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  Welcome to MY web page on the 6th greatest game of chess ever played. Many hours of work went into bringing you this page. I hope you enjoy it. (page-banner, byr-fis1.gif; 05KB)

Donald Byrne (2530) - Robert J. Fischer (2460)
  [D97]  
 Rosenwald Memorial Tournament 
  New York City, New York; 1956.  

[A.J.Goldsby I]

(The ratings above are extrapolations, there was no U.S. ELO when this game was played.
D. Byrne was easily in the top ten in the country at the time this game was played. 
If you used today's ratings - Nov. 2001 - they would be even higher.) 


   The "Game of The Century."   


You definitely will need a chess set to play over this game. 
 ( There are NO diagrams. )  

   Click  HERE  to go to a page with this game on a js re-play board.    
  Replay this game on the popular "Chess Games" website.  

   (See the bottom of this page for escape links, or click the "Back" button on your web browser.)   

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 The 6th Greatest Chess Game Ever? 


 FIRST BRILLIANCY PRIZE.  
(Rosenwald Memorial Tournament, 1956.)

The following game is maybe the most amazing brilliancy ever played by a prodigy.
[Fischer was like 12 and 1/2, or 13 years old when this game  was played.]

Many writers have repeatedly said that this is one of the greatest games ever played. 

This game can be found in dozens of chess books.
[Too many books to list here!] (For instance, several opening books on the Gruenfeld give the score of this game.) 


For example, the following is a list of a few of the books 
on the Gruenfeld that I have:

  1. The William Hartston (IM) book, {Hard-back, The "Contemporary Chess 
    Openings" series from Chess Digest, © 1971.}; on the Grunfeld. 

  2. The RHM (1976) Grunfeld book by GM Mikhail Botvinnik, and Y. Estrin.

  3. The Eric Schiller (LM) book on "Russian Variations;" [Grunfeld]. 

  4. "Winning With The Grunfeld," by GM A. Adorjan and IM Dory. 

  5. "Developments In The Grunfeld," (1, 2, & 3.) by Malcolm Pein. 

  6. "The Grunfeld Defense, Exchange Variation," by IM Malcolm Pein. 
    [ © 1981] 

  7. ECO; The Grunfeld (D91), by Olomouc. 

  8. "The Gruenfeld Defense," by GM L. Shamkovich & Cartier;

  9. The very good Grunfeld Book, (mostly g3 by White);
    by GM's A. Belyavsky & A. Mikhalchisin;

  10. "The Grunfeld For The Attacking Player," by GM Bogdan Lalic;

  11. "Understanding The Grunfeld," by GM J. Rowson.

    ***

In addition to this, I also have the opening books: MCO, BCO, ECO, SCO, etc. 
I have Chess Players, New In Chess, Informants, etc. I also have 6-7 Chess Digest pamphlets on this opening. Plus I have 2-3 books in Russian on the Grunfeld, and one in German.

And in the large majority of these, the author will invariably take his turn at annotating this game. (One can hardly blame them - its a beautiful game, it sells their book, and it may be the most famous Grunfeld Defense game of all-time.) 

Additionally, I have written MANY articles on this game ... dating back to a piece that was first published in the chess newsletter/magazine for the State of Mississippi. (I also had articles published on this game in Georgia and Alabama, as well.) - January, 2013. 


Hans Kmoch, when this game was first played, was generally accepted as one of the world's best chess writers and one of the preeminent chess journalists of his time. Kmoch, totally enraptured with this game, labeled it as:  "THE  Game of The Century!" 

Reshevsky called it, "A very profound and marvelous conception." 

Botvinnik ... after seeing this game, is reported to have said: "We will have to start keeping an eye on this boy." 

Najdorf personally told me he had no words to describe this game when he first saw it. 

"Fischer indeed plays with remarkable imagination and calculation for one so young." - GM John Emms 

"One of the most brilliant, pretty, and one of the most magnificent   games of chess ever played."  -  Fred Reinfeld. 
(He showers this game with exclams, and like Chernev from about the same time period, he is normally very reserved in his annotation style.) 

***

This game is highly ranked in many books devoted to the best chess games of all time. 

The book, "The World's Great Chess Games," 
[ © 1951, 1976; Dover books. ]  by  GM R. Fine,  discusses and analyzes this game. Judging from the number of exclams he awards, Fine obviously considers this game to be one of the most brilliant games ever played. (Fine's book is actually devoted to great players first and studies their  games, second.) 

Another book, (with a similar title) is: 
[The Mammoth Book Of]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games." (By GM John Nunn, GM John Emms, and FM Graham Burgess.) 
In this book the authors score this game very highly, giving it an overall score of 13 out of a possible 15. (To show what a high ranking this is, the authors only gave two games ... - in this particular book - a perfect 15. Three games received a score of 14, and only a very small handful of games received the score of 13.) 

GM Andrew Soltis, in his book, "The 100 Best," 
(The 100 Best Chess Games of The 20th Century, Ranked.) praises this game and ranks it as # 28, (in the Top 30);in the best 100 games of chess ever played. 

An early version of MCO calls this game, "One of THE most brilliant games on record." 

Even though Fischer played many, many, many, many, many,  MANY,  beautiful games of chess, this one is a personal favorite of mine. (Both Botvinnik and Fine - and several others!! - have said that Fischer's games, as a WHOLE COLLECTION of works, are maybe the ONLY person's games who deserves to be ranked with Lasker, Capa, and Alekhine.)  

***

( I am also very proud of the job I have done annotating this game. I believe I have incorporated the finest analysis from every good book and magazine to make this ... perhaps ... the finest job of annotating this game ever!!  [I also found MANY errors by GM's Nunn, Emms, and Soltis, {To name a few of the better known authors.}; and I have corrected them here.]  

I also have pointed out - that with many other annotators - there is no real consensus about individual moves ... one writer will award a question mark, another will have awarded an exclam to the same move! Needless to say, this disparity of opinions needs to be resolved, and I have attempted to do this also. )

   Bobby Fischer ... in happier times.  (fischer_01.jpg, 11 KB)

  Bobby Fischer  


1. Nf3,  Development and center control. 
Threatening the Reti. Fischer is not impressed. 

I saw this game first, probably before the age of ten. I did not break 
Master until I was in my 20's. I was to learn - through hard experience - 
that the Reti is a very hard opening to meet, especially for an inexperienced 
player! (Many years later - a fellow Master would recommend to me that 
I use the Reti - against lower-rated players ... for a quick kill.) 

Perhaps Byrne thinks to confuse his young opponent, or baffle him 
with a series of subtle move transpositions?

[ The  normal move order  for this variation is: 1.d4 Nf6; 2.c4 g6; 
  3.Nc3 d5; 4.Nf3 Bg7; 5.Qb3 dxc4; 6.Qxc4 0-0; 7.e4 c6!?; 
The Boleslavsky-Hort System. 

***

( The alternatives are:  7...a6!?; The Hungarian System. 
(MCO-14 recommends this system.) 
MCO-14 now gives the line: 8.Be2 b5; 9.Qb3 Nc6; 10.e5 Be6!?; 11.exf6 Bxb3
12.fxg7 Kxg7; 13.axb3 Nxd4; 14.Nxd4 Qxd4; 15.0-0 Qb4; when ... 
"White has full value for the Queen." - GM N. DeFirmian. 
J. van der Sterren - J. Timman;  Wijk aan Zee, 1998. 

[See MCO-14; pg.'s 626-628, column # 18, and note # (v.).] 
Note: I think Black is OK here, and the computers evaluate this 
position as, "Slightly better for Black," or "=/+". 
(See also the discussion here after White's 9th move about the 
material relationship of the Queen vs. Three minor pieces.)

 

Or Black could play: 7...Na6!?;  The Prins System.  

Or 7...Nc6;  The Korchnoi System. 

Or 7...Bg4;  which is The Smyslov System Complex. )

***

8.Bf4!?,  (Probably better is: 8.Be2!, "+/="  8...Nbd7; etc. 
(We have now have transposed back into the game.) ]

 

1...Nf62. c4 g63. Nc3 Bg74. d4, 
This is good, grabbing the center. 

White could have delayed this and played P-KN3 (g3), but this would
have reached a completely different type of game than what was played 
here.

[ The move, 4. g3, would be an attempt to reach a 
more  "English"  type of position. ]

 

4...0-0;  King safety. 
Castling to safety, which is never a bad idea. 

Fischer is also allowing his opponent to choose a King's Indian Defense 
with 5. e4. (Perhaps Byrne did not care to allow this, Fischer was already 
one of the country's leading experts in this line.) 

[ Black could try: 4...c5!?; here, with a Benoni / K.I.D. - type position.  
(After White plays 5. d5.)  

MCO gives the following analysis. (You have to reach these lines by 
transposition, the 'normal' move order is: 1. d4, Nf6;  2. c4, g6;  3. Nc3, d5; etc.) 

In the current position, MCO gives the following analysis:
4...d5; 5.Qb3 dxc4; 6.Qxc4 0-0; 7.e4 c6;  The  "Boleslavsky  - Hort  System."  
DeFirmian, in MCO, says this line gives white a free rein in the center and also 
allows White a big space advantage. 

