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Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky
Spassky - Fischer World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 14, Aug-15
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack (D37)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-31-04  Calli: Hard to understand. Maybe he meant to play 27..Nxd4 28.Bxd4 f6 and transposed the order. I say that because 27...Nxd4 28.Bxd4 Bxd4?! exd4 is more difficult to win for Black so perhaps Spassky got lost in figuring out the easiest win and blundered.
Jun-05-05  SnoopDogg: Spassky demonstrated he had about equal skill level and talent as Fischer in this match Kramnik says. He said that Spassky had lost his nerves and made terrible blunders in equal and sometimes winning positions. A close study of these games show that Kramnik was right and that Spassky was probably just as strong as Fischer yet psychologically he was lost and caused him to make blunders an 1800 player wouldn't make.
Jun-05-05  Renfro the STRANGE: <SnoopDogg>
Long matches produce more blunders than tournament play. Its all a partof chess. What about Fischer's B x Rp in game one, where he got his bishop trapped, like a beginner? I think the quality of Fischer's play, the pressue he put people under, accounts for a lot of the blunders.

After losing this match, Spassky was barred from international play/travel for a year by his masters. In his "my life" book, Korchnoi says that Spassky had to have a big result to get out of the doghouse, and he did it by winning the USSR championship in 1974 (or 73). By far, he still had great talent, to win a super strong event like that.

Jun-05-05  SnoopDogg: I wasn't arguing that, Kramnik was. But besides that its a fact that all the Fischer no shows cost Spassky alot of paranoia so much that he had the chairs checked for spy waves damaging his play!
Nov-16-06  Billy Ray Valentine: So if black doesn't blunder with 27...f6, is there a win here for him? Or is it unclear whether or not he can win?
Nov-17-06  DWINS: <Billy>, In the book "Extreme Chess", Purdy says that the continuation envisaged by Fischer was 27...Nxd4 28.Bxd4 Bxd4 [28...Kf8 29.Kf1 f6 30.Ke2 Ke7 31.Bxb6 axb6 32.Ra1 and White should probably draw with his aggressive rook] 29.exd4 Rb8 30.Rxc6 Rxb4 31.Kf1

Now if 31...Rxd4 32.Ra6, with a draw-type rook ending as Black's passed pawn is not remote enough to win.

If 31...a5 32.Rc5 a4 33.Rxd5 a3 34.Ra5 Rb1+ 35.Ke2 Rb2+ 36.Ke3 a2 37.Ra7 and White draws.

Purdy concludes that if there is a win for Black somewhere, it is a difficult one.

Dec-20-06  chezzy: <> In the analysis of this match in a book by Euwe/Timman, moves 28-32 are given as: 28.Bxf7 Nxd4 29.Bxd4 Bxd4 30.exd4 Rb8 31.Kf1 Rxb4 32.Rxc6 Rxd4
Feb-29-08  Knight13: <27...f6?> Yeah, that move's a oversighted didn't-mean-to-play-it-first kind of move that every player does one time or another.
Jul-16-08  PAWNTOEFOUR: after reading <dick brain's> comment,i was kind of curious myself......crafty,after 1.6 million nodes comes up with this..pv 27...Bxd4 28.Bxd4 Nxd4 29.exd4 Rb8 30.Kf1 Rxb4 31.Rxc6 Rxd4 32.Ra6 g6 33.Rxa7 Kg7 34.Ke2 Re4+ 35.Kd3 Kf6 36.g3 Re7 37.Ra6+ Kf5 38.Kd4 -153 Crafty
Jul-16-08  Boomie: <PAWNTOEFOUR: after reading <dick brain's> comment,i was kind of curious myself......crafty,after 1.6 million nodes comes up with this..pv 27...Bxd4 28.Bxd4 Nxd4 29.exd4 Rb8 30.Kf1 Rxb4>

Fritz 11 prefers 30...Rb6 but neither move leads to a clearly won game. The engines are notoriously useless in endgames.

May-04-09  WhiteRook48: ideal teasing of rooks
May-05-09  Marmot PFL: One of the worst games in world championship history. Both players were probably affected by the tension of the previous game.
May-05-09  AnalyzeThis: It's not a great game, but there have been worse, whether it be Chigorin overlooking mate in two or Topalov throwing a rook out the window to lose to Kramnik.
May-05-09  Riverbeast: I think it was quite ballsy of Fischer to play the Queens Gambit, an opening he had NEVER played before, in a world championship match.

This was not a great game.....But the most beautiful game of the match was the Queens Gambit Fischer played in Game Six

Jun-16-09  talisman: <AnalyzeThis> <It's not a great game but there have been worse> Man...fischer,spassky,... You...You must be pretty good!
Jun-09-11  lost in space: <<Riverbeast>: I think it was quite ballsy of Fischer to play the Queens Gambit, an opening he had NEVER played before, in a world championship match. This was not a great game.....But the most beautiful game of the match was the Queens Gambit Fischer played in Game Six>

Hmmmm, if Fischer played a close to perfect Queens gambit in game six of this WC-match, it is impossible that he played his first Queen Gambit game at game 14 in the same WC-match.

