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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.

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

   Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858
   R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963
   Petrosian vs Pachman, 1961
   Korchnoi vs Fischer, 1970
   Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Robert James Fischer
Search Google for 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

 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. Fischer vs D Ames ½-½28 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrC47 Four Knights
5. A W Conger vs Fischer 1-012 1955 Correspondence GameE70 King's Indian
6. W Whisler vs Fischer ½-½25 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
7. Fischer vs K Warner 0-128 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrB58 Sicilian
8. J Thomason vs Fischer 0-123 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrE90 King's Indian
9. Fischer vs V Pupols 0-144 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrC40 King's Knight Opening
10. A Humphrey vs Fischer ½-½33 1955 US Amateur ChE61 King's Indian
11. S Bernstein vs Fischer 0-133 1956 Montreal CA-openD02 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Fischer vs E Nash 0-151 1956 US Amateur ChampionshipA05 Reti Opening
13. Shainswit vs Fischer ½-½27 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
14. Bisguier vs Fischer 1-033 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyE78 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack, with Be2 and Nf3
15. Fischer vs N Hurttlen ½-½14 1956 Eastern States opC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. Fischer vs Seidman 1-039 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyA07 King's Indian Attack
17. E W Marchand vs Fischer 0-155 1956 WashingtonA15 English
18. Fischer vs S Bernstein ½-½56 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyC70 Ruy Lopez
19. C F Tears vs Fischer ½-½45 1956 57th US OpenB25 Sicilian, Closed
20. D Byrne vs Fischer 0-141 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
21. Fischer vs M Pavey 0-152 1956 New York ManhattanA07 King's Indian Attack
22. F R Anderson vs Fischer ½-½19 1956 Montreal CA-openB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
23. D Ruth vs Fischer 0-124 1956 57th US OpenB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
24. Fischer vs E Hearst 0-140 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
25. W Walz vs Fischer 0-140 1956 Montreal CA-openB25 Sicilian, Closed
 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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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1974 OF 1974 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Sally Simpson> Who was Louis and how come they made him a saint.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  northernfox: <Sally et. al.>

Just to be specific, the world premiere of the movie "Pawn Sacrifice" will take place at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival (September 4-14).

Jul-23-14  diceman: <Sally Simpson:
(Who was Louis and how come they made him a saint.)>

He was saint because he was married to Miss Ouri.

...supposedly she was difficult to get along with.

Jul-28-14  tzar: An interesting point about Fischer's decision to quit chess is what happened in 1975...He realised that he was going to lose his crown and he decided to come back to the "real world", not in terms of playing again but in terms of contacting FIDE to set out conditions to defend his title. IMO Fischer was not sure if he wanted to play and in this moment the "Karpov factor" could have played his role. Fischer was following chess very instensly and he knew about Karpov's strenght better than anyone else and how he was crushing everybody, including Spassky.

If something terrorized Fischer was the sole idea of defeat and to give back his title to the Soviets. So, even if he thought he could beat him, the idea that Karpov was a strong opponent with some chances may have scared his paranoid mind.

So, the big question is: Had Fischer played if his oponent had been Spassky,Korchnoi or i.e. Petrosian??? My answer is that very probably YES.

Jul-28-14  Petrosianic: <He realised that he was going to lose his crown>

How do you know?

<Fischer was following chess very instensly>

According to the New Zork Times article, "Fischer's Friends Fear He'll Never Play Chess Again", he wasn't following it closely at all.

<So, the big question is: Had Fischer played if his oponent had been Spassky,Korchnoi or i.e. Petrosian??? My answer is that very probably YES.>

Well, he refused to play Korchnoi in 1980 for a couple of million. And he backed even out of the Match with Gligoric in 1978 (a match he could hardly have lost). So better change that probably Yes to Probably No. Although in Spassky's case, there might have been a very slim hope.

Jul-28-14  tzar: <Petrosianic:>

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.

According to Dzindzichashvili, one of the only GMs who had contact with Fischer after retirement and played numerous training games with him, Bobby was following chess and training very hard.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <tzar> < he realized he was going to lose his crown> totally poppycock, even karpov admitted bobby had the better chances, no, bobby stuck to his principles he was champ anyway, scaled everest, was only going to defend under the system no draws, unlimited games, ect. 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, so no, bobby was not afraid, nothing could be further from reality.
Jul-28-14  tzar: <Joshka: <tzar> < he realized he was going to lose his crown> totally poppycock>

What I meant in my post is not that he realized he was going to lose his title because he thought he was going to lose.

I meant that in 1975 he must have realized that if he did not play at all he will lose his title by default!! the time had come to make a decision.

