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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
"No One Has Been Tougher On Russia Than Me" (game of the day Nov-22-2018)
Spassky - Fischer World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 5, Jul-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner Variation. Main Line (E41)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <<N.O.F. NAJDORF: Sorry. The last word of my previous comment should have been 'king.'>>

Spassky deserves BETTER THAN YOOOOOOOOOZE lol lol lol

Mar-11-20  Ulhumbrus: If 9 d5 leaves White with a crippled queen side and an obstructed bishop pair one alternative is the pawn sacrifice 9 0-0 when Black can gain a pawn on d4 but at the cost of undoubling White's c pawns and freeing White's bishops.
May-03-20  joddon: pin and fork method, the greatest intervention in cant really think of what to do with your queen with two guys ever...Fischer was one of them!! CArlsen is the!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Doubled pawns strategic crush example in Stean's Simple Chess
Jan-13-21  Torodeboro: - A new form of 'weak pawns' is introduced, namely the pawns that block the way of their own pieces, in this case white's bishops, especially the light-squared bishop. The dark squared bishop's reach is limited by Fischer's pawns with which he created a strong dark squared pawn formation. He started did this by playing c5-d6-e5 and a5 and g5.

- In the end Spassky blunders away the position with 27. Qc2??, but as Stein writes down it also shows that just defending a position (even for a worldclass player like Spassky) can disrupt the concentration at some point.

- Fischer proves in this position that backward, isolated and doubled pawn don't have to be real weaknesses if they can be defended actively and create space or squares for the pieces to flourish. The moves 11… Ng6 and 16… a4 show this concretely. In the end black is the one who can target white's pawns on a4 and e4. Compare the acitivity of the pieces and you see that all three black's pieces are active and well placed All the three white's pieces are forced to mere defending. The open f-file and with that the forced trading of the rooks made it possible to leave white with just these passive pieces.

I was familliar with the fact that doubled b or g pawns can actually be helpful if they create open a- or h-files. The moves 16… a5 (to block white's a-pawn) and especially the move 11… Ng6 are superb and also good examples in my eyes of the maxim: 'what matters most?! '

Apr-14-21  Caissanist: LOL, I was totally baffled by the GOTD "pun" when I brought this game up. I can only imagine what people will think when they see this five or ten years from now.
Apr-15-21  Viking707: Fischer was a brilliant chess player with serious, and incurable mental problems. Spassky was well aware of Fischer's daunting talent, and must have been intimidated and/or shocked by Bobby's pre-match antics. In a quiet, sober setting, I still think Fischer would have won the championship, but Spassky would have performed at a higher level than he did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Hi <Viking707> I don't know about them being incurable. I've never even heard of him submitting himself to an examination and diagnosis. Have you?
Apr-16-21  Viking707: Dionysius: Fischer had a form of schizophrenia that got worse as he aged, and was incurable then. Perhaps with some of today's medications, he might have been able to mitigate its effects. But getting Bobby to take medications might have been as challenging as beating him at chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Cheers <Viking707> I didn't know that. I never heard he'd been diagnosed, just persistent speculation as to what might have been wrong with him. It'd be great to know your sources, if you wouldn't mind.
Apr-17-21  Caissanist: I find it strange that people still think Bobby was nuts. The main evidence for that was his belief in wacko conspiracy theories and, if we have learned anything in the last few years, it is that someone can believe in such things and otherwise be completely sane. In a sense, he was ahead of his time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Caissanist>
That isn't the main evidence. The main evidence is the erratic and anti-social personal behavior, which sometimes became mildly violent (e.g. kicking a school principal). Anyway, this topic is not about this specific game, so I suggest discussing it on the Robert James Fischer page.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The following was originally posted by member <ChemMac>, who was quite well acquainted with Fischer:

< <Monoceros> I had, as I posted some time ago, a long conversation with Fischer when he came unexpectedly into the Manhattan Chess Club. This was some months after winning the World Championship. In an hour and a half we talked about a lot, but what is relevant here is that he was (1) completely rational and courteous (2) quite clear about why he had, for the time being anyway, no desire to play. He said that he had achieved everything he had worked for during most of his life...and now, what? I think he was just :"chessed out".>

Apr-18-21  Viking707: After playing Fischer, Mikhail Tal described him as "Cuckoo!" when Bobby was 15. Similar opinions of Fischer's mental abnormalities were mentioned by American chess masters, Robert Byrne, and Pal Benko. In addition, Reuben Fine, another American chess master and a psychiatrist, was asked by Bobby's mother to try and help her son, but after a few visits, Bobby revolted and treated Fine with anger and contempt thereafter. Valery Krylov, a specialist who worked with Anatoly Karpov, and saw the correspondence between him and Bobby, believed Fischer suffered from schizophrenia, and Asperger's Disorder. There are also numerous stories from people who traveled with him about his bizarre and sometime dangerous behavior (he bit someone traveling in a car with him so hard, the scars were permanent). Bobby's mother, and believed to be father, Paul Nemenyi, also had mental issues, and it is possible Bobby's problems were congenital. Whatever the case, the preponderance of the evidence of Fischer's behavior reported by so many people who knew him, leads to the conclusion that he was seriously paranoid, and probably Asperger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <beatgiant>'s idea seems a good one. I'll copy the last few comments to the Robert James Fischer page and we can take it from there. Knowing my luck there won't be any more comments on this, but just so yous know :-) Dion
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: That's them copied now.
Jul-19-21  Albion 1959: The shortest game of this match. Qc2?? Brought about a swift conclusion ! It seems be universally accepted that Fischer stood better, even if Spassky had not blundered on move 27. I still do not see just exactly how Fischer would have won. There are no forcing lines and any further tactical passages of play. Other than Fischer is "winning". Surprised how Spassky handled this opening. He did not play his pet 4.Bg5 - The Leningrad line of the Nimzo. He had never lost a game with it, but could not bring himself to try it on Fischer!
Premium Chessgames Member
  PrimusPilus: I had to run this through Stockfish 15 to figure out what Spassky and Fischer both knew after Qc2: Spassky would inevitably be overwhelmed by Fischer's pawn storm, resulting in a promotion.