Jun-09-11  Riverbeast: <lost in space> Obviously I was referring to Game 6, as the first time he played it

Not this game

Jun-12-13  Everett: <This was not a great game.....But the most beautiful game of the match was the Queens Gambit Fischer played in Game Six>

That game is actually greatly over-rated, considering how many second best moves Spassky made.

The one very great game in this match was the Game #13 Alekhine's Defence, where we see Spassky play a great game only to have Fischer play near-perfect. In many of the other Fischer wins Spassky played some howlers.

Jul-07-14  Ke2: It's worth noting that either 12 or 13 Nxd5 loses. It appears a simple discovery, but after either 12 or 13 Nxd5 Qxd5
Qxd5 Nxd5
Rxc5 Nxf4
exf5 Nd4
Re5 Nxe2+
Rxe2 Bc4 skewer

Maybe a soviet prepared secret? Or is this well known?

Sep-25-16  RookFile: 14. Na4 was a safe option for white, aiming for Nxb6. Had it gone this way, I'm sure this game would have been drawn shortly.
Sep-25-18  CharlesSullivan: < Spassky misses shocking win! >

[ I thought I would try a little "click bait" ]

Fischer spent 6 minutes to produce 20.Bf4, a real clunker. Spassky spent only a minute and played 20...Qf6 which was given an exclamation point by Byrne & Nei and Reshevsky and has never been criticized.

However, nobody has noticed that Spassky missed the "shocking" way to punish Fischer's mistake: 20...g5!! 21.Bg3 h5 <-2.12, 4 hours, depth 58>:

click for larger view

Surely both Fischer and Spassky saw this and both probably concluded that creating an escape for the bishop with 22.h3 would be adequate. But 22.h3 Re8!
(Now, if 23.Bb5, then Nxg3 24.fxg3 Rxe3 <-3.11>)

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23...Qe7! (also winning is 23...Nxf2!) 24.Kh1 g4 25.Qc2 Qf6 26.Bf4 Qf5 (26...gxf3 also wins) 27.Ne1 Nd4 <-3.81> 28.Qa4 Rc8 29.Bd3 Ne6 30.f3 gxf3 31.Rxf3 Nxf4 32.Rxf4 Qe5 33.Bxe4 Rc1!

click for larger view

34.Rf1 Bc7! 35.g3 b5! <-6.15> 36.Qb4 Qxe4+ 37.Qxe4 dxe4 38.Kg2 Bb6 39.Kf2 Rb1, etc.

So the toughest defense (from the first diagram) is 22.Rd1 h4 23.Be5 g4 <-2.31, 4 hours, 59 depth> 24.Nd2 Nxf2 25.Kxf2 Nxe5 <-2.39> 26.Qf4 Re8 27.Nf1 Bc7 <-2.48, 4 hours, depth 60> 28.Qb4 g3+ <-2.57> 29.Kg1 gxh2+ 30.Nxh2 Qg5 31.Ng4 f5 32.Qf4 Qxf4 33.Nf6+ Kf7 34.exf4 Kxf6 35.fxe5+ Ke6 <-3.09, 6 hours, depth 56> 36.b4 Bxe5 <-3.48>

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37.Bf3 Rd8 <-3.79> 38.Kf2 Rd7 39.Be2 Rc7 <-4.19> 40.Kf1 Bf4 <-5.19> 41.Bf3 Rd7 42.Re1+ Kf6 43.Re8 d4 44.Rf8+ Kg6 45.Rg8+ Kf7 46.Re8 d3 47.Kf2 Rc7 48.Rd8 Rc2+ <-6.01> 49.Ke1 d2+ 50.Kf1 Rc1+ 51.Kf2 Re1 52.Be2 b5 53.Rd3 Kg6 54.Rd4 Bg5 55.Rd6+ Kf7 56.Rd3 Kf6 57.Rd5 Ke6 58.Rd3 Ke5 59.Rd7 Ra1! 60.Rd3 Ke4 61.Rh3, and now the fastest win is 61...d1=N+

click for larger view

which leads to mate (62.Ke1 Ne3+ 63.Kd2 Ra2+ 64.Ke1 Nxg2+ 65.Kf2 Rxe2+ 66.Kxe2 Nf4+ 67.Kd2 Nxh3+, etc.).

Sep-26-18  CharlesSullivan: < Further Errors, But -- No Harm, No Foul >

After Fischer escaped retribution for his 20.Bf4 blunder, he thought for 8 minutes and landed in the soup again with another weak move: 21.Bb5 lost a pawn to 21...Qxb2 22.Bxc6 Nc3! Stockfish says that White should have played 21.Qb5! d4 22.Bd3!, giving Black only a small edge.

