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Robert James Fischer vs Ross Nickel
Simul, 73b (1964) (exhibition), Cheltenham, PA USA, May-03
Latvian Gambit: Accepted. Bilguer Variation (C40)  ·  1-0



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Given 100 times; par: 26 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-13-03  Sylvester: How much do people choose their openings based on whether they are playing a patzer or a strong player?
Jan-13-03  PVS: <How much do people choose their openings based on whether they are playing a patzer or a strong player?>

I did, but many purists think doing so makes one a coffeehouse player. When I played an absolute novice I played a very basic opening and waited for the mistakes the way you did against your recent opponent who played the King's Knight Opening. At about 1350 to 1500 I would use one of my traps, usually the Vienna Gambit, those players were usually good enough to play the proper moves to fall into it, but not to see it coming or be aware of it. From there up to about 1850, I usually stuck with my opening repertoire to the letter. Higher rated players I usually prepared something from monographs I had on my main openings: Scotch Gambit, Sicilian 2. c3, Pirc and Benko Gambit. If I knew what someone liked, say, the French, I would look that over, but I had a standard line against it which I usually stuck with. When I played a 12 game match once against a player rated slightly lower than I, I used a few departures such as the King's Gambit as white and the Centre Counter as black. As I recall, both were crushed.

Feb-13-05  Ross Nickel: This game was played by me and not by Reudiger Nickel. It may be found in J.Donaldson's book on Fischer's exhibition tour.
Feb-13-05  Shams: <Ross Nickel> I bet you`ve done a fair bit of analysis on this game over the years. share?
Mar-13-06  EmperorAtahualpa: [Site ""]
[White "EmperorAtahualpa"]
[Black "Atahualpa's honorable opponent"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "1200"]
[BlackElo "1906"]
[ECO "C40"]

<1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5?!> This is known as the Latvian counter-gambit. I was previously unaware about this move. Quite entertaining! <3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.d4 d6 5.Nc4 fxe4 6.Nc3?!> Although this move is not bad, it's the first move out of the book. Normal is 6.Ne3 (Latvian: Nimzowich variation) or 6.Be2 (Lettic gambit). <6...Qf7!> Now the e4 pawn seems en prise, but it would complicate White's position. After 7.Nxe4 follows 7...Qe6 8.Qh5+ 9.Qh4 Be7 10.d5 Qxd5 11.Qf4 <7.Be3?!> Better was 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Bg5 <7...Nf6 8.Qe2 Bg4!> A good move! Destabilizes White's kingside structure <9.f3 exf3 10.gxf3 Be6 11.O-O-O Be7 12.Ne4?!> Not bad, but Crafty prefers 12.Re1 Nc6 13.Bf2, which is I think a combination hard to find. Here with 12.Ne4 I was hoping for a couple of exchanges because my opponent is much higher rated and I wanted to achieve a draw. Also via Nxe4 fxe4 I would bring my scattered kingside pawns a bit together. <12...O-O 13.Ng5!> Forcing the exchanges. <13...Bxc4 14.Qxc4 Qxc4 15.Bxc4+ d5 16.Bd3?!> Here I started hoping for more than a draw, although the engines do not show any problems for Black. Still, I started changing my tactics more towards the offense. <16...Re8?!> I don't see the point of this move. <17.h4?> I think I'm having the opponent cornered and I'm getting overly excited. Better was 17.Bf5! (threatening Be6+) Bd6 18.Bd2 Nc6 19.Ne6 keeping the pressure on Black. <17...Bd6 18.Bd2> = <18...Nc6 19.c3 a6!?> I interpreted this as a waiting move to prevent a possible Bb5. I didn't think of Black's plans with the knight on c6! <20.Rdg1> White's attack is now getting serious! <20...Na5> Black is not impressed and starts a queenside assault. I think this is a turning point in the game.

