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Robert James Fischer vs Maurice Fox
Canadian Open (1956), Montreal CAN, rd 4, Aug-27
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-03-06  Sadistic: Whoa... I might be missing something, but what's wrong with 44...Qf2+ 45. Kh1 Qg2# ?? Does chessgames have it wrong or something?
Apr-30-06  CapablancaFan: Wow, what a game by Fox. An enemy pawn stands above the king's head for quite a few moves, but Fox remains cool under pressure and somehow comes out of this thing on top.
Aug-27-06  Resignation Trap: <crampov> is right about the score.

Let's look at the position after 24...Nd3, with White to play:

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Fischer, according to contemporary reports, played 25.Qd2 and after 25...Qd7, 26.Rad1, which allows 26...Qxg4!

Later sources give 25.Qe3, when 25...Qd7?? loses the Knight to the simple 26.Rd1, no "ifs", "ands", or "buts". Black would have to reply to 25.Qe3 with 25...Qc5!

My first reaction to 25.Qe3 Qd7?? 26.Rab1?? is: "this must be a typo for 26.Rad1." It is!

Aug-27-06  Resignation Trap: As today marks the 50th anniversary of this game, I think a summary of round four of the first Canadian Open would be in order (from the website ):

'Only Frank Ross Anderson and Larry Melvyn Evans held the pace into this, the fourth round. Anderson polished off Rose and Evans easily beat Paul Vaitonis .

The big struggle in this round was between Bobby Fischer and Maurice Fox. It looked like Bobby's game right from the opening. For more than 30 moves, Fox sweated with a Pawn stuck at g7, while White's pieces were massed for a Kingside onslaught. Then, with a sudden twist, the tables were turned , and the 13-year-old was lost.

Almost all the players have little, strange habits when engrossed in a position. All over the tournament hall, one can observe feet tapping, knees jiggling, lips being chewed heads being scratched, and pencils being ground into pulp. Geza Fuster rumples his hair when he is losing, until, by the end of the game,it is hanging down over his eyes. William James Lombardy paces up and down with a vacant, lost-in-thought look. Anderson makes a small frown when the going gets tough. Rodgers rubs his nose, just before he makes a move. The most interesting "quirk" belongs to Engel. He sniffs. The more complicated a position becomes, the louder and more often he sniffs. As the complications subside, so does Engel's sniffing. When the game is over, Engel leaves the board without the slightest sign of a cold.

A player lacking in these idiosyncracies is, surprisingly enough, Bobby Fischer, who sits through his games like a miniature Brutus. Unlike most players, he does not even break into a sweat, despite the 90-degree temperature.

Aug-27-06  Resignation Trap: (continued)

'Evans, although friendly and smiling before and after each game, is like a man of stone while playing. His countenance is like that of a perfect poker player, and unlike most of the contestants, he rarely rises from his table while the game is in progress.

In other games, in this round, Hans Berliner played well to rob Lombardy of a precious half-point.'

Nov-18-06  chesskoff: 44. ... Qf2+ followed by 45. Kh1 Qg2# wins much faster
Jan-25-08  SereneThought: The beauty of this game is in Fischer's move 17.Nf5!, daring Black to take the sacrifice, but Fischer must have lost confidence in his idea because he gave up the knight with 21.Ng7?. Had Fischer played 21.Be3!, he could have won the game by putting pressure on the rook file. For example, 21...NxP, 22.Rf3,NxR, 23.Rh3. If Black takes the knight, White uses the pawns on f5 and f6 as a wall to prevent Black from protecting his king. Just imagine a 13-year-old Fischer conceiving of 17.Nf5!
Jan-25-08  RookFile: Fischer was probably 1800 strength or less when this game was played, but as you say, there were already glimpses of his genius.
May-06-08  CharlesSullivan: Fischer's ♘-sacrifice (17.♘f5) could not be accepted. The main line is 17...gxf5 18.gxf5 ♔h8 19.♕h5 ♘xb3 <also losing is 19...♘xd3 20.♖f3 ♘f4 21.♗xf4 exf4 22. ♔h1 and if 22...b5 then 23.♖h3 h6 24.♕g5 ♔h7 25.♖g1 ♕a7 26.♗f3 ♕xg1+ 27.♔xg1 ♗d7 and mate-in-13 beginning 28.♕h5 ♔g8 29.♖h4 ♗xf5 30.exf5 ♖a7 31.♖g4+ etc.> 20.♗e3 ♕d8 21.♕h4 d5 22.♖f3 dxe4 23.♖h3 ♗xf5 24.♖f1 ♗g6 <24...♗xh3 allows mate-in-16 beginning 25.♗xe4> 25.♗xe4 ♕xd3 <25...♕d7 allows mate-in-10 beginning 26.♖ff3> 26.♗xd3 ♗xd3 27.♖d1 ♗g6 28.♖d7 and White will have no trouble winning this.
Aug-29-10  goldenbear: Besides Reshevsky, who else other than Fox beat both Capablanca and Fischer?
Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: Keres, Euwe, Fine and Eliskases; don't know of any others.
Jan-26-11  jackpawn: <pawn to QB4> It's nit-picking, but Fine never beat Fischer in an official game. In fact he never played Fischer in an official game. Apparently he did win off-hand game(s) against Fischer.
Jan-26-11  Petrosianic: What does "official" mean? Actually, Fine's win against Capablanca is more dubious than his wins against Fischer, since his win against Capa came in a simultaneous exhibition. At least the wins against Fischer weren't in handicap games.
Jan-26-11  TheFocus: <Official> means under tournament or match conditions.

