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Anthony Saidy vs Robert James Fischer
"The 11th Hour" (game of the day Apr-20-2018)
US Championship (1963/64), New York, NY USA, rd 11, Jan-01
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation Spielmann Defense (A33)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-05-14  Strelets: Yep, page 249 of Karsten Müller's edition of Fischer's games (Milford, CT: Russell Enterprises, 2009) gives 47...Nh5? as the move played and analyzes 47...Ne4, coming to the evaluation of after a ten-move variation. I find it frustrating as a student of history when failure to examine primary sources (Chess Life & Review; the January 4, 1964 New York Times) leads to the introduction of moves that were never actually played. It seems that the error began with 1973's "Schach-Phänomen Bobby Fischer" and was repeated by Timman, Kasparov, Müller...
Jun-05-14  TheFocus: That should have been a red flag to Mueller.

it is only one of a dozen (or more) mistakes in his book.

Jun-05-14  RookFile: Fischer probably spent all night on the endgame, to make sure he's go 11-0. The idea that he comes back and makes a mistake 3 or 4 moves in should have been a non-starter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Another contemporary source: "Sports Illustrated", January 13, 1964, p. 15, gives <47...N-K5> (47...Ne4).

Edward Winter's Chess Note. no. 7031, , also notes that Saidy confirmed 47...Ne4 in a letter published by Larry Evans in his Chess Life column in 1986.

Winter also notes that Saidy contributed an introduction to the game in Mueller's 2009 book about Fischer which uses 47...Nh5, but surely contributing an introduction does not imply that Saidy was familiar with the given score or analysis.

There seems to me no doubt that 47...Ne4 (47...N-K5) was the move, and that 47...Nh5 probably stems from an error in translating the score into algebraic..

However, I don't buy the theory that Fischer couldn't have made the mistake. Remember that, according the Kmoch's account, Saidy's sealed move (44.Be1) was totally unexpected. A combination of mild shock, tension, and fatigue can do strange things to even the finest chess mind. While it didn't in this case, it would have been very possible..

Jun-05-14  RookFile: Agreed, anybody can make a mistake. However, in this case, it was unexpectedly pleasant for Fischer.
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  yiotta: How many of us would have been satisfied to play 56...f2 instead of going the extra step and completely eliminating any resistance with 56...Ne3 and 57...Nf5?
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  Mating Net: <How many of us would have been satisfied to play 56...f2> I would like to think that I would at least look for something stronger than the tempting ...f2. I suspect Fischer rejected ...f2 immediately in favor of ...Ne3 and a total stranglehold on the position.
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  yiotta: <Mating Net-I suspect Fischer rejected...f2 immediately> I think so too, masters of all crafts are never satisfied with "just good enough".
May-13-16  newzild: <How many of us would have been satisfied to play 56...f2>

56...f2 drags the game out because it allows White to play 57. Bxf2 followed by Kb4-Kc5-Kb6 etc, attacking Black's queenside pawns and hoping to promote the pawn on a4.

May-13-16  RookFile: It's an unbelievable endgame. You look at the position after move 28 and get worried for white because he's got too many pawns on the same color as his bishop. Saidy is no dummy - he starts moving his pawns to the light squares, yet loses anyway. Fischer keeps the pressure up and provokes him into one mistake, which is all he needs.
Nov-18-16  denopac: This game was cited by Magnus Carlsen as the first game to come to mind when asked at the press conference after game 6 of the Karjakin match to choose his favorite Fischer game. He said that he was impressed by Fischer's handling of the knight vs. bishop ending.
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  perfidious: <yiotta: How many of us would have been satisfied to play 56...f2 instead of going the extra step and completely eliminating any resistance with 56...Ne3 and 57...Nf5?>

Any competent player will observe that Fischer's method at the finish is the clean way to the full point.

Feb-16-17  Howard: Last night I looked at Marin's excellent Learn From the Legends to see which "version" of Fischer's 47th move that he had, and it was....47...Nh5.

He even analyzes the "position" in detail, arguing that Saidy could have come close to drawing, but not quite.

A lot of us no doubt remember the infamous typo in Fischer's M60MG regarding the Fischer-Tal game from the 1959 Candidates. Back in 1978, Pal Benko remarked in CL&R regarding that error, "It's hard to erase a misprint once it appears in the literature." Well put!

To put it another way, someone goofed regarding Fischer's 47th move, and as a result, the error (and the misleading analysis) has been passed on from book to book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Daniel ♔ has analysed this endgame, too:
Sep-19-17  Xeroxx: Robert James Fischer (?)
0 Inaccuracies
0 Mistakes
0 Blunders
3 Average centipawn loss

That's pretty good.

Nov-02-17  kishore4u: Excellent endgame!!!
Dec-05-17  GT3RS: Fischer easily one of the greatest endgame player after the mighty Capa of course.
Dec-05-17  ughaibu: I'm beginning to think that you might be one of the most boring posters. After the great Harry, of course.
Jan-06-18  GT3RS: And I think you're my most annoying follower to date. It's good to follow your superiors, but damn stay in your lane until called upon ok? That's your first lesson. :)
Apr-20-18  The Kings Domain: Nothing special but a Fischer game is always worth the play.
Apr-20-18  Howard: Keep in mind that Capablanca's alleged endgame prowess has been, arguably, overrated. Ironically, Fischer was one of those who argued that Capa's strong suit was in the middlegame, not the endgame.

Andy Soltis argued likewise in a 1984 CL column, as I recall.

Apr-20-18  fisayo123: Classic stuff for GOTD. One of the greatest endgames of all time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Stockfish says that Saidy could have kept the balance with 44.Ke2 Nxg4 45.Bg1 Kf5 46.Kf3 b5 47.axb5 axb5 48.b3 Kg5 = 0.00 (66 ply) But instead 44.Be1? and it's curtains. I really don't underhand the complexities.

It seems like the rule is, when Fischer has a bishop, of course he wins — bishops are better than knights! And he provides a textbook demonstration of how bishops beat knights in endings. But when he has a knight, then it's all "bishop, schmishop!" and he goes on provides a demonstration of how pawn structure and king placement can make the knight superior.

Aug-07-18  deSitter: The controversy over move ..47 is just another example of how compressed algebraic notation is a PITA. I still prefer traditional English notation. I never understood what all the controversy about notation is. Both systems are trivial to understand, but mistakes are far more likely in compressed algebraic, and there is no doubt that it is harder to read.
Aug-07-18  Howard: Someone made a similar point in Larry Evans on Chess back in the mid-70's, to which Evans replied, "Tradition dies hard."

I grew up with descriptive, personally, but I resigned myself to algebraic eventually. No big deal, by my view.

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