Mar-13-06  EmperorAtahualpa: (continued)

<21.b3> To prevent Nc4 which would endanger the bishop on d2, which I wanted to keep. <21...c5> Black is indeed on to my bishops. <22.Bf5 cxd4 23.cxd4 Nc6!> White has to go to great lengths now to defend the d-pawn. <24.Ne6 Nh5 25.f4?!> A questionable move for it blocks both the knight and bishop. White's attack has stopped in its tracks. <25...Nd8 26.Nxd8?> A mistake. This only helps mobilizing Black. Better would have been 26.Ng5 <26...Raxd8 27.Rg4 Nf6 28.Rg2 Ne4 29.h5> Still hoping to corner the king somewhere, but at the cost of my f-pawn in a few moves. <29...Nxd2 30.Kxd2 Bxf4+> Now Black grabs the initiative and White's king is out in the open! Help! <31.Kc3 Re3+ 32.Kb2 Rde8 33.Rhg1!> A defense and simultaneously an attack. This forces some exchanges after which I can hope for a draw again. <33...R3e2+ 34.Ka3?> A dangerous move, but I thought I would get away with it and maybe keep my dangerous rooks. <34...Bd6+ 35.Ka4 Bf8?!> I was surprised by this move. Why pin the bishop to the g-pawn when it can be used for Black's attack? Crafty prefers 35...Kh8, after which is 36.Rxg7 is not possible because 37...Rxa2# mates! <36.Bd3 b5+> Yikes! <37.Ka5 R2e6 38.Rh2?> A poor move which I did not ponder over very well. Here I was thinking of advancing my h-pawn at some point to h6. <38...Rb8 39.Bf5 Rf6 40.Bd3 Rf4> I cannot afford losing my d-pawn too! <41.Rd1!> Now if 41...Rxd4?? then 42.Bxh7+! Kxh7 43.Rxd4 <41...Bd6 42.Kxa6!> My king walk has actually paid off and I've regained a pawn! Now that the material equality was restored, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a draw, and to my surprise, my opponent accepted! I thought Black was in a much better position here. 1/2-1/2

Mar-14-06  percyblakeney: I was black in the above mentioned game, thoughts behind some of my moves:

<2. ... f5> In the only tournament I've arranged on GameKnot a participant won a good game with the Latvian:

I wanted to try it since I like the Schliemann (3. ... f5 in the Ruy Lopez), but it felt quite uncomfortable and for a while I thought I was going to lose the game in the opening...

<8. ... Bg4> I started to get worried that I would lose that e4 pawn in some way, and decided to get rid of it. Now I think it would have been better to play Be7.

<16. ... Re8> Just giving the rook something to do, preparing for Bd6, but not believing that white instead of 18. Bd2 will play Bf2 (Bf4+)...

In the endgame I get the initiative but play some weak moves, in any case I don't think it's easy to win with bishops of opposite colour against such a good defense (or attack?) as <EmperorAtahualpa>'s.

<35. ... Bf8> I don't remember what the point of this move was supposed to be, I may have hoped for h6 by white at some time, followed by g6 from me, a rook exchange, and the king walking out over f7 to be of some use. But Kh8 is definitely better.

<40. ... Rf4> A final trap. I was never planning to take the pawn on d4, but hoping for 41. Kxa6 after which I had the following line prepared: 41. ... Rf6+ 42. Ka5 Ra8+ 43. Kxb5 Rb8+ and with threats like Rfb6 and Bb4+ mate will follow shortly whatever white tries. (After 41. Kxa6 Rf6+ 42. Ka7 Rd8 43. Bxb5 Rf7+ 44. Kb6 Rb8+ 45. Kc6 Rf6+ white's bishop is lost.)

A very good game by <EmperorAtahualpa>, and I'm glad that I survived with a draw.

Jul-27-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Fischer vs R Nickel, 1964.
Your score: 30 (par = 26)


Jun-25-13  jerseybob: Ross Nickel was a strong player whom I remember well from my Philadelphia days. He specialized in less-analyzed openings such as the Latvian, and often as not made them work, with a nice collection of master scalps to show for his efforts.
Nov-27-13  Meaux: <Ross Nickel> A nickel for your thoughts?
Dec-03-14  TheFocus: From a simul in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania on May 3, 1964.

Fischer scored +70=1-2.

Jan-16-19  Ross Nickel: My 6th move offered a pawn which white could hold after which the game becomes interesting. It was a move I had thought up but had not tried it yet. Fischer took a long time before moving & rejecting the capture.Unfortunately, sacrifices do not have to be accepted. I reached a roughly equal game but blundered on my 12th move.

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