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Robert James Fischer vs Jacobo Bolbochan
Mar del Plata (1959), Mar del Plata ARG, rd 14, Apr-08
Sicilian Defense: Four Knights Variation (B45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Jimfromprovidence> For whatever it is worth: I founds both variations and considered the game variation cutter (on the account of the rook trap <1.Bg8 Rh8 2.Kg7...>), but yours a bit stronger on the account that it saves a devastating tempo in what I think is the main variation <1.Re6 Kd8 2.Bb3 Rc7 3.Rd6+ Kc8 4.Be6+...>.

Of course, the later variation is also not devoid of cute lines, such as 1.Re6 Kd8 2.Bb3 <Rf7+ 3.Kxg6 Re7+> which so frustratingly for Black fails to the calm <4.Kf6...>. (And then there all those lines with the pin or skewer after Bb3-a4.)

(Seeing two solutions by suffocation, I actually thought that I was missing a sacrificial break-through or something like that.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Jimfromprovidence> This may be the catch:

<1.Re6 Kd8 2.Bb3 Rd7 3.Ba4? Rf7+...>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Yeah, it seems like Bolbochan was playing for this ambush

1.Re6 Kd8 2.Bb3 Rd7 <3.Ba4?> Rf7+ 4.Kxg6 Re7+ 5.Kxf5 Rxe6 6.Kxe6 Bxa4 ...

Fischer avoided that.

Dec-16-11  jackalope: An extraordinary position for White. Material is equal but Black has been pressed to defending the 7th and 8th ranks severely limiting his mobility. Both sides have their LSB but Black's pawns are all on light squares while White's are all on dark squares, freeing White's bishop for attack and limiting Black's bishop to pawn defense. Black's rook movement is limited to the 7th rank trying to keep White from advancing his pawns. It looks like Black's rook is a likely target. Process of elimination reveals <48. Bg8> and Black has no good square for his rook.

A) <48.. ... Rh6?? 49. Kg7> and the rook falls

B) <48. ... Rh8?? 49. Kg7 RxBg8 50. KxRg8> and White has R vs B and proceeds to dismantle Black's king side pawns and can trade his rook for Black's bishop if need be.

C) <48. ... Rd7 49. Be6 any move 50. BxRd7> and White once again has rook vs bishop and can open files for his king side pawns.

D) <48. ... Re7 49. Be6+ Bd7 50. Bxd7 Rxd7> and Black has lost the defender of his king side pawns. White, once again, can promote at least one of his king side pawns and can easily afford to exchange rooks if need be.

Now to check for holes in my thinking...

Dec-16-11  Nemesistic: <Jim from Providence> What if in your line Black plays 49..Bf7 instead of Rf7 ?( if 50.Rd6+ then 50..Kc7 and Black comes out equal at the least)

And of course Andrew James Goldsby had to break out Fritz for a simple puzzle.. True to form AJ!

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: <Gypsy> I lost track along the way of interpretation it was in couple thinking re1 edifice have level just in it well off again Fischer goes rampaging home king coitus in fit monster a grinding bishop rook b6 in feed d8 affidavit black I know it is again bc4 has potentials right?

That was my thin picking but eventually dawned light rook bulb it went ie g8 c7 e6 checking and I f6 I cultivate g6 it drop in good damnableness.

Get your kicks waltzing Matilda!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Gypsy> <Yeah, it seems like Bolbochan was playing for this ambush 1.Re6 Kd8 2.Bb3 Rd7 <3.Ba4?> Rf7+ 4.Kxg6 Re7+ 5.Kxf5 Rxe6 6.Kxe6 Bxa4 ...

