48.Re7+ Kg8 49.Re8+ Kf7 50.Re2 Rh1+ 51.Kg3 Rhg1+ 52.Kh2 Rxg5

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[b] 41...e5 42.Bxe5 Rhd8 43.Bf6 Be2 (Kasparov) 44.Bxd8 Bxd1 45.Bf6 a1=Q 46.Bxa1 Rd8 47.Bf6 Rxd7 48.c3 Rd3 49.Rf2 Bf3 50.Rb2 <-5.42, depth 47> 50...Bc6 51.Rf2 Ke6 52.Re2+ Be4 53.h4 Rf3 54.Re1 Rf2+ 55.Kg3 Rg2+ 56.Kh3 Rd2 57.Kg3 Rd3+ 58.Kh2 Rf3 59.Re2 Rf1 60.Kh3 b4 61.cxb4 Rf3+ 62.Kg2 c4 63.Bb2 c3

click for larger view

Material is even, but Black's position wins eventually.

Sep-20-18  James51358: It's amazing that after 46 YEARS how much this one game inspires us to analyze it. It's a great way for the young or the young at heart to learn this great game.
Sep-20-18  James51358: In my humble opinion, Fischer 1)...Nf6 was the winning move. Certainly, Spassky wasn't expecting this opening. Must have hit him like a cold shower.
Sep-20-18  James51358: Does anyone know much time(hours/minutes)for this game to be played?
Sep-20-18  HeMateMe: after 31 moves the Queens are off the board and black has a centralized Bishop with command of the board and an extra, passed pawn on the queenside.

white has a Bishop clogged up behind black and white pawns.

but, it still takes an amazing endgame from Fischer to bring home the point. One of my favorite Bob games, even more so than the '56 Byrne game, because this one is so complex, double edged.

the great players make it look easy.

Sep-21-18  CharlesSullivan: <James51358: Does anyone know much time(hours/minutes)for this game to be played?> Here is the specific link for game 13:
Sep-23-18  CharlesSullivan: < Addendum: Was 36...Red8 also winning? >

At move 36, where Black played 36...b5 (which would have allowed White to equalize with 37.c4) [see analysis above], I first looked at 36...Red8

click for larger view

because Kasparov said, "It would have been better to play 36...♖ed8 37 ♖f1 ♔e8" and Karsten Müller declared a win for Black: "After the prophylactic 36...♖ed8 37.♖f1 ♔e8-+, his play on the queenside comes first." And yes, the variation beginning 36...Red8 37.Rf1 Ke8 looks like an easy, conventional-looking win for Black. Here is a sample: 38.Rf4 Kd7 39.c4 Be4 40.h4 Rg8 41.Ra1 a3 42.Ra2 Ra4 43.Kg1 Rxc4 44.Rxa3 Rxc2 45.Rf2 Rc1+ 46.Rf1 Rc4 47.Rf2 Rb4 48.Ra5 Bc6 49.Rf4 Rxf4 50.Bxf4 Rh8 51.Bg3 f4 52.Bxf4 Rxh4 53.Be3 c4 54.Kf1 Bd5 55.Ke2 Kxd6:

click for larger view

and Black has 3 extra pawns.

But 36...Red8 37.Re3 is much harder to crack. Showing that 36...a3! wins [see previous postings] was fairly easy compared to showing that 36...Red8 also wins. It looked at one time that bishops of opposite colors would claim another draw.

The main line begins 36...Red8 37.Re3 a3! 38.c4 Bxc4 39.h4 Rd7 40.h5 a2 41.h6 Kg8 42.Rc3 b5 43.Ra1 Kh7 44.Kh3 <-3.45, depth 68> 44...Rf7!:

click for larger view

Black is two pawns to the good, but the White bishop may be able to prevent Black's queenside pawns from deciding the game; Black has to worry about White's d-pawn and his king is tied down on the kingside.

Black's e-pawn and f-pawn are key to opening up the game so Black's material advantage wins (I have chosen just two representative variations):

(A) 45.Kg3 f4+! 46.Bxf4 Rf5 47.Bc1 Ra7 48.Rf3 Raf7 49.Rxf5 Rxf5 50.Bf4 b4 51.Be3 Rd5 52.Kf4 b3 53.cxb3 e5+ 54.Ke4 Bxb3 55.Bc1 Rxd6 56.Kxe5 Rd4 57.Bb2 Rg4 58.Bc1 c4 59.Bd2 Rg2 60.Bc1 Rg3 61.Kd4 Rd3+ 62.Kc5 c3 63.Kb4 Be6 64.Ka3 Rf3 and the finish might be 65.Kb4 ...
[ or 65.Rxa2 Bxa2 66.Kxa2 Kg8 67.Kb3 Kf7 68.Kc2 Ke6 69.Kb3 Ke5 70.h7 Rh3 71.h8=Q+ Rxh8 72.Kxc3 Rc8+ and Black mates in 21. ]
65...c2 66.Ka4 Rf7 67.Kb4 Rb7+ 68.Kc3 Rb1 69.Rxa2 Bxa2 70.Kxc2 Rxc1+ 71.Kxc1 Bf7

click for larger view

72.Kd2 Kg8 73.Ke3 Kf8 74.Kf4 Bg8 and Black mates in 25.

(B) 45.Bf4 e5! 46.Bxe5 f4 47.Rf3 Raf8 48.Kh4 Be6 49.Rc3 Re8 50.Rxc5 Bd7 51.Rxa2 f3 52.Kg3 f2 53.Ra1 f1=Q 54.Rxf1 Rxf1 55.Rc7 Rf7 56.Bd4 Re6 57.c4 Rxd6 58.Bf6 Rdxf6 59.gxf6 bxc4 60.Rxc4 Rxf6

click for larger view

and Black mates in 25.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: This game is a thousand years ahead of it's time .

Just enjoy !

Sep-24-18  James51358: Think about this. This incredible game took just over 9 HOURS to play. Not to mention both of them must have spent many hours of overnight analysis after the sealed move. WOW!!! My brain would have been mush!! lol
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