 ( OR ... Black can also play: 7...Bg4;  Which is the Smyslov System. (Complex.) 
 8.Be3 Nfd7; 9.0-0-0 c6;  
(Maybe 9...c5!?)   10.h3 Bxf3; 11.gxf3 b5; 12.Qd3,  
 
  (Or 12.Qb3!?)   12...Qa5; 13.Kb1 b4!?; 14.Ne2 c5; 15.f4 Nc6!?; 
  The end of the column, col. # 22, page # 629.  
  (Black's 15...Nc6!?; may not be the best, it may even be dubious.) 
 
  ( I would recommend: 15...Rd8!; 16.Qc2 Na6!; "~"  {"Unclear.}  
    This position is very close to equal.  ("=")  I would prefer Black here.) {A.J.G.} )  
  16.d5 b3?!; (Maybe - '?')  
   (Better is 16...Nd8[]; 17.e5, "+/="  17.a3 Nb4; 18.Qd2 Nb6; 
  Now White should play: 19.Nc1!, which is much better for White. "+/"  (Maybe "+/-" )  
  " ... was very good for White." - GM Nick DeFirmian. 
  GM J. Piket - GM A. Shirov;  Wijk aan Zee, 1996. 
 [ See MCO; Grunfeld, Classical Var. pages # 626 to 630, 
 columns 13 - 24; (Mainly column # 22 here.). And note # (q.). ]. )  

(Back to the analysis of the Boleslavsky-Hort System.) 
8.Qb3!?,  This is OK, but ...   (Better is: 8.Be2!)  
8...e5!?;  This is probably [slightly] premature. 

 Probably better is: 8...Qb6!; "=" Maybe a slight, (tiny) advantage for White. ("+/=")  

9.dxe5 Ng4; 10.Be2!?,  This misses a chance for White.   (Better is 10.e6!, "+/=")  
10...Qb6; 11.0-0 Nxe5!?;  This is not the best, either.  

  Black should play: 11...Qxb3!; 12.axb3 Re8!; 13.Ng5!?,  
   (White could try: 13.Na4!?,  or 13.Bf4,  but none of these lines should give   
  
  White nothing more than a miniscule advantage.)    13...Nxe5;  Best.  
  
  (13...h6?!; 14.e6!, "+/=")    14.f4 f6!; 15.Nf3 Nxf3+;  
  16.Rxf3 b5!; "="  Two hours of computer-aided analysis verifies Black is OK here.   
  (LIFE-Master A.J. Goldsby I.  
  [This closely follows a postal game I played in the 1980's.] ).  

Returning to the MCO analysis, we have: 12.Nxe5 Bxe5; 13.Be3 Qxb3; 
14.axb3 Na6!?
; 15.b4 b5!?; 
  The end of the column; col. # 23, page # 629. 
"White has a big edge." ( "+/=" or "+/" )  - GM N. DeFirmian. 
Babula - David;  Lazne Bohdanec, 1995.   
[ See MCO; Grunfeld, Classical Var. pages # 626 to 630, columns 13 - 24; 
(Mainly column # 23 here.). And note # (u.). ].  

***

MCO's choice of lines, (and the analysis of these lines,)  for this variant 
is  EXTREMELY  poor!! 

***

 (Maybe just a tiny bit better - in the above game/line - is: 15...Nc7!?; "~"

(In my ChessBase version of the game, I give a brief survey of each line of the 
Grunfeld, but I deleted it here, as I do not feel it is pertinent to this game. It was 
very short anyway, with no line going much beyond move 10.)  ].  

 

5. Bf4, (Maybe - '!?')  (Developing a piece.)  
Interesting, but ... 
(This move has been first condemned ... then praised, by turns. Let us 
just say it is a perfectly reasonable move, completely in keeping with the 
principles of the opening.) 

An anti-Indian system which had not been worked completely out yet 
in the 1950's. (Apparently Byrne does NOT want to enter a King's Indian 
Defense.   --->  If he had, he would have played the pawn advance e4 this 
move. ... Fischer already had an emerging reputation ... 
as a leading K.I.D. theoretician.).  

Fischer seizes a chance to enter a line - which at that time  -  was 
NOT considered to be that impressive, theoretically speaking. 

"After some harmless flirting we have arrived at one of White's most dangerous 
systems. We will study move-orders in greater detail later on, but for now it is 
worth pointing out that with this move-order I think Black should also consider 
5...c5!; with the aim of obliging White to play a sub-optimal move compared to 
the main lines ... "
 -  GM J. Rowson.
.
Suffice it to say that GM Rowson is entitled to his opinion, but it can hardly be 
proven that ...c5 is any better than ...d5. In my opinion, the move ...c5; just produces 
a different type of game ...  not necessarily better, (or worse)  ...  just different!
(In these type of positions, the move ...d5; produces a Grunfeld. The move ...c5; 
will produce a different type of game, depending on White's reply. If after Black 
plays ...c5; White pushes to d5, we have a K.I.D./Benoni type-position. If after ...c5; 
White plays d4xc5, {or allows Black to play ...c5xd4 a move or two later}; we will 
have arrived at a Sicilian and/or Maroczy Bind/English type of position. For further 
reference concerning the idea that there are literally thousands of move orders, but 
only a few {10-20} basic Pawn Structures; see the excellent book, 
 "Pawn Structure Chess,"
  by  GM Andrew Soltis. )  

[ The normal move order for reaching, "The Russian System," 
is: 5.Qb3 d5; etc. ]. 

 

5...d5; (Maybe - '!')  Central control. 
Transposing to a Grunfeld Defence. 

Obviously, this move follows the four main principles of the Opening, 
(Especially the one about controlling the center!);  and is perfectly OK.

5...d6; leads to a K.I.D. and 5...c5; can lead to several different types of 
positions.  (See the discussion after White's 5th move.) 

[  5...c5!?; ('!')  - GM J. Rowson. 
[ See the book,  "Understanding The Gruenfeld,"   by  GM J. Rowson. ].  

 

6. Qb3!?,   The "Russian System." 
The general idea in the normal Russian System [for White] is to 
challenge the center, and gain a mobile, duo of center pawns.  

   ***

Actually White is mixing systems.   5. Bf4, ..... 
or "The Classical  (Anchor @ e5)  System," 

and   5. Qb3,  .....  or   "The Russian System"  ... 

are two different and distinct systems. 

   ***

Usually mixing systems is not a good idea. Its also correct to note 
that the theory of these lines were very young - practically in their 
infancy - in the 1950's. 

"The grandmasters used to debate the merits of accepting the gambit,
( 6. cxd5, Nxd5; 7. Nxd5, Qxd5; 8. Bxc7, Na6; [or ...Nc6;] ); 
but by the end of the century the pawn grab was considered too risky." 
 - GM A. Soltis

"Fischer's offer of a Pawn was turned down, as after: 6. cxd5, Nxd5;  7. NxN/d5, 
7...QxN/d5;  8. BxP/c7, Na6;  9. Bg3, Bf5;  10. a3,  (to stop 10...Nb4;)  10...Rac8; 
Black has the initiative." - Irving Chernev
( This note was originally in descriptive notation, but I translated it. {A.J.G.} )

<< White's early Queen move "puts the question" to Black's Queen Pawn. 
Black must now arrive at a decision about his coming policy in the center. >>
 -  Fred Reinfeld. 


[ White could accept Black's gambit with: 6.cxd5!? Nxd5; 7.Nxd5 Qxd5;  
8.Bxc7 Nc6;   (8...Na6!?9.Bg3 Bf510.a3 Rac8;  - Chernev. )
9.e3 Bf5; 10.a3,   (Not 10.Bd3? Rac8; 11.Bg3 Bxd3; 12.Qxd3 Nb4  
 13.Qd2 Nc2+;
"-/+" and Black wins.  10...Rac8; 11.Bf4 Rfd8;  {"Comp."} 
Black has good play, and a lead in development for the pawn invested. ].  

 

6...dxc4; (Maybe - '!?)  This looks pretty much forced. 
Black gains a tempo on the White Queen, but surrenders the center. 

(Many sources give a move order with Black playing ...c6; but I don't 
believe this is correct. This would also give White a choice of playing 
Pawn/c4 x d5, thus fixing a Black pawn at d5. This is a completely 
different type of game than what was actually played.) 

[  GM Rowson  gives he move order of: 6...c6!?;  7.Rd1 dxc4!; 
8.Qxc4 Nbd7!?;  9.e4,  transposing back to the game. 
I don't think this move order is accurate,  (Too many other sources
 give otherwise.);  but I give it for the sake of reference. {A.J.G.} 
(My move order follows CL&R, Byrne, Chernev, and Pachman, 
just to name a few.)  ].  {See the image just below.}  

 

Right - click on this image to save it to your computer. (byrne-fisch_1__scoresheet01.gif, 57 KB)

 Replay (on the CB website)

 

7. Qxc4,  Queen sortie. 
"This reaches an off-shoot of a major Grunfeld line in which White delays 
e2-e4 in order to threaten the c7-pawn and rule out ...Nc6."  - GM A. Soltis. 

[7.Qb5!?].  

