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Robert James Fischer vs Arthur Feuerstein
US Championship (1957/58), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Dec-17
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-10-04  iron maiden: On move 9, Black should probably have left the rook on f8. 9...Bd7 10. e5 Ne8 followed by 11...f6 is a good center attack.
Sep-10-04  wall: 32...Bd3 looks wrong when Black must defend. Perhaps 32...Qd8 or 32...Kh8.

In the game, if 33...Nxf6, 34.Nxf6+ Kh8 35.g4 Nd4 36.Ne4 Ne2+ (36...Qd8 37.Rxc5) 37.Kh2 Qd8 38.Rxc5

Nov-17-05  AlexanderMorphy: outclassed by fischer!
Jan-12-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <AlexanderMorphy: outclassed by fischer!> Well, this is not so clear. Feuerstein missed 28... Qb6. I guess Fischer would have nothing better than a draw: 29. Nf6 Nf6 30. Qf6 Nh6 31. Rd6 Qb3 32. Rd8 Rd8 33. Qd8 Kg7 34. Qf6, draw.
Nov-10-07  smarterthanbobby: fischer busted him down to the end
game like he did 90% of the time.
Nov-10-07  Petrosianic: 90%? Fischer played 4 games with Feuerstein, three of which were draws. So, that makes 25%, not 90.
Nov-10-07  RookFile: <Mateo: Mateo: <AlexanderMorphy: outclassed by fischer!> Well, this is not so clear. Feuerstein missed 28... Qb6. I guess Fischer would have nothing better than a draw: 29. Nf6 Nf6 30. Qf6 Nh6 31. Rd6 Qb3 32. Rd8 Rd8 33. Qd8 Kg7 34. Qf6, draw.>

But it would appear that Fischer could play 29. Nd2 instead.

Nov-12-07  zev22407: What is wrong with 34)Nxe8 instead of 34)g4 as played? 34)Nxe8 Rxe8 35)Nd6 and white wins.
Nov-13-07  smarterthanbobby: funny how some players count draws,
is that really why you study chess?
Dec-17-09  BISHOP TAL: This open is in the new in chess, under Bobby Fischer opens.It says arthur could of punished him with 3 d5 instead he allowed him to transpose into what later became the main line.I dont see the big deal wether he plays d5 on the 3rd move or the 4th.
Jan-04-11  cyclingfrank: Though tricky 19.... Nd5 might halt the king side attack by driving the bishop back and activating the dead piece on c7. Any thought's out there??
Oct-04-11  AlforChess: Actually, Arty was even against Fischer. A.F. beat B.F in the Greater NYC Open in 1956--so they're 1-1 with three draws. And yes, draws count too. If I had a tourney draw against Bobby, I would have a tattoo.
Oct-18-12  TheFocus: <A.F. beat B.F in the Greater NYC Open in 1956> If you go to http://www.ubutec.com/acn/ and click on April - September 2010, you will find my article about this win.
Oct-18-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Fischer was 14 when this game was played.
Dec-30-13  RandomVisitor: <cyclingfrank><Though tricky 19.... Nd5 might halt the king side attack by driving the bishop back and activating the dead piece on c7. Any thought's out there??>19...h6 might be better


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Rybka 4.1 x64:

<[+0.16] d=22 19...h6> 20.Ng4 Bb7 21.Rad1 Ne8 22.Be3 a5 23.Bd2 a4 24.Bc3 Rab8 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Rd1 Rxd1+ 27.Qxd1 Qd8 28.Nd2 Qd7 29.Ne3 Qd8 30.Qe2 Nd4 31.Bxd4

Apr-19-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: The first game played by Fischer in a U.S. Championship (the 1956 Rosenwald was not technically a US Championship Tournament). Bobby was 14 years old, and took the fight to Fenerstein from the opening bell.

The awesome technique displayed by Fischer later in his career was not yet on full display, and he missed several chances before overwhelming Feuerstein, but the relentless drive to win was evident.

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 e6
3. g3

In his book "Profile of a Prodigy," Brady calls this move by Fischer "Psychological warfare," since Feuerstein liked to play the King's Indian Reversed as White. But this was Fischer favorite himself at the time. To quote Fischer himself from his annotations in "My 60 Memorable Games" to his game against Sherwin in the New Jersey Open Championship in commenting on 3. g3 here: "This used to be my favorite. I thought it led to a favorable variation of the King's Indian reversed, particularly after Black has committed himself with ...e6."

While objectively 3. g3 does not seem to be the most forcing line for White here, it is certainly good enough for at least equality, and it was a line Fischer knew well and which sets up the king of attack with which he--even at age 14--had considerable experience.

