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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Spassky - Fischer World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 19, Aug-27
Alekhine Defense: Modern Variation. Main Line (B05)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-18-13  RandomVisitor: After 18.Nxd5:

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.85] d=26 18...Bg5 19.Bh5 cxd5 <20.exd5> Qc3 21.dxe6 Nc6 22.exf7+ Kh8 23.Bf3 Rxf7 24.Bxc6 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Rf8+ 26.Kg1 Be3+ 27.Kh1 Bxd4 28.Rc1 Qa3 29.e6 Bxc5 30.Bb5 a5 31.Rc2 Qb4 32.a4 Be7 33.Rc4 Qa3

Aug-18-13  RookFile: I think it's fair to say that Fischer made a misstep in the opening and should have been punished. He was in some trouble and showed resourceful defense.
Aug-19-13  RandomVisitor: After 18.Qe1:

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.67] d=25 18...Qc7 19.Kh1 Nd7 20.exd5 exd5 21.Bg4 Rae8 22.Ne2 Bg5 23.Qg3 Bh6 24.Nf4 f5 25.Bd1 Qa5 26.Bb3 Qd2 27.Rad1

Aug-19-13  RandomVisitor: After 19.Qd3:

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.45] d=26 19...exd5 20.exd5 Na6 21.Qc4 Rab8 22.Rad1 Nc7 23.d6 Rb4 24.Qc3 Nb5 25.Qe1 Qa3 26.e6 Qe3 27.Kh1 Qxe1 28.exf7 Rxf7 29.Rdxe1 g6 30.d5 Rc4 31.dxc6 Rxc5 32.d7 Kg7 33.Rd1 Rf8 34.Rfe1 Bd8

Aug-23-13  RandomVisitor: Summarizing with a final post:

After 18.Qe1:

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.70] d=28 18...Qb4 19.Rd1 Na6 20.exd5 exd5 21.Kh1 Kh8 22.Bg4 Rab8 23.Rf3 Nc7 24.Kh2 Qc4 25.Bd7 Ne6 26.Qf2 Nd8 27.e6 Rb7 28.Re1 f5 29.a3 Rb3

[+0.74] d=28 18...Qc7 19.Kh1 Nd7 20.exd5 exd5 21.Bg4 Bd8 22.e6 Nf6 23.exf7+ Kh8 24.Be6 Qe7 25.Rf3 Rb8 26.Re3 Ba5 27.Bxd5 Bxc3 28.Rxe7 Bxe1 29.Raxe1 Nxd5 30.Re8 Nf6 31.Rxb8 Rxb8

After 18.Nxd5:

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.85] d=28 18...Bg5 19.Bh5 cxd5 <20.exd5> Qc3 21.dxe6 Nc6 22.exf7+ Kh8 23.Bf3 Rxf7 24.Bxc6 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Rf8+ 26.Kg1 Be3+ 27.Kh1 Bxd4 28.Rc1 Qa3 29.e6 Bxc5 30.Bb5 a5 31.Rc2 Qb4 32.a4 Be7 33.Rc4 Qa3

After 18.Nxd5 Bg5 19.Qd3:

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.37] d=29 19...exd5 20.exd5 Na6 21.Qc4 Rab8 22.Rad1 Nc7 23.d6 Rb4 24.Qc3 Nb5 25.Qe1 Qa3 26.e6 Qe3 27.Kh1 Qxe1 28.exf7 Rxf7 29.Rdxe1 g6 30.d5 Rc4 31.dxc6 Rxc5 32.d7 Kg7 33.Rd1 Bd8 34.Rfe1 Rf8

After 18.Nxd5 Bg5 19.Bh5 cxd5 20.exd5

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+0.85] d=26 20...Qc3 21.dxe6 Nc6 22.exf7+ Kh8 23.Bf3 Rxf7 24.Bxc6 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Rf8+ 26.Kg1 Be3+ 27.Kh1 Bxd4 28.Rc1 Qa3 29.e6 Bxc5 30.Bf3 Qe3 31.Rc4 Qe5 32.Re4 Qf6 33.Qc1 Bd6 34.Qd2 Be7 35.Qd7 a6

