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Robert James Fischer vs Edmar Mednis
"Someone should write a book about this" (game of the day Nov-08-2021)
United States 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
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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!.

Mar-27-14  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: cg.c time didn't roll in the US fall back, so the new GOTD appeared at 1900.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: What a horrible pun.
Nov-08-21  newzild: <Messiah> Fortunately, it's not a pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <OCF> I think 1900 is actually correct. US Eastern Time is normally 5 hours behind Greenwich. The reason it's been four hours since CG switched over could be that Greenwich may not use Daylight Saving Time, and hence never moved their clocks forward in the first place.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Read the book "How to Beat Bobby Fischer" and studied the games way back when. Best aspect--the high quality of most of the games. Curious proof of Fischer's greatness as a player; the quality of his defeats!
Nov-08-21  Cheapo by the Dozen: How to beat Bobby Fischer: Play for a draw and hope that he overreaches.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: After the success of "How to Beat Bobby Fischer", Medinis came out with a similar boo called "How to Beat the Russians." His concusion was:

<"The best way to beat the Russians is to play better.">

Can't say he was wrong, but it still felt like a wasted $11.95.

Nov-08-21  Dionysius1: <White must lose a piece after 73…Re8>. Yes, but it's not because of the feeble 74.Bxh4 Rh8.

It's because whichEVER seemingly free square he puts his BSB on, 75...Ne6+ forces White onto the e file, from which Black wins material with a discovered check.

Much nicer.

Nov-08-21  Brenin: <Phony Benoni>, <OhioChessFan>: GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) are the same, though technically the first is a time zone and the second a time standard. Neither of them has any seasonal variation, unlike British Summer Time, which is UTC+1 for about half the year (ending a few weeks ago). Each new GOTD and POTD appear at 00:01 UTC.
Nov-08-21  Dionysius1: Or 74.Bb4 Ne6+ 75.Kxf5 Nxd4+ and after all the exchanges Black's connected c and d pawns win.

click for larger view

Nov-08-21  Ironmanth: Fantastic fight for squares in a closed position. Truly have newfound respect for Bobby's efforts in this one. Y'all have a safe and awesome week!
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