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Robert James Fischer vs Arthur Bisguier
"Take Five" (game of the day Dec-07-2018)
US Championship (1963), New York, NY USA, rd 11, Jan-03
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. l'Hermet Variation Berlin Wall Defense (C67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-27-05  Jgamazo: I would prefer 23. ... Bc7 to eliminate the knight or discourage him going to d6: 23. ... Bd7 24.Nf5 Rxh1 25.Nd6+ Bxd6 26.exd6 Kd7 leaves Black with a majority on the queenside Knight vs bad bishop endgame should be enough to hold a draw or give winning chances. if 23. ... Kd7 24.Nf5 Rxh1 25.Rxh1 Bd7 26.Nd4 Nxd4 27.cxd4 to hold the cwenter and get a rook on h7, and a bishop on h4 to move whites kingside majority.
Jul-27-05  BobbyBishop: I don't think this is the game where Fischer falls asleep. I could swear Bobby was on the black side of the board. Might have been a KID.
Nov-06-06  Whitehat1963: Fischer pounces after 23...Bd8. Great technique immediately afterward to secure the advantage. Makes for a decent puzzle as well.
Feb-15-07  Ulhumbrus: After 23...Kd7 White may switch the attack to Black's K by 24 Rad1 threatening c4. Black is in difficulties because his Rooks are disconnected and the endgame has yet to be reached.
Apr-03-08  Resignation Trap: Bisguier wrote about 23...Bd8 in the March 1963 issue of <Chess Review> :

<<>This blunder transforms a clearly superior position into a completely lost game in one swell foop.

The purpose of the move is twofold. Black wants to clear the b-file in order to play...a5 most effectively without allowing counterplay on that file and also to prevent White's f2-f4.

The obvious 23...Kd7 still leaves Black with the better chances after 24.f4 g5.<>>

Apr-03-08  Granny O Doul: BobbyBishop is right, Bisguier vs Fischer, 1963 is the Fischer-falls-asleep-Bisguier-wakes-him game.
Apr-08-08  Resignation Trap: I believe that Bisguier's final error was 28...Nf8. Instead, 28...gxf5 29.gxf5 Ng7 30.f6 Ne6 31.Rh4 Nf8 might still offer an adequate defense.
Jan-28-09  rauan.sagit: As a comment to Black's 28 ... Nf8. If black plays 28 ... gxf5 29. gxf5 Ng7. Started to look at many of Fischers games and seems to be in his style to play something like 30. Kf3 followed by Kg4 and keep the e5 and f5 pawn structure. One funny line goes like this

28 ... gxf5 29. gxf5 Ng7 30. Kf3 Be7 31. Kg4 Bxd6 32. exd6 Ne8 33. Kg5 Rd8 34. Be5 f6+ 35. Bxf6 Nxf6 36. Kxf6 Rxd6+ 37. Ke7.

Sep-06-09  dumbgai: My initial thought was "Bisguier should have played 23...O-O-O" but then realized the king had already moved. That's one difficulty in the Berlin Defense for black: it's hard to connect the rooks because of the trade of queens.
Jan-10-12  King Death: < dumbgai: My initial thought was "Bisguier should have played 23...O-O-O" but then realized the king had already moved...>

A game I played was annotated in some magazine and the annotator (2300 or so) pointed out that I could have castled, when my opponent wouldn't have any play for the pawn he sacrificed. He got a wake up call though when a sharp reader pointed out that my king had moved.

Sep-01-15  savagerules: Kasparov must be happy to see that the Kramnik/Berlin Lopez gave Bobby some trouble too -at least in this game.
Sep-02-15  RookFile: Bisguier always had interesting opening ideas.
Sep-02-15  Howard: The setting for this particular game could hardly have been more crucial. Both of these players were tied for first place, going into the final round---and that's when this game was played.

The winner would take clear first. In the event of a tie, they would share first place.

Bisguier should have drawn this game with little trouble.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: If I ever meet one of the elite grandmasters, I am going to ask him to please explain why the elite "super GMs" all love to play the Berlin Wall variation of the Spanish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Resignation Trap: Bisguier wrote about 23...Bd8 in the March 1963 issue of <Chess Review> :

<<>This blunder transforms a clearly superior position into a completely lost game in one swell foop. ...
'he obvious 23...Kd7 still leaves Black with the better chances after 24.f4 g5.<>>

It's true that 23...Kd7 would have been better but I don't see how Bisguier's position was "clearly superior" before and I don't see why white is forced to play 24. f4

Apr-11-17  Petrosianic: Black has a tiny edge at best. I wouldn't call it "clearly superior" either.

What makes the blunder so glaring though, is that it's so counter-intuitive. The zwischenzug is obvious. Also obvious is Black's desire to connect the Rooks. I don't understand the point of B-Q1. I assume that Black doesn't want to trade the Bishop for the Knight, as that would allow White to plant his own Bishop on f6, which could be a little uncomfortable. Bisguier had a reputation for throwing away good games against Fischer, but he almost had to TRY to throw this one away.

Apr-11-17  Olavi: "Clearly superior" can mean different things. In this case the obvious interpretation is that it is clear that black is better (and if you study carefully a hundred top level games with the variation, you will agree that things have gone black's way). It doesn't necessarily say anything about the size of the edge.
Dec-07-18  RookFile: < I don't understand the point of B-Q1.>

Well, read Bisquier's note in the Apr-03-08 entry in this thread. He tells you why. Whether or not we agree with him is another story, but at least he tried to explain his thoughts.

Dec-07-18  Saniyat24: Sargon, take five :D
Dec-07-18  Howard: Soltis points out that this championship was "Fischer's closest call" as far as winning it outright.

A draw in this crucial, last-round game would have enabled Bisguier to tie for first place with Bobby.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <mcgee: Isn't there an urban myth about this game whereby Fischer fell asleep and Bisguier woke him up rather than win the game on time??>

According to Bisguier it was Fischer vs Bisguier, 1963.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Per the great researcher Edward Winter at

An addition from page 27 of How Not to Play Chess by E. Znosko-Borovsky (London, 1931): ‘The great Steinitz used to say that if he could establish a Kt at his K6 or Q6, he could then safely go to sleep, for the game would win itself.’

Dec-08-18  Atking: Sure 23...Kd7! was better. But I&m not convinced that 24.f4 g5! ends this strategical battle. What about Alpha) kind of positional piece sacrifice, 25.f5 gxN 26.Bxh4 ? For example 26...Nf4 (I doubt that is the best) 27.Kf3 Nd3 28.Bb6 RxR 29.RxR Bc7 30.Rh7 threatening e6! 30...Bxe5 31.Rxf7 Ke8 32.Re7 Kf8 33.RxB NxR 34.BxN and g5g6
Interesting to see that Bobby LOST to Art the First time they Played! Then a DRAW. After that, for Whatever Reason, Bobby went on to NEVER LOSE OR DRAW TO HIM AGAIN!! 13 Times in a ROW! 13 WINS!! Guess FISCHER was "HOT" and Art was "NOT"! AKK
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: More from the great researcher Edward Winter at (in discussion of the accuracy of chess quotations -- who really said what...)

... a footnote on page 112 of Chess Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles by I.A. Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1954), concerning White’s move Nd6: ‘Of such powerfully posted knights the immortal Anderssen remarked, “They are like a rusty nail in your knee!”’

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