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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
Spassky - Fischer World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 12, Aug-08
Queen's Gambit Declined: Neo-Orthodox Variation. Main Line (D55)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-09-04  iron maiden: Fischer never played the QGD in any official game up until the Spassky match, when he played it three times in nine White games.
Dec-20-04  philbill: Yes, but it is perhaps notable that each one was a transposition from 1.c4...
Jul-19-07  pacorrum: Fischer is the most overrated world champion ever
Jul-19-07  pacelli: Well, a whole bunch of world champions and world class players don't seem to think so. Tal, Kasparov, Reshevsky, every US GMs, Short, Spassky among others. Fischer is probably among the top 3 greatest players ever.
Jul-19-07  RookFile: Spassky played a very old line of the Queen's Gambit here, and it served him well to get his draw with black. This was the game after game 11, where Spassky had won so wonderfully with the White pieces. It seemed as though Spassky had a shot at playing his way back into this match.
Jul-19-07  Wolfgang01: According to the results of his games, Fischer is number 3. It's not up to us, to jugde the quality of Fischer's play. He's worth to be the successor of Spassky as worldchampion. The play of Fischer was obviously good enough the become the new champion.
Jul-20-07  Petrosianic: << Fischer never played the QGD in any official game up until the Spassky match, when he played it three times in nine White games. >>

Hans Berliner had said in 1964 that Fischer would never reach his full potential UNTIL he played 1. P-Q4. Okay, Fischer stubbornly played a QP Opening by transposition here, but still, Berliner was pretty close to being correct.

>>According to the results of his games, Fischer is number 3. >>

What does this statement mean?

Jul-20-07  RookFile: Fischer did well in the opening of this game. For example, the move 12. a4! was praised by Gligoric as the best move on the board, in this little known variation of the QGD.
Nov-28-07  Dr. Siggy: <RookFile>: The move 12. a4! was not new, though: Stahlberg played it against Capablanca at Margate, 1936 (in a draw oddly missing in this database). It was Spassky who pulled out a theoretical novelty here with 19... Qb8, against which Fischer should have played 20. Nc6! right away, with a small plus (thanks to the Bishops pair). Anyway, from a purely psychological point of view, this was, perhaps, the most intriguing (not to say strange) opening choice of the whole match...
Nov-28-07  RookFile: Yes, that's right. The idea was: 12. a4 was not new, but the opening choice by Spassky was shrewd: the opening was so old that there was a decent chance of Fischer not being familiar with the need for 12. a4. That's why Gligoric praises Fischer here: this opening was a byway, not the main path, and Fischer still came up with the strongest choice.
Nov-29-07  M.D. Wilson: Great save by Spassky.
Feb-29-08  Knight13: <M.D. Wilson: Great save by Spassky.> Yeah, Heel indrukwekkend inderdaad!
May-04-09  WhiteRook48: 52...Rxf2+!!
Dec-29-09  Inf: Here it seems that white was never in a good positional advantage. Last position is evaluated at -0.62, I wonder why Spassky accepted a draw?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Inf>
Your computer program assumes Black has the advantage because of the extra pawn, but the opposite colored bishops here make it close to a dead draw. It's a typical pitfall of today's chess software.
Mar-03-11  hottyboy90: A rather dull game in this historic match if I may say so myself!
Nov-07-11  DrMAL: Round 8, Fischer had white pieces again and, after loss last time in QGD, Spassky played into it again, this time one of the most classic variations, game follows Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927 including Alekhine move Bd3, except h6-Bh4 is added in (giving "Neo-Orthodox" name) so that, aside from h6-Bh4 moves, position after 10.Bxc4 is identical to 9.Bxc4 from other game (actually, several games in that 1927 WC match). Basic idea goes back to Maroczy vs Charousek, 1895 and h6-Bh4 was added before 9.Bd3 in Alekhine vs Maroczy, 1931 but white castled so immediate c5 could be played (exchange on d5 followed this).

Both sides had good motivation to play this. Fischer wanted to show world he was true WC, so openings other than 1.e4 had to be played. For Spassky, QGD was great choice for solidity and for positional game. Since opening was so well-known with chance of novelty very low, Spassky playing black was likely to obtain draw with it. Play departed from Capa game with Spassky's 10...b5 thought then to be best for equality. Strategy follows old Steinitz tenant for black to equalize and see what white can do where, in this opening, what white can do was considered minimal.

