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Robert James Fischer vs Arthur Bisguier
"Merlin and Arthur" (game of the day Jul-24-2017)
US Championship (1957/58), New York, NY USA, rd 5, Dec-23
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation General (C16)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: The first game in Fischer's run of 13 consecutive victories against Bisguier from 1957 to 1970.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The French was a strange choice by Bisguier; in all the events we played together, I never saw him answer 1.e4 with anything but ....e5, facing average player and GM alike.
Jun-03-11  DrMAL: 32...Qxd4 was OK as was 33...Qa1

34...Ra3 was a blunder

34...Qa2 (only move) leads to an extra pawn for white, along with bishop versus knight, but probably a draw.

e.g., 35.Nd7+ Kb7 36.Qd1 Qe2 37.Qc1 Ra2 38.Nxb6 Nxb6 39.Rxb6+ Kc8

Nov-27-12  piroflip: Bobby misses the simple 26. Na4 here.
Of course he didn't have an engine like the rest of us.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <piroflip: Bobby misses the simple 26. Na4 here.

Of course he didn't have an engine like the rest of us.>

Yeah, his was better.

Mar-06-13  Garech: Definitely GOTD material.


Mar-06-13  Garech: "Arthur and Merlin"


Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Garech: "Arthur and Merlin"


Great Pun! Why not submit it here:

Pun Submission Page

Jul-24-17  offramp: A very good game and a good pun! Well done, Garech!

<piroflip: Bobby misses the simple 26. Na4 here. Of course he didn't have an engine like the rest of us.>

But he plays it next move, and I don't think it makes a huge difference.

Later, in this position,

click for larger view

Black could have won a piece with 32...Qh3. White would have to take the f-pawn with 33. Qxf3 and then 33...bxc5. But then White plays the stultifying 34. Rb1+.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: And of course this game obeys my rule of thumb for the French Defense:

"In the French Defense, the first player to castle will lose the game. Unless his name is Magnus Carlsen"

Jul-24-17  offramp: Fischer says that he thought the Winawer could be beaten positionally. But he always seems to be taken off piste and the game goes into a tactical mêlée.

Fortunately he was almost always too strong a player to lose a French mêlée.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White picks up a loose rook and wins the game.
Jul-24-17  Strelets: <offramp> He considered the Winawer French to be fundamentally unsound because Black either trades off or loses time retreating the good dark-squared bishop (its light-squared counterpart being a well-known source of trouble for Black in the French) and concedes space on the kingside.
Jul-24-17  RandomVisitor: After 30...Ra2 white emerges from the mess a pawn up, but the game is far from over:

click for larger view

Stockfish_17061704_x64_modern: <6 hours computer time>

<+0.98/54 31.Nc5+ Kb8 32.Nd7+ Kb7 33.Rd1 Rb2 34.Qxf3 Rb1 35.Rf1> Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Qc2 37.Qc3 Qd1+ 38.Be1 h6 39.g3 g4 40.Qb2 Qd3+ 41.Qe2 Qxd4 42.Nf6 b5 43.cxb5 cxb5 44.Nxg4 b4 45.Nf6 Nb6 46.Qe4+ Qxe4 47.Nxe4 Na6 48.Ke2 b3 49.Kd3 Kc6 50.f4 Kd5 51.Nc3+ Kc6 52.Bf2 Nb4+ 53.Ke4 Nc4 54.Nb1 h5 55.Kd4 Na5 56.Kc3 Kb5 57.Be1 h4 58.Bd2 hxg3 59.hxg3 Nd5+ 60.Kb2 Nb7 61.Kxb3 Nc5+ 62.Kc2 Ne4 63.Kd3 Nxg3 64.Nc3+ Kc6 65.Kc4 Nxc3 66.Bxc3

Feb-17-18  jaimenarin: Nice game by Bobby
Feb-17-18  RookFile: I thought Bisguier played a good game with interesting ideas. It's kind of like Marshall playing Capa. The champ wins but it's still a very interesting fight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: White to Play and Win after 39 ... Qxc4.

Probably a time pressure blunder by Black right at the time control.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I know the first Russian G.M. Fischer beat was this game: Fischer vs Keres, 1959.

But who the first actual holder of a G.M title that Fischer beat?

Was it Fischer vs Bisguier, 1957. Bisguier was awarded the GM title in 1957. This game was played late in December 1957

May-23-18  Howard: If I remember correctly, this game was one of about 20 that was annotated in Bobby Fischer's Chess Games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Howard,

I have that book (somewhere) I was wondering if this was Bobby's first GM scalp. (cannot recall it saying so in the book.)

May-23-18  Howard: It did not say so in that book.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Still not 100% sure if this was Bobby's first win v a holder of the G.M. title.

Frank Brady in 'Endgame' says Fischer first GM scalp was Reshevsky vs Fischer, 1957 but that was a blindfold simul.

Bisguier himself does a section on Bobby in 'The Games of Robert J. Fischer' by Wade & O'Connell but no mention of his potential place in chess history.

(I suppose it is nothing to brag about - maybe he was still seething about: "Arthur Bisguier was originally proclaimed the winner, and was driving back to New York with the first place trophy before a recalculation gave the title to Fischer instead." 58th US Open (1957))

Soltis has 3 Fischer - Bisguier games but not this one so he has missed the chance to slip in the note 'this was Bobby's first win v a Grandmaster.' (if indeed that is the case.)

Apart from the one thousand and one unqualified Fischer professors of psychoanalysis I know there are one or two genuine Fischer experts who frequent this site.

Hopefully one can confirm or correct me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: How old was Bobby when this game was played?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Born in 1943 so he was 14.
May-31-18  jabinjikanza: Good show by fischer
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