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Robert James Fischer vs Pal Benko
"The Table Turns" (game of the day Jun-08-2005)
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 22, Jun-14
French Defense: Steinitz. Bradford Attack Variation (C11)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 30 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It looked great for Benko,he even spurned several opportunities of a draw. Alas,his attack came up one move short-and BF's one move long. A line-opening queen sacrifice that led to sudden defeat for Pal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <TheAlchemist>

28. g4 Qa3+ 29. Kd2 Nb1+ 30. Ke2 Bxc2 31. Kf1 Bxd3+
32. Kg2 Be4+ 33. Nxe4 fxe4 34. Rgf1 Nd2 35. Bxd4 Rc2 36. Qg3 Nf3+ 37. Bf2 Nxe1+ 38. Rxe1 Qxg3+ 39. Kxg3 a5 40. Bd4 Rc4 41. Bb6 Ra6 42. Be3 b5 43. Rd1 a4 44. f5 a3 45. fxe6 Rxe6 46. Kf4 b4 47. Rd8+ Kf7 48. Ra8 Re8 49. Ra7+ Re7 50. Ra5 Rb7 51. Ra4 Rb8 52. Kf5 h6 53. g5 g6+ 54. Kg4 b3 55. Rxc4 b2 56. Rc7+ Ke8 57. Rc1 bxc1=Q 58. Bxc1 h5+ 59. Kf4 a2 60. Bd2 a1=Q 61. e6 Qf1+ 62. Ke5 Rd8 63. Bf4 Ke7 64. h3 Qb5+ 65. Kxe4 Qd3+ 66. Ke5 Rd5#

Jun-08-05  Rocafella: A very nice finish from Fischer but Benko did squander a few chances of a draw...
Jun-08-05  ughaibu: Curacao 1962, fixed, for sure.
Jun-08-05  Calypsoleon: any thoughts on 18..Nc3 for black
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: <WannaBe> Was that computer analysis? In an earlier post I suggested that 28.g4 leads to mate, after 28...Na2 29.Kd1 Rxc2 30.Bxc2 d3 31.Bxa4 Qb2. Or am I missing something? I was wondering if there's a better defence for White?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: <Calypsoleon> I don't know, 18...Qb4 seems better, as it prevents the king from escaping via e1.

<Rocafella> Even worse, he missed a few probably forced wins.

Has anyone read Benko's book about his life, games and compositions? Does he mention this game?

Jun-08-05  InspiredByMorphy: <Marnoff Mirlony> <Call it lucky if you want. Fischer planned a brilliant attack and fought on with resilience. The victory was well deserved.> Why didnt black take the draw ? 19. ...Qb2+ 20.Kd2 Qb4+ 21.Kc1 Qb2+ or 25. ...Nc3+ 26.Kc1 Na2+ 27.Kd1 Nc3+
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: <InspiredByMorphy> Because his intuition probably, and correctly so, told him he was winning. He unfortunately chose the wrong continuation. Benko's play was superb up to move 26. On move 27, as I pointed out before, Fischer blundered horribly with 27.Qh4, but he got away with it. You can find quite a lot of sample variations in other posts above. I am pretty certain time pressure was a major factor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Because he was winning!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: After 28..Bc6 29.Nc4 Ne4+ 30.Ke2 Bb5 looks good for Black. If then 31.Nxa5 Bxd3+ 32.Kxd3 Qd2+ 33.Kc4 Qc3+ 34.Kb5 (34.Ka4 Nc5#) a6+ 35. Kb6 Qb4+ 36.Kc7 Qc5+ 37. Ke7 Qe8#.

<MrTibbs>, per the above line 32 cxd3 Qd2+ 33 Kf3 Qxd3+ 34 Be3 and I can't find a winning line for Black.

Jun-09-05  Rocafella: <TheAlchemist> Yes there were a few forced wins in this game that Benko. I think he missed these party because of Fischer's beard. After all, look at his page! Have you seen the size of that thing? Wouldn't you be intimidated!?!
Jun-09-05  aw1988: Kasparov's teeth, Fischer's beard. What next, Euwe's glasses?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: <Rocafella> Lol, although I don't think Fischer had a beard back then.

Maybe Benko put on his trademark sunglasses around move 27 so he wouldn't have to see his beard, but it had an unwanted side effect - he didn't see tactics as well :-)

Jun-10-05  Rocafella: <TheAlchemist> I am guessing that these sunglasses were bright pink! Oh, and by the way, I think that I have sorted out my internet problem so you all may still have to put up with me for another couple of years :-)
Jun-10-05  TheSlid: Oh my giddy aunt, however did Benko lose? Dizzyness due to success?

The reference being to Kotov's Think LAGM : )

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Benko plays Fischer well for most of the game, but then makes two key blunders at the end.

Instead of 28...h6?, Black should have played 28... Bc6! 29. Bg3 Ra2 30. Qh3 Be4 31. Nxe4 fxe4 32. Qxe6+ Kh8 33. Qf5 Rf8 34. Qxf8+ Qxf8 , decisively exploiting White's weakened Queenside castled position.

