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Fischer 
The Championship Season: Bobby Fischer in 1972.  
Robert James Fischer
Number of games in database: 992
Years covered: 1953 to 1992
Last FIDE rating: 2780
Highest rating achieved in database: 2785
Overall record: +420 -86 =247 (72.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      239 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (182) 
    B90 B32 B88 B44 B57
 Ruy Lopez (119) 
    C92 C69 C95 C97 C98
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (75) 
    C92 C95 C97 C98 C89
 French Defense (68) 
    C19 C11 C18 C16 C15
 Caro-Kann (52) 
    B10 B11 B18 B14 B17
 French Winawer (40) 
    C19 C18 C16 C15 C17
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (119) 
    B92 B99 B97 B90 B93
 King's Indian (116) 
    E62 E80 E97 E60 E67
 Sicilian Najdorf (77) 
    B92 B99 B97 B90 B93
 Nimzo Indian (23) 
    E45 E46 E40 E43 E21
 Grunfeld (20) 
    D79 D86 D98 D80 D85
 English (18) 
    A16 A15 A10 A19
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956 0-1
   R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963 0-1
   Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 1-0
   Fischer vs Myagmarsuren, 1967 1-0
   Fischer vs Fine, 1963 1-0
   Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 0-1
   Fischer vs Tal, 1961 1-0
   Fischer vs Benko, 1963 1-0
   Letelier vs Fischer, 1960 0-1
   Fischer vs Reshevsky, 1958 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   US Championship 1963/64 (1963)
   Mar del Plata (1960)
   Netanya (1968)
   Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Rovinj/Zagreb (1970)
   Skopje (1967)
   Vinkovci (1968)
   Buenos Aires (1970)
   Fischer - Spassky (1992)
   Zurich (1959)
   Mar del Plata (1959)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   Havana (1965)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Fischer vs The Russians by wanabe2000
   Match Fischer! by amadeus
   Bobby Fischer: Selected Games from 1955-1992 by wanabe2000
   Russians versus Fischer by Anatoly21
   Bjelica_125 by Gottschalk
   Robert Fischer's Best Games by KingG
   Fischer Favorites by atrifix
   Fischer 101 by rea
   Fischer's Finest by morphyvsfischer
   fischer best games by brager
   Bobby Fischer Rediscovered (Andy Soltis) by AdrianP
   Games by Fisher by gothic
   Bobby Fischer's Road to the World Championship by WeakSquare
   fav Capablanca & Fischer games by guoduke

GAMES ANNOTATED BY FISCHER: [what is this?]
   Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858
   R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963
   Petrosian vs Pachman, 1961
   Korchnoi vs Fischer, 1970
   Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886
   >> 18 GAMES ANNOTATED BY FISCHER

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Robert James Fischer
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ROBERT JAMES FISCHER
(born Mar-09-1943, died Jan-17-2008) United States of America (citizen of Iceland)

[what is this?]
Robert James ("Bobby") Fischer was born on March 9, 1943 in Chicago. At 13, he won the stunning brilliancy D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956, which Hans Kmoch christened "The Game of the Century." At 14, he won the US Championship, becoming the youngest player ever to do so.

Fischer's victory qualified him for the 1958 Portorož Interzonal. He tied for 5th–6th, which sufficed to advance him to the Candidates Tournament to decide the challenger to World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik. It also made him, at 15, the youngest grandmaster ever - a record that stood until Judit Polgar broke it in 1991. At the Candidates tournament, held in Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Fischer finished fifth out of eight, the top non-Soviet player.

Fischer won the US Championship all eight times he played, in each case by at least a point. In the US Championship 1963/64 (1963) he achieved the only perfect score (11-0) in the history of the tournament.

In 1962, he won the Stockholm Interzonal 2½ points ahead of Efim Geller and Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian. This made him one of the favorites to win the Candidates Tournament at Curaçao, but he only finished fourth, behind Petrosian, Geller, and Paul Keres.

In a famous article in Sports Illustrated, The Russians Have Fixed World Chess, Fischer accused the Soviets of cheating: Petrosian, Geller, and Keres had drawn all 12 of the games among themselves at Curaçao. Because of this, he refused to play in the next Candidates cycle. He did play in the 1967 Sousse Interzonal, but left it while leading, because of a scheduling dispute occasioned by Fischer's refusal to play on Saturday, his Sabbath.

