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Ludek Pachman vs Robert James Fischer
"Pac Man" (game of the day May-23-2010)
Santiago (1959), Santiago CHI, rd 6, Apr-28
Indian Game: Anti-Nimzo-Indian (E10)  ·  1-0



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Given 16 times; par: 67 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: CG gives us a collection of delights today. We have a clever pun to remind me of my youth. Happy birthday pacman! I was more of a space invaders/ Galaxians fan, but I certainly wasted quite a lot of my teenage cash on the gobbling yellow ball. That strange and pitiful whoo-woo-woo sound as he was eaten by a ghost will stay with me forever.

Then we have a sparklng game where Fischer sacs into a fierce attack that nearly, but not quite, works. All praise to him for trying, but Pachman did well to find a defence.

Add to that the delightful story of Fischer sweeping the pieces off the board and storming away without signing the scoresheet.

And to top it all, we have an amusing history of kibbitzing where ardent Fischerites don't realise that they are being trolled. Of course, Fischer wasn't outplayed in every phase of this game ... you were just being reeled in.

Chess isn't like soccer. I don't feel the need to support and defend any one player, living or dead. I would rather be a connoisseur, taking pleasure from all parts of the game and all who have ever played it well.

May-23-10  chesstyro: was it a mistake for bobby not to exchange his knight for the white bishop early on? I know its a beginners question but i am always wondering why players do not take that exchange whenever possible
May-23-10  tivrfoa: very clever pun. Pac Man indeed
May-23-10  Marmot PFL: 20 Kh1 Qh5 21 Rg1+ and 22 Rg2 seems like a simpler defense. Fischer was not in good form and I think finished last in this tournament.
May-23-10  Peter Nemenyi: <Fischer was not in good form and I think finished last in this tournament.> I don't know where you got that idea. Fischer may not have been in great form in this event but he still dealt with the local masters easily enough, and finished in a three-way tie for fourth out of thirteen.

You may be thinking of Buenos Aires 1960, the worst tournament of Fischer's life, but there he placed 14/20. He never finished last in a tournament, except perhaps at the chess club as a child.

May-23-10  bambino3: love the pawn center
May-23-10  Marmot PFL: <Peter Nemenyi> Yes, I was thinking of Buenos Aries. Some of his mistakes there were almost amateur level. Here he just miscalculated in a sharp position.
May-23-10  montree: Unsound attack! 21.Bc8 is winning for white. I don't see any mating attack on white so material deficit will count in the end.
May-23-10  WhiteRook48: and the red ghost dude is fischer...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A rare loss by Fischer,heck,he was only sixteen at the time.

PacMan was big at one time,but that was over twenty years ago!! Anybody remember the TV show? It was even too corny for the Cartoon Network or even the other cartoon channel.

Nov-30-11  Caissanist: This game is thoroughly annotated by Lubosh Kavalek today in his Huffington Post article "When Bobby Fischer Played Chess Like Misha Tal":

Kavalek agrees that 24..exd5! was Fischer's clearest win, although 24..Rf4 (Pachman) and 24..Ne7 (Fischer) also appear to win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: "Lubosh" annotates
Dec-11-11  RandomVisitor: After 24...exd5! <Rybka4.1>

click for larger view

<[-3.12] d=22 25.Bf1> Qg1 26.Kd2 Rxf2+ 27.Kc3 Rxc2+ 28.Kxc2 Ne7 29.Kb1 f2 30.a4 Qg6 31.Ka2 Qxe4 32.Ba3 Rf7 33.Rd2 Rf3 34.e6 Qf4 35.Rdc2 Nf5 36.Rxc7 Qe3 37.Rb1 Qd2+ 38.Rb2 Qe1 39.Rb1 h5 40.Rbc1

Dec-11-11  RandomVisitor: Next best after 24...exd5:

[-1.24] d=21 24...b5 25.Bxb5 exd5 26.Qd3 Rh1+ 27.Qf1 Rxf1+ 28.Bxf1 Rf4 29.Kd2 Rxe4+ 30.Kc2 Qh4 31.Kb1 Nxd4 32.Bd3 Ne6 33.Bxe4 Qxe4+ 34.Ka2 d4 35.Rh1 c5 36.a4 Qf5 37.Rh6 Qxe5 38.Rg1+ Kf8 39.Rxh7 Qe2

