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Mario Bertok vs Robert James Fischer
Stockholm Interzonal (1962), Stockholm SWE, rd 22, Mar-04
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. Exchange Variation (D59)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: For the strategy of playing ...c4 with the hanging pawns, compare O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914 and Timman vs Short, 1993.
Sep-27-10  elohah: Notes...

60MG - p. 209: (note to White's 19th)

'Best is 19 Nxe6 fxe6 20 Bg4 Ra6! 21 b3! cb 22 ab Qxb3 23 Qe7 Nf8 24 Ra3 with good drawing chances (if 24...Qb4 25 Qxb4 Rxb4 26 Be2 Ra7 27 Rfa1 a4 28 Bd1, etc. ).'

Rather than Bobby's 24...Qb4 in this parenthetical note, can you find

(a) Black's best move

(b) White's best reply

(c) whether this new move pair will change Bobby's evaluation of 'drawing chances for White' ?

I'll be back in two and two with the answers.

Sep-27-10  elohah: 24...Qc4! , which:

(a) protects against Qc7

(b) stops Be2

(c) stops Rc1

(d) hits g4

(f!) threatens 25...Rab6!

An initial marginal note:

"24...Qc4! is devastating. (25 f4 Rab6 26 Ra1 [box] d4! 27 e4 d3 (plus for Black).

L.N.! (this means 'late note')

24...Qc4 25 h3! defends.

Indeed 25 h3! is the ONLY reply that defends (f), so is the best move.

It's one thing to have a combo contest. It's another to be raised from lifelong chessbich status by finding just a SINGLE move pair on the same level as Bobby's Grandmasterly precision. Can you do it? I've done it, and you can too.

Sep-27-10  elohah: 60MG: Note after White's 21st.
(jumping to the end of it)

'and White, completely tied up, must lose material.'

Marginal note: "Yes! 29 f3 Rd8! (you must find this) 30 Rfe1 Rd2 31 Kf1 Rb4! (NOT 31...Ra2?) 32 Ra1 e5 (idea ...Rbd4)."

btw, an alternative to Bobby's 28...c2 in this note would be 28...Rb4, just clipping a pawn.

Sep-28-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <elohah:
24...Qc4! is devastating. (25 f4 Rab6 26 Ra1 [box] d4! 27 e4 d3 (plus for Black)>

What about 26.Rxa5(instead of Ra1)?

Oct-30-10  elohah: And incidentally, that was 26 Raa1 - I forgot to specify.

Yes! What ABOUT 26 Rxa5?
That's no good, and we need to ask why I am saying 26 Raa1.

After 26 Rxa5! Rb1! 27 Rxb1 (forced, unless you want to throw in 27 Bxe6+ Nxe6 28 Qxe6+ Kh8! first, which will make no difference) 27...Rxb1+, after which Black picks up the a5 rook in a couple of moves... 28 Kf2 Qf1+ 29 Kg3 Qe1+!

25 f4?, of course, could well have gotten a question mark; indeed 25 h3! is the ONLY move there. By creating this 'bolt-hole' on h2, White avoids this variation that dumps the a5 rook, and so prevents the move 25...Rab6!

Oct-30-10  elohah: Oh Lord...look what I have missed.

After 29...Qe1+ 30 Kf3 Qxa5, White has....and now...and NOOOOOOW!!!???

31 Qc8+! Kh7 32 Qf5+! picking up Black's rook and winning!!

BOBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

You know, is it any wonder why Bobby was so TERRIFYING to play against??

I forgot to mention how brilliant Bobby's play was in the other game I annotated - Bobby vs. Petrosian ('59 - Caro Kann) after Tigran missed 23...Rhf8! and 24...Rhf8!

Bobby will punish the TINiEST error, which is why I thought it would be instructive to try and play for ourselves just TWO moves at this level.

Well, at any rate, we've mostly just showed that 25 f4 can also be played; perhaps is even a trickier move. 25 h3!, of course, is still the sounder move.