10...b5 and 11...a6 creates pawn triangle preparing c5 with Bb7 as well. 12.a4 prevents immediate c5 but Spassky could have played 12...Bb7 instead, both were fine. Early game with 12.a4 bxa4 was Stahlberg vs Capablanca, 1936 (draw) this game does not depart until Spassky played 16...Qd8 instead of Capa's 16...Qb6 the other good move. Spassky's 16...Qd8 fared well before (e.g., Panno vs E Eliskases, 1953). However, pawn triangle a6-b5-c6 and moves to go c5 give solid edge to white. In later games, particularly Kamsky vs Salov, 1995 where white played 20.Nc6 instead of Fischer's 20.Bg3 and won, this plan became thought of as too risky, and has no longer been played.

Nov-07-11  DrMAL: <Inf: Here it seems that white was never in a good positional advantage. Last position is evaluated at -0.62, I wonder why Spassky accepted a draw?> White was ahead most of game, particularly after plan to go 15...c5 was played. Fischer later made few small errors and Spassky got tiny edge. At end the extra pawn, since doubled and unconnected, is irrelevant. Here is very quick eval, score is not going to change much.

Houdini_20_x64: 30/55 04:29 3,245,596,130
-0.17 56.Kf4 Bb4 57.Ke5 Bc5 58.Kf4 Bd6+ 59.Kf3 Bc7

Feb-16-13  RookFile: This game was an excellent effort by Spassky. He certainly created some uncomfortable moments for Fischer.
Sep-14-18  CharlesSullivan: Robert Byrne called White's 35th move "careless," and he's right -- best is 35.Nxc5 and the game is still equal.

Byrne then pointed out the strongest game continuation for Black was 35...Nce4! He continued, "I see nothing better for Bobby than 36.Ra1 Rc8 37.Bxe4 Nxe4 38.Nb6 Rd8 39.Nc4 Nxg3 40.fxg3 Qxb3 41.Nxa5 Qc3 42.Ra4." If true, then it's curtains for White after 42...Qc1+ 43.Kh2 Rd1

click for larger view

and White must give up his queen or suffer 44.g4 Rh1+ 45.Kg3 Bh4+ 46.Kf4 Bg5+ 47.Kg3 Qe1+ 48.Qf2 Bh4+ 49.Kf3 Qxf2+ 50.Ke4 Qc2+ 51.Ke5 Bg3+ 52.Rf4 Qc5+ 53.Ke4 Qd5 MATE.

But White was saved from any discomfort when Spassky missed 35...Nce4. Even then, instead of Byrne's apocalyptic variation, 36.Be5 Rc8 37.Qd1 Nd2 38.Ba6 Nxf1 39.Bxc8 Nd2 40.Bc3 Qxb3 41.Qxb3 Nxb3 42.Bxf6 Bxf6

click for larger view

is not terribly dangerous for White because of the bishops of opposite color. As Ivo Nei said at the end of this game, "The extra Black pawn has only symbolic significance."

Sep-14-18  whiteshark: <But White was saved from any discomfort when Spassky missed 35...Nce4. Even then, instead of Byrne's apocalyptic variation, <36.Be5 Rc8 37.Qd1 Nd2 38.Ba6 Nxf1 39.Bxc8 Nd2 40.Bc3 Qxb3 41.Qxb3 Nxb3 42.Bxf6 Bxf6> is not terribly dangerous for White because of the bishops of opposite color. As Ivo Nei said at the end of this game, "The extra Black pawn has only symbolic significance."> Indeed!

click for larger view

White to move

1) -0.60 (35 ply) 43.Kf1 Nc1 44.Ke1 Na2 45.Kd2 Be5 46.g3 Bd6 47.Kd3 Kf8 48.Bd7 Nb4+ 49.Kd4 Ke7 50.Bb5 Nd5 51.Nb2 Kf6 52.Kd3 Ba3 53.Nc4 Bb4 54.Bc6 g5 55.h4 gxh4 56.gxh4 h5 57.Ba4 Ne7 58.Bd1 Nf5 59.Nb6 Kg6 60.Nc4 Nxh4 61.Ne5+ Kf6 62.Nc6 Be1

