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Robert James Fischer vs Paul Keres
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 22, Oct-18
Caro-Kann Defense: Two Knights Attack. Mindeno Variation Exchange Line (B11)  ·  0-1



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Oct-03-03  drukenknight: More Fischer/CaroKann. The Second Game with Keres.

ONce again Bobby plays this as a reversed Kings Indian (or rev. French) which was to be a strong opening for him later but not in this tournament.

In the openign, Keres now plays 10...Nd7 which is the more logical than what he did in the first game. But then he fails to continue this logic by hitting the Q. So it is hard to say how much advance prep. the Russians did with this opening.

So where does Bobby go wrong? The game seems to go from very dull, to quite risky, to completely lost in a few short moves. Blacks 42nd, 44th and 46th moves were all pretty strong.

Jan-30-04  Catfriend: Good positional victory for Keres. A good lesson for anybody feeling knights are way weaker than bishops! Like Fischer, for example:)
Mar-23-04  seeminor: Dr Young makes me laugh, a 15 yr old self taught player loses to vastly experienced soviet grandmaster, not much of a genius..............HAHA
Mar-23-04  ruylopez900: Although DR Young isn't quite bangon I think Fischer really should have considered changing lines against the Caro-Kann.
Mar-23-04  drukenknight: I am not sure self taught is accurate, I dont think anyone can get good w/o lots of practice vs others. Fischer must have been playing at the Manhattan club quite often. hard to imagine he was only studying chess in his room.

He does seem to get outplayed in the opening, but he could have survived. This game reminds me of playing in the middle school tournament for PIttsburgh region. I had never played vs the Carokann before, but I knew the first several moves. I created some sort of weakness on the q side and the guy zeroed in on it, nothing to stop him. He won the tourney.

Keres win owes much to his endgame sense and positional sense, Bobby's endgame play does seem weak

I thought Bernard Zuckerman mentored him early on, but I get various stories on this.

Mar-23-04  dafish298: Fischer seemed to play this opening to early for his own good. His losses occur in the first couple of times he played it, with his wins and draws coming towards the end. Overall, Fischer is 3 wins, 3 losses, and 8 draws with the 2 knight caro-kann.
May-26-04  seeminor: Fischer played at the manhattan club, vs someone involved in playing at the Absolute championship with Botvinnik, Smyslov et al. Keres had too much experience
Jul-29-04  Knight13: White's king is in danger of getting checkmate. Good game.
Nov-28-05  hellnation: dr young you are stupid
Nov-28-05  alicefujimori: <hellnation>Everyone are entitled to their own opinion. Just because you don't agree with <Dr Young> that still doesn't give you the right to call him stupid.
Mar-07-06  skitsystem: alicefujimori i can call who ever i want stupid!that is my own opinion.
Mar-08-06  zev22407: Dr young look at the games that Fischer won against Keres .
Apr-14-06  Atking: Well, to lose against a potential contender for the World title is not dramatic but the game was. In fact the persistent way in which plaid Fischer at time is inpressive. To put our judgement inside. After such loose are we able to play again the same opening ? Knowing russian's preparation Fischer plaid it again. Courageous. Very courageous indeed.
Apr-14-06  IMDONE4: I severely doubt the line 15. ♘f3 ♕c3+ is any good for white, it leads to black getting a favourable position and winning in the endgame.
Apr-17-06  mtoom: he was not a "soviet grandmaster"

he was Estonian and had was forced to play as a soviet due to conditions at the time (estonia being occupied and generally stepped on all over by russia)

Dec-02-07  PAWNTOEFOUR: <alicefujimori>'re right...i won't call dr.young's just that his elevator doesn't go all the way to the top..... and mtoom,thanks for the correction,i always thought keres was russian
Dec-02-07  CapablancaFan: Fischer seemed to struggle against Caro-Kann players. Anyone else notice that?
Dec-05-07  M.D. Wilson: Yes, CapablancaFan. However, Keres was no ordinary player.
Dec-05-07  Petrosianic: <CapablancaFan>: <Fischer seemed to struggle against Caro-Kann players. Anyone else notice that?>

Of course. That's why Keres, and other players who had never gone near the Caro-Kann in their lives, all started playing it against Fischer in the 1959 Candidates.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Fischer also had problems against the French Defense,(Fischer vs Mednis, 1962) but as he got stronger he overcame it.
Dec-05-07  RookFile: It's actually very understandable. The French, and Caro-Kann, are 'coiled spring' sort of defenses. There's usually no quick tactical knockout, and white has to play a suffocating sort of game to grind black down. If white over extends himself because of his ambition to win (which Fischer certainly had), he runs the risk of losing.
Dec-06-07  Petrosianic: He never really overcame the French. In fact, his last loss to a non-GM was against the French.

But his Caro-Kann problems stemmed mainly from his playing this old variation every time. After 1959, he gave it up and started playing normal lines.

Dec-06-07  M.D. Wilson: Fischer warmed to the French in the early 70s, but the Winawer was never overly kind to him. It leads to the dogged, complex positions Fischer preferred to avoid as white.

Fischer performed much better against the Classical and Steinitz variations of the Caro-Kann. As he matured, he frequently used his true strength, positional play, in beating opponents in numerous ways. Nonetheless, even one tactical slip by black was usually enough for Fischer to win, and win quickly.

Dec-06-07  RookFile: <Petrosianic: He never really overcame the French. In fact, his last loss to a non-GM was against the French. >

This statement is a little imprecise. It was a truth that Fischer had a weakness early in his career against the <French Winawer>. He posted 3 losses with it in the late 50's and early 60's. And it's true that Fischer did lose to Vladimir Kovacevic in 1970.

But Fischer learned from his mistakes. By the time of the Larsen match, he outplayed Larsen and won a nice game in the French Winawer. In 1970 Fischer outplayed Uhlmann, the world's leading expert in the French, and beat him as well.

As painful as the loss to Kovacevic must have been, it probably was tremendously helpful in baiting Larsen into thinking that playing the French Winawer against Fischer would be a good idea. Fischer certainly didn't mind how that battle turned out - on the road to the world championship!

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the 22nd round; earlier in the 8th round Keres had played 10..a5 against Fischer and had gone on to win. Here he varied with 10..Nbd7.

<IMDONE4: I severely doubt the line 15. ♘f3 ♕c3+ is any good for white, it leads to black getting a favourable position and winning in the endgame.>

Losing the right to castle wasn't that big a deal as the king is secure at e2; however 22 bxa? was a positional mistake that left Black clearly better. 36 Rh1..c4! 37 dxc..Rxb3 38 cxb..Rxa3 would not have helped White.

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