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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
"Siege in Siegen" (game of the day Dec-20-2006)
Siegen Olympiad Final-A (1970), Siegen FRG, rd 6, Sep-20
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-01-17  paavoh: Seen this one before, and was quite easy to recall it. Still, a pleasing finish to a great game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: One instructive point of today's Wednesday puzzle (38. ?) is <Mrs Butterworth>'s observation that 38. Re7 allows the pin 38...Qb6.

However, instead of holding, the clever Pin 38...Qb6 might still be losing to 39. Qxb6 axb6 40. Nf6+ Kf8 41. Ra7 to (+1.80 @ 23 depth, Deep Fritz 15).

Of course the point is well taken that Spassky's sequence 38. Re8+! Kf7 39. Rf8+ is much stronger as White snares the Queen with decisive advantage after 39...Kxf8 40. Qh8+ Kf7 41. Qxh7+ Ke8 42. Nxc7 (+54.02 @ 23 depth, Stockfish 8).

Fischer's decisive mistake was 34...Rd8? allowing 35. Nd5+ Kg8 36. Rf2 (+4.45 @ 37 depth, Stockfish 020117). Instead, 34...Qb6 35. Qxb6 axb6 36. Rd1 Rd8 37. Rc1 (+0.86 @ 31 depth, Komodo 10) keeps Black in the fight.

Earlier, instead of 30...Rf8 31. g5 (+0.55 @ 31 depth, Stockfish 020117), Fischer could have equalized with 30...Rad8 31. g5 Rd2 = (0.00 @ 26 depth, Komodo 10).

Feb-01-17  offramp: I like the move

click for larger view

16. g4!
Spassky signals that he is not going on the defensive whatever happens. Real World Champion play!

Premium Chessgames Member
  steinitzfan: I remember when this game was played. I misread and thought Fischer had won it. Bummer when I realized otherwise. In those days most of us were expecting Fischer to beat Spassky eventually. Although he had never beaten Spassky at the time, he was beating their mutual opponents by bigger margins.
Feb-01-17  Lambda: I got the right moves for the wrong reason - I had noticed that the knight was attacking the queen but was pinned, but I hadn't considered unpinning the knight, instead my point was that Qxh7+ at the end wins the black queen through a skewer.
Feb-01-17  The Kings Domain: Easy puzzle through familiarity. It's funny how smooth and simple this game is considering the combatants involved.
Feb-01-17  stst: <After 38 Re8 Kf7 39 Qh8 black has 39..Qc5+>

===> already answered by Jim:
<white can counter 39...Qc5+ with 40 Ne3, below, and still win.>

Feb-01-17  stst: <means that chess has declined overall.>

Indeed, with so many GM and even's an ocean of "strong" players?!?

As said b4, I just like a few names: Morphy, Capa, Alek, Fish, Tal...longer names might include Lasker, Rubinstein... that's about it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: An early Spassky win over Fischer...Fish wins all the late ones.
Feb-01-17  stst: <An early Spassky win over Fischer...Fish wins all the late ones.>

Yeah, sorry to say that, either by nature of nocturne, Fish is at least one notch super to Spa...

Feb-01-17  alfiere nero: Thanks Mrs. Butterworth! I couldn't see why 38. Re7 wouldn't work.
Feb-01-17  BOSTER: After 3o.Qe4 attacking rook a8, when white knight was under attack twice, it was losing a tempo playing rook a8 to f8. Maybe better was Ra8-Rd8.
Feb-01-17  ZonszeinP: 19-g4.....
Everything or nothing

That's the way Spassky played when he was in shape

Not very often seen in 1972...

Feb-01-17  Pedro Fernandez: <<Richard Taylor>: <ndg2: <Pawn Slayer> That's what all believers of ELO inflation tend to think. But I doubt it. The 2700+ of today are really better than the 2650+ of old.> This is impossible to verify. At the same age the 2800 players of today are about the same level of chess ability of Spassky, Karpov and others of the same age. In some cases the theory is still the same with a few new lines. In others there is a lot more.

Human's brains haven't got better. And as for mistakes and so on that was seen played by Carlsen in the World Championship. And indeed, no chess player, of today, or any time, is immune from severe errors so we can rule out Nunn's theories...Is Rapport better than Tal? Well Fischer had difficulty beating Tal. Botvinnik? A young Botvinnik...and remember Botvinnik would soon master all the necessary theory, and his attitude was very professional so he would be up there with Carlsen if not higher.

The implication is that chess has somehow got better because they play more quickly etc but no. If anything the time controls, and the use of "shoot outs" and other gimicky stuff, means that chess has declined overall.> Well Richard, in my very particular opinion since Steinitz to Fischer the resources were totally different to the time being (nowadays). So my Power Ranking continues being (just my top five):

1.- Alexander Alekhine

2.- Robert Fischer

3.- Emmanuel Lasker

4.- José Raúl Capablanca

5.- Wilhelm Steinitz

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <Pedro Fernandez> How is impossible to verify that a named player now graded in the 2700s was better than the 2650s from way back, but it is still possible for you to say that Spassky etc are the same kind of strength as those graded in the 2800s today. Aren't you just contradicting yourself?
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: stst: How can the White R go d8??> Sorry. I don't know how that happened.

I meant <38. Re7 Qxe7 (forced) 39. Nxe7+ Kf8 40. Qxa7. White has ♕+♙ vs. ♖.> But after 38...Qb6!, there is no obvious win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <stst: How can the White R go d8??> Sorry. I don't know how that happened.