[-0.48] d=21 24...Ne7 25.dxe6 c6 26.Qd3 Rh1+ 27.Qf1 Rxf1+ 28.Bxf1 Rf4 29.Kd2 Rxe4+ 30.Kc2 Rh4 31.Kb1 Rh2 32.d5 cxd5 33.Bd4 Qg6+ 34.Rc2 Qxe6 35.Bb5 Rh4 36.Bb2

Dec-15-11  RandomVisitor: Final look at the position after 24...exd5: <Rybka4.1>

[-3.46] d=25 24...exd5 25.Bf1 Qg1 26.Kd2 Rxf2+ 27.Kc3 Rxc2+ 28.Kxc2 Ne7 29.Kb1 f2 30.Ka2 Qg4 31.a4 Qxe4 32.Ba3 Rf7 33.Rd2 Rf3 34.e6 Nf5 35.Re2 Qxd4 36.e7 Nxe7 37.Bxe7 Re3 38.Rcc2 Qd3 39.Rb2 Rxe7

[-1.71] d=25 24...b5 25.Bxb5 exd5 26.Bf1 Qg1 27.Kd2 Rxf2+ 28.Kc3 Rxc2+ 29.Kxc2 Ne7 30.a4 Rb8 31.Kb1 Qe3 32.Rc3 Qxe4+ 33.Bd3 Qg4 34.Ka2 Nf5 35.Bxf5 Qxf5 36.Rg1+ Kh8 37.Rf1 f2 38.e6 Rb6 39.Re3 Rxe6

[-1.23] d=25 24...Ne7 25.dxe6 c6 26.Bf1 Qg1 27.Kd2 Rxf2+ 28.Kc3 Rxc2+ 29.Kxc2 Qg6 30.Bd3 Qg2+ 31.Kb1 f2 32.d5 cxd5 33.exd5 Qxd5 34.Ka2 Rd8 35.Bxh7+ Kxh7 36.Rxd5 Rxd5 37.b4 a4 38.Bc3 Rd3 39.Rf1 Rxc3

After 24...Rf4 critical is 25.Bf1 Qg1 26.dxc6 Rxf2 27.Qxf2 Rxe4+ 28.Kd2 Qxf2+ 29.Kc3 where white might hold the draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: It doesn't seem fair to indicate how Fischer could have won after 24...exd5 without also indicating how Pachman could have won (or at least avoided losing) earlier. After 21...Rf8 we reach the following position:

click for larger view

I didn't go into great engine search depth but here instead of Pachman's 22.e5 ([-0.10], d=22) Critter 1.2 recommends one of the following lines instead:

1. [+1.81], d=22: 22.Ke2 Qh5+ 23.Ke1 fxe4 24.Be2 Qxd5 25.Kd2 Rfxf2 26.Rg1+ Kf8 27.Rcf1 Ne5 28.Rxf2+ Rxf2 29.Kc1 Nd3+ 30.Kb1 c6 31.Rh1 Nxb2 32.Qxb2 Qg5 33.Qc1 Qg2 34.Bc4 Rb2+ 35.Qxb2 Qxh1+ 36.Ka2 Ke7 37.Qf2

2. [+1.30], d=22: 22.Rd2 fxe4 23.Qxe4 exd5 24.Qxd5+ Qxd5 25.Bc4 Ne7 26.e4 Qxc4+ 27.Rxc4 c6 28.Rc3 Rd8 29.Rg3+ Kf7 30.Rf3+ Ke8 31.Rf6 h5 32.Rh6 Rh1+ 33.Kg2 Rh4 34.d5 Rg4+ 35.Kh3 cxd5 36.exd5 Rg6

3. [0.00], d=22: 22.Ke1 fxe4 23.Bf1 Rfxf2 24.Qxf2 Rxf2 25.Kxf2 Ne7 26.Bh3 Qh4+ 27.Kg2 Nxd5 28.Re1 Kf8 29.Re2 Qg5+ 30.Kh2 Nxe3 31.Rf2+ Ke8 32.Rg1 Qh4 33.Rg8+ Ke7 34.Rg7+ Ke8 35.Rg8+

