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Joseph Tamargo vs Robert James Fischer
"Tamargo Never Knows" (game of the day Nov-25-2006)
Manhattan CC ch (1956), New York, NY USA, rd 2
Sicilian Defense: Alapin Variation. Smith-Morra Declined (B22)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Perhaps a measure of the strength and complexity of the smith-mora gambit is the popularity of declining it with 3...Nf6 among strong players, such as in this game (transposing into the Alapin variation of the sicilian). The opening explorer shows black winning 47% versus only 30% for white in this variation. Some other notable games in this 3..Nf6 declined line include DeFirmian vs Joel Benjamin, 1990 and Michael Adams vs Anand, 1992 and Sveshnikov vs Tal, 1980 and R Tibensky vs K Landa, 2002
Oct-18-03  tricloc: Why does white resign? It seems that after 41...Rxa5 42. Rxh4+ Kg2 43. Ke3 Kg3 a draw results. Any ideas?
Oct-18-03  euripides: Lost on time with the flag falling as the 40thmove was played ??
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: 41.Rxa5 definitely produces a book draw. One is tempted to say that White's flag fell, yet White had already reached move forty - perhaps the result given (0-1) is an error; maybe the game was in fact a draw.
Oct-18-03  JoeTamargo: The explanation is that I put my rook en prise a move later. I was upset because I had offered a draw and little Bobby piped up "Are you crazy?" Note the spelling of my name. It's Tamargo, not "Tomargo." I'm a well known New York master. They've been misspelling it for nearly fifty years, ever since Jack Spence (who was a nice man but maybe not the brightest guy in the world) got it wrong in the tournament book. --Joe Tamargo
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Gosh, this is exciting! Living chess history! Mr. Tamargo, do you mean to say that you played 41.Rg7 (the only move that would put the Rook en prise)? If this is what was played, why is it not included in the score? Did you play the move and then resign before pressing your clock?
Oct-19-03  JoeTamargo: I don't remember which move I made to hang the rook. It was a move or two later. Disgusted with myself I didn't bother to write it down, just resigned. Of course I didn't think anybody would ever care. Bobby had all the talent anyway. Eventually I saw the light and made money betting on him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Thanks for the first-hand acount, Mr. Tamargo! Maybe if someone at is reading this, they can finally correct the spelling of your name!
Premium Chessgames Member It is indeed an honor, Mr. Tamargo. First-hand Fischer anecdotes are always welcomed here.
Oct-19-03  drukenknight: I have a question for Mr. T:

did you know at that time the game was played that he was a future superstar or just another pretty good young player?

Also in this game. A nice opening, but it seems that black has a lead in development when you decided to open up the game with 13 f5. Thoughts on that?

Oct-20-03  JoeTamargo: No, we all found out in 1957 that he was the real article. My f5 was the kind of impetuous move a young player makes; probably should have built first. Also managed to trade off my good bishop. Enough of this. Bye.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <chessical> I Like your handle Chessical. It makes me smile every time I say it. Probably because I play the violin and enjoy Chessical music! Sorry couldn't resist it.
Aug-25-04  wall: Tamargo is spelled wrong (Tomargo) in the Wade and O'Connell collection (The Games of Robert J Fischer), but spelled correctly in the Hays collection (Bobby Fischer: Complete Games ...). Joe, any idea what the USCF ratings were for the players in this event in 1956/57? In the game, instead of 34.Rdb5, perhaps 34.Rd6+ Kxe5 35.Rd7. Also, instead of 36.R1b3, maybe 36.Rf1. Fischer played 36...Rxb3, but maybe better is 36...Ra1+ 37.Rb1 Rxb1+ 38.Rxb1 Rg5, winning another pawn. Looks like a draw after 40...Rg4 41.Rxa5 Rxh4+ 42.Kg2 Ke3 43.Kg3 Rb1 44.Kg2. Instead of 40...Rg4, perhaps better is 40...Rb5 41.Rf7 Kc4 42.Kg2 a4 and maybe Black is winning.
Aug-26-04  Lawrence: <wall>, a warm welcome to you from me and all the others here. You're not Bill Wall by any chance are you?
Aug-26-04  Shadow 812: To add to comments from Wall regarding the book Games of Robert J Fischer by O'Connell and Wade: They say that on move 40 "It is more likely that Rb5 was played: This looks more consistant and logical, though it still looks almost impossible to win this ending, when you consider that Fischer has two rook pawns and is tied to defending the a5 pawn with the rook, and if he tries to trap the White King in a mating net, then the White Rook can give check to Fischer's King, which is unable to escape from the crossfire of checks: I could be wrong, but if anyone can find a clear winning line, then show me how it can it be done, I stand to be corrected:
Aug-27-04  wall: Looks like Sloan is reporting that Tamargo is recovering after having blood clots in his legs. They had to amputate one of his legs. Hopefully, a speedy recovery for Joe. Joe says this is not how the game ended at all. He hung a rook earlier after asking Fischer if he wanted a draw. And it might be a good chance this is Bill Wall who collects all those chess miniatures, waiting for 500 more to publish.
Nov-25-06  syracrophy: I found no fun about this game. Very simple. It seems like what I call "a boring and theorical win".

Just as the draws. Those "boring and theorical draws" This is just the same

Nov-25-06  RookFile: Something is definitely wrong, because nobody in his right mind would resign as white in the final position currently reached in this game.
Nov-25-06  Caissanist: The last few moves of the game are missing, the above comments give details.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream..." you don't rack up the rating points that way ;-)
Nov-25-06  sfm: Weird. As 40.-,Rg4(??) clearly leads nowhere I wonder why Fischer didn't play 40.-,Rc5 which to me appears to win rapidly, with the black king only two steps away from supporting the a-pawn and no counterplay for white. Could I really be wrong here?
Nov-25-06  Stellar King: Can anyone tell me what is wrong with 3...dxc3 (????) and why Fischer played 3...Nf6 (????)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: What a bizzarre finish! Immediately after the best player of his era makes a blunder-his opponent resigns. Then the opponent goes "on the air" to admit that he had made a horrific error and immediately resigned.

A little too hard to deal with on a quiet Saturday afternoon.

Nov-25-06  itz2000: very poor ending by white! could have gotten atleast a draw
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: For those confused by the ending of this game, please get with the program and read the post by Joe Tamargo below!!

If you're too lazy to do even that I'll summarize it for you:

(1) Tamargo offers a draw. (2) Bobby says "Are you crazy?" (3) Tamargo gets annoyed (4) Tamargo hangs a rook (5) The last few moves which include the blunder were crumpled up into a little ball and thrown at Fischer's head at 90 miles per hour.

OK, I made up that last part, but that's pretty much the scoop.

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