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Wolfgang Unzicker vs Robert James Fischer
Varna ol (Men) fin-A (1962), Varna BUL, rd 7, Oct-04
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation (B92)  ·  0-1



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Given 84 times; par: 32 [what's this?]

Annotations by Robert James Fischer.      [15 more games annotated by Fischer]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: But here is another try...

After <21. Rb1 Rc8 22. Na1 Rc5 23. Qd3 b4!> White could try <24. Qxa6 Rxa6 25. Nc2!>, leading to this position:

click for larger view

Black to move.

<25...bxc3> seems to be forced. After <26. bxc3> we have:

A) <26...Rxc3> 27. Rb8+ Bf8 28. Nb4 Ra7 (Nd5-e7+ must be prevented) 29. Nd5 Rc4 30. f6 gxf6 31. Nxf6+ Kg7 32. Nh5+ Kg6 (or Kh6) 33. Rxf8 Kxh5 34. Rg8! draws by perpetual check along the f-file, e.g. 34... Rxe4 35. Rf5+ Kf6 36. Rf6+ Kh5 37. Rf5+ Draw, as 37...Kh4?? 38. g3+ Kh3 39. Rh5 is mate.

B) <26...h5> 27. Rb8+ Kh7 28. Nb4 Ra4 29. Nd5 Bg5 and White is OK.

C) <26...Ra8> 27. Nb4 Now 27...Rxc3?? 28. Nd5! blunders material, so after 27...Kf8 28. Nd5, White is OK.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: CONCLUSION: After a lot of dodgy analysis, it seems that <21. Rb1!> is a good idea for White, after all. The critical line is

<21...Rc8 22. Na1 Rc5 23. Qd3>

Now, if Black doesn't play 23...b4, White will prevent it forever by 24. Nc2! So, the main line goes:

<23...b4! 24. Qxa6 Rxa6 25. Nc2!>

With this pawn sacrifice, White ensures that he gets enough play to draw. If Black doesn't take it, White retains level material and establishes a knight on d5. If Black does take it, then this forcing line draws:

<25...bxc3 26. bxc3 Rxc3 27. Rb8+ Bf8 Nb4 Ra7 29. Nd5 Rc4 30. f6 gxf6 31. Nxf6+ Kg7 32. Nh5+ Kg6 33. Rxf8 Kxh5 34. Rg8!>

The final move forces a draw by perpetual checking with the KR along the f-file.

Improvements for Black, anyone?

Aug-30-07  TheBB: All this talk about 21. Rb1, and it's an ambiguous move. You mean 21. Rab1 right?
Aug-30-07  RookFile: In OMGP 4, Kasparov quotes Huebner, who says that the right move for white was 21. g3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: <TheBB: All this talk about 21. Rb1, and it's an ambiguous move. You mean 21. Rab1 right?>

Yes, sorry, <21. Rab1> is what I should have written.

Dec-19-07  D4n: Nice end game for black.
Dec-19-07  Riverbeast: Doesn't 15. Na5 look stronger for white than 15. Bxb6?
Jul-19-08  Helios727: After 27. Rxa2 Rf3+ 28. Ke2 Rf2+ 29. Kd1 Qxa2 30. Qd3 Qxb2 31. Re2 Qxe2+ 32. Qxe2 Rxe2 33. Kxe2 Kf8 34. Kd3 (see diagram), can black still win given that the b-pawn will fall and the d-pawn is backward?

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Helios727> My suspiciion is yes, by playing a well-timed ...d5. For instance, after 34...Ke7 35.Kc3 d5 36.exd5 Kd6 37.Kb4 Kxd5 38.Kxb5 we have this:

click for larger view

Now Black is a pawn ahead with a passed pawn and no structural weaknesses. Also, Black's king in threatening to invade profitably on the kingside while White's pieces are stranded on the queenside.

This isn't forced, of course, but it doesn't seem that White will be able to stop ...d5 in time. If the knight were on b4, for example, things might be a whole lot different.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <The following game is one of those that changed the impression of 'Sicilian' positions with a backward d6-pawn and a weak d5-square. It was traditionally thought that the seizure of this square would automatically guarantee White an advantage, especially with a knight against a 'bad' bishop (the famous game Geller vs Najdorf, 1953 was a real nightmare for devotees of this variation).