I meant <38. Re7 Qxe7 (forced) 39. Nxe7+ Kf8 40. Qxa7. White has ♕+♙ vs. ♖.> But after 38...Qb6!, there is no obvious win.

Feb-01-17  zb2cr: Managed to see this one. Possibly I remembered it, so it may not count.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: <Mrs Butterworth: Missed it. :-(

I looked at 38. Re7!?, not seeing the clever pin 38. ...Qb6, which holds.>

Same here. :-(

Feb-01-17  dfcx: Got the first move right, but after
38.Re8+ Kf7

I went for 39.Qh8 allowing black to delay with

39.Qh8? Qc5+ 40.Ne3 Qxe3+ 41.Rxe3 Nxe3

click for larger view

White is still winning, but not so easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <<Pedro Fernandez>So my Power Ranking continues being (just my top five):

1.- Alexander Alekhine

2.- Robert Fischer

3.- Emmanuel Lasker

4.- José Raúl Capablanca

5.- Wilhelm Steinitz >>

I disagree, I simply think the whole idea of "progress" in any way is flawed. (But that is all a complex question. In chess, there is a limit to 'theoretical advances' and that limit is human memory...for example).

But another point arises. I wouldn't put chess players in such hierarchical list. I would make a map. In fact such map of chess players in time would be highly dynamic, changing constantly, and it would be multidimensional. In fact it would change in a single day. This because a human being is more alert at certain times of the day and so on and some people work better in the morning and so on. And also over a longer time. To "compute" some kind of accurate relative ability would take probably thousands of hours of (probably useless) study of chess players...

In one sense Botvinnik, for example might be considered the greatest player due to his ability and his attitude to chess leading up to 1948. And indeed his spirited come back to defeat Tal convincingly in 1962. But then even with those two, over time, we have to factor in age, Tal's illnesses and his attitude to chess and so on.

Also, looking at Lasker, as another example, by the time he played Capablanca he was rather depressed and wanted to resign the title and take the money. Also, because he feared he would enter old age in poverty as Steinitz did, he made sure that against Schlecter he was sure to win if the match was drawn at (the number of games it was drawn at, although surely a drawn match isn't a won match!). Schlecter, sadly and ironically, generous in defeat in a really interesting match with dynamic play by both players, died of starvation after WWI when the Allies punished Germany. Lasker also was not very well to do in his old age....

If the rule had been, say, that the defender of the WC had to win. That would mean that Schlecter would have been World Champion and may have gone on, encouraged by such a result, to play many great matches...So even the conditions of the matches, the time a match is played in (I mean what year or era and many many other factors) affect these evaluations.

I see it as a dynamic. The main point is to see where each player can teach us or to enjoy their better games. And in fact that extends to players of all ranks. We can learn from all reasonable chess games.

Then one has to be wary of Alekhine as he used various psychological tricks to defeat his opponents, as to some extent Tal did. That is seen in his match with Bogoljubov where he was mostly worse but pressured B. when he was in time trouble (to which he was prone) then played rather dubious attacks that worked when B. was low after, in one case taking a draw in a won position...

But these are only some of the factors.
Another is Fischer's rather short career as World Champion (and of course he never player Kasparov or Karpov so how would that have gone?)...Alekhine never gave a return match to Capablanca. Rules in that respect have changed. But Rubinstein never got an opportunity for a World Championship match, Reshevsky had to learn a profession and was somewhat sidelined from chess so that even in 1948 he perhaps played below what he might have had things gone differently.

So there are no vertical lists for me. There are just a lot of very clever players playing interesting games. And some of the most fascinating are by players we have not heard of in many cases, or players we don't hear so much about. In fact there are thousands of fascinating draws and interesting games neglected because the player or players aren't "famous".

It is impossible and probably a waste of time to rank chess players. Sure, it is the kind of game we all like to play, but not very useful. The multidimensional and constantly motile picture is more 'true', if anything is true.

Sep-22-19  Sally Simpson: ***

page 234 of the 'Siegen Olympiad' by Keene & Levy. From a Korchnoi interview at the end of the Olympiad.

"It is also entertaining that the organisers had accepted Fischer for this encounter. [the threads game - If Fischer had won he would have got the first board prize, instead Spassky got the gold medal, Fischer silver, Larsen the bronze.]

Obviously, because of this, they only offered one [extra] prize for the the best result at first board and knowing the fetish that the American grand master has for his wardrobe they decided to present the winner (of the first board prize) with a suit. [along with the gold medal]

Spassky will obviously have to alter the suit to fit his own measurements."

Asked if he thought Fischer would play in the Interzonal Korchnoi replied:

"...I think that they [the Americans] will persuade somebody to relinquish his place."

As we know Benko stepped down to let Bobby play in the Interzonal and the rest is history.

(but the idea came from Korchnoi! - sadly no. The idea of Benko dropping out to let Bobby in was discussed in the July 1970 Chess L & R page 370. The 1970 Chess Olympiad finished late September.)


Jun-24-20  carpovius: Numerous brilliant moves by Spassky in this game. Grunfeld tears of Fisher ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: "We were in the fifth hour. He was lost, ruined, not a chance! I knew it, he knew it. But he sat there?almost an hour!?calculating, calculating, calculating! Inside he was screaming. He was pale, like a dead man, but this force was going through him like millions of volts. I could feel it smashing and smashing at me across the board. Well, it had an effect, I can tell you that. Five or ten minutes?all right. But an hour! In the end, I was the one screaming inside. When you play Bobby, it is not a question if you win or lose. It is a question if you survive."

Spassky after the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Mrs Butterworth: Missed it. :-(>

Of course you did.

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