In 1970 he won the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal by a record 3½ points. The following year, he shocked the chess world by sweeping the Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match (1971) and the Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match (1971) by identical 6-0 scores. He also won the first game of his Candidates final against former World Champion Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, giving him a modern record of 20 consecutive wins at the highest level of competition. He beat Petrosian by 6½-2½ to advance to the World Championship match against reigning champion Boris Spassky. This also gave him a FIDE rating of 2785, making him at that time the highest-rated player in history.

In Reykjavik, he won the Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match (1972) by 12½-8½ to become the 11th World Chess Champion. In 1975, Fischer forfeited his title after FIDE refused to meet his conditions for a World Championship match with Anatoly Karpov. He then vanished from the public eye for nearly 20 years.

After ending his competitive career, he proposed a new variant of chess and a modified chess timing system. His idea of adding a time increment after each move is now standard, and his variant "Fischerandom" (or "Chess960") is gaining in popularity.(2)

Fischer resurfaced in 1992 to play a match against his old rival Spassky in Yugoslavia, which he won 10-5 with 15 draws. This action allegedly violated U.S. Treasury Department regulations that forbade transacting business with Yugoslavia. Fischer evaded authorities for twelve years until July 13, 2004, when he was arrested in Japan. On March 22, 2005, he was granted Icelandic citizenship and finally freed from Japan. He died of renal failure in Iceland on January 17, 2008 at the age of 64.

Fischer's anthology, My 60 Memorable Games, was published in 1969. It has been described as a "classic of objective and painstaking analysis"1, and is regarded as one of the great classics of chess literature.

(1) Hooper & Whyld. The Oxford Companion to Chess. 1992

(2) Wikipedia article: Bobby Fischer

(3) User: jessicafischerqueen 's YouTube documentary of Fischer http://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...


 page 1 of 40; games 1-25 of 992  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. D Mayers vs Fischer 1-017 1953 Blitz GameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. J Altusky vs Fischer 0-18 1954 Offhand GameC71 Ruy Lopez
3. Fischer vs J Altusky 1-012 1954 Offhand GameE90 King's Indian
4. W Whisler vs Fischer ½-½25 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
5. Fischer vs K Warner 0-128 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrB58 Sicilian
6. J Thomason vs Fischer 0-123 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrE90 King's Indian
7. A Humphrey vs Fischer ½-½33 1955 US Amateur ChE61 King's Indian
8. Fischer vs V Pupols 0-144 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrC40 King's Knight Opening
9. A W Conger vs Fischer 1-012 1955 Correspondence GameE70 King's Indian
10. Fischer vs D Ames ½-½28 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrC47 Four Knights
11. D Byrne vs Fischer 0-141 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
12. Fischer vs M Pavey 0-152 1956 New York ManhattanA07 King's Indian Attack
13. F R Anderson vs Fischer ½-½19 1956 Montreal CA-openB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
14. D Ruth vs Fischer 0-124 1956 57th US OpenB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
15. Fischer vs E Hearst 0-140 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
16. W Walz vs Fischer 0-140 1956 Montreal CA-openB25 Sicilian, Closed
17. Fischer vs Santasiere ½-½19 1956 57th US OpenA06 Reti Opening
18. Feuerstein vs Fischer ½-½22 1956 Eastern States OpenE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
19. H Goldhamer vs Fischer 0-125 1956 WashingtonB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
20. Fischer vs S Baron 1-053 1956 New York ManhattanC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
21. A M Swank vs Fischer 0-143 1956 57th US OpenB20 Sicilian
22. J F Donovan vs Fischer 0-140 1956 57th US OpenE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
23. Fischer vs Mednis ½-½40 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
24. Reshevsky vs Fischer 1-031 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
25. W Whisler vs Fischer 0-128 1956 Candas op 92\\09E87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
 page 1 of 40; games 1-25 of 992  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Fischer wins | Fischer loses  
 

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Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <fedalio> - The Look article I cited a couple of posts ago actually mentions a phone call Fischer received from Nixon, where Nixon supposedly invited Fischer to the White House "win or lose" (paraphased).

According to the article Fischer was beaming after the call - and was a fan of Nixon.

You post makes for a fun read, I must say!

Jul-29-14  fedalio: <Zanzibar> I think the final paragraph reveals more about Winter's pedantic nature than anything else.