Jul-28-14  tzar: <Joshka:he had the right to have the match his way instead of the way the soviets had all those years, so no, bobby was not afraid, nothing could be further from reality.>

Who gave him this "right"? Caissa?

Jul-28-14  Petrosianic: <Who gave him this "right"? Caissa?>

Apparently. There's never been a match in the history of chess in which one player had absolutely anything he wanted, without limit, while his opponent had absolutely nothing. If someone should find that such a match ever did happen (perhaps in some podunk club somewhere), it would be a blatantly unfair one.

And of course, there were players out there willing to put up with such unprecedented conditions just to have a chance to play a match with Fischer. He wouldn't play them either, as he had retired.

I'm afraid Joshka knows that a lot of the things he says are untrue. He'll willingly make a mistake 100 times in the hope of not getting called on it once, and maybe possibly fooling somebody. He's one of the True Believers, obsessed with Fischer's private life, but knowing very little about his chess career.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Whether or not you believe Karpov could have defeated Bobby in '75, in Bobby's mind that was an impossibility. He wasn't afraid of anybody at chess in the 1970s, he had far too much hubris.

His staunch posturing in '75 stemmed from the fact that he truly believed that by winning the championship, the crown was "his" — and in the spirit of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, et al, the champion had the right to set the conditions, reject offers, etc. That's why in his resignation letter to FIDE, he basically said this: "OK, fine, then I'm not the FIDE World Champion, which is a meaningless title anyhow, but I'm certainly the World Champion, which is all that counts." (Years later, echoed by Kasparov.)

That's why Bobby insisted that his rematch with Spassky in the 90s was *the* World Championship match, not some exhibition. Everybody just rolled their eyes and said "Sure, Bobby, whatever you want to call it, as long as you play chess." But in his mind, that was the absolute truth--he fancied himself like Alekhine, taking a long break then pushing wood with Bogolubov to retain his crown. His title, he can do as pleases.

I'm not trying to defend his position, I'm just painting a picture of the world seen through his eyes.

Jul-28-14  tzar: <Sneaky:> Maybe true, but one of the main traits of paranoia (and I assume that Fischer was a paranoid by what many people have written about him) is that they irrationally fear things and sense inexistent dangers or I would not be so sure that the very self-assured public attitude of Fischer reflected the real demons he had inside...but who knows...maybe only Fischer
Jul-28-14  Petrosianic: <Sneaky>: <Whether or not you believe Karpov could have defeated Bobby in '75, in Bobby's mind that was an impossibility. He wasn't afraid of anybody at chess in the 1970s, he had far too much hubris.>

That seems to be true. What he was afraid of was "accidents". Fluke results that might result in his defeat even though he were the best player. That's no secret, he admitted that that was his reason for not playing in the 1969 Zonal.

People forget that he didn't just duck out on one player, like Alekhine did, he ducked out on <everyone>.

<he fancied himself like Alekhine, taking a long break then pushing wood with Bogolubov to retain his crown. His title, he can do as pleases.>

Alekhine never really took any long breaks. He did go 5 years in between the two Bogo matches, but he didn't leave chess during that time. Frank Marshall would be a better example, since he held the US title for a quarter century while only defending it once in that time. (Of course Marshall never left chess either, and remained an active player during all those years, and never resigned his title either).

Jul-28-14  Petrosianic: <Sneaky> That's not to say you're wrong. Yes, certainly Fischer <did> believe himself to be the world champion in 1992 (despite resigning the only world title he ever won). But a title that no one acknowledges isn't worth very much. Telling me that he sincerely believed his claim doesn't make it any less inaccurate. The only thing I'd disagree with you on is the idea that Fischer wanted to set his own playing conditions, rather than to avoid playing altogether. If he'd wanted to play during those 20 years, he would have.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Rueben Fine, trained psychologist and one who studied Fischer the man since he was a boy. He knew Fischer, he played Fischer.

Fine wrote just after the '72 that Fischer may not play again because having won the title the only thing that can happen next was to lose it.

He predicts Fischer may retire from the game for a long period due to inner turmoil.

He claims Fischer wanted to be treated like a King. Special chair flown in, sole access to the pool and tennis courts, the lighting just so, chairs removed from the playing arena.

When the time came that Fischer would lose the title (and he knew one day he must) he would no longer get these demands met. He would be ignored...

"Bobby Fischer's Conquest of the World Chess Championship" published 1973.

My armchair analysis on the matter.

The fear of losing the title clearly outshone the joy of winning the title. He, again as Fine hinted at it, laid down conditions he knew would be rejected so he resigned.

