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Robert James Fischer vs Paul Keres
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 8, Sep-18
Caro-Kann Defense: Two Knights Attack. Mindeno Variation Exchange Line (B11)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: You know when you have a bad position when 15. Ra2 is the best move. 15. e5 Nd5 16 c4 might have been worth a shot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Source: Andy Soltis "Chess Lists", 2nd edition, McFarland Publishing, 2002
May-27-09  Eyal: The way Fischer self-destructs here with the pawn-pushing on the K-side is reminiscent of Fischer vs D Keller, 1959 earlier that year, only in that game Fischer did it while trying impatiently to force a win in an equal position, whereas here his position is already inferior and he seems to be in a desperate need to do something "active".

Keres was a consistent 1...e5 player, so his employment of the Caro-Kann indicates that he was virtually certain Fischer would repeat the rather dubious line that he already played against Petrosian and Smyslov in earlier rounds, and that got him into trouble against the former. As <Atking> mentioned, <10.c3> might be an improvement over b3:

<It is quite surprising that not once [out of 3 games in this tournament] did he try the centrally oriented 10.c3, and if then 10...Bc5 11.Bc1! and White stands very well: Black's outpost on d4 is shaky and Black's queen and bishop are awkwardly placed; if Black tries the interesting 10...Ba3!? White gets excellent compensation for a pawn after 11.Nxa3 Qxb2 12.Rb1 Qxa3 13.cxd4 Qxa2 14.Qd1!> (Mednis, "How to Beat Bobby Fischer")

May-27-09  parisattack: It didn't take Fischer too long to figure the Two Knights didn't buy much against the C-K.
May-27-09  Eyal: Well, he dropped the line with d3 & g3 after his disastrous experience with it (at least against the Soviet players) in the 1959 candidates, but he kept employing the two knights occasionally – for example, in Fischer vs Keres, 1961 he tried 6.d4, and in Fischer vs S Kagan, 1968 7.a3 and 8.g4. Fischer actually never settled on a single "anti C-K" weapon (see

According to a note in MSMG, one of the main reasons he liked the two knights is to exclude the possibility of Bf5 – after 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Nf3, 3…dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5? 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Ne5 is very bad for Black.

Sep-01-09  meth0dSNK: 7.. Bg5


Nov-08-09  Plato: <meth0dSNK: 7.. Bg5


7.g3 is not a mistake and does not deserve a question mark (though it is not the preferred move anymore in that position).

7.Bg5 is not an improvement and might be inferior, as after 7...Bb4 Black is fine and White doesn't even have the response 8.Bd2 (as in the game) unless he wants to lose a tempo for nothing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Yes, I believe this is the famous Fischer crying game. Keres himself had to console him by saying, "Bobby, I can win a game too!" And could anyone doubt that the winner of the famous 1938 AVRO tournament (ahead of Botvinnik, Alekhine and Capablanca) could win a game?
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Chess Review, January 1960, page 16, has a different ending to this game. After 27...N4xh5, instead of 28.hxg7 here, the article has 28.g4 Bh2+ 29.Kg2 Nxg4 30.Nd2 Nf4+ and Black resigns.
Nov-14-13  zydeco: I would have expected Bg5 on move 17 or 18, trying to trade bishop for knight, and then play Nd2: white should be equal if he gets the knight to c4. If ....Ne8 white can play Bc1.
May-10-15  Blind Pigs: <drukenknight: So did the Russians really prepare this line for the tournament or were they just improvising? >

I doubt the Soviets conspired against RJF at this point. They probably reslized he was still a very young player, and that steering him away from the more analyzed variations would give him trouble.

May-10-15  RookFile: I don't think it was a big plot. Keres said in an article he wrote about Bobby Fischer that they noticed that Fischer's judgement in this line wasn't quite correct. So, they lined up to play it, even some that didn't normally use this defense.
Sep-10-16  RookFile: Same thing happens in any random chess club. If you notice somebody playing an opening incorrectly, the best thing to do it keep quiet about until you get a chance to play in a tournament game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Apparently the first time that Keres had used the Caro Kann - he likely based that choice on Fischer's poor results against the defense. Fischer played 7 g3!? 5 times in this tournament scoring only 1.5 points; 7 Bd2 is the main line. In Petrosian's 2 games with Black against Fischer he played 9..Bxd2+ aiming for a reversed King's Indian; in the 2 games that Keres played against Fischer he played the more ambitious 9..Qb6. 21 fxe? was a positional error; 21 g4 or 21 Bxd7 followed by f5 were alternatives. 26 Bxd6..Qxd6 27 g4..Ne5 28 Qg3..Nfxg4 29 Bxg4..Nxg4 would not have helped White.
Jun-13-17  Petrosianic: A couple of people used the Caro-Kann for the first time in that tournament, just because Fischer insisted on sticking to that weak line. Benko tried it too. Petrosian at least played the Caro-Kann often.
Jul-25-17  Toribio3: Fischer played without energy!
Jul-25-17  Petrosianic: <Toribio3: Fischer played without energy!>

No, he played passively, it's the other one he played without energy. If you're going to rely on flip generalizations, use them correctly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cwcarlson: 21.fe? ♘e5 ∓; 21.g4 ef 22.♗f4 ♗d6 23.♗d6 ♕d6 24.g5 ♘e8 25.♘d2= Houdini.
Apr-07-20  carpovius: 31. Kg1 Nxg3 32. Rf2 Qh3 33. Rh2 Ne2+ 34. Qxe2 Qxh2+ 35. Qxh2 Bxh2+ 36. Kxh2 Rxc2 37. Rxc2 Nxc2 38. Nc4 Kxg7
Apr-07-20  carpovius: 31. Kf2 Bxg3+ 32. Ke2 Qh3 33. Rf2 Nf4+ 34. Ke1 Bxf2+ 35. Qxf2 Nfg2+ 36. Ke2 Qh5+ 37. Qf3 Qxf3+ 38. Kxf3 Kxg7😊
Mar-04-21  tympsa: Why did Fischer start stupid attack with 23 h5 and 24 h6 in the first place ? Did he really hope to scare Keres with it ? He was not Tal and even Tal didnt scare Keres in 1959. Keres won 3 games against Tal in Bled / Zagreb .
May-31-21  Derek880: Fischer got bested by Keres in both of his games as White in this 1959 candidates tournament. Apparently, the Soviets were prepared for him as Petrosian, Smyslov, and Keres all ended up playing the Caro-Kann against him. Keres ended up with the most dominant positions as he seemed to have prepared a line that gave him active play, and this particular line gave Fischer nothing out his White games against Keres. He was completely outplayed and outprepared.
Mar-01-22  Saniyat24: Cry me a river...!
Mar-01-22  RookFile: Maybe Keres was the one crying, 15 year old Fischer scored 2/4 against him and surely prevented Keres from getting first place.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: An incredibly accurate and crushing game from Paul Keres. Modern engine view:

White's dark squares well and truly collapsed by the nifty 23... Ra5 really helped matters

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