Oct-31-10  elohah: To be clear, that is 33 Qc8+!, since White's tactic is played after the e6 passageway has been cleared away:

24... Qc4
25 f4 Rab6
26 Rxa5! Rb1
27 Bxe6+! Nxe6
28 Qxe6+ Kh8
29 Rxb1 Rxb1+
30 Kf2 Qf1+
31 Kg3 Qe1+
32 Kf3 Qxa5
33 Qc8+!

Aug-29-12  TheFocus: This is game 34 in Fischer's <My 60 Memorable Games>.
Jan-25-15  Helmy: why not 23. Bf3, rather than Bc4?
Jan-26-15  disasterion: <Helmy> In 'My 60 Memorable Games,' Fischer remarks "Not 23.Bf3? Bd3."
Jan-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: A symphony of bad moves from Bartok.
Mar-05-21  Gaito: 16.Ne1? was a very weak move. It is against the spirit of the QGD. White had some other choices to maintain equality, for example: 16.Ba6 or 16.b3. In this game Bertok gave a lesson on how NOT to play the QGD as White. 19.Rab1 was another wasted move. Maybe 19.Nxe6 should have been tried.
Mar-05-21  Gaito: Did White already have a strategically lost game in the following position?


click for larger view

White's best move is probably 21.b3 (the move suggested by the chess engine SF13). In his book, Fischer only analyzed 21.Bf3 which is White's second best move according to the engine. Let us briefly explore a possible continuation after the hypothetical move 21.b3 with the aid of the chess engine. Here we go: 21...cxb3 22.axb3 Bc2 23.Ra1 Bxb3 24.Rfb1 a4 25.Bf3 Ne4 26.Bxe4 dxe4 27.Ne2 Qa6 28.Nd4 Bc4 29.Rxb8+ Rxb8 (Black's a4 pawn is now indirectly protected) 30.h3 Bd3 31.Qc3 (if 31.Qxa4? Rb1+ and Black wins) 31...Rc8 32.Qb2 (see diagram below):


click for larger view

The computer evaluation by Stockfish 13 is -1.16 which is tantamount to the advantage of a pawn. Black has a passed pawn but it would promote on a dark square and thus White can easily deal with it. As a compensation, the knight seems to be slightly better than the bishop on account of black's e4 pawn which hinders the mobility of Black's bishop. Maybe the position is a draw if played between two strong engines, but in practice, Bertok vs Fischer, very likely Fischer would have found a way to win.

Mar-06-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The position in the latter diagram looks damnably unpleasant to defend in practice and I should not be surprised if White had great difficulties holding in a game between two GMs.
Mar-06-21  Gaito: perfidious: I agree with you. I guess that Bobby Fischer would have won this position as Black nine out of ten times against any grandmaster in the world; and against an international master of the strentgth of the Croatian IM Mario Bartok, Bobby Fischer should have won ten times out of ten as Black from this position. Incidentally, Fischer and Bertok played four tournament games, and Bobby Fischer won every game.
Mar-06-21  Granny O Doul: I suspect that if Fischer had felt that 57 or 58 memorable games were enough we might have been deprived of his thoughts on this one.
Apr-20-21  Helios727: Does anyone know why Fischer did not use the KID or Nimzo ?
Apr-20-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Helios727: Does anyone know why Fischer did not use the KID or Nimzo ?>

No. No one knows. But Fischer played things other than the KID, Nimzo, Benoni, and Gruenfeld reasonably often.

Repertoire Explorer: Robert James Fischer (black)

May-11-21  Ulhumbrus: With the move 14...Qb7 Fischer delays the move ...Nd7 and he plays it a move later by 15...Nd7, only after his queen has gone to b7.

This suggests that in Fischer's opinion an immediate 14...Nd7 will obstruct the way of the black queen to the b7 square, and that Fischer wants the black queen on the b7 square.

By contrast in the game Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 Spassky played the move ...Nd7 with his queen still on e7 and he did not first play her to b7.

If later some analysts came up with the move ...Qb7 one question is whether they thought of it themselves or whether they got the idea from Fischer's choice of 14...Qb7 against Bertok.

Jul-12-21  Helios727: I think I discovered the answer. Fischer had already locked up first place in this interzonal, so he probably did not want to reveal any more prepared opening lines in his usual KID or other Indian defenses. So he went with the QGD.

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