 

7...c6; (Maybe - '!')  Prevention and defense. 
This sub-variant is known as the Boleslavsky-Hort System. 
(It is not just a variation, there is a whole complex of systems that are under this 
particular branch. It also includes a sub-variation of the "Prins System."  [Delayed.] ) 

This system was pioneered by I. Boleslavsky, (U.S.S.R./Russia) and played 
a lot by Vlastmil Hort. (Czechoslovakia.) Both players used this system and 
played many, many pretty games with this line. 

Fischer (almost) had no choice, but to play  this system, because of Donald Byrne's 
move order. Perhaps D. Byrne thought to confuse the thirteen year-old boy! 

(Because - mainly - of the this one game, I personally played the 
Boleslavsky-Hort System for over 20 years of over-the-board, tournament 
praxis. I did not realize {until now} that Fischer chose this line mainly because 
he was forced into it!!!)

[ If 7...Na6!?; Now Junior 6.0 gives:  7...Nc6!?;  8.e3 Nh5; 
 9.Bg5 Bg4; 0.33/12  10.h3, "+/=" ].  

 

8. e4 Nbd7!?; (Maybe - '!')  Development.  
The most natural move, bringing a new piece into the game.  

But MANY authors have criticized this move as inferior. 
I think ..... (I KNOW!) ..... it is perfectly A-O.K.!! 

"This is a standard position in the Grunfeld that has been reached by transposition."
  - GM R. Fine.  (Fine is indicating NOTHING is wrong with Black's move order.)  

"Instead of the popular Smyslov maneuver of 8...KN-Q2; Fischer lays a little trap." 
  - Irving Chernev. 

"White has a magnificent Pawn center, forcing Black to seek compensation by 
 active deployment of his pieces."
  -  Fred Reinfeld. 

[ Instead of 8...Nbd7; Black could try: 8...b5!?; ('!')  This move is considered 
  as the best by most opening books today.  9.Qb3 Qa5;  

( Nunn gives: 9...Be6!; "~"  [See NCO; pg. # 440; line/row # 1, note # 4.] 
  (Now 10. Qa3?! is very bad.)   and now: 10.Qc2 b4; "="

10.Bd3 Be6; 11.Qd1 Rd8; 12.0-0 Bg4; 13.e5 Nd5; 14.Nxd5 cxd5; 
15.Rc1 Qb6
; 
   (15...a6!?)    16.Rc5 Nd7; 17.Rxb5 Bxf3;  
18.Qa4! Bxg2!?
; 19.Rxb6 Nxb6; 20.Qa6 Bxf1; 21.Bxf1,  

 I don't think it matters which piece White captures with here. 

 ***

( Instead, my database gives: 21.Kxf1 e6; 22.b3 Rd7; 23.a4 Rc7; 
24.Bb5 Bf8; 25.Bg5 Rb8; 26.Qa5 Rbc8; 27.Kg2 Ba3; 28.Qe1 Bb2; 
29.Ba6 Bc3; 30.Bd2!? Bxd2; 31.Qxd2 Rc2; 32.Qg5 R8c7; 33.Qd8+ Kg7; 
34.Qf6+ Kg8; 35.Qd8+ Kg7; 36.a5 Nc8; 37.Qf6+ Kg8; 38.Qd8+ Kg7; 
39.Bd3 R2c3 ; 40.Qf6+ Kg8; 41.Qd8+ Kg7; 42.Bc4?!,  (Maybe - '?') 
  (With 42.Qf6+, it appears White can make an easy draw.)  
42...Rb7; 43.Ba6 Rbc7; 44.b4!? Ne7; 45.b5 Nf5; 46.b6 axb6; 47.axb6 R7c6; 
48.Bb5 Rc8; 49.Qf6+ Kg8; 50.Bd7 Rb8; 51.Bxe6?! fxe6; 52.Qxe6+ Kg7; 
53.Qf6+ Kh6; 54.h4 Rb3; 55.Qg5+ Kg7; 56.Qf6+ Kg8; 57.Qe6+ Kh8; 58.Qxd5 Nxh4+; 
59.Kh2 R3xb6; 60.e6 Nf5; 61.Qe5+ Kg8; 62.Qc7 R6b7; 63.Qa5 Rb2; 64.Kg1 Re2;
65.d5 Rb1+; 66.Kg2 Rbb2; 67.Qd8+ Kg7; 68.Qc7+ Kh6; 69.Qf4+ Kh5; 
White has run out of checks, so it is time to resign.  (70. Qh2+, Kg5;).  0 - 1 
GM A. Miles - GM G. Kasparov; /Basel 1986/MCL (69). 

(This game actually started with the move order: 
1. d4, d5;  2. c4, c6;  3. Nf3, Nf6;  4. Qc2, g6;  5. Bf4, dxc4;  6. Qxc4, Bg7; 
7. Nc3, 0-0; 8. e4, transposing back to the game.  
 ---> This again shows the versatility of move order and transposition!) ) 

 ***

21...e6;  "~"  The position is unclear,  - GM J. Nunn.
GM A. Miles - GM G. Kasparov;  Match, Game # 2, Basle; FRA/1986. 

[ See "The World's Greatest Chess Games," 
by GM John Nunn, and GM John Emms, & FM Graham Burgess.  Page # 214. ] 

Some opening books and some annotators have suggested that 8...Nfd7!?;  
is better than 8...Nbd7; but this is debatable. (And HIGHLY so.)  ].  

 

9. Rd1, Centralization. 
Continuing to put pressure on the center. 

This is also good centralization, but it may have been wiser for White 
 to play Be2 and 0-0 first. 
.
(Strangely enough, this move has been both roundly condemned and also 
highly praised, depending on who was annotating this game.) 

 

[  White should not play  9.e5?! Nd5!;  

( 9...Nb6?!; ('?') 10.exf6 Nxc4; 11.fxg7 Kxg7; 12.Bxc4, "+/="  and White has 
3 pieces for the Queen. (And Pawn.)  Note:  Most Masters would probably prefer 
to be White, although the computers like Black here. [ "=/+" ]  {My experience tells 
me the three minor pieces are to be preferred, although I cannot see Black losing 
this position with perfect play. - A.J.G.} ).  

10. Nxd5 cxd5; 11.Qxd5 Nxe5!;  (A tactic that many opening books {& others!!} 
 in the past have overlooked.)   12.Qxd8 Nxf3+; 13.gxf3 Rxd8; "/+"  This is clearly 
better for Black.  (Maybe "-/+.")  (Black is a clear pawn up, White's d-pawn may fall. 
And on top of this, White's Pawn Structure is corrupted.); 

(OR)  The  main "Book Line"  here is:  9.Be2 Nb6; 10.Qc5 Bg4; 11.Rd1 Nfd7
12.Qa3 Bxf3; 13.Bxf3 e5; "~" etc.  (Black has good play.) 
This is ... "The Smyslov System Complex."  (One of the main lines of the 
Russian System.  It was created by that great genius, and former World 
Champion, Vassily Smyslov.) 
{Although in the Smyslov proper, the White Bishop is usually on e3.}  ].  

 

9...Nb6;  En guarde'!  
Fischer wins a tempo off of Byrne's Queen, so that he can now develop his QB. 

 (Several writers have severely criticized this move. But I like this move, and think  
 it must be best. And Fischer certainly did OK with it!)  

[Also interesting was: 9...a5!?]. 

 

10. Qc5!?,  (L'audace!) 
A very aggressive move that most annotators do not question. 
Possibly the move deserves the - '?!' (dubious) appellation. 

  Strangely enough, GM Andy Soltis gives this move an exclam!  

The good thing about this Queen move is that it greatly restricts Black's 
choices and hits a lot of key dark - squares. Maybe this is why both Kirby 
and GM Soltis give this move an exclam. (I personally feel it is a little too risky.)

[Probably safer is: 10.Qb3, "+/=" and White retains a pretty small but steady 
advantage.  (Better control of the center.)  10...Be6; 11.Qc2, "+/=" 
... "with the freer game." - GM R. Fine. ]. 

"Some danger is always attached to early Queen moves, and this one only 
compounds the danger: White's Queen is going too far a field. Instead, White 
had a safer line in 10 Q-N3,  or 10. Q-Q3." 
 -  Fred Reinfeld. 
 
(Reinfeld gives this move a question mark!!)  

 

10...Bg4!?; (Maybe - '!')  BAM! 
Fischer boldly activates all of his pieces.  

Here he uses his QB very aggressively. 

(Note this move is not normally used in the Boleslavsky-Hort System, but it IS 
used in the Smyslov System. This means Fischer both knows the theory AND 
understands the position well enough to play the correct move.).  

"Now Black has in mind some such continuation as:
11...Nfd7;  12. Qa3, e5;  13. d4xe5, Qe8;  
and Black recovers his Pawn with a good game." 
 -  Fred Reinfeld. 

  '!' - GM J. Rowson.    

 

11. Bg5?!,  White returns the favor. (Aggression.) 
Most annotators (including Soltis ... AND many others!!) give this 
move a [full] question mark, but I believe that is too harsh. 
(Much, much, much too harsh.)  

It is certainly a loss of tempo. 
(And violates the rule about moving a piece twice in the opening.) 

I think the idea was to put strong pressure on Black and restrict 
Black from moving his KN, because of the threat of Bxe7. 

The refutation is fantastically deep and unbelievably complicated. 
I doubt if the average MASTER would even consider this move, unless 
he was already familiar with this game. 

