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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer
"The Game of the Century" (game of the day Mar-09-2013)
Third Rosenwald Trophy (1956), New York, NY USA, rd 8, Oct-17
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights Variation. Hungarian Attack (D92)  ·  0-1



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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer (1956) The Game of the Century
Cover of Chess Review, December 1956.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 59 OF 59 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Only one ! for 11...♘a4 is a bit mean. It took me an hour in bits and pieces to work through all the pins and forks and overloading motifs that make 12. ♘xa4 a bad move, and it's a pleasure just reminding myself of them.

Unless that was a known theme with this opening (the ♘ ♘ ♘ version), surely this is a stunning discovery on its own.

I don't usually try to learn a chess game by heart, but for this one I make and exception.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Sorry <cliffordagoodman>. I don't think I made much of a go at interpreting your gnomic utterance. Still not sure what you can have meant, but what the hey, time has passed.
Mar-09-19  DonChalce: speechless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Amazing all Byrne has to do is take that knight on his 18th move and Game of The Century never happens!
Apr-20-19  crazyim5: If ever our beloved game of Chess is shown to aliens as a showcase of human intelligence this game would be my pick!
Jun-22-19  thegoodanarchist: Professor Donald Byrne did not achieve the title of IM until 1962.

However, when this game was played it was already 2 years after Donald Byrne defeated Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh in a 4-game match.

Per Byrne's bio:

<Byrne played on five US Olympiad teams, but his greatest over the board success was the defeat of Yuri Averbakh (+3, =0, -1) in the 1954 USA versus USSR match played in Moscow.>

Based on such a fine result against a GM of Averbakh's stature, I venture to say Byrne was at least IM strength when this game was played.

Jun-22-19  thegoodanarchist: <crazyim5: If ever our beloved game of Chess is shown to aliens as a showcase of human intelligence this game would be my pick!>

Not a bad choice, but I would probably go with

Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960

Jun-27-19  Patzer Natmas: Game featured in "New in Chess - Tactics Training - Bobby Fischer"

Solve for black on move 17...

Jul-23-19  Chesgambit: Windmill and mate
Oct-02-19  laskereshevsky: I spend my two penny about this ultra-famous game... Dont know if somebody already reported about a relatively unknown game, wich i dont find here on CG, played in the occupied territory by the germans during bellic period, the II mondial war. Precisly in Warsaw/Cracow 1942 between Russher-Walcicer. I see it first in the book 107 CHESS BATTLES 1939-1945 by Alexander Alekhine, the game number 76 in th book... Having this game 59 pages of kibitzing maybe is possible somebody had already discuss it... in the position

click for larger view

reached after 15.♔e1-f1, black played 15... ♗e6!

click for larger view

... The position is not the same but the similarity is interesting... the ♔in F1, the move♗E6 attacking the ♗ in c4 when the black ♕ was threathened by the WBS♗, even if here on A3 there on B6, and all arise from a Gruenfeld Defense... Its a well know fact that Fischer was an ardent reader and researcher, would be nice to know if this game was in his knowledge, maybe found in same book or booklet or games collection with this game, and in case if he found inspiration from this in playing the stunning combination against Byrne. But unfortunattly Bobby is no more between us and can not fulfill this curiosity...

Oct-10-19  seneca16: I second Simpson's comment about the excellent writing in the Time piece. One of my professors was saying he preferred Edwardian translations of philosophical classics wherever possible because the Edwardians were all such fine writers, whereas today's translators make everything labored and lumpy. btw it was gracious of Byrne to let Fischer mate him rather than resign.
Oct-10-19  m.okun: Bobby is only 13 years old!
Oct-18-19  laskereshevsky: Found it: ... H W Russner vs C Walcker, 1942
Nov-04-19  chessrookstwo: Great game period.
Feb-09-20  asiduodiego: I think the most impressive thing about this game is the fact that Bobby won it with such mastery being just 13 years old. It's a great game, but I think also we need to address the fact that Byrne played the opening in a very sloppy way. 11. Bg5? it's such an ugly move. It violates two principles. First, you should try not to move the same piece twice in the opening. Second, it neglects king safety, given that the pin in f3 is troublesome for such purposes.

This is not at all in detriment of Bobby's brilliance in this game. I think 11 ... Na4!! is one of the best and more beautiful punishments for lack of good development in chess history, and it's a monument to the brilliance of Bobby Fischer.

In my opinion, the real "Game of the Century" for Bobby Fischer at least, is the famous game with the other Byrne. In that game, Bobby came out with an attack which actually seemed from thin air, in a somewhat symmetrical position, and in the end, he won in a position in which two masters in other room commenting the game thought he was losing. Brilliant stuff.

Feb-29-20  MordimerChess: Thank you all for comments, nice lecture. I would also leave some contribution to this beautiful game and I leave my analysis:

At the end I mention about famous interview, where responding to an interviewer's question about how he was able to bring off such a brilliant win, Fischer said: "I just made the moves I thought were best. I was just lucky."

Actually it's possible that he said the truth about it. Keep in mind that he was not so lucky in 4 other games in this tournament, which he lost. So his chess abilities were unstable and unpredictable and that's normal in this age. If you check the games of young Magnus Carlsen or Alireza Firouzja, there are a lot of incredible games but also some miserable ones among them. Just two cents.

Mar-21-21  jabinjikanza: Young bobby cool game!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Good!
Dec-14-21  toodles: <Dionysius1>, I couldn't agree more about 11...♘a4. Everyone talks about the queen sac, but this is the move that boggles my mind. After 12. ♘xa4 ♘xe4, it seems like there are SO many safe places for white to put his queen and be up material. Calculating each of these lines deep enough to know that 11...♘a4 is not only the best move but the only winning move is incomprehensible to me. I am also very curious to know if this move had been known beforehand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Hi <toodles>. Welcome to kibitzing
May-11-22  JayLen94: who analyzed this ?
Nov-05-22  Chesschronicle22: <Jaylen94>, sorry for the late reply.

If you're asking the anylization at the lines (not in the kibitzing) tha is stockfsh, if you meant a different anylyzed line than I apologize

Nov-05-22  Chesschronicle22: Also If I am wrong, other kibitzers, please correct me.
Dec-19-22  rwbean: 14... ♕d5! better

33... h5! (mate in 19)

34... ♔g7 (mate in 14) ... nice sequences.

34... ♔g7 35. ♘xf7 ♖xf7 36. ♕c7+ ♔g8 37. ♕d8 b4 38. ♕e8 ♖xg2+ 39. ♔xg2 ♘d6+ 40. ♔f2 ♘xe8 41. ♔e2 b3 42. ♔d2 b2 43. ♔c2 ♗g7 44. ♔d1 b1=♕+ 45. ♔d2 ♕b2+ 46. ♔d3 ♗c3 47. ♔e3 ♕d2#

or 34... ♔g7 35. ♘xg6 fxg6 36. ♕e5+ ♔g8 37. ♕e8 ♖xg2+ 38. ♔xg2 ♘f6+ 39. ♔f2 ♘xe8 etc

Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: Hans Kmoch described Fischer in this game as sitting "like a little Buddha, showing his moves with the calm regularity of an automaton." That sounds to me like a chess player in the Zone.
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