2) -0.68 (34 ply) 43.f4 Kf8 44.Kf2 Ke7 45.Ba6 Kd6 46.Bb5 Bd8 47.Be8 f6 48.Bf7 f5 49.Bg6 Ke7 50.g4 Kf6 51.Be8 g5 52.Nc3 gxf4 53.exf4 Bb6+ 54.Ke2 Nd4+ 55.Kd3 Nf3 56.Bc6 Ng1 57.Bg2 Bc7 58.Ke3 Bd6 59.Kf2 Bb4 60.Kxg1 Bxc3

3) -0.73 (34 ply) 43.f3 Nc1 44.Ba6 Na2 45.Bb5 Kf8 46.Kf2 g5 47.Ke1 Ke7 48.Kd2 h5 49.g4 h4 50.Nb6 Bc3+ 51.Kd3 Bb4 52.Na4 Be1 53.f4 gxf4 54.exf4 Nb4+ 55.Ke4 Nd5 56.Bc4 Kd6 57.f5 Bg3 58.fxe6 fxe6 59.Bxd5 exd5+ 60.Kf5 Kc6 61.Nc3 Kc5

6.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 9 v010218

Jun-20-22  CapablancaDisciple: The times for this game from a website called

<<Game 12, August 8-9, 1972

Fischer Spassky
White Black
(ar) (0:09)
1. c4 (0:10)
(Spassky arrived 30 seconds after Fischer's clock was started and then disappeared until five minutes after Fischer made his move.) 1. ... e6 (0:05)
2. Nf3 (0:11) d5 (0:06)
3. d4 (0:11) Nf6 (0:06)
4. Nc3 (0:11) Be7 (0:06)
5. Bg5 (0:11) h6 (0:06)
6. Bh4 (0:12) 0-0 (0:06)
7. e3 (0:12) Nbd7 (0:06)
8. Rc1 (0:17) c6 (0:09)
9. Bd3 (0:20) dxc4 (0:09)
10. Bxc4 (0:20) b5 (0:10)
11. Bd3 (0:21) a6 (0:11)
12. a4 (0:40) bxa4 (0:12)
13. Nxa4 (0:49) Qa5+ (0:12)
14. Nd2 (0:51) Bb4 (0:16)
15. Nc3 (0:54) c5 (0:20)
16. Nb3 (1:01) Qd8 (0:45)
17. 0-0 (1:03) cxd4 (0:47)
18. Nxd4 (1:03) Bb7 (0:48)
19. Be4 (1:13) Qb8 (0:53)
20. Bg3 (1:21) Qa7 (0:54)
21. Nc6 (1:21) Bxc6 (0:55)
22. Bxc6 (1:21) Rac8 (0:59)
23. Na4 (1:23) Rfd8 (1:14)
24. Bf3 (1:32) a5 (1:20)
25. Rc6 (1:42) Rxc6 (1:25)
26. Bxc6 (1:43) Rc8 (1:26)
27. Bf3 (1:44) Qa6 (1:36)
28. h3 (1:46) Qb5 (1:38)
29. Be2 (1:47) Qc6 (1:42)
30. Bf3 (1:48) Qb5 (1:43)
31. b3 (1:53) Be7 (1:48)
32. Be2 (1:54) Qb4 (1:51)
33. Ba6 (1:58) Rc6 (1:53)
34. Bd3 (2:02) Nc5 (2:06)
35. Qf3 (2:09) Rc8 (2:07)
36. Nxc5 (2:13) Bxc5 (2:09)
37. Rc1 (2:15) Rd8 (2:12)
38. Bc4 (2:17) Qd2 (2:19)
39. Rf1 (2:17) Bb4 (2:22)
40. Bc7 (2:20) Rd7 (2:29)
41. Qc6(s) (2:38) Qc2
42. Be5 Rd2 (2:29)
43. Qa8+ (2:40) Kh7 (2:30)
44. Bxf6 (2:41) gxf6 (2:30)
45. Qf3 (2:42) f5 (2:31)
46. g4 (2:54) Qe4 (2:38)
47. Kg2 (2:58) Kg6 (2:45)
48. Rc1 (3:03) Ba3 (2:45)
49. Ra1 (3:04) Bb4 (2:48)
50. Rc1 (3:09) Be7 (3:08)
51. gxf5+ exf5
52. Re1 (3:16) Rxf2+ (3:17)
53. Kxf2 (3:16) Bh4+ (3:17)
54. Ke2 (3:16) Qxf3+
55. Kxf3 Bxe1

(ar) indicates the player’s arrival at the board. (s) indicates a sealed move.

According to my notes, it looks like, for once, both players were on time to the adjournment session.>>

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