3... Nf6

BISHOP TAL on this site questions the notion that 3...d5 was better here ("I don't see the big deal whether he plays d5 on the 3rd move or the 4th"). While I agree the choice is not a "big deal," the point of the comment about 3...d5 is probably that if played now--or after 3...Nc6--it does not commit to Nf6 so early. After the text, Fischer could have played 4. e5 with some advantage (though, as discussed below, Fischer disputed this analysis).

4. d3

4. e5 looks best. Fischer, however, disagreed and claimed in his 1958-1959 book "Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess" that after 4. e5 he would have played 4...Nd5. But after 4...Nd5 (I prefer 4...Ng4, though it does not fully equalize), White seems to get a fine game with either 5. Bg2 or 5. c4.

4... d5

4...Nc6 was also good.

5. Nbd2

This move is part of Fischer's King-side attack plan which will quickly take shape. It has been played here by many fine champions, including Botvinnik, Bronstein, Larsen, Geller, Savon, Adams, and Svidler. Nonetheless, 5. Qe2 looks better, leaving the choice of where to develop the b1 Knight to be determined based on how the game proceeds.

5... Be7
6. Bg2 0-0
7. 0-0 Nc6
8. Re1 WQc7
9. Qe2


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9... Rd8

"?!"--Muller.

Fischer in his 1958-1959 book, and ironmaiden on this site, have claimed that 9...bd7 was best, but Black certainly has no edge in the constricted position that results from 9...Bd7 10. e5 Ne8.

Muller in his book on Fischer says that 9...b6 or 9...b5 are the "main lines." After 9...b6 White gets an even game with 10. e5. And if 9...b5 White is certainly OK with 10. a4 bxa4 11. Rxa4 h6.

In fact, the text and all of the suggested alternatives are perfectly reasonable, and the selection is a matter of style. 9...h6 and 9...Re8 are also good choices.

10. e5?!

10. c3 or 10. a3 or 10. a4 would be most prudent. But the young Fischer sought the sharpest line.

10... Ne8

Playable but timid. The best way to try to punish White for his temerity in playing 10. e5?! was to play 10...Nd7.

11. c3

Fischer states that 11. Nf1 immediately would be met by 11...Nd4, but White could then play 11. NxN with equality. Best after 11. Nf1 is probably 11...b5.


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11... b5

Although Fischer said that Feuerstein was "On the right path" with this move, this Queen-side strategy did not work well for him, and the text was--as will be seen from Feuerstein's 13th move--part of a bad plan. Most prudent here was 11...b6 or 11...h6.


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Apr-20-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

12. Nf1

Going all out for his intended King-side storm. This plan worked well thanks in large part to weak play by Feuerstein. Objectively, 13. Nb3 or 13. d4 were better.

12... b4

Setting up an exciting two front battle, Fischer attacking on one wing and Feuerstein on the other.


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13. Bf4

"Overprotecting the e-pawn, preventing 13...f6, and preparing a King-side attack." (Fischer).

Fischer should perhaps have tried to forestall 13...bxc3 with 13. c4. Fortunately for him, Feuerstein erred in turn:

13... Qa5

"?"--(Fischer)(Wade/O'Connell)(Muller)

Every commentator agrees that this is too slow and that Feuerstein should have played 13...bxc3 14. bxc3 Rb8. This would have given Feuerstein excellent counter-play on the Queen-side probably the better chances. Now, Bobby began to roll.

14. c4

"!"--(Fischer)(Wade/O'Connell)(Brady).

14. N1d2 was also possible, but the text was the best way to contest Feuerstein's Queen-side adventure.

14... Nc7

"Where's the Knight going?" (Fischer).

Feuerstein could have played 14...h6 or 14...Bb7. The text in itself is not bad, but Feuerstein, unlike Fischer, did not have a clear vision of how to proceed. By contrast, and while one can quibble with some of Fischer's moves, he never wavered from his King-side assault plan.

15. h4?!

"The key move to White's attack. White's plan is to (a) advance the h-pawn to h6, forcing a weakness at f6; (b) maneuver a Knight to g4;n(c) trade off Black's e7 Bishop. The outcome of the game depends on the execution of his plan." (Fischer).

15. Ne3 and 15. Bg5 were good alternatives, but as noted above Fischer had a plan and the text was a key element.


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15... Qb6
16. h5

Consistent with his plan, but 16. Ne3 or 16. Bg5 was more accurate.

16... b3?

"With the idea of artificially isolating White's c-pawn." (Fischer).

