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Robert James Fischer vs Robert Finley McGregor
Simul, 57b (1964) (exhibition), Houston, TX USA, Mar-28
King Pawn Game: Damiano Defense. Damiano Gambit Chigorin Gambit (C20)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Why not something like 13. Re1+ Ne7 14. Re4 Qf7 15. Be6, preventing Black from castling on either side? Looks like serious trouble for Black.
Nov-03-05  schnarre: <beatgiant> After 16...Qg6 Black can swing the Knights into play (17...Ne5, 18...Nec6) if White isn't careful.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <schnarre>
<Black can swing the Knights into play>

Can you explain why that's a problem for White? For example, 13. Re1+ Ne7 14. Re4 Qf7 15. Be6 <16...Qg6> and now 17. Qe2 Ne5 18. Nb5 Nec6 19. Nxd6+ cxd6 20. g4! stalemating the queen and threatening f4, f5 etc. and I still think Black's in serious trouble.

Nov-16-05  schnarre: <beatgiant> It's a rough one, but by no means certain defeat.
Nov-16-05  Koster: I still think 3. Nxe5 is overrated. 3. Bc4 looks at least as good and leaves black with a terrible game.
Nov-16-05  schnarre: <Koster> 3. Bc4 also develops a piece to a good square.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Willem Wallekers: Koster and schnarre are right. I played Damiano once in a blitz game in order to follow this here game, but my opponent played 3. Bc4 and my case was hopeless.
Nov-10-06  jstevens1: Dear Willem Wallekers:

If you want any tips on how to play the Bc4 variation of the Damiano's defense please go to this website.

Click on damiano's defense and it will ask if you wish to open or save the file.

There is a dude called "Wall Bill" and he has played v. well against this variation and also the 3. d4 variation and the 3. Ktc3 variation. Could you perhaps study these games + let me know where white went wrong. If you cannot see where white went wrong then maybe the Damiano's defense does stand up but you must be v. familiar with the lines.

Good luck.


Mar-17-07  Vollmer: What an amusing game . I can imagine Fischer thinking "What a fish" after 2...f6 . I suppose there were a few interesting games on the other tables and not a lot of time was spent on the game by White . Another opening that can get White in a bind is 1.e4-d5 2.exd5-Nf6 . I have caught a few much stronger players off guard with 3.c4-c6 4.dxc6-Nxc6 5.Nf3-e5 . They often switch to 2.e5 or 3.d4 next game they have White against me .

I also imagine Fischer not being pleased after 26...Rxe3 as 27.fxe3 leads to a nice perpetual and with any other move he is in a very bad position . Bravo ! As a non-master player you gotta luv simuls .

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <vollmer> it is pretty funny. But you have to be sympathetic to Fischer here: as the simul giver, he wants to win games quickly, which makes 3. Nxe5 awfully tempting.

<Another opening that can get White in a bind is 1.e4-d5 2.exd5-Nf6 . I have caught a few much stronger players off guard with 3.c4-c6 4.dxc6-Nxc6 5.Nf3-e5 .>

Yes, I was horribly surprised by that gambit once.

Aug-28-07  Zzyw: A bit off-topic maybe, but I remember seeing published somewhere as an off-hand game between grandmasters something like this:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.Nxe5 Qe7 4.Qh5+?? g6 5.Nxg6 Qxe4+ 6.Be2 Qxg6 0-1

I'm not sure about the white's 6th though... Anyway it's a nice little trap.

Aug-28-07  RookFile: So, Fischer had less than an minute per move to think about a very unusual opening, and only drew the game against the state champion.

That's why he played this simul tour: to learn a lot more about chess, and learn every sleazy trick and tactical idea out there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Don't get too excited about the potential of Damiano's Defense, folks. It's still losing for Black. Dennis Monokroussos demonstrated that Fischer had a lot of improvements:
Mar-01-08  MichAdams: I like to think that McGregor was wearing a kilt going into battle against Fischer. And each time Bobby passed the table, he'd feel the gentle breeze as McGregor's knees would part company.
Jan-10-09  WhiteRook48: despite blundering (how is 3...f6 a blunder) this guy holds Fischer into a draw!!
Jan-10-09  blacksburg: <how is 3...f6 a blunder> 2...f6 is a well known blunder - white just captures the pawn - 3.Nxe5

for example, 3...fxe5 4.Qh5+ Ke7 (4...g6 5.Qxe5+, 6.Qxh8) 6.Qxe5+, etc. there's lots of possible variations, but none of them end well for white.

Feb-02-09  WhiteRook48: thanks.
<but none of them end well for white> Don't you mean for black?
Feb-18-09  newzild: Yeah, it's interesting that black is given the only question mark, yet draws with the black pieces against a future world champion...
May-02-09  WhiteRook48: 6 Qxe5+ Kf7 7 Bc4+ Kg6 8 Qg3+ leads to a king hunt
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Fischer did not try at move 8 a gambit recommended by the Wiener Scachzeitung back in 1912, eg 8.0-0 ♕c2 9.♕e1 ♗e7 10.♘c3 ♘c6 11.♗b5 0-0-0 12.♕e3, with the threat of 13.♘e1 trapping the Black Queen.

Edward Winter - Chess Notes #1934

Nov-30-10  beenthere240: This is a wonderful game. I think the guess that Fischer was fooled into thinking his opponent was weak is correct and that he fiddled around waiting for another blunder that never came. 26. g3 allows the drawing combination but if white doesn't watch out, he could actually lose to a kingside pawn storm. And about all the earlier carping -- grandmasters lose or draw in simuls. That's one of the things that keep people coming back to them. And no grandmaster "lets" someone win.
Jun-08-12  KKsystem: Every once in a while the all-time greats are painfully reminded that they are still human be it in chess or any other sport ---think about Joe Louis knockout loss to Max Schmelling in 1936 or the 1995 sweep of Orlando by Houston. Here black draws by employing of all openings the Damiano Defense, which 99 percent of chess coachess would never recommend to their students.
Nov-05-13  Baura: <RookFile: So, Fischer had less than an minute per move to think about a very unusual opening, and only drew the game against the state champion.>

It's even worse than that. Fischer was playing 57 boards in this simul. At 20 seconds per move (average) and 30 moves per game (average) that comes out to 9 1/2 hours. My guess is that he spent about 10 seconds per move, average, on this game.

Nov-22-14  Ke2: 3... Qe7 is the best but it's still fairly terrible. White is basically winning after 10 moves here. 13. Re1+ followed by Be6 was the killer shot that Fischer would surely find given a minute or two. The position is close to a dead draw, or very slight advantage to black at 26. g3, which is a draw offer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From a simul in Houston, Texas on March 28, 1964.

Fischer scored +51=3-3.

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