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Robert James Fischer vs Wolfgang Unzicker
"Spanish Flea" (game of the day Oct-03-2015)
Zurich (1959), Zurich SUI, rd 8, May-28
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C97)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-11-08  anandrulez: any explantations for 33.Bd1 , why not qxe4 instaed unzicker plays nf6...please can anyone check the comp and say ?
May-21-09  Eyal: Position after 35.Be2:

click for larger view

<Sneaky: I don't know if you can call 35.Be2 subtle, since it is virtually forced, but it does indeed seem to win the game, and therefore should be examined.

It's not just that 35.Be2 attacks a weak pawn--but it attacks it in a way so that Black can't do anything about it. For example, 35...Nxe4 36.Qh6! and mate is unavoidable. But more subtle is 35...b4 36.Ra6! and Black is in big trouble, e.g. 36...Nxe4 37.Qh4>

Other attempts to protect the pawn that fail:

35...Rb8 36.Rf7 Ng8 37.Rd7! Qf6 (37...Qxd7 38.Qxe5+ Qg7 39.Qxb8 Qxc3 40.Qxb5) 38.Qe3 Qc6 39.Rd5.

35...Qb6 36.Rf7 Ng8 37.Qh4 h6 (37...h5 38.Qg5 [threatening Bxh5] 38...Qe6 39.Rb7 - winning b5 or h5) 38.Qg4 (threatening Qd7) 38...Rd8/Re6 39.Bxb5!

And finally 35...c4 36.bxc4 (36.Rf7? cxb3 37.Rxf6 Qd8 and Kg7) 36...Qb6(!) 37.Qh4 (37.Rf7 Qxf2+!) 37...Qxa7 (37...Rf8 38.Qh6 Rg8 39.Re7 bxc4 40.Rf7 Qe6 41.Bxc4!) 38.Qxf6+ Qg7 39.Qc6 and 40.cxb5.

Maybe Be2 in itself isn't "subtle", but the Bd1-e2 maneuver is, especially as a culmination of the positional pressure mounted by Fischer on Black's position after the weakening 22...f6. Earlier that year in Mar del Plata (Fischer vs Shocron, 1959), Shocron actually found a better defensive plan for Black against Fischer in this line with Nb6-c4, though he lost in the end due to a tactical blunder.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 12..Bd7 was introduced by Smslov in the 50s; it is rarely played today. In the 60s 14 b3 was introduced by Geller and Tal taking away c4 from the Black knight and intending to answer 14..g6 with 15 Bg5. Unzicker's 22..f6? was new but not an improvement as the weakness at e5 was a theme throughout the rest of the game.
Apr-23-10  Albertan: <Premium Chessgames Member plang: 12..Bd7 was introduced by Smslov in the 50s; it is rarely played today.>

I am sorry to have to correct you. According to Chessbase Megadatabase 2010, the move 12...Bd7 was first played by Johann Nepomuk Berger against Erich Cohn, in round 10 of a tournament in Vienna on April 4th,1908.

Jul-25-10  tentsewang: Very similar beginning like the match against Shocron '59. Good game!!
May-18-12  LoveThatJoker: GOTD: Spanish Grind

Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Fischer vs Unzicker, 1959.
Your score: 139 (par = 97)


Aug-29-12  TheFocus: This is game 10 in Fischer's <My 60 Memorable Games>.
Oct-03-15  Allanur: I really do not see somethign extraordinary. it is an ordinary game, no any kind of amazing attack, no tactic, no sacrifice and there is nothing to wonder in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <Allanur>, that's a good challenge! Early in his career, people thought of Fischer as strictly a wild attacking player. However, he could win long, slow positional squeezes in the manner of Karpov and Petrosian where nothing seems to happen until the opponent resigns.

Chess players have nicknamed the Ruy Lopez as "The Spanish Torture" for a reason. In too many games, Black never quite equalizes, there's always something just a little bit wrong with his game, White always seems to have a tiny little initiative. In fact, the players who would benefit most from studying this game might consist of the players who seek to adopt the main lines of the Ruy as a weapon and need to learn how to keep up the pressure in the middle game.

Oct-03-15  The Kings Domain: Fine positional game. An adolescent Fischer game is always interesting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Spanish Flea? I guess it was the quality of the game that made it GOTD, and not the quality of the pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knight is trapped and the pawn will queen.
Oct-03-15  maxi: <kevin86>: The knight is trapped or the pawn will queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <crafty: 20...♗xg5 21. ♘d5 ♗h4 22. ♘f6+ ♗xf6 23. ♕xf6 ♗d7 (eval -0.42; depth 16 ply; 2000M nodes)>

This is a bit too cooperative line from white's perspective. After 20...Bxg5 21.Nd5 Bh4(?!) white can play 22.g3! practically forcing black to sac on d5 (22...Be7?? 23.Nxe7+ Rxe7 24.Qf6 with threats Qxe7 and Bh6, which can be covered at once only by move 24...Kf8 allowing simple 25.Qh8#, is clearly not an option here, and of course 22...Bxd5?? 23.exd5 leaves black with hanging Queen and Bishop), and it is a question, who is better after more or less forced 22...Rxd5 23.exd5 Bxd5 24.Be4 Bxe4 25.Qxe4 Qxe4 26.Rxe4. Here black has two Pawns for an Exchange but his QS Pawns are quite weak, and if white manages to activate his Rooks, he has at least very good winning chances, if the position is not won by force with optimal play (I would say it is despite of mere +0.2 evaluation of my obsolete engine).

