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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
"Best by Protest" (game of the day Feb-20-2007)
Spassky - Fischer World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 6, Jul-23
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. Exchange Variation (D59)  ·  1-0



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Given 138 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-14-18  Howard: Kasparov's MGP IV makes the interesting argument that 22...Rb8 was Spassky's fatal error, and that he still had decent chances to salvage the game until that point. Apparently, there's been a widespread feeling that 20...d4?! was actually the point of no return.

Wonder if Spassky had any holding chances AFTER the 22nd move.

Jun-14-18  ClockPunchingMonkey: Well, Spassky did set that clever trap that Reuben Fine fell into when writing a book. (White plays 28. Rf7, black replies ...Ng5). That was certainly a good try by Spassky.
Jun-15-18  Howard: Coincidentally, that "book" by Fine was just alluded to in the latest issue of New in Chess (Issue 4).

As I recall, in Fine's "book", he stated that Fischer could have won Spassky's queen by 28.Rf7, but it was "too little reward" for such a marvelous position.

IM Anthony Saidy did us a rare public service when he trashed that book in a 1974 issue of CL&R.

Aug-19-18  CharlesSullivan: As Kasparov noted in My Great Predecessors IV (p.442), Spassky would NOT have been hopelessly lost had he played 22...♘b6! What nobody has pointed out is that Fischer's own 22nd move (22.e5), which has been universally praised over the course of the last 46 years, is also not the strongest move in the position. After a 62-hour search on a 16-core AMD 1950X, Stockfish 9 assigns a score of +2.40 (at depth 60) to 22.♕h3:

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An example best-play variation is: 22.♕h3 ♖c6 23.e5 ♖ac7 24.♕d3 <+2.57> ♕e8 25.♕e4 g6 26.♗c4 <+2.84> ♔h8 27.♖f3 ♘f8 28.♕e2 <+3.02> ♖a7 29.♗d3 ♖cc7 30.♗xa6 ♕a4 31.♖a3 <+3.47> ♕b4 32.♖b3 ♕a4 33.♗c4 <+3.54> ♖f7 34.g3 ♔h7 35.♖b6 <+3.63> ♖fb7 36.♖xb7+ ♖xb7 37.b3 <+4.30> ♕a3 38.♖c2 ♔g7 39.h4 h5 40.♔h2 ♖f7 41.♕e4 ♖d7 42.♕f3 ♕b4 43.♕e2 ♖a7 44.a4 ♕b6 45.♖a2 ♕d8 46.♕d2 <+5.47> ♖a5 47.b4 cxb4 48.♕xb4 ♔g8 49.♗b5 ♕b6 50.♖d2 d3 51.♕d6 ♖xb5 52.axb5 ♕xb5 53.♖xd3 ♕c4 54.♖d2 ♕c3 55.♖a2 ♕b3 56.♕d2 ♕c4 57.♕g2 ♔f7 58.♖f2 ♕d4 59.♕f3 ♘d7 60.♖g2 ♕d5 61.♕xd5 exd5 62.♖c2 ♘b6 63.♖c7+ with an obvious win:

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Aug-19-18  Howard: Great to hear from you again, Mr. Sullivan !!!
Aug-19-18  CharlesSullivan: Although Kasparov's published analysis of Fischer-Spassky is the best so far, sometimes he misses the mark.
<Example 1> Instead of 24...♘f8 as played in the game, Kasparov looks at 24...♖xb2 25.♗xe6 ♖ab7.

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Probably thinking that 26.f5 is not playable because it would leave the e5-pawn unprotected, Kasparov proposed the slower-than-necessary 26.♖ce1 which would lead to 26...d3 27.f5 d2 28.♖d1 when there is still some fight left in the game. Instead, 26.f5! ♘f8 27.♗c8! and 27...♖b8 28.f6! ♕c7 29.fxg7+ ♕xg7 30.♖xc5 wins easily; worse for Black is 26.f5! ♘xe5? 27.f6! ♕f8 28.fxg7+ ♕xg7 29.♖xc5 ♘g6 30.♖c8+ ♔h7 31.♗g8+.
<Example 2> Analyzing Black's 22nd move, Kasparov gives 22...♘b6 23.♕d3 ♘d5 24.♕e4 ♕f7 25.f5 ♘e3 26.fxe6 ♕xe6 27.♗d3 ♖f7 28.♕h7+ ♔f8 29.♖xf7+ ♕xf7 30.♗c4 ♘xc4 31.♖f1 ♕xf1+ 32.♔xf1 ♖e8 33.♕g6 ♖xe5 34.♕xa6:

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Kasparov is using this variation to show that Black "most probably loses" and blithely continues 34...♘e3+ 35.♔f2 "and the queen and passed a-pawn should be able to overcome the rook and knight" (MGP IV, p.442). However, Black forces a draw with 34...♘d2+! 35.♔f2 ♖e3!! because White has to be extremely wary of Black's passed d-pawn.
<Example 3> Kasparov also botched a slightly different variation when trying to show that Black loses. After 22...♘b6 23.♕d3 ♘d5 24.♕e4 ♘e3

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his vintage 2004 computer misses the crushing attack which begins 25.♗d3! ♕e8 26.♕h7+ ♔f8 27.f5 and chooses instead "25.f5! ♘xf1 26.♖xf1". The fact that Kasparov adds an exclamation point to 25.f5 is doubly embarrassing because it is actually Black who has the better game after 25.f5? exf5 26.♖xf5 ♘xf5 27.♕xf5 ♖f8.

