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Robert James Fischer vs Bent Larsen
"Game of the Dane" (game of the day Jul-16-2009)
Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970), Palma de Mallorca ESP, rd 9, Nov-20
Sicilian Defense: Fischer-Sozin Attack. Leonhardt Variation (B88)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-07-17  Saniyat24: Not a single check against Larsen's King by Fischer...that's incredible...!
Sep-07-17  RookFile: I guess that's the advantage of this type of setup for black over the Dragon Sicilian Larsen chose in a famous game before against Fischer.

Fischer vs Larsen, 1958

Mar-04-18  Olsonist: "Taimanov (who, of course, bought his way into the Candidates)"

Taimonov came in equal 5-6th in the 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal Tournament.

Aug-02-18  ewan14: Bent Larsen career highlights ; winning the first '' Chess Oscar '' in 1967 , playing board 1 for the Rest of the World v USSR in 1970 obtaining a plus score v Spassky and Stein , beating world champion Petrosian twice in 1966
Aug-02-18  sfm: <ewan14: Bent Larsen career highlights ; winning the first '' Chess Oscar '' in 1967 , playing board 1 for the Rest of the World v USSR in 1970 obtaining a plus score v Spassky and Stein , beating world champion Petrosian twice in 1966> Well, winning "Chess Oscar"s and playing first board is fine, but I think Larsen would have smiled. Let's instead mention the stream of tournament top placements and wins in among the world's elite, including every world champion of the days. See the tournament list on his page.
May-05-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I don't get this.

Presumably, Fischer intended to meet 26 … Qc8 with

27 Rxd6

but he decided that after 26 … Qc4

27 Rxd6 wouldn't work

I can't see where the difference lies.

After 26 … Qc8

. 27 Rxd6 Re7

what would white have played?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <N.O.F. NAJDORF> On 26...Qc8 27. Rxd6 Re7? White has <28. Qxg7+> Rxg7 29. Rxg7+ Kh7 30. Rdxd7, and to stop the mate threat it looks like Black will have to play 30...Qxd7 31. Rxd7. White ends up with an extra knight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <N.O.F. NAJDORF> While on 26...Qc4 27. Rxd6, Black can reply <27...b3> 28. c3 Rxa4. It looks like White will lose the knight with a worse position than in the game.
Jan-22-20  AliSawalha: Nxe6 pinned the knight and lose
Feb-01-20  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Thanks for your analysis, beatgiant, which I am ashamed to admit I have only just seen after all this time.

They do say that foreseeing a piece taking another piece backwards is one of the hardest things to visualise (cf. the tragic Reshevsky v Savon interzonal game) and that seems to be what happened here to Fischer.

It took me a while to realise that the difference between your two variations lies in the fact that in the first one, a rook is blocking Black's queen from taking the knight on e6.

I had realised that Fischer's blunder 26 Ne6 - instead of the obvious Nf5 - had to have something to do with targeting g7 and covering f8 at the same time, and that's what your first variation does.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Patszer: A Fischer loss in 1970 does not fall into the natural order of things.
Feb-02-20  SChesshevsky: <A Fischer loss in 1970 does not fall into the natural order of things.>

Might consider this more a Fischer experiment gone wrong. Don't think he ever played before or had since the 0-0-0, g4, h4 idea. Even just the 0-0-0 Sozin play seemed rare for him. Maybe for good reason after getting blown up by Geller earlier:

Fischer vs Geller, 1967

But you have to give Fischer some credit for experimenting against a dangerous opponent in a big tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One common thread shared between this game and the loss to Geller at Monaco in the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn is that, even at his zenith, Fischer's strength lay in clear, sharp positions, rather than murkier attacking lines such as the Velimirovic.

It is most revealing that Tal, that great master of horrific complexity, sussed out the way soon after Fischer had failed vs Geller in '67.

Feb-03-20  Petrosianic: Mednis makes the same point. Fischer was good in clear positions, and better at complex clear positions that others couldn't see through as easily. Not as good in speculative lines.
Jun-25-20  Howard: Yes, Kasparov made a similar point in MGP. One example is Fischer-Geller Skopje 1967—very complex game, and not exactly compatible with Fischer’s style.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Yasser Seirawan reckons Karpov had this game sorted into an endgame from move 3 .
Jun-26-20  Howard: Ya sure ya mean KARPOV
Mar-23-21  thelegendisback: I've no idea what was Fischer doing in this game.
Sep-06-21  Justin796: Knight d6 pinned the knight but when black moved h6 Fischer should have put his queen on a safe square like d2, and definitely not line up with white's bishop. Downhill from there. A good game from Larsen, not a brilliant one.
Sep-06-21  RookFile: Larsen went +9 -2 in this tournament..... beat Fischer, and wait for it.... finished 3.5 points (!) behind Fischer for 2nd place. In the days that followed, there were a lot of great players, but I haven't seen anybody who consistently had such a huge gap between himself and the #2 guy as Fischer did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Impressive of Fischer to score 12.5 points from 11 games.
Sep-12-21  RookFile: I omitted the draws, of course.
Sep-13-21  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Compare

Stein vs Najdorf, 1965

Jan-08-22  N.O.F. NAJDORF: <beatgiant: <N.O.F. NAJDORF> While on 26...Qc4 27. Rxd6, Black can reply <27...b3> 28. c3 Rxa4. It looks like White will lose the knight with a worse position than in the game.>

Wouldn't that allow white to draw by

27. Rxd6 b3 28. c3 Rxa4 29. Qxg7+ Rxg7 30. Rxg7+ Kh8 31. Rgxd7 Ra8 32. Nd8 Ra6 33. Nf7+ Kg8 34. Nxh6+ Kf8 35. Rd8+ Ke7/g7 36. Nf5+ etc?

Isn't the real reason Fischer rejected 27. Rxd6 that black could reply 27... Re8 ?

27. Rxd6 Re8 28. Qxg7+ Rxg7 29. Rxg7+ Kh8 30. Rgxd7 Rxe6 31. Rd8+ Kg7 32. R6d7+ Kf6 33. Rf8+ Kg5 34. Rg7+ Kh4 35. Rg4+ Kh3 and white runs out of checks.

Jan-08-22  ocpman: After 31.Rgxd7 in your first line above, I think Black can mate starting with 31...Qf1+
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