I think far too much has been written about what a terrible mistake the move,
11.Bg5 is, and not enough about how well BOTH players played ... after all it 
takes TWO players to create a great game of chess!! Only the iron logic that 
demands that one move be labeled, "The Losing Move," and the scientific 
idea that we must search for and find improvements; is the  only  reason I 
criticize White's 11th move at all.

"Very plausible: the idea is that  11...Nbd7?;  would lose Black's KP."
   -  Fred Reinfeld. 

"Fischer's reply to this move must have given Byrne the shock of his young life!" 
    -  Irving Chernev. 

 Black to play. What would you play? 

 ***

[  Indicated was the simple 11.Be2, "+/=" and White has a very small 
advantage. Now 11...Nfd7; 12.Qa3 Bxf3; 13.Bxf3 e5!; 14.dxe5 Qe8; 
15.Be2 Nxe5; 16.0-0, "+/="  "White has a slight edge." - GM John Emms. 
GM G. Flear - Morris;  Dublin, 1991. 
[ See the book: (The Mammoth Book Of) "The World's Greatest Chess Games," 
by Nunn, Emms, & Burgess.  Game # 38, page # 214.]  ]

 ***

 

(FM Burgess starts his analysis of this game with this position.) 
"White's position is a little loose and under-developed, but it is surprising that the 
  punishment is so severe." 
- FM Graham Burgess.  ( The book, "Chess Highlights  ...  Of The 20th Century."

 11...Na4!!!;  (Maybe - '!!!!')   Whoooommm!  
One of the most single brilliant moves ever played. The late, great GM Rueben Fine, 
(A candidate for the World Championship, after he jointly won A.V.R.O. 1938; 
with Paul Keres.);  awards this move three exclamation points. 
[ See: "The World's Great Chess Games,"  by GM Ruben Fine.  Chapter # 12. ].  

"A shocking and stunning move." 
 -  GM Salo Flohr  and  GM Mikhail Botvinnik, for the Russian magazine, "64."

"The game's first scintillating moment."  - GM A. Soltis. 

"A BRILLIANT reply."  - GM R. Fine. 

"A spectacular move, which sets off an incredible display of fireworks." 
 - Irving Chernev. 

"One of the most magnificent moves ever made on a chessboard." 
 -  Fred Reinfeld. 

"One of the single most powerful chess moves of all time." 
 -  GM J. Rowson. 

I gave this position to Fritz6, (under ChessBase) to analyze, and 
it failed to come up with 11...Na4;  after over one hour of thought!! 
(Fritz6 is considered by many to be one of the finest pure, tactical analysis 
engines in the world; of all the commercially available chess programs, anyway.)
{The above comment was written just shortly after Fritz6 came out. 
  Of course now, there is Fritz7.}
*** Albeit, this test was run on a friend's computer, which did not have 
the latest hardware and also had limited RAM memory. *** 
(In the old days, before computers played Master-level chess, a computer 
would think all day and not come up with a move like this.) 

I think this shows that intuition, imagination, and inspiration can play a role 
at even the very highest level of chess. 

'!!!'  - GM R. Fine. 
'!!!' -  Fred Reinfeld. 
'!!!' - J.F. Kirby. 
'!!' - GM Hans Kmoch.  
'!!' - GM M. Botvinnik. 
'!!'  - GM Andy Soltis. 
'!!'  - GM John Nunn. 
'!!'  - GM John Emms.
'!!' - GM J. Rowson. 
'!!'  - FM Graham Burgess. 

(Virtually every annotator worth his salt, has given 
Fischer's 11th move two exclamation points.)  

12. Qa3, (Maybe - '!')  Forced? 
Probably the only good move. 

"With 12. Qa3, Byrne hoped that the pressure on e7 would dissuade 
Black from grabbing the e-pawn. Never-the-less Fischer was not going 
to be denied."  - GM John Emms. 

"White wants to avoid ...Qa5+;  and keep his eye on e7."  -  GM A. Soltis. 

 

--- All the other possibilities are clearly worse (than the text) for White. 

[  It seems that White would have played an inferior line by choosing: 
12.Nxa4?! Nxe4; 13.Qxe7!?,  (Main Variant?)   Pachman gives this an, "?" 
[See "Modern Chess Tactics," by  GM Ludek Pachman.  
See Chapter # 3, page # 91.] 

*****

The alternatives are:
 a).  13.Bxe7 Nxc5; 14.Bxd8,  This seems like the best move here. 
   (14.Bxc5? Re8+; 15.Be2 Bxf3; 16.gxf3 b6; 17.Ba3 Qd5; 18.Nc3 Qxf3; "-/+")    
   
14...Nxa4;  This position [greatly] favors Black, according to GM Soltis. 
    15.Bg5 Bxf3;  (Maybe - '!')  Black wrecks White's pawns. 16.gxf3 Nxb2;  "/+"
   (Maybe - "-/+") ...  " and not only is Black a Pawn up, but White's Pawns are 
    also a complete mess."  -  GM J. Emms.
   (Fred Reinfeld gave this line long before Emms, maybe before Emms was born!) 

 b).  13.Qc1 Qa5+; 14.Nc3 Bxf3; 15.gxf3 Nxg5; "/+"  (Maybe "-/+") 
    "and Black regains his piece, and wins a pawn as well." 
     Commentary and variation by  -  Irving Chernev. 

 c).  13.Qb4 Nxg5;  Prolly best. 
  (Or 13...a5!?; 14.Qxb7,  About the best, in the given circumstances. 

 (Or White can try: 14.Bxe7? axb4; 15.Bxd8 Rfxd8!; 16.Nc5, This looks just about forced. 

***

 (Or White could play: 16.b3 b5!; 17.Bd3, The best, seemingly. 

The alternatives to 17. Bd3 are: 
c1). 
17.Nb2? Rxa2; 18.Nd3 Bxf3; 19.gxf3 Nc3; 20.Nc1 Re8+; 21.Be2 Ra1!; 
  (Maybe 21...Rc2!?)  
22.Kd2 Bh6+; 23.f4 Bxf4+; 24.Kd3 Bxc1; 25.Rxc1 Rxc1; 
 26.Rxc1 Rxe2!; 27.Rxc3 bxc3; 28.Kxe2 b4; "-/+"  Black should win. 
c2).
  Or 17.Nc5?!, and now 17...Bxf3; and this seems best here, all things considered. 
  (
Black could also try: 17...Nxc5!?; or 17...Nc3!?; or 17...Re8!? ) 
18.gxf3 Nxc5; and Black wins a piece. This is because 19.dxc5? Bc3+; 
 20.Ke2 Rxa2+; 21.Ke3, (Forced.) 21...Rxd1; "-/+" 

 An easy win for Black, as he is a Rook up. 

(Now back to the analysis of the line, 16. b3, b5!; 17. Bd3:)  
 17...Re8; 18.Ne5 Bxe5; 19.Bxe4 Bxd1; 20.Bxc6 bxa4; 21.Bxa8 axb3; 22.axb3[],  
  
( Not 22.Bc6?? bxa2 ; 23.Bxe8 a1Q; "-/+"   22...Bxd4+; 23.Kxd1 Rxa8; "-/+" 
 Black is a piece up and should win easily. 

***

 16...Nxc5; 17. dxc5, Re8+; 18. Be2, Rxa2; "-/+"  
  Black is nearly 3 points ahead, and should win without any problem. 

 14...Nxg5; 15.Be2,  This looks best.  
  (Not 15.Nxg5?! Bxd1; 16.Kxd1 Qxd4+; 17.Kc1 Qxa4; 18.Qb3 Qf4+; 19.Qe3 Qf6;  
   20.Qd2 Rfb8
; 21.Bc4 e6; "-/+").  
 15...Nxf3+; 16.gxf3 Rb8; "-/+"  and this ... "looks very good for Black." -  GM J. Emms.

{ Returning to the line ... c.) 13. Qb4, Nxg5. } 
14.Nxg5 Bxd1; 15.Kxd1 Bxd4; 
 "In this case, Black has a Rook and two Pawns for two Knights - - - 
  a fair material equivalent. But White's King is in danger and his 
  pieces are scattered."  -  Fred Reinfeld. 
16.Ke1 Qd5; "-/+"  Black is two pawns up.

*****

(Returning to the main analysis line after 12. Nxa4?!)
13...Qa5+!This position [greatly] favors Black, according to GM Soltis.
14.b4, This is forced. 

 Or White could try:  14.Nc3 Rfe8;  And Black wins, according to Chernev. 
  (Or 14...Nxc3;  ... " followed by ...Re8; and wins."  -  Fred Reinfeld.)  
 15.Qxb7?,  (Maybe better is: 15.b4 Nxg5; "/+").  Now 15...Nd6+!;  "-/+"  

   ( Not quite as good for Black is: 15...Rab8!?;  then we have the continuation  
   16.Qxc6 Nxc3+; 17.Be3 Rec8; 18.Qa6 Qxa6; 19.Bxa6 Nxd1; 20.Bxc8 Nxe3;  
   21.fxe3,    (Or 21.Bxg4 Nxg4; "-/+")  21...Rxc8; 22.Kd2 Be6; "-/+" )  

(Returning to our examination of the main analysis line, that started with 12. Nxa4?!)
14...Qxa4; ...  " and again, the threat of ...R-K1 is decisive."  - Fred Reinfeld. 
15.Qxe4   (15.Be2 Rae8; 16.Qxb7 Bxf3; 17.gxf3 Nxg5; "-/+"  15...Rfe8; 16.Be7, 
 (16.Ne5?? Qxd1#)    16...Bxf3; 17.gxf3 Bf8!; "-/+"  An improvement over existing 
analysis. ("The pin on the e-file is decisive." - GM John Emms.). 

