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Walter Browne vs Arthur Bisguier
"Browne Bagging It" (game of the day Oct-07-2006)
US Championship (1974), Chicago, IL USA, rd 9, Jul-25
Russian Game: Classical Attack. Chigorin Variation Browne Attack (C42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: However, Rock and king do not win against Steinitz.
Steinitz vs Rock, 1863
Oct-07-06  aw1988: DrawFile

I can be clever too!

Oct-07-06  RookFile: Through move 13 of this game, it's hard to find a move of Bisguier's that didn't seem logical. And then, all of a sudden, Browne figures out 14. Bh6!! over the board.

The players during the championship were amazed at how long he was taking over his 14th move. The were saying: "It's almost like Browne thinks there is a forced win for white!".

There basically was!

Oct-07-06  dhotts: 14.Bh6 looks brilliant, but what's wrong with simply taking the bishop 14...gxh6? It prevents 17.Ng5 as occurs in the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White manages to win a brilliant one! The ending is elementary-the king is close enough to head off the black pawn. If the white king is present,almost any rook vs pawn ending is won---with both kings absent TWO connectors are needed to win. With the black king only near,one pawn could draw and two could win.
Oct-08-06  RookFile: dhotts: I'm not sure. Certainly after 14. Bh6 gxh6 15. Re5 white is winning back the piece, for example 15....Qd7 16. Rae1 Be6 17. d5.
Dec-10-06  Eyal: Browne's 14.Bh6!! is considered by Jonathan Speelman, in his "Best Chess Games 1970-80", as one of the best moves of the decade - together with Fischer's 22.Nxd7+ in Fischer vs Petrosian, 1971, Karpov's 24.Nb1 in Karpov vs Spassky, 1974, Karpov's 19.Rd3 in Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1974, and Korchnoi's 30.h3 in Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1977.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: As much a showman as Browne was, it wouldn't surprise me if he burned all this time on a prepared novelty to make it SEEM like he found it over the board. Having said that, his article on this game in the October 1974 "Chess Life" does make it seem like 14. Bh6 was found during the game. He calls this battle "one of the best games of my life. Innovating in the opening with a piece offer and making a similar offer later, I ended up in a rook ending which was an easy win, the perfect finish to a tense struggle."

On Bisguier's 14...Rg8, Browne wrote: "After 45 minutes of grueling thought, my opponent made the most tenacious move. If 14...gxh6 15. Re5 Qd7 16. Rae1 Be6 17. d5 cxd5 18. Rxe6! fxe6 19. Qxh8+ Bf8 20. Qf6 Be7 21. Rxe6 and wins. If 14...Be4 15. Bxg7 Rg8 16. Bf6! Bxf6 (16...Bxf3 17. Rxe7+ Kf8 18. g3 Bh1 19. f3 and White is much better) 17. Rxe4+ Qxe4 18. Re1 and White is superior."

Judging by his notes, Browne was as proud of 17. Ng5, which he also gives two exclamation points, as 14. Bh6. His comment to 17. Ng5 reads: "The only move to keep the advantage. I felt as though I were walking a tightrope: one small miscalculation, one little error, and I would throw away everything. Now if 17...Bf6 18. Nxe6 Bxe5 19. Nc5 and wins. If 17...gxh6 18. Nxe6 fxe6 19. Rxe6 Rg7 20. d5! Kf8 21. Qxg7+! Kg7 22. Rxe7+ Qxe7 23. Rxe7+ wins. Finally, if 17...Bxg5 18. Bxg5 h6 19. Bh4 g5 20. Bg3 Kf8 21. Rxe6! fxe6 22. d5 and wins, for instance 22...cxd5 23. Qf6+ Qf7 24. Bd6+ Ke8 25. Rxe6+."

