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Pal Benko vs Robert James Fischer
"Pal Mal" (game of the day Mar-01-2016)
United States Championship (1966/67), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Dec-11
Hungarian Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A00)  ·  0-1



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Given 22 times; par: 80 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-01-16  Infohunter: Outstanding...AND they are mild!
Mar-01-16  mikrohaus: I'm not sure White's position is playable after 16...Qa5.

Pal being Pal, he put up the good fight, but it's over IMHO.

Mar-01-16  morfishine: <mikrohaus> Your move 16...Qa5 is impossible since the Black Queen is already on <a5>


Mar-02-16  gars: Where can one find an analysis of this games? Thanks a lot.
Mar-02-16  Howard: The closest thing that I know of is Mueller's book on Fischer's games---it has very brief notes to this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <gars> and <invisible poster> As I noted above, the collection by Wade et al has some notes on this.
Mar-02-16  TheFocus: Wonderful game by Fischer!!

I thought Benko had the advantage for a long time, but Fischer is Fischer.

Mar-02-16  morfishine: "Pal Mal" needs to be erased for the sake of humanity. Do us all a favor <CG>
Mar-02-16  TheFocus: Yep. It's not even a pun.

I know the reference is to Pall Mall, but...

Mar-03-16  Granny O Doul: Another possible reference is to Pale Male, the red-tailed hawk of 927 Fifth Avenue. No better a joke perhaps, but at least it's another one.

Anyway, there can't be a shortage of "Pal"-based titles. "Pay, Pal", "Thanks, Pal!", or "Pal-o-mine-o", after "F-Troop"'s Corporal Agarn's joke, "any palomino is a pal o' mine-o".

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Why didn't I take one of his rooks? Because I didn't analyze far enough. I saw 24.Nxa8! Bxc1 25.Nc7! Bxb2 26.Rb1 Rc8 27.Nd5! Rc2 and I didn't like my position. Had I looked one move further, I would have seen the winning move 28.Ne3!

And why did Fischer offer to sacrifice the exchange if 3 moves later he would get a lost position? For the same reason: he didn't analyze far enough. Even when I told him the next day I could have won with 24.Nxa8!, he refused to believe until I showed him 28.Ne3"

- Pal Benko, Winning with Chess Psychology p.228

Mar-05-16  Howard: So, Benko DID miss a win in this game--I was almost sure I'd read that somewhere.

Winning with Chess Psychology was a decent book, as I recall. It included a position from Larsen-Portisch, 1976 (Biel interzonal). Larsen won that game, and went on to take first place in the event.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < morfishine: "Pal Mal" needs to be erased for the sake of humanity. Do us all a favor <CG>>

<TheFocus: Yep. It's not even a pun.

I know the reference is to Pall Mall, but...>

Holy cow, guys. I am not the first person to have a GOTD title approved without it being an actual pun.

Anyway, I like it and I am honored that selected it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: "Mal" is Spanish for "bad". It's also a Latin root and is used in everyday English all the time. So the pun is perfect. Morfishcake and his ilk should try not to be so malinformed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < ToTheDeath: "Mal" is Spanish for "bad". It's also a Latin root and is used in everyday English all the time. So the pun is perfect.>

That was my line of thinking when I came up with it.

And I used to have a firm understanding of what a pun is, but after coming to almost daily for over a decade I am now sure I have no idea what a pun is :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I thought the pun was obvious and was surprised people weren't getting it. I forgot to explain it, and am glad <TTD> did.
Mar-13-16  luftforlife: In Part Two of her "Life Gambit à la Benko," a well-written narrative briefly recounting GM Pal Benko's remarkable career and admirable triumphs over adversity (and featuring some excerpts from her interview and photo session with Benko in 2013), Diana Mihajlova wrote:

"They met in a chess club, when Fischer was a fourteen-year-old boy. Their relationship was complex, but very special and long lasting, with Benko assuming ‘a father figure’ role to his much younger chess pal."

Here's the link to the second part of the article, which appeared in Chess News on July 18, 2013 and is hosted on ChessBase:

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: < morfishine: "Pal Mal" needs to be erased for the sake of humanity. Do us all a favor <CG>>

<TheFocus: Yep. It's not even a pun.>

Pal Mauled?

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <diceman:

Pal Mauled?>

Probably better:

Fischer's Pal Mauled

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: Fischer Breaks his Pal Benko
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: Benko Almost Hooks a Fischer.
Mar-26-16  Howard: Benko alludes to this game in an excellent article on him in the latest issue of New In Chess.
Jun-22-19  Patzer Natmas: Game featured in "New in Chess - Tactics Training - Bobby Fischer".

Solve for black on move 31...

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Fischer by this time was so far above American chess he stopped playing in the US championships.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: it seems 24.Nxe8 gives white an advantage in this very wild game indeed:

94: Pal Benko - Robert James Fischer 0-1 1.0, US Championship 1966

click for larger view

Analysis by Stockfish 13:

1. +- (2.14): 24...Rxe8 25.Rc7 Bg4 26.Bf1 b5 27.Bd6 Nf3 28.h3 Ng5 29.Re1 Bxh3 30.Bxb5 Rb8 31.a4 Bg4 32.Rxa7 Rd8 33.Bxe5 Rd2+ 34.Ke3 Nf3+ 35.Bf4 g5 36.Ra8+ Kg7

2. +- (3.36): 24...Bxc1 25.Nc7 Bxb2 26.Rb1 Rc8 27.Nd5 Kg7 28.Rxb2 Rc6 29.Be7 b5 30.Nb4 Rc1 31.Bg5 Rc8 32.Bh3 Rc4 33.Nd5 Rc6 34.Bd7 Rd6 35.Bc8 Bf3 36.Be7 Rxd5 37.exd5 Bxd5 38.Bd7

3. +- (5.98): 24...a5 25.Nf6+ Kg7 26.Be7 Bg5 27.Ne8+ Rxe8 28.Bxg5 Bg4 29.h3 Be6 30.Rc7 b6 31.Be7 Nc2 32.Rc1 Nb4 33.R1c3 Bxa2 34.Bd6 Re6 35.Be7 b5 36.Bxb4

4. +- (6.32): 24...Bb5 25.Nf6+ Kg7 26.Nd5 Bxc1 27.Rxc1 Bc6 28.Be7 Re8 29.Bf6+ Kf8 30.Nc7 Re7 31.Bxe7+ Kxe7 32.Nd5+ Ke6 33.Ne3 Kf6 34.b3 Ke7 35.b4 h6 36.a4 Bxa4 37.Rc7+ Kf8 38.Rxb7 White is clearly better

(Gavriel, 16.04.2021)

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