Note: Pachman also gives the correct 17...Bf8. (He ends his analysis here.) 
Many of the Western references have the incorrect 17...Bf6?? Perhaps the error 
on Black's 17th move originated with western sources. 

***

  A completely  REFUTED  variant is as follows:  

NOT 17...Bf6?!;  (Maybe - '?') "-/+" ... "and Black wins," according to Chernev. 
[See "The Golden Dozen,"  by  Irving Chernev.  
Section on Fischer, Game # 73, page # 199; column # 2.]. 
This move, 17...Bf6; has been given by numerous sources, and is always quoted as, 
"Winning for Black." Needless to say, one could almost give 17...Bf6; TWO question 
marks! Now White could play: 18.Bxf6!,    (White blows a large opportunity with: 
 18.Be2?!
, (??) 18...Rxe7; 19.Qb1 Rae8; 20.Rd2 Bxd4; "-/+"  One could give White's 
 18th  move two question marks for missing such an opportunity. This analysis has been 
 given by MANY authors! And its TOTALLY incorrect.
   18...Rxe4+; 19.fxe4 Qxb4+; 
20.Ke2[] Re8; 21.f3!, "+/="  and according to nearly a half-dozen strong chess 
analysis engines, and after over an hour of computer time, 
White is at least a little better. Maybe a lot better. (Maybe - "+/" .)  

This line represents one of Chernev's ... (And MANY others!!) ... 
very, very rare mistakes. 

***

(Returning to our examination of the main analysis line, that started with 12. Nxa4?!)
18.Be2 This looks forced. (White develops and closes the dangerous e-file.) 

Some of the alternatives to 18. Be2, are:
a).  18.Bxf8 Kxf8; 19.b5 Qb4+; 20.Rd2,   (20.Ke2 Qxb5+; "-/+"  20...Rxe4+; 
21.fxe4 Qb1+; 22.Rd1 Qxe4+; 23.Kd2 Qxh1; "-/+" 

b).
  18.Qb1 Rxe7+; 19.Kd2, Forced. 
 ( Not 19.Be2?! Rae8; 20.Rd2[] Bh6!; 21.Rb2, 
  
(Or 21.Rc2? Qb5; 22.Qd1 Qxb4+; "-/+" and Black is nearly 3 points ahead.  
 
21...Qb5; 22.Qd1 Bg7; "/+" Black may be winning. (Probably "-/+".) ) 
19...Rd7; "-/+"  and according to all the computer programs, 
 Black is winning easily. 

18...Rxe7; 19.Qb1 Rae8; 20.Rd2 Qb5; 21.Qd1 Qxb4; "/+"  Black is much better, 
if not clearly winning. ("-/+")  Note: All the computer programs also give the 
evaluation of, "minus-slash-plus," meaning Black is winning. ].  

 

So it would seem that 12. Qa3 was the wisest decision for White. 

12...Nxc3;  Huh?  
"This appears to just strengthen White's center but Black has another tactical 
idea based on an exchange sack."  - GM A. Soltis. 

Another amazing move by Bobby that contradicts convention. 
( Reportedly another GM ... who also was a former  U.S. Champion ...  was asked 
his opinion of this game -  {After the move 12...Nxc3;}  He shrugged his shoulders 
and said simply,   "Black is lost."    !!! )

13. bxc3, This is forced. 
White appears to have dodged the bullet, at least for now. 

[ Not 13.Qxc3? Nxe4; "-/+" ]. 

 

Black to play. What move would you play? 

13...Nxe4!(Probably - '!!')  More fireworks. 
(And Fischer isn't done yet!) 

A very brilliant and pretty move. 

"This capture is a logical follow-up to Black's previous play. True, White can now
win an exchange; but Fischer had accurately calculated that the problems White 
encounters down the open e-file more than makes up for this. Indeed, Byrne was 
eventually forced to agree, and decline the material on offer."  -  GM J. Emms. 

"Fischer is willing to sacrifice at least an exchange to open the
  e-file against the White King."  -  FM G. Burgess. 

"Another brilliant sacrifice."  -  GM R. Fine. 

"Now this Knight makes a surprise move!"  -  Irving Chernev.  

"Another surprise attacking move which White thought he was preventing." 
   -  Fred Reinfeld.

Another point is that after hours and hours of analysis, Junior 6.0 is still [initially] 
showing that White has a slight advantage. ("+/=") (Nov. 22-24, 2001.) 

'!!'  -  GM R. Fine.  
'!!' - Fred Reinfeld. 

(Virtually every annotator I have seen awards this move at least one exclam. 
Soltis also gives this move an exclam.).  

14. Bxe7 Qb6!;  (Maybe - '!!')   Very sharp! 
Not an easy move to find. 

The computers, even today, look first at ...Qd5; or ...Qd7. 06/25/00 {A.J.G.}

Soltis goes on to remark that Black's compensation is obvious after 15. Bxf8. 

(Soltis also does NOT give Black's 14th move an exclam.) 

"An ingenious reply."  -  I. Chernev. 
(Chernev goes on to remark that this move is superior to the attractive 14...Qe8; 
which allows White the resource of 15. Rd3!,  followed by  16. Re3.) 

"Black's skill in finding new resources must be very frustrating for his opponent."
 -  Fred Reinfeld. 

'!!' - GM A. Lilienthal

'!'  -  GM Ruben Fine.
'!'  -  Irving Chernev. 
'!'  -  Fred Reinfeld. 

[ 14...Qe8!?; ('?!')  This move sets a trap, but it is fairly easy to avoid. 
   Now White should play: 15.Rd3!, with the idea of 16. Re3, and now ...
   "White is slightly better," or  "+/=".  (Chernev.)  
  (Not 15.Bxf8?? Bxf8
; 16.Qa5 Ng3+; 17.Ne5 Nxh1; 18.Be2 Bxe2; "-/+"   ]

 

15. Bc4('!' - GM Rowson.)  Best? 
White is walking on the edge of a razor. 
This looks like the only reasonable move,  i.e., it may be forced. 

"White spurns the kind offer of the exchange."  -  Irving Chernev. 

"Active defense." -  GM J. Rowson. 

 '!' - GM J. Rowson.  

Certainly 15. Bc4,  is safer than most of the alternatives. 
 (GM Rowson  likes this move so much, he gives it an exclam!) 

 [  One interesting alternative is: 
15.Bxf8 Bxf8; 16.Qb3 Nxc3!;  "=/+"  
"Black is clearly better here."  -  GM S. Gligoric

  Also good for Black is: 16...Qxb3; 17.axb3 Re8; 18.Be2 Nxc3; 19.Rd2 Nb1!;  
   (Black could also try: 19...Bb4!?; "-/+"  which "looks very strong."  - Nunn and Emms.    
    Or Black could also maybe play: 19...Ne4!?;  "-/+"  {A.J.G.} )     
 
20.Rd3 Bb4+; 21.Kf1 Nd2+; 22.Rxd2 Bxd2; 23.Ne5 Be6;  "/+"  or  "-/+".   

17.Qxb6,  About the best here.  

 ( Not 17.Qxc3?? Bb4; "-/+" ( - GM A. Soltis, among others! - have given this line.)  
  Or  17. Rd2, Re8+;  ("/+" or "-/+")  ... " with a lasting attack." -  Fred Reinfeld. 

 17...axb6; ... " and Black picks up a second pawn for the exchange, 
  remaining with a winning game."  - Fred Reinfeld
 18.Rd2,  Looks forced. 

 ***

     Some alternatives to 18. Rd2, here are:  
a).  Or Black could play: 18.Rd3?! Rxa2!;  "Black has a winning attack." 
 Variation and commentary  ...  by  -  Irving Chernev.  

b).  Nunn (and Rowson) give: 18.Ra1 Bxf3; "/+" 
 ... " and Black is better in the endgame." - GM A. Soltis. 
Continuing this line, we get: 19.gxf3 Ba3; 20.Kd2 Bb2; 21.Re1 Nd5; "/+"  (Maybe "-/+") 
 "and Black begins to pick off all of White's weak pawns." 
Variation and commentary by  -  GM J. Nunn  &  GM J. Emms
" ... gives Black a massive endgame initiative." -  GM Rowson
[See: "Understanding The Grunfeld," by  GM J. Rowson. 
Chap. # 2, Game # 1, pg.'s 10-18.] 
  (Not 21...b5?; 22.Kc2! Rxa2; 23.Kb3, "~" {A.J.G.}) 

c).  18.Rc1!? Bb4!;  "-/+"  - GM R. Fine.  
       (Also good for Black is: 18...Nxa2!?; "-/+" );   

 ***

(Returning to the main analysis line that started with 15. Bxf8.)
18...Bb4; "/+"  Black is very close to winning outright. An evaluation of, "-/+" would 
not be out of line. ( The main line quoted here was taken from  Pachman's  book, 
"Winning Chess Tactics."   ] 

 

15...Nxc3!;  (Maybe - '!!')  
"The series of hammer blows continue ..."