Fine's games against Fischer were off-hand or blitz games.

Jan-26-11  Petrosianic: Okay, I don't think I'd use the word "official". It implies an air of officiality that may not exist in the case of some of Capa's famous games played under tournament conditions. But I understand your use of the word, if not his, and have to agree that Fischer and Fine never played a game like that.
Jul-04-12  CharlesSullivan: After 19...Nxb3!, Black can survive 20.Bh6 Bxf5 21.Bxf8, as Karsten Müller points out in his "Bobby Fischer" book. However, at this point

click for larger view

Müller's 21...Rxf8 (followed by 22.Qe3 Qd8 23.Rxf5 Kh8 24.Qh6 Rg8 25.Rf3 Qf8) is NOT the "refutation of Fischer's concept" (Müller) because 22.Qh4!! wins; Black loses material after 22...Qd6 23.Rae1 Nd2 24.Qh6 Qxf6 25.Qxd2 Qd8 26.Qxd8 Raxd8 27.exf5, etc.

Instead, 21...Nxa1! leads to an even game: 22.Qh4 Qd8 23.Ba3 Nc2 24.exf5 Qd2 25.fxg6 hxg6 26.g5 Ne3 27.Bh3 Nxf1 28.Qh6 and White's threatened mate-in-one forces Black to take a perpetual check with 28...Qxh2+ 29.Kxf1 Qf4+, etc.

Jul-04-12  CharlesSullivan: After Fox's 19...Kh8, Fischer's 20.Qh4! should have led to a forced win. If 20...Nxb3 (20...gxf5 21.gxf5! and 20...Bxf5 21.exf5! also are winning for White)

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21.Be3!! is the only move that leads to a clearly winning attack; one variation is 21...Nxa1 22.Rf3 h5

( < After 22...Qd8 White wins brilliantly with 23.Rh3 h5 24.Bf3!! Nc2 25.g5!! Bxf5 26.Bxh5!! >

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< White has sacrificed rook and knight, but Black has no escape: 26...Kg8 27.exf5 Qd3 28.fxg6 fxg6 29.Bb6 Ne3 30.Rxe3 Qf5 31.Be2! Qb1+ 32.Kf2 Qf5+ 33.Rf3 Qxf3+ 34.Kxf3, etc. > )

23.Qg5! Qd8

White is down a rook and a pawn, but he has a killer...

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24.h3!!! (the only winning move) 24...Nc2 25.gxh5 Nxe3 26.Nxe3 Be6 27.hxg6 fxg6 28.Qxg6 Bg8 29.Rf5 Bh7 30.Rh5 Re7 31.fxe7 Qxe7 32.Ng4 Qg7 33.Qf5 Bc5+ 34.Kh1 Rg8 35.Rxh7+! Qxh7 36.Qxe5+ Qg7 (or 36...Rg7 37.Nf6! Qg6 38.Qb8+ Rg8 39.Nxg8 wins) 37.Qxc5 is a winning position:

click for larger view

Jul-04-12  CharlesSullivan: As <SereneThought> has pointed out, Fischer could have won with 21.Be3!! Black is lost no matter what he plays, but a stiff resistance is offered by 21...Ne6 22.Rad1 Qc7 23.Rf3

click for larger view


( < or 23...Nf4 24.Bxf4 Bxf5 25.Bg5! Bxg4 26.Qxg4 wins > )

24.Rdf1 Nf4 25.Bxf4 exf4 26.Rh3 h5 27.Qg5! Bxf5 28.gxf5 Qe5

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29.Bf3!! Rd3 30.Kh1!

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and White's threat of 31.Qxh5+ gxh5 32.Rxh5+ Bh6 33.Rxh6+ Kg8 34.Rg1+ Kf8 35.Rh8# forces Black to enter a losing endgame: 30...Rxf3 31.Rhxf3 Qxe4 32.Qxf4 Qxf4 33.Rxf4 Rd8 34.Re1 Kh7 35.fxg6+ Kxg6 36.Rg1+,

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and White can win this.

Apr-21-14  dunamisvpm: Maurice Fox a noted chess olympian was around 58 years old at this time, while Bobby Fischer was around 13. Fyi. GOD bless
Dec-23-16  john.owen: This was the tournament where Fischer started to "get good." He finished one point behind Evans and Lombardy, who tied for first. Tied with Yanofsky among others; I would guess a 2300 plus performance rating.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: doesn't 44...Q-f2+ win immediately?
Dec-23-16  parisattack: <john.owen: This was the tournament where Fischer started to "get good." He finished one point behind Evans and Lombardy, who tied for first. Tied with Yanofsky among others; I would guess a 2300 plus performance rating.>

2321/July 1956 is what the ratings chart I put together shows for Fischer.

I also show him dropping to 2103 in July/1957 then then 2605 in Sep/1957.

I believe in those days ratings were rather 'illiquid' and not terribly reliable on a short-term basis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Fischer blundered a pawn he had to play 25. Qf3 when he retains a small advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Fox was quite old then and he played an excellent game to take advantage of Fischer's weak play (25 Qe3?).
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Yeah, Fox missed a mate in two.
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