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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 8, Jul-28
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-11-12  RookFile: I'll just make one point, which is that a tie with Reshevsky in their match, in games played, exceeded pre-match expectations of almost all the experts. Reshevsky was built to play matches - he won with white and drew with black. Kasparov credits this experience with taking Fischer to the next level. Not a bad result for a teenager.
Feb-11-12  Chessmaster9001: Interesting endgame. Textbook example of advantage of bishop vs knight in an open position.
Jan-10-13  kjr63: Wow, Fischer plays like a lunatic.
Dec-19-14  zydeco: Spassky's notes to the game:

Spassky had won a 1959 game with the sharp 12.f4. He was sure that Fischer had an improvement ready and switched to 12.Qe1.

Spassky suggests 12.....Qa5 as a response.

Fischer thought he should have played 16....Bf8. Spassky planned to continue 16.g4.

If 22....gxf5 23.Nxf5 Qf6 then 24.Qe3. Or if 23....exd3 24.Qg3+ mates.

On move 24, Spassky comments, "Fischer is defending in a precise manner." If instead 24.....Bxe4 25.Nxe4 Qxf5 26.Nf6+ Kg7 27.Rd7+ Kxf6 28.Qh4+ with a mating net.

If 30....Kh7 31.Rxf8 Qxf8 32.h4 and Spassky comments that "white's threats would continue to grow."

Spassky thought Fischer's best chance to draw was 33....bxc5. Fischer didn't like the possibility of 34.Rc1, but Spassky gives the line 34....c4 35.Rc3 Re6 36.Bf3 Kf6 37.Kf2 g5 and black is fighting.

Spassky suggests improvements with 39.Bd5 instead of 39.Ke3; 39....Nd6 instead of g5; 40....Nd6 instead of 40....Nh6.

Mar-28-15  Howard: So, once the queens came off, was it a win for Spassky ?! Still don't have a computer of my own yet....
Apr-10-15  A.T PhoneHome: It's pointless to compare, say, the best players between 1955-1970 to those between 2000-2015.

While the chess theory has expanded enormously, it doesn't mean that the general level of understanding has increased. The best of 1955-1970 were the best in implementing what knowledge they had back then and the best of 2000-2015 were/are the best in implementing what knowledge they had then or have now.

Like hop to year 2165. Magnus Carlsen is the best player today (2015) but during that 150 years, mistakes will be found in his play. Can we say he is a weak player or that he lacks in understanding? No, because we cannot infer anything regarding 2165 from his 2015 results.

Apr-10-15  Petrosianic: <So, once the queens came off, was it a win for Spassky ?!>

Yes, I think 32...Q-B4 was the point of no return.

Apr-10-15  Howard: A suggestion to A.T. Phone Home...

How about looking at Spassky--Tal, 1958
from the Soviet championship.

Granted, Spassky lost that game but he damn well should have won it. In fact....Kasparov includes it in his MGP but it's in the SPASSKY volume (not the Tal one).

It's well-worth checking out.

Apr-10-15  A.T PhoneHome: Thanks, I'll have a look now instead of replying "Going through Boris Spassky's 400 Best Games yada yada". :P

Appreciated <Howard>!

Apr-11-15  Howard: If 32...Q-B4 (still love descriptive notation !) was the "point of no return", how about some computer-generated proof ?

Are you reading this, Avlerkupp ?!

Apr-11-15  A.T PhoneHome: <Howard> I think that Petrosianic is right because, as explained in one above comment, Bishop is usually better than Knight in open endgames like this.

So that's why Fischer made a mistake when he traded down to Bishop vs. Knight endgame.

Apr-11-15  Howard: Yes, but the paucity of pawns here (only three on each side) would have made the win difficult.

As I recall, Spassky's 37.Ke3 was branded a mistake by both Mednis and Mueller. The latter's book on Fischer, by the way, claims that shortly later, Fischer missed a draw.

So.....once the queens came off, was it a win for Spassky assuming best play ?!

Apr-11-15  A.T PhoneHome: Endgames have always been total Hebrew for me. Makes me appreciate strong endgame players even more for that reason.
Apr-13-15  Howard: Someday I'll take a closer look at this endgame. Unless AvlerKupp wants to warm up his computer...
Jan-04-17  The Boomerang: "The ratings are not a true indicator of strength."

Then what are they an indicator of?

Jan-04-17  Absentee: <The Boomerang: "The ratings are not a true indicator of strength."

Then what are they an indicator of?>

Of performance within a given player pool.

Jan-04-17  Petrosianic: And recent performance at that. You could play at the 1830 level for 20 years, have one bad tournament, could cancel all that out and drop you into the 1700's. It's HEAVILY weighted towards recent performance.
Mar-15-17  Saniyat24: absolutely loved Spassky's 21st, 22nd and 47th move...!
Jun-22-18  Justin796: Ratings are relative strength duh.
Jun-22-18  ewan14: 1967 was not a chess clinch up in the big time
Fischer was on course to qualify for the Candidates matches eg he had beaten Stein and drawn with Korchnoi
Jun-11-19  Howard: According to Chess Monthly (based out of London) a couple years ago, 28.Nh5! would have been a much better move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Things probably start sliding from move 25 - the position is THAT sharp.

click for larger view

Black has got to do something about 7th rank incursions and 25..Bc6!! appears the best way to achieve this with ideas like ..Nc4 & ..b5, keeping open the possibility of ..Qf6.

Fischer gets a break on move 28 (28 Nh5! as spotted by Chess Monthly).

Accepting that 33..bxc5 was a better practical try, the move that looks very ugly is 39..g5 when Spassky's 40 h5 starts sounding the death knell.

39..Nh6! is a much tougher defense. The point is that after 40 Kf4 Nf5 41 h5 g5+ 42 Kf3 Nh6 we get this position:

click for larger view

compared with the game (after 41 Kd3):

click for larger view

Spassky's King is on f3 instead of d3 and this makes all the difference since it enables Fisher to use the c-pawn to draw: eg 43 Ke3 Ke5 44 Kd3 c4+ or 43 Bb7 c4 44 Ke3 Ke5 45 Ba6 Nf5+ 46 Kd2 Kd4

Jun-19-19  Howard: Mueller stated in his book on Fischer's games that Fischer actually had a draw near the end of the game.

But, if Spassky had not lost time with his king around the 37th move, he might have had a forced win.

Sep-26-19  Everett: <Howard> so have you been studying yourself, or still depending on others for answers?
Aug-14-21  tbontb: As mentioned above, 39....g5 appears to be the losing move while Gligoric's 39....Nh6 draws. For example, the plausible line 40.Kd3 Nf5 41.Kc4 Nxh4 42.Kxc5 Ke5 43.Ba8 Nf5 44.Kb5 Kd4 45.a4 Nd6+ 46.Ka6 Kc5 47.g4 g5 48.Kxa7 results in a tablebase draw. Surprisingly, despite White having B vs N on an open board, Black draws by reducing material.
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