Once again,  ---> Fischer finds the sharpest move. 

(Soltis also gives this move an exclam.) 

"Black comes up with one beautiful move after another."  -  I. Chernev. 

(He goes on to remark that, "There is more to Bobby's move than meets the eye.")

'!'  -  GM R. Fine. 

[ 15...Rfe8!?; 16.0-0 Nxc3; 17.Bc5 Nb5; 18.Bxb5 Qxb5; 19.Rb1, "<=>"  - Pachman. ]. 

 

16. Bc5, (Maybe - '!?/!')  Forced? 
The only move?

It is difficult to suggest reasonable alternatives here. 

[  Variation # 1.)  
  Or  16.Qxc3 Rfe8; ... " and Black recovers the piece, with a Pawn to the good."
   - Fred Reinfeld
We continue our analysis in this line, with the following continuation: 
17.0-0 Now this seems like the best move, all things considered. 

  Interesting is : 17.Qe3 Bxf3!;  A tremendous improvement. (Over existing analysis.)  

   ***
  Another completely  REFUTED  variant is as follows:  

GM John Nunn, GM J. Emms, (AND GM A. Soltis too!) gives ...
 17...Qc7?; (Maybe - '??')  and gives Black as nearly winning. 

"Black recovers the Bishop with the better game."  -  GM Nunn and GM J. Emms
{The "Mammoth" book.} 

This position ... "favors Black strongly."  -  GM A. Soltis.

But he (they) missed a tactic. 
(A  HUGE  hole ... one you could drive a truck through!!!) 

After: 18.Bxf7+! Kh8[];  This is forced.  (Taking loses horribly!) 
  (Definitely not 18...Kxf7??
; 19.Ng5+ Kg8; 20.Qb3+ Be6; 21.Qxe6+ Kh8;  
   22.Nf7+ Kg8
; 23.Nh6+ Kh8 ; 24.Qg8+ Rxg8 ; 25.Nf7#.  Another smothered mate!)  
19.Bxe8 Rxe8; 20.0-0, "+/"  {Maybe "+/-"}  and White is the one who is winning!   

   *** 

 (Returning to the analysis line of 17. Qe3, Bxf3!;) 
  18.gxf3 Qc7; "/+" (Maybe "-/+")  ... and ... Black is much better.  

(Returning to the main analysis line of 16. Qxc3, Rfe8;  17. 0-0.) 
 17...Rxe7; "/+"  (Maybe "-/+')  Black is clearly better, if not winning outright. 

( Black could also play: 
17...Bxf3!?; 18.gxf3,   ( If 18.Bc5?, then 18...Qxc5!; "/+"   
 and now
18...Rxe7; "/+" (Maybe "-/+") ) 

  Variation # 2.)  
  GM Nunn  and  Emms  also give: 16.Bxf8? Bxf817.Qxc3?,  

  (Maybe better is: 17.Qb3 Nxd1; "-/+"  ---> Or 17.Qc1 Bxf3; 18.0-0 Nxd1; "-/+" ). 

   17...Bb4; "-/+"  Black has won White's Queen and should win easily.  ].  

 

16...Rfe8+17. Kf1[],  "Big deal. You check, I step aside." 
Has the White King escaped? 

Chernev  asks the question, "But what does Bobby do now?" 

[ White should not play: 17.Kd2? Ne4+; 18.Kc1 Bh6+!; 19.Kc2 Nxc5; "/+"
Black is MUCH better. (Probably "-/+".)  ]. 

 

***

"Black's only hope of saving himself is apparently 17...Nb5; but then 
 comes 18. Bxf7!+, and Black is lost: If 18...Kxf7; 19. Qb3+, Be6; 
 20. Ng5+, etc.  Or 18...Kh8; 19. Bxb6, Nxa3; 20. BxR/e8, etc." 
  -  Fred Reinfeld. 

***

 

Again, Black to play. What is the correct move? 
17...Be6!!
; (Maybe - '!!!/!!!!')  Un-believable. & WOW! 
Some writers have described this as: "The shot heard round the world." 
It served notice that the young Robert J. Fischer was for real. 

This game alerted the entire chess community to the talents of this young player; 
Hans Kmoch stated [correctly] that he thought Fischer would go on to be a 
contender for the World's Chess Championship. 

GM  Ruben Fine  liked this move so much, he gave it  FOUR  exclamation points 
in his book!  ("The World's Great Chess Games.")  
{I know of NO other move in the Fine book where he awarded a 
single move FOUR (4!) exclamation points!!}. 

"To have foreseen this spectacular Queen sacrifice several moves in advance ... 
- as Fischer must have done - is extraordinary."  -  FM G. Burgess. 

"An utterly fantastic position," wrote  W.H. Cozens. 

"An unbelievably brilliant move. By deflecting the White Bishop, 
Black revives the ...Nb5; resource." - GM A. Soltis. 

"An astounding reply ... which wins in all variations."  - GM R. Fine.

"The shot that was heard 'round the world. This magnificent Queen offer 
must have thrilled even the most blasť' spectator."  -  Irving Chernev. 

"A stunning resource. Black's ingenuity seems inexhaustible."
  -  Fred Reinfeld.  

Virtually every annotator I have seen has awarded this move ... 
AT LEAST TWO (2!!) Exclams. 

'!!!!'  -  GM Ruben Fine! 
'!!!'  -  GM Salo Flohr. 
'!!'  -  GM A. Soltis. 
'!!'  -  GM John Emms. 

 

[  Var. # 17B1.) 
 Not 17...Nxd1?!; ('?/??')  18.Bxb6 axb6; 19.Qb3, "+/-"  and White is winning. 
 (An ugly and sudden turn of events.)  

   Var. # 17B2.)  
 Also bad is: 17...Nb5?; (Maybe -'??')  18.Bxf7+! Kxf719.Qb3+!?,  
 A good move, but ... 

   (Even better may be: 19.Ng5+! Kg8;  Everything else loses too.  20.Qb3+ Kh8;  
    21.Nf7+ Kg8; 22.Nh6+ Kh8; 23.Qg8+ Rxg8; 24.Nf7#. Yet another smothered mate. )  

 19...Be6;  20.Ng5+,   Nunn stops here, saying:  "when the tables would be 
  suddenly turned in White's favor."  20...Kg8;  Forced.  

  ( One alternative here is: 20...Kf6?; 21.Qf3+,  "and White wins."  
  (According to Chernev.)  I follow this line a little while longer.  21...Bf5;  

  
(Or 21...Kxg5??; 22.h4+ Kh6; 23.Qf4+ Kh5; 24.Qg5#.)     
   22.Nxh7+ Kf7; 23.Bxb6, "+/-"  Of course White is winning here.  {A.J.G.} ).  

 21. Nxe6 Nxd4[];  Forced. (Practically.)  
 {Anything else loses the Queen for Black or gets mated.}  

  Chernev gives the inferior: 21...Qa5?; (Maybe - '??')  This loses horribly. 
  22.Ng5+ Kh8
; 23.Nf7+ Kg8; 24.Nh6+ Kh8; 25.Qg8+ Rxg8;  
  26.Nf7#
,  Surprise! The good, old smothered mate.  

 22.Nxd4+ Qxb323.Nxb3, "+/-"   White should win easily. 
 He is up a piece for a pawn.  ].  

 

18. Bxb6[],  The only move. 

This is forced.

"After 18. Bxb6, Black can go on a (discovered) checking spree, picking 
up assorted material along the way. This bag of goodies proves to be far 
more valuable than the invested queen."  -  GM J. Emms 
( [The Mammoth Book of] "The World's Greatest Chess Games.") 

"White bites the bullet, because 18. Qxc3, Qxc5!; is hopeless." -  GM A. Soltis. 
(Soltis goes on to remark that the only unanswered question is how well Black can 
 coordinate his pieces against the White King.) 

(GM Karsten Mueller - in his CB analysis of this game - gives White's 18th move 
  a dubious appellation and says that White had to play 18.Be2. But this is a 
  move that changes nothing!) 

The alternatives (to 18. Bxb6) are clearly worse.

[ Some of the 18th move alternatives for White are: 
Var. # 1.)  18.Bxe6? Qb5+; 19.Kg1,   ( 19.Bc4 Qxc4+;  or 19.Ke1?? Qe2#  "-/+" ) 
19...Ne2+; 20.Kf1 Ng3+; 21.Kg1 Qf1+; 22.Rxf1 Ne2#. 
"The well known, but always pleasing smothered mate."  -  Irving Chernev. 
This is the ONLY game I can think of in chess literature where BOTH Kings were (legitimately)  
 threatened with a smothered mate ... at some point in the game. 
(Chernev gives this variation, but he was not the first.); 
Var. # 2.)  18.Qxc3 Qxc5!;  White's cause is now hopeless, according to Soltis. 
19.dxc5 Bxc3;  "/+"   Black is much better.  -  I. Chernev.  
  ... " and Black's pawn ahead ensures him of an endgame win."  -  Fred Reinfeld. 
20.Bxe6 Rxe6;  ... "with an easy win."  -  GM L. Pachman.  
21.g3 Rae8; "/+"  (Maybe "-/+")  Black is a Pawn up.  He also has the better position. 
White has three sickly pawn islands compared to Black's healthy two. In addition, 
Black has the better minor piece and all his pieces work better together than White. 
 ( Black could also play 21...Bb4!?; 
"-/+" )
Var. # 3.)  18.Bd3 Nb5!; 19.Qa4,    ( Or if 19. Qb4, Qc7;  20. a4, a5! "/+" 
   ... " and Black extricates himself."  -  Fred Reinfeld. )  
19...Qc7!; "/+" or "-/+."  Now not: 20.Bxb5?!,   (20.Qc2, looks forced.  
 
