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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match (1972)  ·  Uncommon Opening (A00)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-13-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This game was scheduled for the 13th July 1972. Fischer didn't turn up, as we know. Spassky had a lot to put up with in this match but the 2-0 start he had, for very little effort, looks to me like adequate compensation for all the psyching-out he went through.

Spassky wanted to play with cameras and definitely with an audience. When the match was resumed in game 3 Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 there was neither. Spassky in fact could have insisted on both - and what would have happened then? Obviously Fischer would have gone home and Spassky would have remained champion.

And the figures would have backed him up! 2-0 up in the match, having won the only game played against an opponent whose life score against him was lost 5, drew 2!

The world of only-recently-partially-aware chess pundits would certainly have seen Spassky as a worthy champion.

So why did Spassky continue? I am sure it wasn't for the money. I believe the Politburo exchanged all foreign winnings for roubles and then taxed the lot. I think it was that Spassky genuinely believed he could beat Fischer and like a really great player he wanted to show it. Great players never back down from a challenge - they grasp the opportunity to prove that they are the best!

Aug-14-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Cemoblanca: There is a move in chess when the best move is not to move. ;0)
Feb-08-13  Everett: <So why did Spassky continue? I am sure it wasn't for the money. I believe the Politburo exchanged all foreign winnings for roubles and then taxed the lot. I think it was that Spassky genuinely believed he could beat Fischer and like a really great player he wanted to show it. Great players never back down from a challenge - they grasp the opportunity to prove that they are the best!>

This doesn't really match how Spassky felt about the bring WC. He seemed to really dislike it. Perhaps he played on because he wanted out.

Feb-08-13  RookFile: From Spassky's point of view, he had never lost to Fischer, and had already won the only game in the match they had played so far. Nothing was going to change, right?
Feb-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Spassky played on because the Fischer phenomena had become just too imposing and impossible to ignore or walk away from.

A western movie analogy is the hottest gunslinger ever walking into town challenging the sheriff who's in possession of everything..

The Sheriff can ignore the hitman who's rode into his territory, or he can face him off and fight.

If he chooses to just ignore and walk away well the whole town is watching and his reputation will be irredeemably tarnished..

So just like infront of a Cobra,and the watching world, he is mesmerised into fighting...

Feb-08-13  Everett: <RookFile: From Spassky's point of view, he had never lost to Fischer, and had already won the only game in the match they had played so far. Nothing was going to change, right?>

It's one view, but each of us is more than a simple summary of one idea or belief.

Feb-09-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: I don't see what the big deal is: This is a standard dual zugzwang position resulting in a simultaneous pure stalemate. Greco explained all this 385 years ago
Feb-09-13  ounos: With Fischer's pieces stuck on the back row, defeat was inevitable (and it is surprising he survived as long as he did, honestly). One should also highlight Spassky's excellent positional play which rendered the usually formidable bishops of Fischer to ineffective bystanders, for the larger part of the game.
Mar-26-13  engineerX: White did not even have a chance to complete his development.
Mar-26-13  tacticalmonster: The GREATEST sacrifice of all time! Spassky was so amazed at the depth of this sacrifice ( Fischer sacrificed all 16 pieces ) that he went on to lose game 3,5,6,8 and 10!
Mar-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It was a cell phone forfeit. Bob got a call at his jail cell, in Tokyo.
Mar-27-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: In Effect Bobby gave Boris a two game start just like his Romantic era heroes did in the 19th c and he still won the match with ease.
Jul-11-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <harry> I agree w/ ya but...Boris wanted the $.
Jul-12-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: And Spassky and Fischer both became millionaires from the 1992 match.
Jul-12-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <TheFocus> right...thanks to Bobby!
Aug-11-13  ndg2: Haha, some link about "win despite flawless play by both sides" led me here. I needed 4 or 5 clicks on the right arrow to get the joke.
Aug-11-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  PaulLovric: I have the feeling that this was done on purpose, does anyone else?
Aug-11-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<harrylime> If he chooses to just ignore and walk away well the whole town is watching and his reputation will be irredeemably tarnished..>

Except that if Spassky had refused to go along with Fischer's new demands for the 3rd game (no cameras, no audience, etc.) I think that Fischer would have either:

(a) Given up on his demands and played the 3rd game

(b) Refuse to play and forfeit the 3rd game and show up for the 4th game, down 3-0.

(c) Forfeited the 3rd game, go home, and forfeited the match.

You're the Fischer expert, what do you think Fischer would have done? Given that, once made, Fischer seldom agreed to withdraw his demands, that he was reticent to go to Reykjavik in the first place, and that he was likely willing to sacrifice his possible world championship in 1972 (as he started to do by not playing in the qualifying US Championship in 1969 and as he later did in 1975), I would think (c).

In that case it would have been Fischer who walked away while the whole, not town but world, was watching and it would have been Fischer's reputation which would have been irredeemably tarnished.

Or, the match organizers could have gone along with Fischer's demands and insisted that Spassky played according to these new conditions. At that point Spassky could have refused to play, gone home, and forfeited the world championship. Fischer would have been crowned world champion on the basis of a 1-2 score against the defending world champion. Do you think that would have been an acceptable situation for everyone, including Fischer? Spassky would have said, as Fischer said after 1975, "Sure, Fischer is the world champion. Except that he never defeated me." Except that in this case Spassky's statement could have been taken literally.

In case anyone is interested in the many details of the Spassky Fischer 1972 match, particularly the problems that the match organizers and the Icelandic government faced, pick up a copy of "Bobby Fischer Goes to War", 2004, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow.

Aug-11-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<PaulLovric> I have the feeling that this was done on purpose, does anyone else?>

I don't know. But it is a known fact that Fischer was an admirer of Steinitz and studied his games. In both his world championship matches with Tchigorin in 1889 and 1892 Steinitz lost the first game of the match and yet went on to win the match. Maybe Steinitz also did that on purpose and so this approach could be called the "Steinitz Match Gambit".

So maybe Fischer decided to try the same thing except that he decided to "improve" on the Steinitz Match Gambit by losing the first 2 games. And he might have thought that making an apparent mistake in the 2nd game along the lines of 29...Bxh2 in the 1st game might have led people to believe that he was deliberately throwing games to Spassky, so he decided to try a different approach to losing the 2nd game. After all, he had already convinced himself of the desirability of varying his openings, why not his losing approach? ;-)

Sep-14-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Many inexperienced amateurs suppose that in the starting position you cannot form a plan of action that is even comparatively realistic, given that the position is highly complex and that whatever move White makes, Black can answer it in a whole variety of ways.
Nov-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: Panno Defence.
Jan-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Spassky threatened to force Fischer to play the "Fred" defense.

Fischer resigned rather than be subjected to such humiliation.

Jan-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: Read somewhere that Fischer thought Spassky is a better player than him "not much better but better". But he also knew Spassky's wellknown weaknesses - being lazy and tending to overestimate himself.

So scorewise he put Spassky at ease in the first 2 games and went for trouble making of the board making him look a bit desperate... Then he killed Spassky virtually in games 3 - 12. Spassky recovered later and holded Fischer to many draws but never got in the right fighting mood.

Of course, all my speculation.

Apr-11-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Fred: 1) I need to learn to resign sooner; from this same final position I have played on and on, sometimes 40 or more moves deep, to no avail.>

So have the rest of us--fools that we are, we keep coming back.

Apr-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: It sure is an uncommon opening.
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