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Fischer vs Spassky 1972
The Match of the Century

The name Bobby Fischer, at least to Americans, is synonymous with chess. A prodigy in the 50s, a world class player in the 60s, the 70s saw Fischer at his pinnacle. He earned the right to challenge Boris Spassky in a title run without comparison, defeating Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen with perfect scores of 6-0, and ex-champion Petrosian 6½-2½. Now the stage was set, and the only thing standing between Fischer and Spassky was Fischer himself.

 Fischer vs Spassky 1972
 Fischer vs Spassky, 1972
The match was mired in political overtones, during the height of the Cold War. The Soviet chess system had a monopoly on the title since 1948, and the expectations on Spassky were enormous. While Fischer studied chess virtually in seclusion, Spassky had the full resources of the USSR. Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports Committee, said: "Basically, the Soviet leadership and the powers that be in sport, were interested in just one issue: how to stop Fischer from becoming World Champion."[1]

With the match set to begin in Reykjavik, Iceland, Fischer (who had not signed any documents confirming his participation) began to make a number of demands, including a percentage of television rights, a larger prize fund, and all manner of conditions covering everything from the lighting to the chair cushions. To satisfy Bobby's demands of a larger prize fund, British chess promoter James Slater donated a dazzling $125,000 to be added to the prize fund. Fischer still needed more convincing by Bill Lombardy (Fischer's last-minute choice as second), and one famously persuasive telephone call from Henry Kissinger. Mere hours before he would be forfeited, Fischer arrived in Iceland.

On July 11th, the "Match of the Century" had begun. Whether it was a blunder, or a passion to win at all costs, the first game saw Fischer uncharacteristically lose a simple drawn endgame. Game 2 was awarded to Spassky by forfeit when Fischer failed to appear in a dispute over the presence of cameras in the playing hall.

With the score 2-0 in Spassky's favor, Fischer refused to play unless TV cameras were removed from the playing hall. Only a last minute agreement by Spassky to play away from the cameras permitted the third game to be held. This turned out to be a huge psychological mistake by Spassky. In game 3, in a small room backstage, Fischer beat Spassky for the first time in his life. The games then returned to the main stage, but without cameras. Winning again in games 5, 6, 8, and 10 the Fischer juggernaut had become unstoppable.

On September 3, 1972, Robert James Fischer became the 11th World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 123456789101112131415161718192021
Fischer001½11½1½10½1½½½½½½½1
Spassky110½00½0½01½0½½½½½½½0

FINAL SCORE:  Fischer 12½;  Spassky 8½
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Fischer-Spassky 1972]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #6     Fischer vs Spassky, 1972     1-0
    · Game #13     Spassky vs Fischer, 1972     0-1
    · Game #5     Spassky vs Fischer, 1972     0-1

FOOTNOTES

  1. Clash of the Titans, television documentary, BBC
    2The Match of the Century, Wikipedia

 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0561972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchE56 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6
2. Fischer vs Spassky 0-101972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchA00 Uncommon Opening
3. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1411972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchA61 Benoni
4. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½451972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
5. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1271972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchE41 Nimzo-Indian
6. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0411972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
7. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½491972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB97 Sicilian, Najdorf
8. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0371972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchA39 English, Symmetrical, Main line with d4
9. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½291972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
10. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0561972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
11. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0311972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB97 Sicilian, Najdorf
12. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½551972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1741972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
14. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½401972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½431972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
16. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½601972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
17. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½451972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
18. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½471972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB69 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 11.Bxf6
19. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½401972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
20. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½541972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7
21. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1411972Spassky - Fischer World Championship MatchB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 32 OF 32 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

HI HeMateMe:

"Imagine. If you were a chessplayer in 1972 you could 'get girls!'"

Right! Chess was cool.

FIDE cashed in on the sudden chess surge by having two Interzonals; Leningrad Interzonal (1973) and Petropolis Interzonal (1973) thus giving 36 players the chance to be the champ instead of one Interzonal Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970) which had 24 players.

Thanks to the world wide publicity of the '72 match they would have had to beat of the countries willing to hold the 1975 final with a stick, but alas...

***

Apr-04-19  Everett: < nok: It spurred Spassky to win the Soviet title the following year.>

This is a great point. Thank you!

Apr-04-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Spassky's triumph in the '73 Soviet championship rates as one of his signature achievements outside the framework of his world title results.
May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  dkappe1: Spassky vs Fischer with Leela annotations. https://lczero.libertymedia.io//201...
May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <dkappe1: Spassky vs Fischer with Leela annotations.>

It will be good to finally figure out Game #2. By the way, are you the one doing all this analysis?

