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Donald Byrne vs Robert James Fischer
US Championship (1966), New York, NY USA, rd 5, Dec-17
English Opening: Great Snake Variation (A10)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-15-06  ToTheDeath: It's as if Fischer was just toying with his US adversaries at this point in his career.
Dec-15-06  Maatalkko: Actually I like Fischer's opening. I don't think the King moves really cost him anything. 17. Qxd6 looks like a mistake.
Jun-05-09  Petrosianic: <It's as if Fischer was just toying with his US adversaries at this point in his career.>

That comment tells me precisely nothing. Except that Fischer won, which I can see from the scoresheet. If you're suggesting that Fischer was not trying his best in this game (what else could "toying with his adversaries" mean?) I see no evidence of that, and it seems vaguely insulting in light of Fischer's known tendency to give it 110% in every game.

I think he took a few <risks>, granted. 5...f5 is a sharp attempt to complicate play at the cost of giving up castling. Actually, it's not immediately obvious where White went wrong here. At move 15 Black's f and d pawns seem a bit weak, but Byrne almost immediately trades his c for Fischer's d. Where did Byrne go wrong? 19. Bh6 maybe? That's where he loses a pawn, but it must have been deliberate. Or was it later?

Jun-05-09  Petrosianic: The more I look at this, the more I'm starting to think 19. Bh6 was the error. That's where White gives up the Pawn, and I just don't see that he ever gets much for it. On the other hand, I don't have a program handly to analyze the game, maybe White was in trouble already. Black does have good piece play before that.
Apr-19-10  jerseybob: I like black's opening and wonder how long Fischer was hoarding the move 5..f5. The white setup was a Botvinnik favorite and I'd like to see how he would've reacted to that move. I'm wondering how good 7.Qh5ch is: he's eventually got to retreat and black easily castles by hand. Maybe something more solid like 7.d3 with a program of Nge2,00 and f4 would've been sounder. Keene has probably analyzed all this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Salo Flohr nicknamed this game THE GREATEST GAME OF THE CENTURY.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I had SF10 look at the opening. It disapproves of 5....f5, and its top counter to 6.ef is the surprising 6....Bxf5! 7.Bxb7 Nd7, after which it thinks it would be rash for White to take the rook (see A Donchenko vs J P Wallace, 2014).

At move seven it oscillates between the queen check and 7.d4, eventually settling on the latter (+1.39, 38 ply). Its main line is 7....Nc6 8.Qh5+ Kf8 de 10.Be3 Nf6 11.Qh4 Qe8 12.0-0-0 Bd7 13.Bh6. If 7....exd4 then 8.Nb5 Nc6 9.Ne2 to be followed by Nbxd4 with a solid advantage.

But SF certainly doesn't disapprove of Byrne's play. It thinks he's better for a long time, though it suggests some improvements (13.Nh4 or 13.0-0 in place of the slightly overhasty 13.d4, 18.Qc5 in place of 18.Qf4). But even after he loses the pawn at move 19, it still thinks he's better. Byrne loses his advantage with 25.Bh3 and goes from slightly worse to lost when he trades queens. I would guess he was in bad time trouble during the latter part of the game.

White also loses the only other game in the database featuring with 5....f5 6.ef gf 7.Qh5+ (S Sagar vs S Arun Prasad, 2012), though again the engine thinks he is better for a long time.

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