My copy of Seirawan's book is at my parents, but my memory when I read the book in 1992 was that he did recognise Fischer as world champion....I'm not sure if Winter is again being disingenuous with that quote. The "Yasser Seirawan adopted the most elegant diplomatic position: "I have no problem recognizing Kasparov as FIDE Champion and Bobby Fischer as the World Champion" from http://bobbyfischer.net/bobby28.html

Is more what I remember from reading the book.

Jul-29-14  fedalio: <Zanzibar>
'I was never invited to the White House,' he said in one of his radio interviews. 'They invited that Olympic Russian gymnast - that little Communist, Olga Korbut.'
Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <fedalio> Obviously I must share some of Winter's pedantic traits - I wish!

The bobby28 link you ref is most likely a slight altered rephrasing of Seirawan's original (a reasonable surmise since bobby28 lack refs).

But I now see that Winter also quotes this from p5 of Seirawan's <No Regrets>:

<To Fischer, Kasparov is merely FIDE champion. It is a compelling argument. Until the wondrous day when they play a match, the chess world has room for two World Champions>

This seems a more forceful statement, more in line with what you're saying.

But then again, consider the context. Seirawan is writing a book about the 1992 Spassky-Fischer match. And why stop at two WC's, within a year or two the world would have three (depending on who's counting)!

Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <fedalio> RE: WH invite.

I don't doubt Fischer may have said that, I'm going off-line at the moment.

Maybe later I'll look up the Look article again. I just read it, so I'm almost 100% sure Nixon is mentioned. The famous phone call is the one from Kissinger though... check out the article though, it's a good contemporaneous read.

Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<tzar> Well, it was obvious that he knew that if he did not play he would lose his title...that is why he entered in negotiations with FIDE, otherwise, he would not bother to negotiate his conditions at all.>

I wouldn't call Fischer's position on his demands "negotiations". He indicated that his demands were non-negotiable, they had to be accepted in full or he would not play in the match against Karpov. And that is what happened.

Besides, as far as Fischer was concerned, FIDE could only take away from him the "FIDE title" if he did not play in that match, not the World Champion title. He would still consider himself "World Champion" regardless of what FIDE did. That's why he insisted that his 1992 match with Spassky was the World Championship match.

Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Joshka> in fact this was the way the championships were decided long ago under steinitz, he had the right to have the match his way instead of the way the soviets had all those years>

The fact that the world championships were decided according to the terms dictated by the holder of the title until 1948 is interesting but irrelevant as far as the 1975 World Chess Championship match. I don't think that anyone, including Fischer in 1975, would argue that the World Chess Championship was <administered> by FIDE, although whether FIDE <owned> the title in the sense that Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, etc. owned the title is a subject for discussion. But I don't agree that Fischer had the <right> to have the match "his way". Why would that be the case? It couldn't have anything to do with "the way the soviets had all those years" (not that this would make any difference) since the rules for the World Championship match were defined <before> the 1948 tournament was held and had nothing to do with the Soviets.

And in 1975 FIDE had agreed to Fischer's demands for an unlimited length match with draws not counting, although this was not always the way that World Chess Championships were determined prior to 1948. Refer to the match rules for Steinitz-Gunsberg (1890), Lasker-Schlecter (1910), Lasker-Capablanca (1921), Alekhine-Bogoljubov (1929 and 1934), and Alekhine-Euwe (1935 and 1937).

Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Petrosianic> What he was afraid of was "accidents". Fluke results that might result in his defeat even though he were the best player.>

True, but FIDE had agreed to Fischer's condition of an unlimited length match with draws not counting, greatly reducing the probability that the lesser player would win the match. Was Fischer concerned that Karpov would "accidentally" win 10 games and win the match?

Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<diceman> Just imagine the 72 match ending after game two.>

I don't get your point. Is it that if the match had ended after game two (more likely after game three if Spassky had refused the change of venue to a small room and Fischer had forfeited that game as well) that we would have been deprived of those fine games?

That's certainly true. But how many fine games were we deprived of when Fischer in his prime decided to stop playing after that 1972 match? And who is to blame for that?

Jul-29-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<fedalio> Didn't the US House of Representatives in the 1980s recognise via a resolution Fischer as world champion?>

Yes, in 1986 the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 545 by unanimous consent (imagine any resolution passing today's House of Representatives by unanimous consent!) which stated that the United States government recognizes Bobby Fischer as the official World Chess Champion. It then died in committee. See http://www.chessmaniac.com/index.ph...