Jul-26-08  chocobonbon: <RookFile> I think Larry Evans in one of his Chess Life & Review columns said that Fischer was watching some players at the club anaylze the position & reached over & dropped the rook on h6 without a word. I think Evans was unsure but thought that Browne was present. Good story, maybe apochryphal but credit Browne (at the least) for playing it OTB in a real game against a GM. The story could be embellished that Bisguier was also there that day & was trying to remember Fischer's followup. I was told by a club member that Fischer sometimes kibitzed like that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <"I'm going to lecture on the Game of the Decade in which I played white against Bisguier's Petrov Defense. Bobby has a Game of the Century, but it's just a question of taste as to whose is better." Then, muttering "Chomp, chomp, gobble, gobble," he flashed through the first 13 moves and declared, "For 40 years nobody has been able to find the right move in this position. But I found it. And here it is, the zonker!">

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Out of curiosity, I tossed the game into Fritz10 and it took him about a half second to find 14. Bh6. I don't believe for a second Browne found it over the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Chessical: Browne's 14.Bh6 was a true grandmasterly move, appreciating the complex interplay of the pieces. If 14...gxh6 15.Re5! Qd7 16.Rae1 Be6 17.d5! cxd5 18.Rxe6 fxe6 19.Qxh8+ winning >

17...0-0-0 according to Fritz

Mar-19-12  AlanPardew: <I think Larry Evans in one of his Chess Life & Review columns said that Fischer was watching some players at the club anaylze the position & reached over & dropped the rook [sic] on h6 without a word.>

Evans, as was his wont, revisted the story in presenting this game in <How To Get Better At Chess: Chess Masters On THeir Art>:

<I'll tell you a funny story. Bobby Fischer showed 14.Bh6 to some friends at least 10 years before this game! He never published it because he was waiting for a chance to use it.>

If it really was anything like 'at least 10 years' it would almost certainly preclude the teenage Browne as having been present at his master's side.

Evans goes on to point out that the position after 13...c6 was known from the game Yates vs Kashdan, 1931 and that Yates could find nothing better than 14.Bd2? allowing Black to consolidate with 14...Be6 (actually ...h6).

This is all fine and dandy but the question remains: is 14.Bh6 actually winning for White?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: He could've resigned by the 39th move. Maybe there was a race to the time control.
May-16-12  zanzibar: To follow up <OhioChessFan>'s post, the very next paragraph in the SI article contains this revealing followup on who originated the variation:

<After a rapid-fire analysis of the follow-up attack, Browne concluded, "Well, do you think the Petrov is still viable? I think that line is out of commission. I remember I spoke to Bobby about it on the phone and he said this move and I said that, and then he didn't have much of an answer.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Yes, I'm sure that Browne had thoroughly analyzed 14.Bh6 before the game. Bisguier just fell into a prepared novelty. Of course these days, as <OCF> said, the computers find this sort of TN within a second. It's a whole new world.
May-17-12  RookFile: Yes, and one in which chess is dying.
May-17-12  King Death: Unfortunately our great game is headed for extinction because of the super engines.
May-17-12  SimonWebbsTiger: @<King Death>

my old friend Steve Giddins mused about that on his blog, which was reproduced on chessbase here:

I hope you and he are wrong about it. Fischer, of course, was saying this sort of thing years ago.

I doubt computers will kill chess at the lower levels at any rate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <SimonWebbsTiger: ... I doubt computers will kill chess at the lower levels at any rate.>

True. People still play checkers, right? That game has actually been <solved> by computers, which probably isn't possible with chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: There's always Go....
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Not a bad choice for a tribute game. I remember well the impression <14.Bh6> made, opening preparation or not.
Jun-26-15  ACMEKINGKRUSHER: Here is part of what I posted on OUR LIST earlier! Meeting Walter on the PHONE and later IN PERSON is something I WILL NEVER FORGET... He taught me some very important CHESS Lessons... All of us that played in the 70's remember Walter. 6 time U.S. Champion. Only Bobby Fischer has more with 8. Friend and opponent of BOBBY FISCHER. They played games in clubs. In fact they opposed each other once in 1970 at ZAGREB. It was in round 15. They played into a 99 move DRAW. He was all over "CHESS LIFE & REVIEW" IN the 70's. Walter also Founded "THE World Blitz Chess Association" in 1988. What a fantastic magazine he put out as well. As an affiliate you could even call Walter with any questions directly at HOME. WOW!!

In 1989 he was to play Edvins Kengis at the U.S. Open.

