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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer - Spassky (1992), Sveti Stefan / Belgrade YUG, rd 6, Sep-10
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Classical Defense. Main Lines (D27)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-08-03  kevin86: R plus 2p vs r is usually won-except that a RP and BP is a notorious draw-even without black's pawn.
Jun-09-03  ksadler: I once drew an ending with R+2P v. R (I had just the Rook) but both pawns were doubled on the a-file and my opponent gave me a lot of help :)
Aug-10-07  RookFile: Somebody today advanced the theory that Spassky threw this match. They obviously didn't play over this game.... Spassky tries very hard to win, and comes within the knife's edge of doing so.... a couple of mistakes, and Fischer is able to hold with a miracle defense.
Aug-11-07  acirce: <The further course of the play confirmed my suppositions. When Spassky succeeded in creating real threats or dangerous counterplay, Fischer became flustered! And soon Spassky even took the lead, winning the 4th and 5th games. 'After two defeats,' the press wrote, 'for the first time Fischer did not come down for dinner in the restaurant of the Sveti Stefan Hotel (where he and Spassky had neighbouring tables), but ordered it in his room. The first peals of thunder were heard later. Before the start of the 6th game the match director went up to Spassky's seconds and in an apologetic tone he informed them: Fischer had asked them not to be allowed into the hall. As "compensation" his seconds would also not be allowed...'

In the 6th game the American found himself in an absolutely hopeless endgame and saved himself only thanks to some obvious technical mistakes by his opponent. It is terrible to imagine what might have happened with Bobby, had he lost a third successive game! Apparently Spassky was afraid of 'losing his opponent': he had said several times that he was playing this match for the sake of Fischer's return. And here he displayed genuine 'magnanimity': after this draw he lost three games in succession.> -- Kasparov, OMGP IV

Aug-12-07  capatal: <That seems exactly why Fischer chose simpatico Spassky>

"We need to change rooms, Boris."
Spassky,"Okay Bobby."

"None of your seconds can come, Boris."
Spassky,"Sure Bobby."

Bobby and Boris walk away... with Boris humming, " Hitch your wagon to a star..."

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Is that really possible? That Boris Spassky would actually throw three games in a row to appease Bobby in this match!? I doubt that Boris took the idea of his match with Bobby as a world championship match seriously, but to throw the games? Say it isn't so.
Aug-13-07  Petrosianic: While there's a certain man-bites-dog poetic justice in seeing Fischer on the receiving end of a wild, unsubstantiated claim for a change <(remember Fischer's own claim that every move of every game of every Karpov-Korchnoi and Karpov-Kasparov world championship match was pre-arranged)> still, that's what it is: a wild, unsubstantiated claim.

"Is that really possible?", you ask. Well sure, anything's possible. But if you ask "Is there any evidence whatsoever to support the idea?", then no, there's not.

Spassky's problem was psychological. Like Euwe in 1935, he was more concerned with his opponents problems than his own. I posted this the other day, but it bears repeating. From Jude Acers:

<Just a few words on Dr. Euwe that are not written today. He repeatedly offered to postpone games with Alekhine instantly the moment Alekhine appeared in poor condition or in a drunken stupor. The late Hans Kmoch told me: "Euwe was amazing, such a wonderful person and player at all times. During some 50 match games with Alekhine, despite all the pressure, the umpire did not ever have to be summoned once! Euwe had made up his mind to help Alekhine play chess and was sympathetic to him. It's really true that Alekhine wore a tuxedo in honor of Euwe the day that the world title was lost in 1935.">

We can applaud Euwe for his extraordinary sportsmanship, but at the same time, observe that when you're <too> focused on sympathizing with your opponent's problems, then it becomes difficult to play your best. Euwe and Spassky both, to a certain extent, put their opponents on a higher plane than themselves. If you're too focused on helping him, that makes it mentally difficult to turn around and try to crush him over the board.