You are not stripping me of my title, I am resigning it.

You are not sacking me from my job, I quit.

You are not over throwing your King. I abdicate.

Something along those lines. But that's me. Fine is the one who has the credentials. (mind you, some parts of that book IMHO are nonsense but there again, what do I, Fine or anyone really know. Only one man can give the answers and alas he has gone.)

Jul-29-14  Petrosianic: That's true, but as Sneaky said, I'm sure Fischer convinced himself that he still had the title, despite resigning it.

For Fischer's own sake, it would have been nice if he could have played just one more match before retiring with the title. He'd have been set for life if he'd played that 1975 match, win, lose or draw. Could have had that Rook house, or anything else he'd have been likely to want.

The reason he couldn't, I think, is the one big weakness in his style. Unlike other Top GM's and even world champions, his training regimen was one of Total Immersion in chess, with no room for anything else. When he won the title, after 15 years of Total Immersion, he seems to have taken genuine time off from the game, and just found it too difficult to get back into. He overplayed his hand by resigning the title at the first whiff of trouble, rather than hanging in for a while and making it look as though he wanted to play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Petrosianic,

You are possibly correct, as I said, the only person who really knew all the answers to all of the questions can no longer answer them.

But he is still talking to us through his games. That is how he should be remembered.

Jul-29-14  Petrosianic: I'm not sure even Fischer knew all the answers. People aren't always honest with themselves. At Sveti Stefan, a reporter asked Fischer why he hadn't played in 20 years, and his answers was that it was because nobody had played him. So, even in his own mind, the facts about his own thoughts and motivations weren't completely accurate.
Jul-29-14  Howard: Agreed, Petrosianic ! Like a lot of us, I still remember the 1992 match quite well....the first game was played on Wednesday, Sept 2, 1992 I believe. Personally, I was relocating at the time and looking for an apartment that particular week.

Still remember sitting in a McDonald's in southeastern Michigan one morning and reading that Fischer had won the first game.

It was truly hard to believe that Robert James Fischer was once again sitting at the chessboard.

Jul-29-14  Petrosianic: Imagine if there had been a meaningful internet in 1992, and people could have come into a chat room and kibitzed the games in progress.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There would have been true believers in 1992 who agreed with Fischer that he was still champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <perfidious> Would that include any professional or titled players?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zanzibar> My speculation was based on typical players, likely untitled.
Jul-29-14  diceman: <Sally Simpson: Hi Petrosianic,

You are possibly correct, as I said, the only person who really knew all the answers to all of the questions can no longer answer them.>

Just imagine the 72 match ending after game two.

Who would know of the broken kingside Benoni?

The Hubner Nimzo?

Who would say "yes, Bobby is the better player."

Who would think:
Fischer (Mr. best by test) will play a queens gambit as white and defeat Spassky in his opening
where Spassky's had fantastic results in the past?
<After this game, Spassky joined the audience in applauding Fischer's win. This astounded Fischer, who called his opponent "a true sportsman".>

Fischer would win with the English.

Who would "see" game 10?

Who would see game Game 13?
<Former World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik said that this game made a particularly strong impression on him. He called it "the highest creative achievement of Fischer". He resolved a drawish opposite-colored bishops endgame by sacrificing his bishop and trapping his own rook. "Then five passed pawns struggled with the white rook. Nothing similar had been seen before in chess".>

Who would have seen the broken Spassky?
<Spassky's seconds were stunned, and Spassky himself refused to leave the board for a long time after the game was over, unable to believe the result. He remarked, "It is very strange. How can one lose with the opponent's only rook locked in completely at g8?"

Lombardy noted the shock that Spassky was in after he resigned: While Fischer dashed for his car, Spassky remained glued to his seat. A sympathetic Lothar Schmid came over, and the two shifted the pieces about with Boris demonstrating his careless mistakes. The two were left wondering how Bobby could have squeezed a win from a position which a night of competent analysis by a renowned Soviet team had showed to be a guaranteed draw.>

Who would have seen no Kings Indian?

A Pirc?

The last Sicilian variation that Fischer had never played before?

Now if you got all that correct,
congratulations, you know what would have happened in 1975 and exactly why Fischer did what he did.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Life's August 11th 1972 issue describes a little about game 6, after describing Spassky a little:

<The relation between Fischer and Spassky is a special colloid of intimacy, terror, contempt and love. Spassky affects a big-brotherly manner, speaking of Fischer in an affectionately patronizing tone as "Robert James" and "My dear cannibal". In fact, the very thought of Fischer seems to freeze his cortex with dread.>

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