<I think he [Charles Pashayan] helped arrange (certainly from a contractual perspective) the 1992 match.>

Probably. Charles Pashayan served as Fischer's pro bono lawyer (see link above) and was included as a recipient of the letter sent by the Department of the Treasury to Fischer indicating that Fischer was subject to the prohibitions under Executive Order 12810, dated June 5, 1992, imposing sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro and the penalties for violating that Executive Order. See http://anusha.com/regrets.htm. So I would assume that Pashayan was involved with Fischer's 1992 match.

Jul-29-14  diceman: <AylerKupp: <<diceman> Just imagine the 72 match ending after game two.> I don't get your point. Is it that if the match had ended after game two (more likely after game three if Spassky had refused the change of venue to a small room and Fischer had forfeited that game as well) that we would have been deprived of those fine games?>

No.
Its about who saw it coming and how it unfolded.
You have an A/B comparison of your thoughts vs what
actually happened.

The Fischer of the 70's wasn't the Fischer of the 50's, and 60's.

Fischer never beat Spassky.
Good luck with that theory.

Fischer wasn't flexible in his openings.
(remember the two knights caro-kann of the "young" Fischer) Good luck with that theory.

Fischer would have trouble with Spassky's Samish Kings Indian. Good luck with that theory.
(there never was one)

Most analysis comes from a rearview mirror, with experts being expert on what has happened not what will happen.

The problem with analyzing a genius is most people aren't one.

Fischer/Spassky 72 was the equivalent of Ali-Foreman. It makes a whole lotta sense after the fact.

Jul-30-14  tzar: Fischer statistics in classical games during his career dont look phenomenal if we consider his mythical status...His numbers are nowhere near Kasparov who has huge plus scores against almost everyone:

FISCHER:

vs Petrosian +8 -4 =15
vs Tal +2 -4 =5
vs Spassky +7 -6 =11 (pre 1992)
vs Geller +3 -5 =2
vs Botvinnik +0 -0 = 1
vs Korchnoi +2 -2 =4
vs Keres +4 -3 =3
vs Revhevsky +9 -4 =13
vs Portisch +4 -0 =5
Vs Larsen +9 -2 =1

But his statistics 1970-72 (classical games) speak for themselves. What happened????... A streak of abnormal good results (like other players such as Tal had in 1972-73) or the birth of a new chess monster being able to reinvent himself???:

FISCHER 1970-2:

+68 -7 (1 by default) =30

Jul-30-14  tzar: This is the sort of domination of Kasparov:

vs Short +28 -2 =26
vs Karpov +28 -21 =129
vs Topalov +10 -3 =14
vs Shirov +15 -0 =14
vs Korchnoi +16 -1 =23
vs Polgar +8 -0 =3
vs Anand +16 -4 =31
vs Kramnik +4 -5 =40
vs Gelfand +13 -0 =8
vs Adams +10 -0 =8
vs Portisch +4 -0 =8
vs Ivanchuk +11 -4 =22

Jul-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Look at Fischer's comments on what it means to be "Champion of the World" here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/1972-...

At about 5:10, start at 5:00

<Well the [dismissively] *Champion of the World*. Well, irst of all, how do you compete? So he's [i.e. Spassky] not really much of a champion. ... He's the best they [Russia i.e. Soviets] got.>

Jul-30-14  Petrosianic: <.His numbers are nowhere near Kasparov who has huge plus scores against almost everyone:>

That's because he played for well over a decade as "just another" Top 10 player, while Kasparov was ahead of everyone in the pack except Karpov practically from the day he appeared on the scene.

<What happened????... A streak of abnormal good results (like other players such as Tal had in 1972-73) or the birth of a new chess monster being able to reinvent himself???:>

Probably the second. The evidence of Fischer's moves and the length of time involved (3 years) argues against any kind of luck or fluky streak (who else ever had a streak like that?).

But it's incomplete because we saw Fischer's punch without seeing how well or how poorly the chess world would be able to react and adjust to him. When Tal was a colossus, the chess world succeeded in adjusting to his style. Tal was still a top GM for the next 30 years, to be sure, but he was no longer an unstoppable colossus. With Kasparov, they could not adjust, and he was a colossus until he stepped down. With Fischer, we don't know. My feeling is that Fischer was simply unable (or unwilling or both) to maintain the pace he'd set for himself with his Total Immersion training regimen, and was unwilling to settle for anything less. To be able to be on top of the chess world for long periods, you have to be able to balance chess with real life. Fischer was never able to do that.