20...cxb5;  21.Qxb5?? b6;  22.Ba3?? Bc4+;  "/+"  
(Black is much better, maybe "-/+".)  Black wins White's Queen and should 
 win easily.  (Variation from the book, "The World's Greatest Chess Games.")  ].  

 

18...Bxc4+;  "And we're off!" 
"This move begins one of the longest King-hunts in the literature of chess." 
  - (The late, great.)  Irving Chernev.  

19. Kg1,  Forced. 
Now if 19...PxB/b6??; then 20. QxN/c3. ("+/-") 
But what if the Knight on c3 was protected? 

[No help is: 19.Rd3? Bxd3+; 20.Kg1 Ne2+; 21.Kf1 Nf4+; 22.Kg1 axb6; "-/+" 
and Black is winning easily. ]. 

 

19...Ne2+;  "Always check, it might be mate!"  
A nice series of "windmill" type checks by Black with this Knight. 

20. Kf1 Nxd4+;  (Maybe - '!') 
Or ...  "Patzer see a check, patzer takes a check" ?  

Black eliminates the key White d-pawn. 

"Now the Knight will be protected on QB6 two moves later, enabling Black 
to achieve a substantial plus in material."  -   Fred Reinfeld. 

'!' -  Fred Reinfeld. 
(Soltis does NOT give this move an exclam.)

21. Kg1,  Not much choice here. 
Again, this looks forced. 

[ 21.Rd3?! axb6; 22.Kg1,   (Nunn gives: 22.Qc3?! Nxf3!; "-/+"  
 
Nunn stops here. Chernev gives: 23.Qxc4?! Re1#.)    22...Ne2+; 23.Kf1 Nf4; "-/+" ] 

 

21...Ne2+22. Kf1 Nc3+;  More checks ... 
(Fischer hopes they don't bounce!) 

Black (obviously) has at least a draw now, if he desires it. 

Another key point is that the Black Knight on c3 is protected, now that the 
White Pawn on d4 has been eliminated. 

23. Kg1 axb6!;  Very nice. 
The best. 

(Soltis does NOT give this move an exclam, although my experience  of teaching 
 this game literally dozens of times to amateur players, suggests that it deserves 
 one. Several other annotators DO give this move an exclam.)  

" Attacking White's Queen and still keeping his Rook under attack. The reply 
  24. QB1? (Qc1) is out of the question because of 24...N-K7 ch. (Ne2+) "  
   -  Fred Reinfeld. 

[ Inferior is: 23...Nxd1!?; "-/+" although Black is probably still winning. ]  

 

24. Qb4[],  Again, forced.  
Looks like the only move. 

"There is no way to wangle out."  - GM R. Fine. 

[ Not 24.Qc1? Ne2+; 25.Kf1 Nxc1+; 26.Kg1 Ne2+; 27.Kf1 Nc3+; 
28.Kg1 Nxd1; "-/+"  Black is winning easily. Variation by  -  I. Chernev. 

Or not 24.Qd6 Rad8!; 
  (Or 24...Ne2+!?; 25.Kf1 Ng3+; 26.Kg1 Nxh1; 27.Kxh1 Bxa2; "-/+")  
25.Qxd8 Ne2+!; 26.Kf1 Nd4+; 27.Kg1 Rxd8; "-/+" which also wins for Black. 
Variation by  -  I. Chernev. ]  

 

24...Ra4!;  A nice "in-between move." 
The funny thing is the White Queen has no good squares and now he must 
drop the White Rook on d1. This leaves Black with the winning material balance 
of two Minor Pieces and a Rook for the Queen. 

" Attacking White's Queen and still keeping his Rook under attack. 
The reply 24. QB1? (Qc1) is out of the question because of 24...N-K7 ch. (Ne2+) " 
  - Fred Reinfeld

(Soltis does NOT give this move an exclam.)
.
'!' - GM R. Fine.
'!' - Fred Reinfeld. 

25. Qxb6,  What else? 
(This move looks virtually forced.) 

[ 25.Qd6 Nxd1; 26.Qxd1 Rxa2; followed by 27...Ra8;  ... "with ruinous effect." 
Variation and commentary ... by  -  Irving Chernev. ].  

 

25...Nxd1; "-/+"  Black now has a won game. 
"Black has more than enough material for his Queen, and White's position 
is still a mess. Fischer went on to win without difficulty."  -  FM Graham Burgess. 

"The dust has settled ... and Black has a won game."  -   J.F. Kirby. 
(GM John Emms  says relatively the same thing in the "Mammoth Book.") 

"Bobby has a Rook, two minor pieces, and a Pawn for the Queen --- 
more than enough, materially speaking. Besides this, he has a mating attack 
against the White King. The rest is a mopping up operation, which he conducts 
with absolute precision."  -  GM Ruben Fine. 

"Fischer is now ahead in material, and 'the rest is a matter of technique.' 
Byrne plays on though, apparently unconvinced that a thirteen-year-old boy 
could beat him so brilliantly, until he is forced into a mating net."  
Irving Chernev. 

(Was there a lot of copying going on here? It seems some writers are 
 almost afraid to say anything original!)
{A.J.G.} 

I personally believe that Donald Byrne grasped the gravity and greatness 
of this game, and wanted to allow Bobby to have a worthy conclusion to 
this magnificent game. 

 

26. h3 Rxa2;  Nice. 
Black has snared a key pawn and dropped a Rook on the 7th rank.

27. Kh2 Nxf2;  Gobble, gobble. 
Black now has a Rook, Two Minor pieces, and three healthy 
Pawns for the Queen. This is an advantage of "plus five" points!! 

"The harvest is complete; not a bad day out for a thirteen-year-old 
boy, as Fischer was at the time."  -  GM J. Rowson

28. Re1, This looks forced. 
(White must activate his pieces  ...  or perish.) 

The rest of the game is interesting mainly because it involves a hunt 
by the Black pieces to mate the White King, according to GM Soltis. 

[ 28.Qxb7?! Nxh1; "-/+" ]. 

 

28...Rxe129. Qd8+ Bf830. Nxe1 Bd5!;  Very nice. 
"A conservative Master would sit back and promote the b-pawn."  
 -  GM A. Soltis. 
(Soltis goes on to note that Bobby plays for mate!) 

(Soltis also gives this move an exclam.) 

"Black could win by Queening a Pawn, but he prefers to play for mate."  
 -  Irving Chernev. 

"Black can win easily enough by advancing his Queen-side Pawns; but the 
 possibility of a mating attack is even more attractive." 
 -  Fred Reinfeld.  

31. Nf3 Ne432. Qb8 b533. h4 h5!?; "-/+"  (Probably - '!') 
Stops White's h-Pawn from advancing. 

(This keeps White from playing h4-h5-h6, bottling up Black's King 
and forcing Black to tie down pieces to his King's defense.) 

"Notice that all of Black's pieces are protected and protecting each other ... 
- a sure sign of good technique."  -  GM J. Rowson. 

(GM Soltis makes no comment on this move at all.)  

34. Ne5 Kg7;  Un-pinning. 
Frees the dark-squared Bishop on f8 from the pinning effect of White's Queen. 

35. Kg1,  "Run away, run away." 
Running from the threatened pin,  starting with 35...Bd6;  winning the Knight. 

[ Not 35.Qc7?? Bd6; "-/+"  
Or 35.Kh3? Bd6; 36.Qe8 Ra3+; 37.Kh2 Be6; 38.Qxc6 Bxe5+;  and Black wins. "-/+" ]. 

 

35...Bc5+36. Kf1, Forced. 
"From here on in every move is check and ends in checkmate." 
- GM R. Fine.  

[  36.Kh2? Bd6; 37.Qe8 Be6; 38.Qxc6 Bxe5+;  and Black wins the White Knight. 
(And its mate in two moves to boot!); 

***

Or 36.Kh1 Bd6!?;  Fancy, but unnecessary.  

  Best is 36...Ng3+; 37.Kh2 Nf1+;  and Black mates next move with  38...Bxg2#. 
 (Chernev gives this variation, ending with: 38. K-R3, then 38...BxP; check and mate.) 

37.Qe8!? Ra1+; 38.Kh2 Kf6!?; (Maybe - '!')  Fine gives this move an exclam. 

  Maybe best is: 38...Nf6!; "-/+"  (Maybe only - '!?')  Black will win the  
  White Knight on e5, and then mate shortly.  

39.Qh8+,  Interesting. 

  (Black wins easily in any other line, i.e., :  39.Qd8+ Kxe5; 40.Qe8+ Kf5+!;  
  Black answers a check with a check. 41.g3 Ra2+; 42.Kh3 Nf2+; 43.Kh2 Ng4+
  44.Kg1 Ra1+
; 45.Qe1 Rxe1#.)  