The simulation I ran has Fischer promoting a pawn by move 52, leaving a material (im)balance of Q, B, + 4 pawns for Black, vs. B + 2 pawns for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Stockfish 15 can commune with the living and the dead? Quite the NNUE feature.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PrimusPilus: Well, let's use Occam's Razor. Is it more likely that:

A) Spassky resigned because Fischer behaved weirdly before the match;


B) Spassky, like Fischer, being an all-time chess genius, was able to perceive that the game was going to play out that way and therefore resigned.

Stockfish 15 was simply there to help me figure things out; those guys obviously had figured it out on their own.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <primuspilus>

28.Qxa4 Qxe4 is a forced mate.

28.Qb1 Bxd1 29.Qxd1 Qxe4 30.Qd2 Nxg2 and it doesn't take a genius to resign.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PrimusPilus: Point well taken.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Re what would have happened if Spassky had not blundered, I let SF 15 run a long time after 27.Qb1 h5 28.Bd2 g4 29.Bc2 Nh3+ 30.Kh1 (30. gh gh+ 31.Kf2 Qg2+ 32.Ke3 Bg4 33.Bd1 Qg1+ winning the piece back with an overwhelming position). SF eventually generated the following line, at about 50 ply:

30... Nf2+ 31. Kg1 Nh3+ 32. Kh1 Ng5 33. Be1 Nf7 34. Bh4 Qh6 35. Qe1 Ke8 36. Kg1 Bc8 37. Bf2 Kd8 38. Be3 Qf6 39. Bd3 Kc7 40. Bf2 Qe7 41. Bc2 Qg5 42. Bh4 Qh6 43. Bg3 Bd7 44. Bh4 Qf4 45. Bg3 Qf6 46. Bf2 Kb7 47. Bh4 Qf4 48. Be7 Kc7 49. Bh4 Qh6 50. Bf2 Nd6 51. Bg3 Nxc4 52. Bd3 h4 53. Bxh4 Qe3+ 54. Qxe3 Nxe3 55. Be7 Bxa4 56. Kf2 Nd1+ 57. Ke1 Nxc3

Black maneuvered his king to the queenside, his knight to d6, and his bishop to d7, putting maximum pressure on White's weaknesses. But there was a lot of tacking, suggesting that SF did not see a clear win. Eventually the engine liquidated to this position, which seems like it should be winning for Black:

click for larger view

At a still deeper search, 61 ply, Black eventually won the pawn on c4, but all other pieces and pawns remained on the board after about 30 moves, and it looks like it would be very difficult for Black to accomplish more. The eval was -1.12.

In practice, I think it would have been very hard for Spassky to hold and very hard for Fischer to win!

Jun-20-22  CapablancaDisciple: The times plus a few comments of this game from a website called

<<Game 5, July 20th, 1972

Spassky Fischer
White Black
1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Bb4
4. Nf3 c5
5. e3 (0:02) Nc6 (0:07)
6. Bd3 (0:04) Bxc3+ (0:07)
7. bxc3 (0:04) d6 (0:07)
8. e4 (0:09) e5 (0:07)
9. d5 (0:17) Ne7 (0:09)
10. Nh4 (0:20) h6 (0:16)
11. f4 (0:40) Ng6 (0:27)
12. Nxg6 (0:55) fxg6 (0:28)
13. fxe5 (0:57) dxe5 (0:28)
14. Be3 (0:57) b6 (0:30)
15. 0-0 (1:05) 0-0 (0:30)
16. a4 (1:05) a5 (0:34)
17. Rb1 (1:09) Bd7 (0:37)
18. Rb2 (1:14) Rb8 (0:41)
19. Rbf2 (1:17) Qe7 (0:42)
20. Bc2 (1:43) g5 (0:51)
21. Bd2 (1:44) Qe8 (0:58)
22. Be1 (1:50) Qg6 (1:00)
23. Qd3 (1:51) Nh5 (1:13)
24. Rxf8+ (1:55) Rxf8 (1:14)
25. Rxf8+ (1:57) Kxf8 (1:14)
26. Bd1 (2:00) Nf4 (1:17)
27. Qc2 (2:09) Bxa4 (1:18)
0-1 (2:11)

Fischer was 9 or 10 minutes late again; it looks like he started working at move 10. Spassky took a lot of time at moves 11 and 12. Fischer’s last hesitation was at move 23.

Spassky spent 9 minutes at move 27, blundering.

Fischer replied in about one minute, capturing the pawn with his Bishop and pressing his clock. He immediately grabbed his glass of juice, leaned back in his chair and gulped his juice down in about 4 seconds.

He responded instantly with a handshake at the expected resignation, and left as quickly as he could.>>

Oct-16-22  N.O.F. NAJDORF: <N.O.F. NAJDORF:
26 Bd1 is obviously wrong, when 26 g3 was necessary.>

I'm not sure even 26 g3 would have saved white.

For example:

26. g3 Nf6 27. Bd2 Be8 28. h3 Ke7 29. Kg2 Bf7 30. Bb1 Bg8 31. Kf2 Bh7 32. Ke3 Qh5 33. Qf1 g4 34. h4 g5 35. Qh1 Ne8 36. Bd3 Nd6 37. Qb1 Nc8 38. hxg5 Qxg5+ 39. Ke2 Qh5 40. Qg1 Bg6 41. Kf2 Be8 42. Bc2 Nd6

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