Feuerstein's idea, however, was too slow, giving Bobby a chance.

17. a3

Allowing himself to become momentarily distracted from playing 17. h6, which was much stronger.

17... dxc4

Failing to recognize the danger. 17...h6 was best.

18. dxc4 Ba6

As Fischer noted, 18...Bb7 would have been better. But better still--and the way to thwart Fischer's intended h6 was 18...h6.

19. N1h2

Preparing Ng4. But this could wait. The advance to h6 could not, and 19. h6 would have given Fischer excellent winning chances.

19... Rac8

As cyclingfrank has pointed out on this site, 19...Nd5 would have been better. But 19...h6 as proposed by RandomVisitor, also on this site, should have been played.

The stage was now set for Fischer to proceed with his plan:


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Apr-20-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

20. h6!

Fischer had now achieved the first of his three objectives: advancing this pawn to h6.

20... g6

The alternative, 20...Nd5, was none to savory; e.g., 20...Nd5 21. Qe4 [21. cxN was of course impossible because of the pin] NxB 22. QxN Nd4 (or 22...g6 23. Ng5) 23. hxg7.

After the text, Black has a hole on f6 that Fischer ultimately exploited:


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21. Bg5!

Fischer now set his sights on step two of his attack plan, trading off the Black Bishop on e7 that was defending the crucial f6 square.

21... Nd4

"?"--Muller.

This should have been immediately fatal. Feuerstein's only decent options here were to bite the bullet and initiate the Bishop trade (21...BxB 22. NxB Nd4--Muller's line) or else beef up his defense of f6 with 21...Ne8 and then bring his other Knight to f5 after 22. BxB NxB 23. Ng4 Nf5. In either case, White would definitely be for choice but Black would retain reasonable chances of defending himself.


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22. Qe3?

Continuing with his attack, but--as Muller has pointed out--Fischer should have taken advantage of Feuerstein's last move and played 22. NxN. If then 22..BxB (essentially forced) 23. Nc6 is murder (23...Rf8 (23...Bxh6 giving up the exchange is probably better but obviously hopeless) 24. Qg4 leaving Black the choice of losing the exchange after 24...Bxh6 25. Ne7+ or allowing White a crushing attack after 24...Bd8 25. Rad1. After the text, Feuerstein was back in the game.

22... BxB

As Fischer pointed out, 22...Nc2 playing to win the exchange would run into 23. Qf4! after which Muller gives the following line: 23...NxR(e1) 24. RxN Bf8 (24...BxB 25. NxB with Ng4 to follow would obviously be hopeless) 25. BxR RxB 26. Ng5 (26. Ng4 first also wins) Rd7 27. Ng4 Ne8 28. Re3 and Black can not hold on for very long, e.g., 28...Bb7 29. Rd3 Qc7 30. Rxb3 BxB 31. KxB with 32. Ne4 in prospect.

23. QxB


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23... Ne8

As Muller correctly notes, Black would get crushed after 23...Nc2? 24. Ng4 NxR(e1) 25. Nf6+ Kh8 26. Nd7 (White does even better if he first recaptures with 26. RxN for then 26...Bxc4 27. Nd7 wins the Black Queen.

23...Nf5, however, was at least as good as the text, though in most variations they transpose to the same thing.

24. Ng4! Nf5


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25. Rac1

Instead of wasting time defending the c-pawn, Fischer should have played 25. Nh4 and if 25...Bxc4 26. Nf6+ NxN 27. QxN Nxh6 28. Qf4! winning a piece, or if 25...NxN 26. QxN Rd4 27. Nf6+ Kh8 28. Re4.

25... Qc7?

"?!--(Muller)

As Muller correctly notes, Black should have played 25...Bb7. After the text, Fischer again had a clear win:


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Apr-20-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

26. Nd2

Too slow. Fischer had a win here with 26. Nh4 (26...NxN 27. QxN Kh8 28. Rcd1 Rd4 29. RxR cxR 30. Nf6 Qe7 31. Rd1 d3 (or 31...NxN 32. exN Qe8 33. Qxd4) 32. NxN QxQ. 33 gxQ RxN 34. Rxd3 Bxc4 35. Rd4 Bd5 (35...Be2 36. Rd7) 36. BxB exB 37. Rxd5 and Black's horrible King position makes the Rook and pawn ending an easy winner for White.

26... Rd4

As Fischer pointed out, 26...Qb6 loses to 27. Ne4 since the Black Queen would then be too far away from the action on the King-side. The following line demonstrates the correctness of Fischer's analysis: 26...Qb6 27. Ne4 Qa5 28. N(either) f6+ NxN 29. NxN+ Kh8 30. g4 Ne7 31. Ne4 Ng8 32. Nd6.

