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Raymond Keene vs Leonid Stein
Reykjavik (1972), Reykjavik ISL, Feb-??
Gruenfeld Defense: General (D80)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-10-09  birthtimes: When Fischer came to Iceland in February 1972 it was during the "bi-annual International Reykjavik tournament. I took him to the playing hall. He rushed in and walked so fast that I had difficulty keeping up with him, and took a short look at one of the inplay boards. I recall that it was the Soviet grandmaster Stein playing the British international master Keene. He immediately declared: "Stein is completely lost.' At the same moment there came up a sign. The players had agreed on a draw. Fischer shook his head, lost his interest in the tournament, and walked out.

The next day on our way to the airport I asked him whether he was sure that Stein had a lost game. He took from his pocket a chess set, and with quick movements put up the position which he had in his mind, although he had only glimpsed it for a second the day before and showed me several possible variations and said: 'Completely lost. There is nothing he can do.'

The two grandmasters had been playing, studying the game over the board for two or three hours and agreed on a draw. It took Fischer only a split second to realize that Stein had a completely lost game."

Bobby Fischer: From Chess Genius to Legend by Eduard Gufeld, 2002, pp. 147-149.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: seen from my point of view the story is quite different-i was playing stein in a variation i had done well with before-see my game v eales in this line here on chessgames. i was quite happy until i heard someone say that fischer was watching the games-at that point i panicked and accepted a draw-i was so nervous at being watched by fischer.

i think this has something to do with the heisenberg uncertainty principle in quantum physics-ie a particle cannot be viewed accurately because the act of watching somehow displaces it - if fischer had not turned up to watch i wd probably not have accepted the draw offer- so his presence actually affected the result!pure heisenberg.

Nov-10-09  birthtimes: I'll wager that Fischer looked at 17.Nxc6 bxc6 18.Bd6 Be6 19.Rb7 Qxd1 20.Rxd1 as a starting point for White's win...
Nov-10-09  birthtimes: Yes, even more precisely, you're describing the observer effect...

"In physics, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on the phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner.

A commonly debated use of the term refers to quantum mechanics, where, if the outcome of an event has not been observed, it exists in a state of 'superposition', which is akin to being in all possible states at once. In the famous thought experiment known as Schrödinger's cat the cat is supposedly neither alive nor dead until observed. However, most quantum physicists, in resolving Schrödinger's seeming paradox, now understand that the acts of 'observation' and 'measurement' must also be defined in quantum terms before the question makes sense. From this point of view, there is no 'observer effect', only one vastly entangled quantum system. A significant minority still find the equations point to an observer; Wheeler, who probably worked more deeply on this subject than any physicist thus far, devised a graphic in which the universe was represented by a "U" with an eye on one end, turned around and viewing itself, to describe his understanding."

So once Fischer observed your game, the cat (win) died...

: )

Nov-10-09  ughaibu: Presumably Fischer meant 17.Bb5, how would things continue?
Nov-10-09  ughaibu: Maybe 17.Nc6 and Bf3 is stronger?
Nov-10-09  Shams: Great story, <birthtimes>. GM Keene, was Fischer right? Is black completely lost?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: actually-i never even looked at the final position very much-the whole thing was too traumatic-can anyone out there with rybka or fritz suggest best play? i am sure fischer was right but knowing that probably the greatest player in the history of chess at that time was watching made -as i think bill murrays character in ghostbusters says-" all rational thought impossible!"
Nov-10-09  Shams: <ray keene> believe me, I can well imagine. I had the opportunity last year to make love to Eva Green, loveliest of all Bond women, and I can assure you that the pressure to perform was so enormous that even the most elementary of maneuvers seemed beyond me. Alas, I barely got through half of my usual six hours of play. Would love to have that one back, as I'm sure you would with this game. Cheers.
Nov-10-09  Starf1re: Strongest Rybka line:

17) xc6 xc6 (Qxd1 is weaker... +1.10 for white after 18. Rfxd1 bxc6 19. Bd6 Bf5)

18) bd6 be6

click for larger view

White has an advantage in space and development; at a depth of 20, Rybka evaluates the position as about +1 for white.

19. Rb7 Qxd1 20. Rxd1 Bf8 21. Be5 Rg8 22. Bf6 Bg7 23. Re7+ Kf8 24. Rxa7 Re8 25. Be7+ Rxe7

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: <starfire> thanks for the rybka analysis-however i am a bit baffled by it-the assessment is around +1 but the final variation- which black has trouble avoiding- seems to me to leave black the exchange down with white's passed "a" pawn much more dangerous than blacks passed "c" pawn-ie black-as fischer opined-looks dead lost.

how -therefore-does one reconcile rybka's assessment with the concluding variation, one which looks like a stone cold win to me?

thanks for any elucidation

Apr-12-14  cybertopax: Houdini 4 Pro improves this line and gives it +3.00 17.Nxc6-bxc6 18. Bd6-Be6 19. Rb7-Qxd1 20. Rxd1-Bf8 21. Be5-Rg8 22.Bf6-Bg7 23.Be7!-Bf8 24.Bg5 and there is no defence against Bf3.
Sep-18-16  WorstPlayerEver: Funny. According to Helgi Olafsson Fischer stated: "Stein is dead lost."

Bobby Fischer Comes Home: The Final Years in Iceland, a Saga of Friendship and Lost Illusions: Helgi Olafsson

Page 15

Sep-18-16  ughaibu: Presumably if Fischer was watching the games for long enough that word got round to Keene, who was engaged in playing, Fischer watched the game for more than "a second".

Is this kind of absurd exaggeration what Gufeld had in mind with "legend"?

Sep-18-16  WorstPlayerEver: Hmm.. Gufeld didn't play at Reykjavik International (1972) afaik. And I can't imagine he showed up in Reykjavik only to see Fisher play. And if he did, he must have heard what Fisher said, maybe his memory fails. But more likely is that he heard the story from Olafsson, who definitely was there; he is an Icelander! I can't find any info about Reykjavik International (1972), by the way. Any way: these guys have to write books for a living. Maybe that's why. Let's hear it from Keene himself. He does know everything about writing books.. doesn't he? ;)
Sep-18-16  WorstPlayerEver: PPS I have traced the following participants (Reykjavik International 1972):


Sep-18-16  WorstPlayerEver: Hehe I found it (same page 15 as in one of my previous comments):

"As the newspapers reported, he (edit: Bobby) told Gudmundur (edit: Sigurjonsson), "Stein is dead lost."

So Olafsson read it in a newspaper!

'Problem' solved! :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  adalthor23: Well, according to my sources, Guđmundur was not grandmaster Sigurjónsson, but rather Guđmundur Ţ. Ţórarinsson, president of the icelandic chess federation at that time.

And worth mentioning: One of the players was Gunnar Gunnarsson, who one year (i think 1966?) was both icelandic chess champion as well as icelandic football champion with his club, Valur from Reykjavík!

Premium Chessgames Member
  adalthor23: 16 players: Friđrik Ólafsson, Vlastimil Hort, Florin Gheorghiu, Leonid Stein, Ulf Andersson, Vladimir Tukmakov, Jan Timman, Raymond Keene, Guđmundur Sigurjónsson, Magnús Sólmundarson, Bragi Kristjánsson, Jón Torfason, Freysteinn Ţorbergsson, Jón Kristinsson, Gunnar Gunnarsson and Harvey Georgsson.
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