Jul-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Fischer has a high and earnest respect for President Nixon. The other day LIFE photographer Harry Benson arrived from a White House assignment with a personal message from a White House assignment with a personal message from the President. Excited, Fischer listened with growing delight as Benson reported what Nixon had said, that he wanted Fischer to come visit him, even if he loses, that he liked him "because he is a fighter." When we left, Fischer's eyes were clear and the angle of his jaw was aggressive.

What I like about the way Fischer received Nixon's message is his flat undefended naivete. Fischer was wowed and had the natural honesty to show that he was wowed. I saw him at that moment as an immensely likable teen-ager.>

http://books.google.com/books?id=EV...

So I mis-remembered the personal message carried by Benson as being a phone call, but got the rest of it pretty much right.

Jul-30-14  diceman: <tzar: Fischer statistics in classical games during his career dont look phenomenal if we consider his mythical status...His numbers are nowhere near Kasparov who has huge plus scores against almost everyone:>

Fischer faced the Tals, Petrosians, Spasskys as a kid when they were like him in the 70's. (WC strength)

GK was like Fischer in the 70's vs the newer players and the rest were the "old guard" leaving chess.

I think GK, AK, benefited greatly from no Fischer and only having to deal with "old" Korchnoi.
Even if it was 1 win in 74, and 1 in 78.
(by 81 it was too late for VK)

By not leaving chess GK had more at bats.

How do you make 6-0, 6-0,
9-0, 9-0?
...add more games. :)

You cant compare a guy who stopped
at his peak vs one who did'nt.

<But his statistics 1970-72 (classical games) speak for themselves. What happened????...>

The kid became a man.

This is really nothing new.

Anand had a plus score before the match vs Carlsen.
(from what I hear)

Its because he was Anand, and Carlsen was "the kid."
That really didn't matter when he played Carlsen.

Its the same with GK, Carslen played him as a kid with GK on his way out. Not really much use as a metric.

With his "young" age I would expect Carlsen to get better.

Of course, no one has matched Fischer's rating gap, and in the 70's he had a rating of todays players.

Jul-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: <Petrosianic: <.His numbers are nowhere near Kasparov who has huge plus scores against almost everyone:>

That's because he played for well over a decade as "just another" Top 10 player, while Kasparov was ahead of everyone in the pack except Karpov practically from the day he appeared on the scene.>

This is factually inaccurate. Fischer first ranked as #1 at 20, Kasparov at 19. Both appeared on the scene quite a few years before that (a couple extra years for Kasparov, for what it's worth). Each player's gap varied A LOT during their respective careers, of course. So I don't really see a huge difference in that respect.

Jul-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <diceman> I said that I didn't get your point and it was clear that I didn't. Now I do.

And you're right that the problem with analyzing a genius is that most people aren't one. The same goes for analyzing a crazy man.

Jul-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <tzar> Maybe it was the second instance of "I just got good". Which makes his near-retirement from chess all the more unfortunate.
Jul-30-14  Petrosianic: This is factually inaccurate. Fischer first ranked as #1 at 20, Kasparov at 19.

There was no rating system until Fischer was 27. What you're talking about now are retroactive systems that no one knew about at the time. Everyone was impressed by the 1963/4 US Championship, but nobody felt that it made Fischer the best player in the world, especially so soon after failing so badly at Curaco. Fischer simply never began dominating the rest of the world like Kasparov, or like he dominated the US scene until 1970. You can look at the numbers. Going into 1970, he had losing records against Petrosian, Spassky, Gligoric (possibly, I'd have to double check that one), and other players that he was ahead of by 1973. He was one of the best but not head and shoulders above the pack before 1970.

So I'd stand by the statement, with one caveat. Since there was no rating system, my description of him as a Top 10 Player was strictly informal. Most people would have thought of him that way, or even Top 5.

Jul-30-14  Petrosianic: What Kasparov did was equivalent to Fischer challenging for the World Title in 1959 or 1962, but winning and playing at his 1972 level at that time.

Seriously, this is why Kasparov's record against his top opponents looks better than Fischer's. Kasparov won the title on his 1st cycle, Fischer won it on his 5th. It's not a good way of judging how good each player was at their peak.

