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Robert James Fischer vs Robert Eugene Byrne
"Robert's Rules" (game of the day Dec-15-2016)
USA-ch (1965), New York, NY USA, rd 8, Dec-23
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Guimard Defense (C03)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-06-14  TheFocus: I think this was the only time Fischer played the Tarrasch Variation.
Jun-06-14  TheFocus: In tournament play, that is. he may have used it in simuls.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <TheFocus> It was indeed Fischer's only serious venture with 3.Nd2.
Jun-06-14  TheFocus: That happens though. I once had a great attacking miniature with a new variation OTB.

in postal, I was mercilessly beaten when I tried it again and never played that variation again.

Jun-06-14  Conrad93: <That happens though. I once had a great attacking miniature with a new variation OTB. in postal, I was mercilessly beaten when I tried it again and never played that variation again.?>

What variation was that?

Jun-07-14  TheFocus: Torre Attack: Curry Variation
Jun-07-14  Wyatt Gwyon: I play the Guimard a lot with black. Really fun variation with great practical chances over the board. A lot of players with white are really caught off guard by it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Wyatt Gwyon> And Black seems to get decent results with it, possibly because of the White players' unfamiliarity with it. Here is a link to links with some statistics: Tabanus chessforum.
Jun-07-14  TheFocus: Quite possibly the only Torre Attack I ever lost. I cannot remember any other loss with it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <TheFocus> Ah lahke curry!
Jun-07-14  Conrad93: <I play the Guimard a lot with black. Really fun variation with great practical chances over the board. A lot of players with white are really caught off guard by it.>

I don't get why. It's basically a French without the pesky c5 pawn push, which should be a huge plus for white.

Jun-07-14  TheFocus: <Conrad> One point of the Guimard is that it usually becomes much more of an open game than normal French lines. Much sharper. More tactics. More of a slugfest. Chances for Black are pretty good.

Of course, it can also lead to a wholesale of exchanges, with a draw.

I suggest you try it against a computer.

I played it in blitz, but never in regular tournaments.

Jun-07-14  Conrad93: I guess you're right.

I have three books on the French, and none of them mention this defense.

Another annoying variation, which looks absolutely wrong:

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bd3

click for larger view

It has a nice little trap:

4...dxe4! 5. Bxe4 Nf6 6. Bd3 Qxd4??
7. Bb5+ loses the queen.

click for larger view

I have even seen 2000+ rated players fall for this.

Jun-07-14  Conrad93: Apparently black can just play 6...c5, but it it still an underestimated opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: On the topic of sharp play, 4.c3 has some tactical points, as shown by Keres vs Botvinnik, 1955, but 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 is considered stronger. One suspects that Fischer had something in mind when venturing into this mess, but this was certainly not his day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: The Byrne brothers had a combined one victory against Fischer, this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I'm always surprised at how many French players stop for a think after I play 3. Nd2. Is it so unexpected?
Dec-15-16  clement41: So rare to see Bobby dominated like that! Feels odd
Dec-15-16  BwanaVa: Offramp-as a French Defense player, I suggest when the "stop for a think" happens its because the player is deciding what line to follow and likely result. Are you going to play 3...Nf6, 3...c5, 3...Nc6, or even play 3...de4 and slide into (I think its the) Burn variation? Black's third move decides the nature of the game-its a reasonable time to have a think.
Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: <clement41> Yeah, it's unusual to see Fischer in such a train wreck.

Going over the game with Stockfish, 12 NxN was where the train may have come off the rails. The program suggests instead 12 BxB, which might play out something like this: 12. Bxg4 Nxg4 13. h3 Bd6 14. Nc4 Nxd4 15. cxd4 Rfe8 16. Qc3 +(0.05).

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Byrne was no boob, he was in the eight man Candidates matches in the 70s. I think Spassky beat him in the cycle after Fischer won the title.

the pun is a reference to parliamentary procedure, rules to govern meetings, from the 19th century.

Dec-15-16  YouRang: It looks like young Fischer went off the rails on move 12:

click for larger view

Bryne just played <11...Bg4>, double-attacking the Be2. Yes, the Be2 is double-defended, but one of the defenders (Nd4) is in danger of being taken off the board by Nc6. He could have played 12.Bxg4, but perhaps he didn't like the looks of 12...Nxg4 13.h3 Bd6!, creating mate tactics on h2.

So, Fischer opted for get resolve the attack on his Nd4 with <12.Nxf6> which also threatens Nxe7+, and so 12...Bxe2 is out of the question. He expected 12...bxc6 leaving black burdened with ugly queenside pawns.

click for larger view

However, he overlooked black's option to ignore the knight and attack with <12...Bd6!>

click for larger view

White has no time to save his knight AND the intermediate threat of Nxe7 is gone. He must stave off mate: <13.h3> which allows black to recover his piece with <13...Bxe2>, which will even win the exchange next.

click for larger view

The rest of it is just "winning a won game" technique.

Dec-15-16  RookFile: I think this is profound stuff. An uncommon case of Fischer being caught in the opening. Byrne was a strong player, of course.
Sep-05-17  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I agree with your analysis, Yourang, except for the mis-type Nxf6 instead of Nxc6.

The strange thing is that Fischer had already seen the zwischenzug ...bd6, which is why he didn't play 11 Nxc6.

He must have forgotten about it.

Had he played 11 Nxc6 instead of 12 Nxc6, he would not have lost the exchange.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: With a little research the pun for this game could have been:

'The Sensation of the Century'

The 'Game of the Century' involved the other Byrne, Fischer and Hans Kmoch.

In the February 1966 'Chess Review' Hans Kmoch titles this game 'Only Sensational'. Kmoch continues:

"A gross blunder, committed within the area of opening analysis, cost the Champion the Exchange, and so the game.

It's one of those games which are not exactly interesting, only sensational."


"Chess Life" January 1966 gives:

'Homer Nods"

The game Fischer-Byrne provided a remarkable example of 'Chess Blindness": Fischer who had obviously seen Black's reply of .....Bd6 a move earlier forgot all about it when he played 12.Nxc6??

Fischer maintained his composure perfectly after the blunder, played out the game as best he could with a lost position. and resigned quietly on the 37th move.

One wonders how some of the Champion's critics would have behaved in similar circumstances."


It is just me or do you get the feeling the writers of 'Chess Life' were treading on egg shells when commenting this game.

But they are correct here to surmise:

"Fischer who had obviously seen Black's reply of .....Bd6 a move earlier ..."

click for larger view

On the surface 11.Nxc6 does appear to win the e7 Bishop but 11....Bd6 saves it. Bobby would have seen that (else he would have played 11.Nxc6).

Don't agree with Kmoch saying it was "...not exactly interesting."

I'd have no problem using this game as an example of how to wrap up a won game. Black has just played 27...Qg6 - Qc2.

click for larger view

The threat is 29...Rxf2 and 30....Rxb1 and if the 'obvious' (a previous poster suggested it) 29.Nd4 then 29...Qxb1 30.Qxb1 Re1+

And 33...Qxf3 here

click for larger view

Far from uninteresting and very beneficial to a student of the game.

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