Fischer avoided that..>

If black tries 49...Rd7, that's a gross error. That's where the beauty of 49 Bb3 comes in. After 49...Rd7, then 50 Rxe8+!,

click for larger view

This forces 50...Kxe8 51 Ba4 Kd8 52 Bxd7 Kxd7.

click for larger view

Dec-16-11  tacticalmonster: 1) both b7 and g7 pawns are weak
2) both e8 bishop and h7 rook are undefended
3) h7 rook only has one safe square c7 after Bg8
4) huge difference bet two kings

candidate: 48 b5!

a) 48 Bxb5 49 Kxg6 Rc7 50 Kxf5

b) 48 axb5 49 a6 Kb8 (49 bxa6 50 Rxa6 (Black was in total zugzwang; any move drop at least an exchange) 50 Rxb7+ Rxb7 51 axb7 b4 52 Ke7 Ba4 53 Kf7 b3 54 Kxg6 b2 55 Ba2 Bc2 56 Kxh5 b1=Q 57 BxQ BxB 58 Kg6

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <nemesistic> <What if in your line Black plays 49..Bf7 instead of Rf7 ?( if 50.Rd6+ then 50..Kc7 and Black comes out equal at the least)>

I would try 51 Kxg6 here, then retreat the rook.

click for larger view

Dec-16-11  Marmot PFL: At first Bg8 seems counter intuitive since the rook goes to more active square. However it takes c7 away from the king, and it soon becomes clear that the real target is the bishop which can't move without the loss of many pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is even.

The first idea that comes to mind is 48.Bxb7+ Rxb7 (else 49.Bxa6 + -) 49.Rxb7 Kxb7 50.Ke7 but after 50... Ba4 (50... Kc6 51.Kxe8 Kb5 52.Kf7 Kxb4 53.Kxg6 Kxa5 54.Kxh5 Kb4 55.Kg6 a5 56.h5 a4 57.h6 a3 58.h7 a2 59.h8=Q wins) 51.Kf7 Bd1 52.Kxg6 Bg4 White is lost.

Another option is 48.Bg8, trying to exploit the lack of mobility of the black pieces, 48... Rc7 (48... Rh6(8) 49.Kg7; 48... Rd7 49.Be6) 49.Be6+

A) 49... Kb8 50.Rd6

A.1) 50... Ba4 51.Kxg6 and Black's king side pawns look lost.

A.2) 50... Ka7 51.Rd8 Ba4 52.Rc8 Rxc8 (52... Rh7 53.Bf7 followed by 54.Kxg6) 53.Bxc8 followed by 54.Kxg6, etc.

B) 49... Kd8 50.Rd6 Bd7 51.Rxd7+ Rxd7 52.Bxd7 Kxd7 53.Kxg6 Ke6 54.Kxh5 Kf6 55.Kh6 Kf7 56.Kg5 + -.

C) 49... Bd7 50.Kxg6 (or 50.Bxd7+ Rxd7 51.Kxg6 Rd3 52.Kxf5 Rxg3 53.Kf6 Rg4 54.f5 Rxh4 55.Ke7 Re3+ 56.Re6 Rxe6+ 57.fxe6 h4 58.Kf7 h3 59.e7 h2 60.e8=Q+ wins) is similar to A.1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Interesting.
Dec-16-11  haydn20: I've been trying these about a year, got a few "insane", missed several "easy". This is my first time going public but also first hard one I saw in a flash. I'm idiotically proud of myself, esp. since I also saw the refutation of Re6 quickly. Never happens in my own games.
Dec-16-11  jackalope: Just noticed typo in my D) line - should be:
<48. ... Rc7 49. Be6+ Bd7 50. Bxd7 Rxd7>

Back to proofreading school... :-(

Dec-16-11  Dr. J: <Nemesistic: ... And of course Andrew James Goldsby had to break out Fritz for a simple puzzle.. True to form AJ!>

Stop picking fights. This is not the place. Just stop it.

Dec-16-11  newton296: I figured with white's pieces are so well placed that all I gotta do is trade pieces then the king can hoover up the weak g6 f5 h5 pawns.

looked for forced trades but they just aren't there. thats when I decided I would settle for undermining the g6 pawn by blasting the B from e8. so came up with 48) Bg8 Rc7 only square Be6+ Kb8 forced Rd6! and now Rd8 is inevitable.

boom goes the dynamite!

you can tell fischer was momentarily stumped as he repeats positions before the winning plan hits him.