After 22.e5 f4, instead of Pachman's 23.e4 (a line which Critter 1.2 evaluates at [-3.32], d=23), Critter 1.2 recommends as "best" ([-0.11], d=23: 23.Ke2 Rxf2+ 24.Kxf2 fxe3+ 25.Ke2 Rf2+ 26.Kd3 Nb4+ 27.axb4 Qf5+ 28.Kc3 Rxc2+ 29.Rxc2 axb4+ 30.Kxb4 Qxc2 31.Rg1+ Kf8 32.Rf1+ Ke7 33.d6+ cxd6 34.exd6+ Kxd6 35.Bc3 Qa2 36.Ra1 Qh2 37.Bc4 Kc6 38.Ra7 h6 39.Bb5+ Kd5 40.Bc4+ Ke4 41.Rb7 Qd6+ 42.Kb5 h5 43.Rxb6 Qd7+ 44.Kb4 Qe7+ 45.Ka4 e5 46.dxe5 h4

A more than [-5.00] eval difference between what Critter 1.2 evaluates as the best moves and the moves that Pachman actually plays on moves 22 and 23! So it looks like 22.e5 was the move that caused Pachman to lose his advantage, at least as far as Critter 1.2 is concerned. And he greatly added to his disadvantage with 23.e4.

Does anyone know if time trouble was a factor? We're looking at moves missed by both players.

<Random Visitor> Care to analyze the position after 21...Rf8 and after 22...f4 with Rybka and see what kind of evals you get?

May-28-12  The Big Lebowski: You can see it already in 1959 the young Fischer pressing for the win! Not quite ready yet.
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

It is odd to see Fischer with three pieces en prise. But he played black very differently to the way he played white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Pachman writes that at the time of this game he was under surveillance by the KGB. He was under such stress that he was required to take 30 beta-blockers forty times a day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <offramp> 1200 pills a day?! I feel bloated just thinking about it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Alex Schindler: That c6 knight must have been feeling similar over the course of this game.
May-11-16  posoo: 16 . . . g5 a CLASIC exampul of a GREAT idea - thinking you GOT somethin fo' dat Eenus Boveenus, but THEN somehow da guy WORKS IT OUT all da way down and u end up looking foolish.

Dis . . .DIS is a classic exampul of a game played in da posooian style! lots of smashing oppotunities and this is why i would NEVER bet on a game in a tornment.

Great play, fischer!

May-12-16  Isilimela: It's worth describing the subtle point of 24 ... exd5 instead of the immediate queen check as in the game. It deprives the king of d3 as an escape square since there would follow ed+ and the black queen will escape with check.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 4..Nc6 is a move that leads to a sort-of Chigorins-Ragozin hybrid. At Moscow-Prague 1946 Pachman had played 7 Qc2 against Lilienthal (not included in this database but Fischer was very familiar with the game); 7 a3 was new.

Pachman spent 40 minutes on 17 cxd! - Barsky: "I think that he (Fischer) did not take seriously the exchange on d5, thinking that from a positional point of view, this operation was highly unfavorable to White, since it leads to the exchange of light-squared bishops and White is left with a "bad" bishop against a "good" knight. But this is only one side of the coin, or, perhaps a better analogy, the tip of the iceberg."

<Calli: 17...g4?! Pachman wrote "This move took the breath out of me, ...Is it possible to sacrifice that much? Fischer spent more than an hour before convincing himself that 17...Bxf1 18.dxc6 Bxg2 does not work>

Kavalek pointed out that Black's best practical chance was 17..Bxf1 18 dxc..g4!.

With 22..f4! Fisher offered a draw but Pachman turned it down mostly because he had a one hour advantage on the clock (Fischer had spent an hour on 17..g4?!).

A terrific fighting game - kudos to both players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: It looks as though 17. ... g4 was a blunder. Or an overestimation by Black of the position.

Pachman was a considerable player.

I read his biography and his books on strategy they are still good. One game of his is [almost] a minor masterpiece of strategy and tactics. An absorbing game. Zita-Pachman.

F Zita vs Pachman, 1953

His analysis isn't always correct (nor are all his decisions) but Pachman played a nice game in general. Despite some misconceptions, perhaps understandable in the times of 1954 pre computers etc. But the general ideas are good and the 'lesson' is still valid overall.

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