Jul-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: <Petrosianic: There was no rating system until Fischer was 27. What you're talking about now are retroactive systems that no one knew about at the time. Everyone was impressed by the 1963/4 US Championship, but nobody felt that it made Fischer the best player in the world, especially so soon after failing so badly at Curaco.>

That people didn't know about it at the time, or how they felt, shouldn't matter to us now. Unless we're doing a sociological research on how the chess public perceives the players under different conditions.

<Fischer simply never began dominating the rest of the world like Kasparov, or like he dominated the US scene until 1970.>

Like Kasparov when? People often seem to enter an argument with this weird idea that from the moment Kasparov could be said to be the best player in the world (somewhere between 1984 and 1986, I guess) to when he retired 20 years later he always, constantly enjoyed the same degree of domination. He didn't. His results naturally fluctuated and in 1985 he didn't even remotely dominate his opponents the way he did in 1995. The same goes for Fischer, except that Fischer's career was a statistical anomaly and much shorter.

<What Kasparov did was equivalent to Fischer challenging for the World Title in 1959 or 1962, but winning and playing at his 1972 level at that time.

Kasparov won the title on his 1st cycle, Fischer won it on his 5th. It's not a good way of judging how good each player was at their peak.>

I believe you'll want to rethink this one. Kasparov beating Karpov in 1985 at 22 was the equivalent of Fischer winning the title at 15 because that's when he got his first shot? So basically Fischer should be penalized for qualifying at 15?

The cycle count isn't a very good yardstick either, so this is just nitpicking, but it was Fischer's third (1959, 1963, 1970) and Kasparov's second (1984, 1985) attempt.

Jul-30-14  tzar: <Petrosianic: That's because he played for well over a decade as "just another" Top 10 player, while Kasparov was ahead of everyone in the pack except Karpov practically from the day he appeared on the scene.>

Absolutely agree (well mostly Top 5 as you also pointed out). IMO this Fischer "time gap" to get to his maximum strength could be linked to the fact that he learned chess by himself. While AK, GK and other Soviet GMs were carefully nursed by the best players or trained at the Botvinnik school and very early in their careers had strong teams of seconds, Fischer was on his own.

He started to see that something was missing when he started playing top foreign players and realized that he lacked something (psychology, experience, tricks, novelties, etc).

His first experiences with Tal were dramatic, and he learned in the hard way that he was only King in his own country, where he crushed everyone.

But he kept fighting his way and finally did it...and left the scene.

Jul-30-14  Petrosianic: <That people didn't know about it at the time, or how they felt, shouldn't matter to us now.>

Well, the original claim was that it was a fact that Fischer was the World's #1 player during a time when there was no official ranking. It wasn't a fact and nobody believed it was. It's also a fact that the rating system does not even purport to measure strength. So, either way, it seems pretty shaky to argue that Fischer achieved Kasparovian level dominance by cleaning up on weaker players. That's not how people understand the term.

<So basically Fischer should be penalized for qualifying at 15?>

I'm not penalizing him at all. I'm <supporting> him by pointing out that you can't judge his peak by looking at games played before his peak.

His record against Abe Turner was +0-2=1. I'm not "penalizing" him by pointing out that he was nowhere near his peak when those games were played. It's the exact same argument Fischer himself used when people pointed out his losing record against Spassky. ("Those are old games").

<The cycle count isn't a very good yardstick either, so this is just nitpicking, but it was Fischer's third (1959, 1963, 1970) and Kasparov's second (1984, 1985) attempt.>

It was his 5th.

1. 1958-1960 (made it to the Candidates).

2. 1961-1963 (made it to the Candidates).

3. 1964-1966 (qualified for interzonal, withdrew without play).

4. 1967-1969 (qualified for interzonal withdrew mid tournament).

5. 1970-1972 (went all the way).

It's a good yardstick because it's broken up into equal 3-year blocks. Fischer's record against Petrosian during those first 4 blocks was +1-3. His record during Block 5 was +7-1. Big difference. He was a World Class player as early as Block 1, but Block 5 is the time period where he was comparable to Karpov and Kasparov at their best.

Or to look at it another way, during Cycles 1 through 4, Fischer scored about 42% against Soviet Grandmasters. During Cycle 5, he scored over 70%. Cycle 5 is where his greatest achievements are.

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