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Robert James Fischer vs Edmar Mednis
US Championship (1962), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Dec-16
French Defense: Winawer. Classical Variation (C18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-22-03  drukenknight: More Fischer/Winawer. THis is Edmar Mednis' famous victory of Fischer in one of the US championships.

Going from memory as I recall, this game became rather closed. Technically it is semi closed I guess but what I mean is that grabing space became one of the main strategies as this game wore on. as oposed to normal attack/defend stuff.

It is very interesting as a case study to see how this game goes from a typical semi open type of position to a pt. where pawns and space become the order of the day.

The last time I studied this my impression was the Fischer had been rather outfought before the adjournment but that Mednis was content to keep the position closed and did not want to risk breaking open the position. Although I thought Mednis was wrong to play conservatively and I thought he had some strong chances before the adjournment.

Okay that is going from memory I could be completely off. I have some notes left over so my first question is:

does anyone see anything better on move 18?

Mar-08-03  drukenknight: MOre French w/ Bobby. Okay back to this game, why didnt he play 18 Nf5? playing g3 here looks like something memorized, sometimes Bobby does that, plays something that looks like he's playing a memorized line.
Dec-06-04  ArturoRivera: From the author of the book "HOw to beat bobby Fischer", how rude!
Sep-15-05  Runemaster: I don't see the point of 18.Nf5 exf5 as suggested (unless that was a typo.) Fischer's 18.g3 keeps the Black knight out of f4.

An alternative might have been 18.Bc1, redeploying the bishop, possibly on h6. But if 18...Nf4, do you capture the knight and thereby activate Black's queen? Perhaps 18.g3 was the best move available.

Apr-14-06  zev22407: Mednis wrote that 49) g4:f5 was the critical mistake , he sugested 49)g5 and a tough fight
Mar-22-08  Kasputin: <ArturoRivera: From the author of the book "HOw to beat bobby Fischer", how rude!> Yes a more polite title might have been "How to Beat Bobby Fischer - Once!"

In all seriousness, I've never read Mednis's book, but looking at it now in google books: it looks quite interesting

Mar-22-08  zev22407: It is a pity that Fischer didn't write the book "How I won 7 games against Mednis"
Sep-02-08  Petrosianic: <Yes a more polite title might have been "How to Beat Bobby Fischer - Once!">

That would be a good title if the book were about this one game. Actually, it's about <all> Fischer's losses after his first US Championship win, up through 1972 (Mednis never updated the book after the 1992 match).

<It is a pity that Fischer didn't write the book "How I won 7 games against Mednis">

Who'd buy it? Actually, Mednis was, in a sense, a difficult opponent for Fischer, and gave Fischer a tougher time than somebody so much weaker should have. Here's another game, where Mednis missed a winning shot: the first game in Fischer's 11-0 tournament, and the closest call he had in all eleven games:

Mednis vs Fischer, 1963

Sep-02-08  Woody Wood Pusher: This is a really horrible scrappy little game, Fischer should have just taken the draw and got his revenge later. Fischer was always very human in unclear positions, and he over-reaches himself terribly here looking for the win.

Black plays an amateurish, 'mock' positional style, keeping slightly better pawns and just playing with his central knight like it can win the game on its wonder Fischer was infuriated enough to try anything to break this guy, his moves give me a pain in the neck, and worse!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: this one must be part of Mednis' "How To Beat Bobby Fischer". I had a friend in high school who always played the French, and remember seeing him carrying this book around.
Jul-27-10  Petrosianic: Of course. Almost all Fischer's classical losses are in that book, up hrough 1972. The cutoff point is odd, though. Rather than count all Fischer's losses as a grandmaster, you might expect, he started counting in January 1958, after Fischer acquired "Champion status" by winning the US Championship. This wasn't strictly correct, as Fischer had already been US Junior and US Open Champion prior to this time.

It was a very good book, though. Mednis had some quite insightful analysis on many of the games, including some really good notes on this game:

Benko vs Fischer, 1962

...Which Timman's book on Curacao didn't bother annotating at all.

The only bad part in the book is when Fischer tried naming some of Fischer's favorite opening lines after him. That's not a bad idea in principle, but he gave them really awkward names, like "Fischer's 6. B-QB4" in the Najdorf, and "Fischer's QNP" (for the Poisoned Pawn Varation). Names that just didn't roll off the tongue (and in Descriptive Notation, no less). About that last one, we joked that it should have an even more awkward name, like "Fischer's Opponent's QNP", since that's the one that gets captured.

Jul-27-10  Petrosianic: The difference between counting in January 1958, and counting when Fischer became a GM is just one game against Matulovic, and two losses in the Portoroz Interzonal, so not a huge deal.
Jul-04-11  lemaire90: Why did Fischer resign here ? In the final position, according to Houdini, the evaluation is -3.2 ... black should be fine...
Jul-05-11  TheFocus: According to Mednis's analysis:

After 72...Nc7: Here the game was adjourned and Fischer sealed his move. A thorough home analysis convinced me that Black must win in all variations. A couple of these follow: (1) 73.Bf1 Ne6+ 74.Ke5 Ng5 75.Kf4 h3 76.Be7 Ne6+ 77.Kg3 f4+ 78.Kh2 Nc7 79.Bg5 Nb5 80.Bxf4 Nxc3 81.Bd2 Nb5 83.c3 Bf5 and should win; (2) 73.Ke5 Re8+ 74.Kf6 Re3 75.Kg5 Rxf3 76.Kxh4 Ne6 77.Rxa2 Nf4 and wins; (3) 73.Kg5 Rg8+ 74.Kh5 Ne6 75.Kxh4 Nf4 76.Bf1 Rg1 and wins.

73. Be7 0-1.
The sealed move, but White resigned without continuing the game. He must lose a piece after 73…Re8 i.e. 74.Bxh4 Rh8 75.Bxf5 Rf8!.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Edmar's only win against Fischer, who basically owned him, 5-1-1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: How to Beat Bobby Fischer.
Mar-11-17  Albanius: I look at this game every March, as part of March Mednis.
Apr-03-20  Albanius: Fischer found an improvement on move 12 in the first game of his match with Larsen: Fischer vs Larsen, 1971
Dec-29-20  Toribio3: Underestimated Black Light-squared Bad Bishop.
GM Mednis was able to manage the utmost utilization of his problematic bad bishop. The bad bishop became the protector of his two rook pawns on both sides of the board limiting the Fischer's rook function to defend against the two menacing rook passed pawns.
Dec-30-20  Petrosianic: <GM Mednis was able...>

Actually, Mednis wasn't a GM. He wasn't even an IM when this was played.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Before the INTERNET.
Before Chess COMPUTERS

Bobby was the Internet!
Bobby was a chess computer !
Bobby played chess fair. Always. Fair.

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