[+0.94] d=26 20...f5 21.Bf3 Na6 22.d6 Rac8 23.Bb7 Rb8 24.c6 Nb4 25.Qb3 Nd5 26.Kh2 g6 27.Rab1 Rf7 28.Rf3 Kg7 29.Qa3 Qd2 30.Qb2 Qa5 31.Ra3 Qb6 32.Rb3

[+0.98] d=25 20...g6 21.dxe6 Na6 22.exf7+ Kg7 23.Kh1 Nxc5 24.Qg4 Be7 25.dxc5 Qxc5 26.Qf3 Rad8 27.Bg4 Qxe5 28.Rae1 Qg5 29.Be6 Rd4 30.g3 Bd6 31.Rf2 Qd8 32.Bb3 Bc5 33.Rc2

Sep-03-13  Howard: Geller later found a likely improvement in 13.Bf4, with the idea of keeping the bishop pair. He played it twice against Timman in 1975, winning one and drawing the other.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There was also Geller vs Hecht, 1973.
May-05-14  Everett: Reading the above analysis and knowing the players, it makes perfect sense that Kasparov would try to make the sacrificial 18.Nd5 work, whereas I could see Karpov playing 18.Qe1 and tightening the screws. The man was never in a rush.
Jun-03-14  Howard: It was believed for awhile that 24.Rc7 would have given good winning chances, and the late Larry Evans once discussed this move in his monthly CL column back in 1988.

But, as I recall, Kasparov's MGP indicated that Black had a defense---don't recall it though.

Jun-04-14  Howard: By the way, I just looked at Timman's analysis of the game in his classic Art of Chess Analysis, and he mentions that rather than play 20.Bf7+, White should first have interposed 20.exd5.

Any comments from Uncle Fritz or his relatives ?

Jun-04-14  RookFile: See comments from above on August 23.
Nov-29-15  Howard: I recall a game from Informant many years later which followed this game up until Move 23, and then White varied with the much-recommended 24.Rc7.

Does anyone know what game that might have been ?

Nov-29-15  Chessdreamer: <Howard> You are right. In the game Van der Gracht-Prins, corr. 1986 (Inf. 42/132) the actual move order was 7.c4 Nb6 8.h3 Bh5. The rest of the game: 24.Rc7 Nxd4 25.Rff7 Be3+ 26.Kh1 Bh6 27.g4 Rf8 28.Rfd7 Nf3 29.exd5 exd5 30.e6 Re8 31.Rxa7 d4 32.c6 1-0.
Dec-01-15  Howard: Now, how did you look that up?!
Dec-04-15  Howard: Well, that game from 1986 isn't on this website.
Dec-04-15  Howard: By the way, could anyone supply some analysis analysis on 24.Rc7 ?

That was apparently Spassky's best move though Kasparov's MGP says it wouldn't have won....or could Stockfish and/or Komodo refute that allegation ?

Thanks much !

Dec-04-15  john barleycorn: <Howard> please, find Timman's analysis here <22.Qd2 there is nothing better 22.Rc7 Na6 23.Rc6 Nb4 24. Rxe6 de4 leads to a sharp position in which Black would have the better chances.>


Dec-05-15  Howard: Oh, I have the book---the second edition, in fact. But I thought, perhaps, that Mr. Stockfish or his cousin Mr. Komodo might have some suggestions.
Sep-02-17  The Kings Domain: One of the most compelling and instructive draws of the game. If all or at least most draws were like this no one would be complaining of grandmaster draws.
Sep-02-17  Petrosianic: <The Kings Domain>: Yes, it's non-specifically notable in ways we can't explain. Good observation. That's what the discussion was missing.
Sep-05-17  Howard: Andy Soltis referred to this game back in a 1996 (approx) column as one of the most heavily analyzed draws of the last thirty years.

Of course, we didn't have (very strong) computers back then. Personally, I've always had this nagging feeling that Spassky just might have had a forced win, or at least something pretty close.

Sep-12-18  CharlesSullivan: <Howard> Even using Stockfish 9 and a 16-core AMD Threadripper, my conclusions are not much different from those of Kasparov[2004] or Timman[2009] or (<RandomVisitor[2013]> or <Hesam7[2013]>.

1. I agree with Kasparov that Petrosian's 14...Nc6 leads to an equal game. (Timman thought White would still have the advantage.) After playing 14...b6, Fischer rapidly got into a dire situation.