I happened to be there for the start of the round. Problem was, neither of the players were there to start. Half hour passes and GM Browne comes to the board. However, he did not bring a clock. More time passes, and finally Edvins arrives with no clock. The 2 players begin to play anyway. A short time later a TD arrives with a clock and sets it for the remaining time. In no time at all Walter was in time trouble. Shortly afterwards Edvins is also in time trouble. A crowd begins to form. Walter is on the cusp of a flag fall. Pieces are flying and the Lil BHB Clock was near the point of taking flight. (remember this was before digital clocks were popular ANALOG CLOCKS RULED). On the 41st move it became a DRAW by 3 FOLD REPETITION. As the 2 players shook hands I saw Walter's FLAG FALL.

It was one of, if not MY FAVORITE, games I ever saw. It also taught me to ALWAYS HAVE MY EQUIPMENT! Later on I was able to have one of my 1972 "CHESS LIFE's" signed by WALTER BROWNE. He was quite nice to talk to and was quite happy to sign the cover.

Here is THE GAME! It is not available online anywhere! (up to NOW) Converted to ALGEBRAIC From my personal Collection...

Edvins KENGIS(2501) vs Walter S. BROWNE(2678) US OPEN Chicago 1989 Catalan E06

Here is that game...1.d4,Nf6. 2.Nf3,e6. 3.g3,d5. 4.Bg2,Be7. 5.c4,0-0. 6.Qc2,c5. 7.0-0,cd.

8.Nxd4,Nc6. 9.Nxc6,bc. 10.b3,Ba6. 11.Nd2,e5. 12.Bb2,Bd6. 13.Rfd1,Qe7. 14.Rac1,Qe6.

15.e3,Bd7. 16.Nb1,Rfd8. 17.Qe2,a6. 18.Nc3,Rab8. 19.Na4,Qe7. 20.Rc2,a5. 21.Qd2,dc.

22.Rxc4,Bb4. 23.Qc1,Rxd1+. 24.Qd1,Rd8. 25.Qc1,Rd6. 26.a3,Qd7. 27.Bf3,c5.

28.Be2,Qc6. 29.e4,Nxe4. 30.Bf3,Qd7. 31.ab,Ng5. 32.Bxb7,Rd1+. 33.Qxd1,Qxd1+.

34.Kg2,Qxb3. 35.Rxc5,h6. Time is getting short... 36.Rxa5,e4. 37.Bc3,Qd1. 38.h4,Qf3+. 39.Kf1,Qd3+. 40.Kg2,Qf3+. 41.Kf1,Qd3+.

DRAW by 3 FOLD REPETITION ! Players Shake Hands! Walter's FLAG FALLS !


Jun-26-15  optimal play: It appears the position at 13...c6 had only been reached twice before this game; in 1931 (Yates v Kashdan) & 1953 (Knibbs v Wells)

Yates played 14.Bd2 and lost

Knibbs played 14.Bg5 and won

While it's possible that Browne, or even Fischer, had played over one or both of these games and seen 14.Bh6 it doesn't seem likely this would be a prepared novelty considering the remote likelihood of reaching this particular position in an important game, especially since you're relying on black to play this particular line of the Petrov.

I mean, what's the point of working out a prepared novelty, which if Fischer's story is correct, you end up waiting ten years, only to see somebody else play it?!

Browne said he found it OTB and there's no reason to doubt him.

He was certainly a good enough player to do that!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Optimal play> <Browne said he found it OTB and there's no reason to doubt him.>

I agree. I think a strong, attacking, imaginative GM like Browne was would find it if he looked for it. And given that the black king is still in the center (and black can't castle yet because of the hanging bishop on e7), he'd be likely to look for it. The train of thought may have been something like this:

1. If I play Re5, then Qd7, and I wish I had R1e1 there;

2. If I did have R1e1, he'd have Be6, and I could play d5, trading that pawn for the g7 pawn, disturbing his king side. (But wait, he may go 0-0-0 and I don't know if I have anything good.)

3. Anyway, my bishop is on the way. I need the bishop out with gain of tempo.

4. Hey!! If it goes to h6, it threatens the pawn on g7, and if he takes it, now my queen will take the rook on h8 instead of the pawn on g7.

Just a theory. Browne may have arrived at it with different thinking. But my point is that it is a logical move. Very different from going, point blank, "let's see where I can develop my bishop. What about h6? Does that work?" Which is once thing we'd (with luck) try if they showed us the position as a puzzle with white to play, but in the real world no one tells you "hey, there is a strong move here. Find it!"

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