Luckily for Fischer, it does not appear that 21.Bb5 was a losing move. Spassky's 27...f6 was an obvious error, but Stockfish has not found a win despite several hours of thinking. The computer creates a variation which gradually fizzles out: 26...Nxd4 28.Bxd4 Bxd4 29.exd4 Rb8 30.Kf1 Rb6 31.Ke2 <-0.88, depth 63> h5 32.Kd3 h4 33.Rc5 f6 34.Kc3 and White's defensive position probably holds. As is well known, an extra pawn in a rook endgame is often not enough to win -- such seems to be the case here.

Timman said that the "endgame after 27...♘xd4 28.♗xd4 ♔f8 is a technical win." He gives 29.Kf1 Bxd4 30.exd4 Ke7 31.Ra1 Ra8 32.Ke2 Kd7 33.Kd3 a6 34.Ra2 Kc7 35.Re2 Kb6 36.Re7 Ra7:

click for larger view

However, Stockfish, after an 83-minute search to a depth of 70, thinks White is safe: 37.Re8 a5 38.bxa5+ Kxa5 39.h4 Kb6 40.h5 f6 41.g4 Ra3+ 42.Ke2 Ra2+ 43.Ke3 Ra1 44.Rb8+ Kc7 45.Rg8 Re1+ 46.Kd3 Re7 47.f3 <+0.00>:

click for larger view

White's rook behind enemy lines should ensure the draw.

Sep-26-18  Howard: So, Boris should have won Game 14 ?! That game always struck me as rather lackluster despite the mutual mistakes.

Can't wait to see what Mr. Sullivan has cooked up for Games 15 and 17 !

May-17-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Spassky's comeback, referred to by Renfro above, was at the 1973 USSR Championship, which was the strongest ever to have been held.

Spassky very nearly committed a further blunder with 26 ... Kf2, allowing 26 Bxg7, but saw the refutation just in time.

Kramnik's assessment is interesting. I would like to see the critical positions he had in mind.

Karpov said that Spassky missed a win in game 13 as well as game 4, so that's two of them.

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

<<Game 14, August 15th, 1972

Fischer Spassky
White Black
(ar) (0:07) (ar) (-:01)
1. c4 (0:07)
(Spassky appeared one minute before the game was to start. By the time Fischer arrived and made his move, Spassky had left and did not return until 3 minutes later.) (ar) (0:03)
1. e6 (0:04)
2. Nf3 (0:07) d5
3. d4 (0:08) Nf6 (0:05)
4. Nc3 (0:08) Be7 (0:05)
5. Bf4 (0:08) 0-0 (0:11)
6. e3 (0:08) c5 (0:14)
7. dxc5 (0:08) Nc6 (0:15)
8. cxd5 (0:09) exd5 (0:20)
9. Be2 (0:09) Bxc5 (0:20)
10. 0-0 (0:09) Be6 (0:23)
11. Rc1 (0:11) (0:27)
(Spassky was gone for 4 minutes and so took only 9 minutes for his 11th.) 11. ... Rc8 (0:36)
12. a3 (0:12) h6 (0:47)
13. Bg3 (0:16) Bb6 (0:56)
14. Ne5 (0:24) Ne7 (1:08)
15. Na4 (0:45) Ne4 (1:17)
16. Rxc8 (0:48) Bxc8 (1:17)
17. Nf3 (0:53) Bd7 (1:27)
18. Be5 (1:02) Bxa4 (1:27)
19. Qxa4 (1:02) Nc6 (1:27)
20. Bf4 (1:08) Qf6 (1:28)
21. Bb5 (1:16) Qxb2 (1:35)
22. Bxc6 (1:19) Nc3 (1:37)
23. Qb4 (1:22) Qxb4 (1:39)
24. axb4 (1:22) bxc6 (1:39)
25. Be5 (1:23) Nb5 (1:41)
26. Rc1 (1:24) Rc8 (1:46)
27. Nd4 (1:26) f6 (1:57)
28. Bxf6 (1:28) Bxd4 (2:06)
29. Bxd4 (1:28) Nxd4 (2:07)
30. exd4 (1:28) Rb8 (2:07)
31. Kf1 (1:36) Rxb4 (2:07)
32. Rxc6 (1:36) Rxd4 (2:09)
33. Ra6 (1:36) Kf7 (2:09)
34. Rxa7+ (1:36) Kf6 (2:10)
35. Rd7 (1:37) h5 (2:10)
36. Ke2 (1:39) g5 (2:11)
37. Ke3 (1:42) Re4+ (2:13)
38. Kd3 (1:43) Ke6 (2:13)
39. Rg7 (1:46) Kf6 (2:15)
40. Rd7 Ke6

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