Dec-16-11  morfishine: <Jimfromprovidence> Your work on <48.Re6> has inspired me; you are remarkable in your resourcefulness!
Dec-16-11  drnooo: before he used the bishop to g eight, would not rook takes bishop also work pretty well, king takes pawn etc: its a much longer endgame, but simple enough that all those pawns would be absolutely annihilating, nightmarish enough that black would soon also just flip the king over.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Jimfromprovidence: ....

If black tries 49...Rd7, that's a gross error. That's where the beauty of 49 Bb3 comes in. After 49...Rd7, then 50 Rxe8+!>

Right you are. Of course. And the worst part is, I saw this branch clear and clean, but messed it up now just one short day later. Embarrassing.

Dec-16-11  Jason Frost: <newzild: Like <Jimfromprovidence>, I liked an entirely different line: 1. b5 axb5

If 1...Bxb5 then the K-side pawns fall.

2. a6 bxa6
3. Rxa6

Now the threat is Ra8+ followed by Ra7+, winning the rook.


Not 3...Rd7 4. Be6

4. Ra8+ Kd7
5. Be6+

Followed by 6. Rxe8, winning the bishop.

Apparently, there are several winning lines.>

Looked at the exact same line after realizing 48. Rxb7 didn't work. Glad to see I did not go completely off the wall.

Dec-17-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: I am familiar with another Fischer-Bolbochan game, but not this one. Material is even in this endgame, but white has three marked advantages: the good bishop, piece mobility, and king position. Yet it is difficult to see how white breaks through - the Be8 stoically defends the g-pawn and the Rh7 prevents the white king from penetrating any further. 48.Re6 Kd8 does not displace the defending bishop. But the vulnerability of both black defenders to a skewer does suggest a breakthrough.


Even in an endgame, eliminating the king's pawn shelter can yield benefits. In this case, the objective is to get white's rook to a8. Black faces a dismal choice:

A) 48... Bxb5 49.Kxg6 (perhaps a more accurate alternative is 49.Bf7 Be2 50.Kxg6 Rh8 51.Kxf5) Rh8 50.Bxb7+ Kc7 51.Bxa6 Rg1+ 52.Kxf5 Bd7+ 53.Ke5 Rxg3 54.f5 and the passed a-pawn and f-pawn should decide.

A.1) 49... Rd7 50.Be6 wins.

A.2) 49... Rc7 (or e7) 50.Kxh5 Rc3 (the most active option) 51.Bxb7+ Kc7 52.Bxa3 is similar to the main line.

B) 48... axb5 49.a6! ba 50.Rxa6 Rc7 51.Ra8+ Kd7 52.Be6+ Kd6 53.Rxe8 wins.

B.1) 49... Kb8 50.ab Rd7 (otherwise 51.Ra6 wins) 51.Ke6 Rd8 52.Ra6 Kc7 53.Ra8 Rb8 (forced) 54.Rxb8 Kxb8 55.Ke7! traps the bishop and wins.

B.2) 50... Rh8 51.Kg7 traps the rook.

B.3) 50... Bd7 51.Kxg6 Re7 52.Kxh5 is winning.

B.4) 50... other 51.Ra8+ followed by Ra7+ skewers the rook.

I think that's the gist of it. Time for review...

Dec-17-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: I guess I made it too complicated. Will review tomorrow against Crafty.
Dec-17-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: Try playing the puzzle position against Crafty using the following link:

As pointed out by <Newzild>, 48.b5 also wins, but Fischer's brilliant squeeze move (Bg8) still comes in handy in a different position.

Apr-11-12  Zugzwangovich: Fischer played one game each vs. the Bolbochan brothers Jacobo and Julio. This one was against Jacobo and the one from the 1962 Stockholm Interzonal was against Julio. Owners of the Hays collection may want to note that in that book the brothers' names in the two games are reversed.
Dec-04-13  RookFile: I thought black played well, but this is the problem with playing a super GM - he needs so little to win the game anyway.
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