But the text (26...Rd4) should also lose. 26...Kh8, though it surrenders the Black pawn at b3 without a fight, allows time for Black to organize a defense.

27. Nxb3

27...Ne4 was stronger and more consistent with Fischer's plan of targeting f6.

27... Rxc4


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28. Rcd1

"Gaining control of the d-file and leaving Black's Rook stranded." (Fischer).

Also good, and perhaps simpler, was 28. RxR BxR 29. Nd2 followed by 30. Ne4.

28... Ra4

"If 28...Rc2 29. Be4 is killing" (Fischer).

Fischer also states that 28...Qe7 loses after 29. QxQ NxQ 30. Ne3 Ra4 31. Rd7, but in this line--strong though it is--30. Nf6+ is even more crushing (30...NxN [not 30...Kh8 31. Rd7] 31. exN Nd5 32. BxN exB 33. Rxd5).

Mateo claimed on this site that Feuerstein here mised 28...Qb6 after which "Fischer would have nothing better than a draw." But RookFile's 29. Nd2 keeps the edge in White's hands and 29. Ne3 seems to refute 28...Qb6.

The position after 28...Ra4 was:


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29. Re4

"!"--(Fischer)(Brady)(Wade/O'Connell).

This move, as will be seen, gives Black an escape. 29. Nd2 and 29. Rd2 were better.

29... Bb5?

29...Rc4 seemingly saves the day for Black here (e.g., 30. Rd2 Qb6 [or 30...Bb5] 31. RxR BxR 32. Nc1 Kf8 and Black seemingly escapes the net Fischer had weaved.

30. Rc1

"In order to draw Black's Queen away from the defense of the King's side." (Fischer).

30... Qb6?

After this, Black is lost. To have any chance, Feuerstein had to play 30...RxR.

31. Nd2!

Fischer correctly states that Black now has no defense.

31... RxR

"?"--(Muller)

31...Ra5 or 31...Ra6 would indeed have been better, since the Rook exchange only brought Fischer's other Knight within reach of f6, but the game was almost certainly lost anyway.

32. NxR


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From here, Feuerstein's desperate play led to a massacre. But even with best play Fischer would have made short work of him.

Apr-20-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post V

32... Bd3

"?"--(Muller)

As nearly every commentator has pointed out, the only chances of resistance lay in 32...Qd8 (or maybe 32...Kh8). But even after 32...Qd8, White wins--as Fischer pointed out--with 33. QxQ [33. Rxc5 also wins, but Fischer's move is better and faster] RxQ 34. Rxc5 "with an easy endgame win" (Fischer).

After the text, the hole on f6 made Feuerstein easy pickings for Fischer:

33. Ngf6+ Kh8

33...NxN was relatively best, but it too would lose quickly as Fischer pointed out: 34. NxN Kh8 (34...Kf8 loses the Queen to 35. Nd7+) 35. g4 Nd4 (this is suicide, but 35...Qd8 or 35...Ng7 were too horrible to contemplate) 36. Ne4 (this wins, but 36. Nd7 is even better than Fischer's move) Qd8 (36...Ne2+ 37. Kh2 Qd8 38. Rxc5 Rb8 (38...QxQ leads to mate in two for White after 39. RxR+) 39. QxQ+ RxQ 40. Nd6 with Rc7 to follow wins for White.

After 33...Kh8, the position was:


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34. g4

"!"--(Fischer)

As Brady correctly says, this wins a piece and the game. But zev22407's 34. NxN is even better (34...Qd8 [34...RxN 35. Nd6] 35. Rxc5).

34... BxN
35. BxB

35. NxN or 35. NxB were even more brutal.

After 35. BxB, the position was:


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35... Nd4

After this White reduces to an easily won endgame a piece up. 35...Qxb2, though not likely to change the outcome, was the only move if Feuerstein wanted to play on.

36. NxN Qd8

The only way to avoid mate.

37. QxQ RxQ

38. Nd6!

"White's final point. He remains a piece ahead." (Brady).


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Perhaps Feuerstein overlooked the fact that Fischer too had a Knight fork in the offing:

38... Ne2+
39. Kf1 NxR
40. Nxf7+ Kg8
41. NxR


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Game over.

41... Nb3
42. Ke2 Nd4+
43. Kd3 Kf1
44. Nc6

1-0

The first of many games Fischer was to win in U.S. Championship tournaments.

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