[for a model game by Fischer himself on this theme, see Fischer vs Julio Bolbochan, 1962 ]

But Fischer was one of the first to show that exceptions to this rule were possible. When the knight is a long way from the d5-square, control of that square does not mean anything. Moreover, this flexible position harbors considerable dangers for White. Black has practically no weaknesses (the d6-pawn is securely defended), whereas he has counterplay on the queenside, pressure on the weak e4-pawn and the possibility of an attack on the white king.> (From Kasparov's OMGP 4)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Riverbeast: Doesn't 15. Na5 look stronger for white than 15. Bxb6?>

15.Na5 looks quite good for Black after 15…Bxe2 16.Qxe2 d5; but 15.Bxb6 indeed doesn't seem like a good move either. Earlier that year, in the Curacao Candidates tournament, Tal had already tried it against Fischer and got into a losing position - though he managed to escape with a draw (Tal vs Fischer, 1962). It was Geller in his game against Fischer, later in the tournament, who found a better idea for White – the subtle 15.Kh1!, and after 15...Rfc8 16.Bxb6 Qxb6 17.Bxc4 Rxc4 18.Qe2 Rb4 19.Ra2 Qb7 20.Na5 Qc7 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.exd5 White gained an enduring pressure on the Q-side (Geller vs Fischer, 1962), though Fischer also managed to escape with a draw. In MSMG Fischer suggests an improvement for Black in this line which is supposed to equalize – that's probably what he was planning to play against Unzicker in such a case – and later some further refinements for both sides were discovered. But at any rate, it's clear that Unzicker failed to prepare seriously for this game when choosing this line, and that his understanding of its subtleties wasn't even remotely close to Fischer's.

Sep-04-10  invas0rX: 10.g4!?
Oct-18-10  redorc19: I like fischer's annotations. He talks about strategy and pawn structure a lot like Philidor but includes relative tactics.
Jun-12-11  Sniffles: Fischer: A master at giving the enemy queen nothing to do.
Mar-06-12  screwdriver: Great game by Fischer once again.
Aug-29-12  TheFocus: This is game 42 in Fischer's <My 60 Memorable Games>.
Sep-03-12  Luigi Bros: Horripilant final moves for white. In another secuence, against a better force white, maybe black: 25. RxRa1 26. Re1xRa1 27. Qe3. Later any variation have a good position.
Sep-03-12  Luigi Bros: Horripilant final moves for white. In another secuence, against a better force white, maybe: 25. RxRa1 26. Re1xRa1 Qe3. Later any variation have a good position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: This game was featured in midsomer murders on itv
Jan-11-13  IndigoViolet: Well, that's one Black they've had on the program.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: MidSomer Murders featured this game. Check this page for details:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <kingscrusher> In notes from 2007 Bobby writes 24. g3? "Creating more kingside weaknesses. Better is 24. Qd3". (Rather than 24. Rad1 from MSMG.

Then after, 26. Kf1 He writes in MSMG " What else? On 26. Rxa2 Qxa2 27. Re2? Rxc3! and in his 2007 notes he interposes, so White needs 27. Qxb5 and now 27...Qxb2+ 28. Re2 is holding for the moment. But Black has 28...Qxc3 which picks up a pawn, and soon a second one after 29. Ra2 Qe3 30. Re2 Rc2! 31. Rxc2 Qxe4+ 32. Kf1 Qxc2.

Jan-12-13  RandomVisitor: As RookFile, Kasparov and Huebner note, 21.g3 had good prospects to equalize for white:

click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64:

-0.10/22 21...b4 22.c4 Ra2 23.Qd3 Rc8 24.Rxa2 Qxa2 25.Qc2 Qa6 26.Nd2 h6 27.Rd1 Qb6 28.Kg2 Qd4 29.b3 Qc3 30.Rc1 Bg5 31.Nb1 Qe3 32.Rd1 Qb6 33.Nd2 Ra8 34.Nf3 Be3 35.Rd5 Ra1

-0.09/20 21...Rc8 22.Kg2 Qb6 23.Nd2 Qa7 24.Nb3 Qa6 25.Rfd1 Qb6 26.Rdb1 h6 27.h4 Rb8 28.Nd2 Qa6 29.Rxa4 bxa4 30.Qc4 Qa7 31.Qd3 Qc5 32.Nc4 Qb5

Jan-12-13  RandomVisitor: After 10...Bc4

click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.26] d=24 12.a5 0-0 13.Bxc4 Qxc4 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bh4 Rfc8 16.Ra4 Qc6 17.Qd3 Bd8 18.Kh1 b5 19.axb6 Qxb6 20.Rd1 Ng4 21.Bg3

Jul-22-13  singingdetective: The producers of Midsomer Murders in an episode entitled The Sicilian Defence, used this rather impressive chess game, to illustrate a sub-plot. I invested considerable time in determining who the original players were, as I had a hunch that the game was not dreamt up especially for the program. And it transpired that the protagonists were Unzicker and Fischer, at the Varna Olympiad of 1962.

In the Midsomer fiction, the game is attributed to a Russian ex-World Champion (white) and a brilliant computer programmer called Jason Winters (black), but don't Unzicker and Fischer (or their estates) own the intellectual rights to it? Is there a breach of copyright here? Opinions anyone? I have no axe to grind; I'm merely curious.

There's a cute continuity mistake too. The actor who records the moves with a marker pen on the glass board in the detectives" office writes Kg2 as white's penultimate move, but in the next camera shot we see it as Kg3. He then writes Kf1 as the final move. When we see the moves from the correct side of the glass, the Kg3 mistake has been corrected. The conclusion is that the actor initially made a mistake, which someone noticed - well done that person! They got him to rewrite it but forgot to edit out the second incorrect camera shot!

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