39...Kf5!; "-/+"  Main variation by - GM Ruben Fine.  ].  

 

36...Ng3+;  Hmmmm. 
Interesting, but maybe not the best. 

[ 36...Rf2+;  37. Ke1, 
  (But not 37. Kg1?, Rf4+; 38. Kh2, Rh4#.)  
37. Bb4+;  38. Kd1, Bb3+;  39. Kc1, Ba3+;  40. Kb1, Rf1#. 
  - Fred Reinfeld. ] 

 

37. Ke1 Bb4+!?;  Hmmmm, again. 
A very direct move, but not the quickest. 

"Fischer is enjoying himself, or he would shorten the agony with 37...R-K7ch; 
38. K-Q1, B-N6ch;  39. K-B1, B-R6ch;  40. K-N1, R-K8 mate." 
 -  Irving Chernev. 

Reinfeld points out that perhaps Fischer was possibly short of time 
here.  

[ Fischer missed the quickest mate, i.e. 37...Re2+!; 38.Kd1 Bb3+; 39.Kc1 Ba3+; 
 40.Kb1 Re1#, but he may have been going for the particular mate that occurred 
 in the game. 

(Someone once related the story to me that a famous problem composer 
once told a very young Fischer that he could not achieve mates, such as a 
perfect mate - in a 'real game.' From that time forward, young Bobby always 
strived to achieve such mates ... even in blitz games!) 

(This shorter mate was also pointed out by Chernev.) ].  

 

38. Kd1 Bb3+39. Kc1 Ne2+40. Kb1 Nc3+41. Kc1 Rc2#;  (Mate)  0 - 1 
Problem solvers will recognize this as a, "Perfect Mate." (Each square around the White King is attacked only one time.). 

"A fitting conclusion to a sensational game."  -  Fred Reinfeld.

One of the prettiest, and most (ultra) brilliant games of chess ever played. (Also one of the most famous games of chess ever played - - - this game was printed in newspapers and magazines all around the world. ---> And just about every annotator around has taken a whack at this game. I would estimate that every writer and annotator of any worth has annotated this game at  least  once.). 

"Simply one of the most brilliant games of chess ever played."  -  Irving Chernev. 

<< This masterpiece has been called, "The Game Of The Century."  While we have learned to distrust superlatives, this is one game that deserves all the praise that that has been lavished on it. It has the additional distinction of being the most dazzling and the most profound game of chess ever won by a child prodigy. >>  -  Fred Reinfeld. 

  This game is a favorite of many Masters.    

In response to the question of: "What is your favorite game of chess?",   --->  many  Soviet Masters  have chosen this game!!!!! 

{As I have already pointed out, I have seen this game in literally dozens upon dozens of chess books, many of which I have in my own personal library. There are too many to name them all, and I would probably miss a few.}. (To give an example, I have over 20 books on the Grunfeld opening alone,
and in most of these, this game is annotated. This book is also in over a dozen books in my library devoted to tactics and attacking the King. In addition to this, this game - and positions from this game - have appeared in dozens of magazines, and many, many, many books on chess problems / tactical positions to solve. And this game is analyzed in virtually all of these sources.) 

***

Bibliography:  

The six main books I have referred to in annotating this game are: 
#1.)  "Modern Chess Tactics,"  by  GM Ludek Pachman.   
(Hard-back, © 1970, by Kegan Paul Ltd.). (Original Czech title: <Taktika Moderni'ho Sachu>) 

# 2.)  "Great Games By Chess Prodigies,by  Fred Reinfeld.  [ Hard-back, © 1967; The Macmillan Company. ] 

# 3.)  "The Golden Dozen,"  by  Irving Chernev. 
( Hard-back, © 1976; Oxford University Press.).  
[The 12 best players of all time, according to Chernev. And some of the prettiest annotated games you will ever see.] 

# 4.)  I also spent several hours in the excellent book, 
"The World's Great Chess Games,
by  GM Ruben Fine
[ Flex-cover, © 1951, 1976;  Dover books. ]  

# 5.)  [The Mammoth Book of:]  "The World's Greatest Chess Games,by GM John Nunn, GM John Emms, and FM Graham Burgess
(© 1998 by the authors; © 1998 Robinson publishing; © 1998 Carroll & Graf. ).  (The British Chess Federation's 1997 "Book Of The Year." !!!) 

# 6.)  "The 100 Best,"  by GM Andy Soltis.
(The 100 Best Chess Games of The 20th Century, Ranked.); ( Hard-back, © 2000; McFarland books. ).  

This game can also be found in: 
# 7.)  "Bobby Fischer ... Rediscovered,"  by  GM Andrew Soltis.  (This is the first game in that particular book.) 
Copyright (c) by the author, 2003. Published by B.T. Bastford, Ltd.  (Chrysalis) (London, ENG. / Great Britain.)  ISBN: # 0-7134-8846-8  

*******

(I first annotated this game on my friend's computer over 10 years ago. This game was subsequently published in more than 3 different state chess magazines. I annotated this game again on my own computer circa 1995. I completely redid it like two years later, {1997}; mostly for my local chess students. I completely re-worked the game in the year 2000. {For an Internet student.} I then completely redid the game again {Nov. 2001},  in anticipation of publishing the game on my web-site.)  

 0 - 1 


   It appears, that if I finish this game in time, this game will be my Christmas present   
  to the world this year! (12/12/01)  


Dec. 2001. I first annotated this game - by hand over 20 years ago. {Mainly for myself.}   

I later redid this game - both by hand on a friend's computer - and submitted it to several state chess magazines for publication. (It was published in several southern states, circa early 1980's.) (I have actually annotated this game many times! See the statement at the end of this game.) 

I started this game in February of last year. I worked on it - intermittently - for quite a while, and then laid it aside. (I actually repeated this process several times.) I worked on it, on-and-off, for over 4-5 weeks. (Annotating.) It then took nearly another 3 weeks of work to get this web page ready ... for publication on my web-site. SO ... Enjoy!  

This game, in  ChessBase  format; is probably the best annotation job anyone has ever attempted on this particular game. If you would like a printed copy of this game, then I hope you would  contact me. 


July 16th, 2004:  Robert J. Fischer was arrested today in Japan, by the time you read this, it will probably be very old news. (It is unclear if he is to be immediately extradited, we have an extradition treaty with this country ... but they have not always been consistent in this area.) In any case, his troubles have just begun. 

I grew up admiring - almost worshiping - this man, and tried to pattern my whole life after him. It was not until I was in my late twenties or early thirties that I realized that I had chosen the worst possible role model. Now I pity the man, and I pray that he gets the help that he so obviously needs. I can only hope and pray that his life does not end badly. 

While we might not like, perhaps we even revile the man, we can still enjoy his games. Think of it this way. You could be a capitalist, and drink a wine made by a staunch communist ... and not even know - or care. You admire statues, sculptures, paintings, and many other great works of art. But I doubt that most of you have even given much of a thought to the politics' of the individual artist. In the same way that you enjoy a grand work of art, feel free to enjoy Fischer's games ... I know that I still do. 

   ********************  

October, 2006:  Fischer is currently living in Iceland ... see my page of chess news for more details. 


cb_co_byrne-fischer01.gif, 09 KB

This article has another picture of Bobby Fischer - just before he played his best move of this game. 

  Bobby Fischer has passed away.  


       Other games that I have annotated that were played in the Grunfeld Defense:  

  •    A game between Nakamura and Ivanchuk from the 2011 Tal Memorial.  (Click here.) 

  •    A game between Rodshtein and Jianchao from the 2011 Aeroflot Open. (Click here.)  

  •    A game between Volkov and Sutovsky from the 2005 Aeroflot Open. (Click here.)  

  •    A game where I defeated NM Jerry Wheeler at the Paul Morphy Open (New Orleans, LA) in 2001. (Click here.) 

  •    A game where IM J. Bonin defeats GM Gata Kamsky in a game from the NY Masters in 2004. (Click here.) 

  •    One (small) trap that can occur in the Grunfeld Defense. (Click here.   ---> More chess traps.) 

  •    A game between GM A. Shirov and GM H. Nakamura from the Chicago Open of 2004. (Click here.)  

  •    A game played by me - as Black in 2014 ... that shows the strengths of one line in the Exchange Variation. (Click here.)  


Thursday; March 20th, 2014:  I complete a fresh, new look ... a re-examination ... of this classic and historic chess encounter.  


 Click  HERE  to return to the page you left. (The "Best All - Time Games" page.) 
 Click  HERE  to go to (return) to my home page. (Main Page.)  

   This  game  completely re-annotated ... virtually from scratch.  (New notes.)  

 *** 

 If you enjoyed this page, you might enjoy my page dedicated to ...   "The Best Short Games Of Chess."  (Click  HERE.)  


  More Resources (related links) 


  •    My "Game of The Month" website


  Page last up-dated:  Saturday; January 26th, 2013.   Last edit/save on: 11/08/2015 . 

 *******

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I  

  Copyright (©) A.J. Goldsby, 1975 - 2015.  
  Copyright © A.J. Goldsby, 2016.  All rights reserved.  


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