Aug-19-18  CharlesSullivan: <Howard>. Good to be back. Chess analysis got interesting again thanks to the big powerful computers and the amazing software programs!
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Notation unreadable.
Aug-20-18  Howard: What's so hard about reading it? Looks fine to me !

By the way, how much of an edge would Fischer have had after 22.e5, which is what he actually played ?

Aug-20-18  CharlesSullivan: <WorstPlayerEver> Thanks for the feedback. I do prefer English algebraic, but thought I would try using the "chess graphic" style. I'll probably use English algebraic next time and see what kind of reaction I get.
Aug-20-18  CharlesSullivan: <Howard: How much of an edge did Fischer have after 22.e5?> Preliminary result: after 3 hours (depth=58), Stockfish 9 scores Black's best move (22...Nb6) as <+1.04> (in White's favor). This led me to believe that Black can draw the position, but so far Kasparov's intuition that White eventually can win in the endgame seems to be correct. I will come back to this position in the near future. It is, unfortunately, one of those very complicated positions that after hundreds of hours of computer time might still be unclear.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Howard:...btw: how much of an edge would Fischer have had after 22.e5, which is what he actually played?> Enough to win, which is what actually happened
Aug-21-18  Howard: But, was the position a complete win after 22.e5.
Sep-04-18  Howard: In Yasser's book Winning Chess Masterpieces, he closely annotates this game (along with 11 others), and there's a point where he states "Both Geller and Reshevsky are wrong" regarding a certain point.

Was it Geller's 14...Qb7 improvement. Please elaborate.

Sep-04-18  CharlesSullivan: <Howard><In Yasser's book Winning Chess Brilliancies ...>
I usually don't comment about opening issues, but here goes...
In <Reshevsky on The Fischer-Spassky Games>, Reshevsky assigned two question marks to Spassky's 16...Ra7 and wrote, "A seriously (sic) tactical move from which Spassky never recovered." [I think he meant to say, "A serious tactical mistake from which Spassky never recovered."] Reshevsky said that "correct was 16...Qb7." In <Winning Chess Brilliancies>, Yasser Seirawan says that "Boris Spassky's second (or coach), GM Efim Geller, also considers the text a mistake, offering 16...Qb7 as an alternative." So both Reshevsky and Geller think 16...Qb7 was best; Seirawan says that "Black's best move would have been 16...Qa7"; and Spassky actually played 16...Ra7.

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After searches longer than an hour, the results are in:
(a) <+0.00> 16...Ra7 17.Be2 (Fischer's move) 17...Qf8 (instead of Spassky's 17...Nd7) 18.Rc2 Nd7, etc.
(b) <+0.00> 16...Qb7 17.Ba4 Qb6 18.Ne5 a5 19.f4 Ra7 20.Qb3 Qxb3 21.axb3 Bf5, etc.
(c) <+0.00> 16...Qa7 17.Ba4 a5 18.Ne5 Na6 19.e4 Nb4 20.exd5 Bxd5 21.Rfd1 c4, etc.

So 16...Ra7 was perfectly OK.

Sep-04-18  chessrookstwo: fisher all the way in this
Sep-05-18  Howard: That book by Reshevsky on the match was atrocious ! I've seen it before.

To be fair, it was at least better than Fine's "book", but that don't say much!

Sep-15-18  jonjoseph: I was amused by the tick tock effect of the Queens finding it hard to make up their minds and hopping to and fro also the rook bobbing up and down .The amazing pressure on the empty square at G7 and then the ominous shift to the next diagonal . A truly crushing attack and paused by a single pawn move on the A file which seemed almost pure housekeeping .
Oct-26-18  chessrookstwo: Fisher was a genius period!!!
Jan-26-19  oolalimk1: what happens if Spassky plays 40 Rg6 check?
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <oolalimk1:

what happens if Spassky plays 40 Rg6 check?>

You mean Fischer?

1) +6.22 (23 ply) 40...Rg7 41.Rxh6 c4 42.e7 Rgxe7 43.Qd5+ Rf7 44.Be4 Rd7 45.Qh5 Rf1+ 46.Kxf1 Qxh5 47.Rxh5 cxb3 48.Bd5+ Kg7 49.Bxb3 Ra7 50.Rb5 d3 51.Kf2 Re7 52.Rxa5 Rd7 53.Ke1 Rd4 54.g3

Sep-30-19  Chesgambit: Puzzle 14. Bb5?! gain advantage ( Qa4!? Qa3 Bb5?!)
Jan-09-20  yurikvelo: multiPV of Spassky mistakes

Feb-09-20  Gaito: Frank J. Marshall played Qa3 in a very similar position in 1909, when he defeated Capablanca (7th match game). It was Marshall's only win of the match, but a very beautiful win. I wonder if Bobby Fischer had studied that game and copied the move Qa3 from Marshall.

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Feb-09-20  Nerwal: Probably not, 12. ♕a3 was already well established theory in 1972 (first played in E Eliskases vs Spielmann, 1936). The fresh move was 13. ♗b5 although not really new either (Furman vs Geller, 1970 and in the book on his best games published in the early 50s Tartakower already mentioned the line 12. ♕a4 ♖c8 13. ♗b5 c5 14. ♕a3 ♔f8, although that last move is better known after ♗e2, due to Winants vs Kasparov, 1987)
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