Fischer's 29. g4! exploits Benko's missed opportunity with an attack of his own on Black's now weakened kingside, which quickly proves decisive after 29...fxg4? 30. Rxg4! . Relatively better was 29... Nd5+! 30. Ke2 Nxf4+ 31. Kf1 Nxd3 32. cxd3 , with practical drawing chances.

Jul-11-06  notyetagm: Wow, 29 g4! completely transforms the nature of the position on the Black kingside from closed to open. After 29 ... fxg4 30 ♖xg4, White has pried open both the b1-h7 diagonal for his d3-bishop and the g-file for his king's rook.

Fischer now has a 4-piece attack (d3-bishop, g4-rook, d6-knight, h4-queen) and, in accordance with the <THREE PIECE RULE>, he sacrifices one of them (the queen, 31 ♕xh6+! gxh6), to give mate with the remaining three pieces (32 ♘f7#).

Jul-11-06  notyetagm: Black's tactical problem at the end of this game stems from the fact that his g7-pawn is <OVERWORKED>.

The Black g7-pawn must <BLOCK> the g-file, else the line of the White g4-rook is opened, the Black h8-king becomes <STALEMATED>, and White mates with ♘f7#.

But at the same time the Black g7-pawn must <DEFEND> the h6-pawn/h6-square, else White mates in two with ♕xh6+ and ♕xg7#.

The Black g7-pawn cannot both <BLOCK> the g-file -and- <DEFEND> the h6-square. <Blocking a line is a full-time job!> Since the Black g7-pawn must <BLOCK> the line of the White g4-rook, some -other- Black piece must <DEFEND> h6. Since no other Black piece <DEFENDS> h6, it is in fact undefended, allowing White to force mate with the <LINE-OPENING> queen sacrifice 31 ♕xh6+!..

For another example of this exact same theme, check out the Carlsen v Vachier-Lagrave game from the Lausanne Young Masters 2005. In that game, the Black g7-pawn again had to <BLOCK> the g-file because the Black king was on the h-file and there was a White rook already on the g-file. So Magnus played ♘f6+!, since the Black g7-pawn could not both <BLOCK> the g-file and <DEFEND> the f6-square.

Mar-30-08  madlydeeply: this game clearly shows how the americans conspired to throw points to Fischer in the Candidates tournament. HA!!
Mar-30-08  RookFile: Fischer was definitely in trouble here, Benko should have won this outright.
Nov-22-08  PolishPentium: 28...Ne4++ (double check, not mate)
Possible replies for White:
(1) 29 Kc1 Loses immediately to 29...Ra1#
[Ergo, not an option] (2) 29 Kd1 Qd2#

(3) Thus, it is clear that 29 Ke2 is the only possible move. Then, Black can play 29...Qd2+. Continuing, White only has 30 Kf1 or Kf3. Thereafter, assuming Kf3, 30...Nxd6 31 exd6 Bc6+ 32 Kg3 (32 Re4 of course tosses away the Rook to fxe4+, and 32 Be4 allows Ra3+) Re8 33 Bxd4 Rd5 34 Re2 Qb4 35 c3 Qb3 36 Re1 Rxd6 37 Qg5 (threatening 38 Qxg7 mate) Rxd4 !? (If 38 cxd4, Qxd3+ 39 Re3 Qxd4 40 Rxe6 Rxe6 41 Re6 Qd3+ 42 Kf2 Qd5 43 Re5 Qd2+ 44 Re2 Qd4+ 45 Re3 g6 46 g3 a4 // Black has a good chance of promoting one of his Qside pawns, as the White Q is out of position and the Black Q+B together chain the White K+R, preventing the White Rook from getting free and marauding as is what Rooks typically want...

Ergo, Benko does seem to snatch defeat out of the jaws of a draw or even a win.^^

Dec-13-08  DoubleCheck: <PolishPentium>

I agree with your comment
I noticed after going over the game in full a few times that Ne4 gives better chances for black rather than the blunder 30. Kh8??

30. Rxg4 Ne4+!
31. Ke2 Qd2+
32. Kf3 Qxf2+ (32. Kxe4 Bc6+ mate)
33. Qxf2 Nxf2
34. Kxf2 Bc6(preventing Nxb7)

And now black is only the sacrificed knight down

Jul-19-13  grin44: 27.Qh4 bad mistake. After 27. ... Ba4 White is in serious trouble.
Feb-26-14  offramp: Some interesting comments about this game can be seen at its progenitor: Janowski vs Alapin, 1901.

After 26.Kc1 it is obvious white is in trouble.

click for larger view

How about 26...Ba4?

click for larger view

This threatens the startling 27...Qb1+ 28.Kd2 Ne4+ 29.Bxe4 Rxc2+! with a total éboulement.

But 26...Rc5, as played, also looks cataclysmic.

After 28.Kd2

click for larger view

...Benko should probably have played 28...Ra2. 28...h6 was no use at all.

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