The main difference between the two is that Euwe managed to eke out a victory anyway.

Aug-13-07  RookFile: The idea that Spassky lost any games on purpose is just absurd.

And by the way, there is another way to look at the game in front of us.

It is an example of <terrific defense> by Fischer! The way he coordinated his forces, on the knife's edge of losing, was remarkable. It is this type of terrific defense that Kasparov says characterizes <modern chess>.... and it seems that Fischer was quite capable of it!

This is a little bit better than resigning a drawn position like Kasparov did, wouldn't you say?

Dec-07-13  Owl: This looks like a win for Spassky he simply should eat the h pawn in the endgame
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jarman: After the match, Spassky wrote: "My general approach was not to think about the result of the match but how to help Bobby to restore his best form. The sixth game was critical. I was playing for a draw with white, but Bobby played so badly that I achieved a winning position. This would of course give me a real chance to lead with three wins and two draws! Could Bobby withstand such a situation? I did not know and this created a difficult psychological situation for me. I wanted to win the match but I was /afraid/ to win: Bobby could simply leave the match and abandon chess forever. This uncertainty prevented me from winning [the sixth game]. Bobby saved the game with his fighting spirit, and his creative capacity was restored. His self confidence returned and [from that point on] he began to play much better." (Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall by Frank Brady, 2011)
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: three wins and two draws? Spassky never led in the second match, he was behind in the entire match, after losing the first game. What the H*ll is he talking about here?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <HMM....Spassky never led in the second match, he was behind in the entire match, after losing the first game....>

Spassky indeed had back to back wins entering this game, his victory in the previous game being the only one he ever scored with the black pieces against Fischer in all their meetings.

Aug-27-17  Muttley101: <HeMateMe: three wins and two draws? Spassky never led in the second match, he was behind in the entire match, after losing the first game. What the H*ll is he talking about here?>

Its a good idea to check the facts before posting. After Fischer's win in game 1, there were 2 draws then Spassky won games 4 and 5. That is, Spassky was ahead 2-1 after 5 games, had won 2 games in a row, and in game 6 had a winning advantage.

That is, Spassky led in the seccond match.

"What the hell" is being discussed is that Spassky, having won 2 games on the trot, was concerned that Fischer may not be able to cope with a third loss. Spassky was looking at the bigger picture of trying to facilitate Fischer's return to chess, not simply winning a game. His conduct in 1972 shows this was characteristic of him.

Aug-27-17  ZonszeinP: And we all know that when you don't win a winning position...the amount of confidence in your opponent is doubled and your own game goes downhill
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I stand corrected on the early match numbers. Spassky seemed to lose steam later on, but did have a good early start.

Impossible for me to believe that Spassky was content to allow a draw if he had a winning position. They were playing for a real prize fund that neither had ever seen before: 2/3 of $5M. Certainly Spassky is a gentlemen and a great ambassador for the game but I can't believe any GM would not prosecute a winning position, especially with this much money on the line. It's not like chess professionals are awash in cash...

Aug-28-17  ughaibu: <Impossible for me to believe that Spassky was content to allow a draw if he had a winning position. They were playing for a real prize fund that neither had ever seen before: 2/3 of $5M.>

Personally, I would quite happily resign every game if I was going to be paid two million dollars.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think Spassky got $1.3M, Fischer got $3.7M. Not willing to finish a won game if you're going to get an extra $2M? seems unlikely. Perhaps he didn't really have a won game to begin with, so the point is moot?
Aug-28-17  Everett: Thank goodness for Spassky. Much respect to him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I've been reading a review of the latest book on Spassky.

Regarding this game is does mention Spassky let Bobby off the hook. If he had won he was worried Bobby would quit the match and a quote from Nitikin, one of Spassky's seconds; '...Bobby would quit playing and leave and our bank accounts would be left crying.'

I have two books on Spassky (a great player rarely mentioned when people choose their top 10) I might go for this one as well.

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