May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <keypusher: <dkappe1: Spassky vs Fischer with Leela annotations.> It will be good to finally figure out Game #2. By the way, are you the one doing all this analysis?>

Carlsens' page is er ... that way lol lol

It's funny how ALL the Fischer Hating Chess Community always gravitate to the page they hate lol lol lol

May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  amadeus: <keypusher: It will be good to finally figure out Game #2>

He should have played 1.e4

May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <amadeus: <keypusher: It will be good to finally figure out Game #2> He should have played 1.e4>

He won .

What more do chess geeks want ???? lol lol lol

He Came. He saw. He conquered . He left. Endgame. lol lol

May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Game #2>
He didn't come. He didn't see. He forfeited.
May-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <beatgiant: <Game #2> He didn't come. He didn't see. He forfeited.>

He did Come. He Did see. Chess Forfeited. Chess lost.

May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Does Fischer have any games against anyone from the UK? I think Yates and Blackburne were too old. The great generation of Nunn, Miles, Stean, had yet to arrive, when Bob was playing in the 60s.
May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  dkappe1: <keypusher: It will be good to finally figure out Game #2. By the way, are you the one doing all this analysis?>

Well, Lc0 and asmfish are doing the analysis, but Im the smart monkey running them.

May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <HeMateMe>
Fischer has a few games against Robert Wade at least.
May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <HeMateMe>
Also at least one game against Jonathan Penrose. I might have forgotten a few other games and players.
May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: thank you, I've been looking over the Wade fellow. He seems to have been quite popular with chess fans.
May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <HeMateMe> And there's this one Fischer / Barden vs Penrose / Clarke, 1960 albeit not an actual tournament game.
May-13-19  john barleycorn: <dkappe1> thanks a lot for the https://lczero.libertymedia.io//201....

Looking at game 13 moves 67 - 69 I do not understand the commentary / evaluation. (T for "Turm" = R for rook)

<67. Td1+ !? +0.00 Ke4 +0.00

68. Tc1 !? +0.00 Kd3 +0.00

69. Td1+ -68.42 Ke2 -132,51>

69. Td1+ must be a massive blunder but it goes by uncommented as does the whole ending after white's move 67. why is that so?

May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <dkappe1> Thanks for doing it! Can the depth of analysis be expressed in ply (or some other measure)?
May-13-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  dkappe1: I've simply modified Chess Artist, but the original code has some issues, i.e. if the score is outside a window (I upped it to +-5.00), it won't comment. Same thing with the ply. I'll add these as issues in the github repo. https://github.com/dkappe/chess-art...
May-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <dkappe1> Your link is broken, but this works (for now?).

https://lczero.libertymedia.io/2019...

Jun-01-19  The Boomerang: How much did Fischer's shenanigans affect Spassky in the first 10 games?

If Fisher just kept totally quiet, showed up for game 2, no complaints about audience or cameras or anything, no changing rooms, would the end result have been exactly the same?

What do you guys think?

Jun-01-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<The Boomerang> If Fisher just kept totally quiet, showed up for game 2, no complaints about audience or cameras or anything, no changing rooms, would the end result have been exactly the same?>

I think that the end result would have been the same but the match score would likely have been slightly different. Fischer's 125 rating point differential advantage over Spassky translates to a 0.67 scoring probability compared to Spassky's 0.33. Using the same questionable methodology I used to try to predict the winning of the 1975 Fischer vs. Karpov match I estimate that the most likely final match score would have been 12.5 6.5 in Fischer's favor.

Jun-01-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <The Boomerang: How much did Fischer's shenanigans affect Spassky in the first 10 games?

If Fisher just kept totally quiet, showed up for game 2, no complaints about audience or cameras or anything, no changing rooms, would the end result have been exactly the same?>

That's only one side of the equation.

Fischer played only 1 game under the conditions that bothered him, and he lost that one. The question should be, would he lose enough for Spassky to beat him? We will never know because I see no reason for him to <just kept totally quiet, showed up for game 2, no complaints about audience or cameras or anything>.

<What do you guys think?>

As a rule of thumb, your odds of losing increased when Fischer was actually across the board from you.

Jun-01-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <The Boomerang: How much did Fischer's shenanigans affect Spassky in the first 10 games? If Fisher just kept totally quiet, showed up for game 2, no complaints about audience or cameras or anything, no changing rooms, would the end result have been exactly the same?>

HOW MUCH RESPECT DO I GIVE TO A POSTER WHO CANT SPELL

The GREATEST CHESS PLAYER EVER ...

😉😉😅😅

What do you guys think?

Jun-02-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Spassky said later on that he really didn't even want to be world champion, and that it was probably better for the game if an American were the title holder (give the game more exposure in the west, where money and major development would be possible). That doesn't mean Spassky threw the match but I don't think he was tremendously motivated, certainly not as motivated as he was to finally knock off Petrosian. I think Fischer wins, regardless of his immature and distracting behavior.
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