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Vasily Smyslov vs Robert James Fischer
"Broken English" (game of the day Jul-10-2009)
Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970), Palma de Mallorca ESP, rd 2, Nov-10
English Opening: Symmetrical. Symmetrical Variation (A36)  ·  0-1



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Given 35 times; par: 83 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheDestruktor: Very poor opening play by Smyslov.

After move 8, it already looked as if black had the advantage of the first move. After move 10, black had the initiative. And after move 13, white was already under pressure.

Smyslov was even forced to play h4-h5, in order to develop his Rook!

Jul-10-09  TheChessGuy: Games like this really show Fischer at his best. He gets the initiative and it's exclaim after exclaim. He and Karpov are probably the two best players at converting small advantages. Their match in 1975 would have been huge for chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I know why white resigned-but not out of turn in the final position.

Heck-he was trailing Fischer by two pawns. Maybe he was hungry. lol

Jul-10-09  WhiteRook48: Exclam!
Jul-11-09  chillowack: <ROO.BOOKAROO: Excellent discussion. Although I am too dim-witted to understand the <Melianis> comment. Was it English or perhaps Chinese? Excuse my lack of education.>

Let us take a look at the comment in question, and venture a possible translation:

<almost zugzwang king walk toward remaining pawn white easy drop piece e file pawn walk zugzwang lose>

Perhaps he means:

"White is almost in zugzwang. Black will walk his king toward White's remaining pawn, forcing White to lose a piece in its defense. In the end Black's e-pawn will march toward the queening square, and White will be lost."

Which still doesn't quite make sense, actually, so I'm probably getting it wrong.

Dec-04-10  SoundWave: Herman Grooten gives a good explanation of this game in his book 'Chess Strategy for Club Players' pp. 299-302 under the heading 'Converting a lead in development into other advantages'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Fischer makes it look ridiculously easy against a strong GM, combining the dynamics of Alekhine's play with the precision and clarity of Capablanca.
Dec-26-11  Everett: Later in his career, Smyslov sometimes forgot that to show you endgame talent one has to fight hard in the middlegame to get the position one wants. Here he repeats his loss to Tal from '64

Regarding Fischer at this point, be started beating the top Russians when he faced the English as well. This is a case in point, as was a couple of wins vs Petrosian around this time. He had smoothed out most of his rough edges by '70.

Mar-24-12  Garech: Fischer just can't be beaten in rook and minor piece endgames; and that's it.


Jun-09-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Smyslov vs Fischer, 1970.
Your score: 86 (par = 82)


Feb-24-14  SpiritedReposte: As <perf> pointed out already this game reminds me of capa. Spot on.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < SpiritedReposte: As <perf> pointed out already this game reminds me of capa. Spot on.>

How did "<perf>" know what the game would remind you of?

Feb-25-14  john barleycorn: <offramp:
How did "<perf>" know what the game would remind you of?>

highly developed ESP???

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: I'm psycho, ah, psychic.
Feb-25-14  john barleycorn: <perfidious> I didn't mean it offensive
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <john b> Didn't take it that way--not sure what you mean.
Feb-25-14  john barleycorn: An old joke. My friends use to tease me with my "low developed ESP".
Feb-25-14  RookFile: If you set the pieces up after black's 24th move, it appears that black is better, but white should be able to grit his teeth and make a draw.

As such, this game is a typical example of the saying: "In Fischer's hands, a slight theoretical advantage is as good as being a queen ahead."

Feb-25-14  Olavi: The traditional way to look at this game has been to say that when Smyslov, after terribly misplaying the opening, had defended excellently, he then then threw everything away with 22.h4??
Feb-25-14  SChesshevsky: Clearly Black looks better after 19. Kg1. White's basically down a Rook for the next 8 move's, forget about the tempo loss getting him out.

Somewhere on these boards someone mentioned Smyslov's tendency for Na4 followed by Nxb7. I'm guessing Fischer was aware of this and took advantage of the time loss and somewhat awkward N position.

Feb-26-14  RookFile: But why should that matter more than the weak dark squares around black's king? White is even temporarily up a pawn, and remember that he started with the first move. At some point, you just have to tip your hat to Fischer's ability to concretely calculate the pluses and minuses of each move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < RookFile: ... this game is a typical example of the saying: "In Fischer's hands, a slight theoretical advantage is as good as being a queen ahead.">

Makes poor Fischer sound totally incompetent. How could he only draw so many games where he was as good as a queen ahead?

Aug-25-15  RookFile: Naturally, the quote is not intended to be taken literally. Rather, it is praise for Fischer's strong technique. Take this game for example - Fischer puts his pawns on light squares, and Smyslov goes Na4 to get rid of the dark squared bishop. From a positional point of view, what Smyslov did makes absolute sense. However, it used up a little too much time (especially before castling), and Fischer's pressure was relentless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  steinitzfan: Amazing. I've always loved this game.

According to the engine White doesn't have a bad game until 26 Rc1. I guess this is something it takes an engine to see. Is the evaluation correct?

Apr-20-23  SChesshevsky: <steinitzfan> Great question. Hard to argue with an engine's evaluation but I think blacks better at 25...Rd2. Clearly has the better rooks. But does have a worse pawn structure and maybe N more awkward and less stable than B. But white Rh1 so ugly. So maybe black moderately better and white has to prove a path to equality.

Which, without material deficit or obvious weakness, an engine is likely to do. But whether a human could find those ideas is another question.

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