But still I think that black should have taken the Pawn with intention 20...Bxg5 21.Nd5 Bxc1!? 22.Nf6+ Kh8 23.Nxe8 [23.Raxc1!? Rf8 24.Qg3 Qd6 25.Qg5 Kg7 (forced by threat Qh6) 26.Nh5+ Kg8 27.Re3 Nc6 28.Qh6 gxh5 29.Rg3+ Bg4 30.Qxh5 Kh8 31.Rxg4 Qf6 looks equal due to black's counter-play connected with eventual Rd8-d2 intrusion] 23...Bg5 24.Nf6 Nc4 (threatening Nd2 with win of Knight on f6) 25.Nd5 Nxb2 etc., again with 2 Pawns for Exchange and also a nice Bishop pair for black. It doesn't look like a position where black is going to lose in my humble opinion.

Oct-03-15  offramp: The queen is trapped and the knight will pawn.
Oct-03-15  Allanur: Good evening, An Englishman. yes, it is a positional game but what my point was was: I think this game is not enough to be chosen game of the day. I guess there is no certian criterias that need to be fullfilled in order to selected game of the day but anyway, I have no doubt there are many games better than this. (even though better is a subjective point)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Jonber: If 33…Qxe4? then 34.Bf3 followed by bishop to c6 after the trade of queens either on f4 or f5. For example: 33...Qxe4 34.Bf3 Qf4 35.Qxf4 exf4 36.Bc6>

This line is absolutely correct but it is necessary to prolong it a bit. Of course, it is clear that after 33...Qxe4 34.Bf3 Qf4 35.Qxf4 exf4 36.Bc6 black cannot play 36...Rd8 for simple and brutal deadly pin after 37.Rd1 which will cost black a piece. But after 36...Re7 primitive 37.Ra7?? doesn't work for 37...Re1+ unpinning the Knight with decisive advantage of black: 38.Kh2 Ne5 39.Bxb5 (39.Bf3 is a bit better but also insufficient) 39...Ng4+ 40.Kh3 Nxf2+ 41.Kh4 h6 and white King is hopelessly catched in mating net. Also 36...Re7 37.Bxb5(?!) Nf6 is nothing special for white. But white still has the winning pin here after all: 36...Re7 37.Ra8+! (forcing the King to go to the 7th rank under pin) 37...Kg7 38.Ra7 with win of piece.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Ouch, it hurts! I was so proud of myself that after some two minutes I figured that 34...Nxe4?? is bad for 35.Qh4 (threatening Qxh7# and also Bf3) 35...Nf6 36.Rf7 Re6 (else black loses the Knight) 37.Qh6 with unavoidable mate just to find out checking this line with engine that I missed trivial 35.Qh6 with unavoidable threats of mate on h7 or g7....:-)))

I guess that Karjakin and Svidler would have seen it even in these days...:-)))

Oct-03-15  maxi: The trapeze or the queen will pawn the knight away.
Oct-03-15  ToTheDeath: A typical Fischer game. Get some bishop pressure, win a pawn and finish off with relentless technique. If you study his games you will see far more of these long pawn grubbing grinds than you will attacking masterpieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Defensive technique has improved to the point that Morphyeqsue finishes are the exception, not the rule in modern chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Is the knight trapped?? Will the pawn queen???
Oct-09-15  jerseybob: <ToTheDeath> We should all be such good "grubbers"! Fischer cared, first and last, about winning.
Jan-09-16  Joker2048: Such a nice trap by fischer..
No one can decipher what is he doing!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: For me 33.Bd1 is one of the amazing moves of this game which takes some major tactical comprehension and empathy to get. but it has a tonne of tactical lessons for use in one's own games I feel.

Fischer identifies a "Skewer in theory" Queen on c6 , Knight on d7, Rook on e8. Bd1 lets e4 go because of Bf3 and then if Qf4/f5 Queens come up and the Bc6! and the "Skewer in reality" emerges to the surface. Then more instructive lessons - if Rd8 then Rd1

But if Re7 then best is Ra8+ to "convert a relative pin into an absolute pin" as after Kg7 Ra7 wins material. Otherwise if Ra7 immediately black releases the relative pin with Re1+

Amazing instructive stuff behind the scenes. It is of course possible Fischer doesn't reverse engineer "skewers in theory" and simply calculates forward from any given position. But for me, I like the idea of a "Skewer in theory" rising to the surface and he has won similar earlier games based on skewers as well which "rise to the surface".

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