2. Better than Spassky's 18.Nxd5 would have been Olafsson's suggested improvement 18.Qe1. After an 85-hour search (depth=58), Stockfish confirms Timman's opinion that best for Black is 18...Qd8 <+1.05>. Black has to be willing to give up a knight for 2 pawns in the main variations, but he seems to be able to survive a precarious endgame because White is left with bishops of opposite color and/or insufficient material to make a breakthrough:

(A) 18.Qe1 Qd8 19.Be2 Nd7 <+1.05> 20.exd5 cxd5 21.Kh1 a6 22.Bd3 g6 23.Bc2 Rc8 24.Rf3 Qa5 25.Bb3 Nxc5 26.dxc5 Bxc5 27.Qh4 Qb4 28.Qxb4 Bxb4 29.Na4 Bd2 30.Raf1 Rc1 31.Kg1 Rc7 32.Nb2 Bc3 33.Nd3 Bd4+ 34.Kh1 a5 35.h4 Kg7 36.g3 h6 37.Kg2 Rfc8:

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(B) 18.Qe1 Qd8 19.Qe2 g6 20.Rab1 Nd7 21.exd5 cxd5 22.Kh1 Rb8 23.Nb5 <+1.29> Nxc5 24.dxc5 Bxc5 25.Rbc1 Qb6 26.a4 a6 27.Nd6 Bxd6 28.exd6 Qxd6 29.Qd3 Rb4 30.a5 Ra4 31.Qd2 Ra3 32.Rb1 d4 33.Rb7 Qe5 34.Bg4 Qd5 35.Qb4 Ra2 36.Bf3 Qe5 37.Rd1 d3 38.Rxd3 Ra1+ 39.Bd1 h5 40.Qd2 Rxa5 41.Rdd7 Rc5 42.Bc2 Qa1+ 43.Rb1 Qc3 44.Qxc3 Rxc3 45.Bd3 Rfc8 46.Rbb7 Rc1+ 47.Kh2 Rd1 48.Bxa6 Rxd7 49.Rxd7 Ra8:

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3. I completely agree with <Hesam7> that Kasparov's suggested improvement 19.Qd3 exd5 20.exd5 Na6 21.d6 Nxc5 22.dxc5 Qxc5+ 23.Kh1 runs into 23...Rae8 (mentioned by Karsten Müller in Bobby Fischer [2009]) and White's winning chances evaporate.

4. After 20.exd5 exd5 21.Bxf7+ Rxf7 22.Rxf7, Kasparov called 22...Qc3 "the most accurate" move, but 23.Rb1

click for larger view

is rated at +2.29 and wins (23...Nc6 24.Rbb7 and White dominates) -- Black cannot take the rook: 23...Kxf7 24.Qh5+ Kf8 25.Rf1+ Bf6 26.exf6 Qxd4+ 27.Kh1 gxf6 28.Qxh7 wins (28...Nc6 29.Qh8+ Kf7 30.Qxa8 Qxc5 31.Qh8 Qe7 32.Qh7+ Ke6 33.Qf5+ Kf7 34.Qxd5+, etc., or 28...a5 29.Re1 Qxc5 30.Qh8+ Kf7 31.Qe8+ Kg7 32.Re7+, etc.).

Instead, Black plays 22...Qd2 <+0.79> 23.Rc7 Na6 24.Rd7 Be3+ 25.Kh1 Qxd4 26.Rxd5 Qxd1+ 27.Raxd1 Rf8 28.c6 Bb6 29.a4 Re8 30.a5 Bc7 31.Re1 Re7 32.e6 Kf8 33.Rd7 Ke8 <+0.60> 34.Rf1 Rxe6 35.Rxg7 h6:

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and Black can hold this position, it appears.

5. As others have pointed out, 24.Rc7 is met by 24...dxe4 (Olafsson) 25.Rxc6 e3 26.Rxe6 e2 27.Kf2 exf1=Q+ 28.Kxf1 Rd8 29.Rd6 Rxd6 30.exd6 Kf7 31.Ke2 Ba5:

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and in this case, Black's extra bishop can hold against White's three extra pawns.

Jun-08-19  Howard: Has the final word been uttered yet on 19.Qd3 ? Kasparov says in OMGP that it would have been stronger than the move that Spassky actually played, and some sources claim that it may have won.

Would it ?!

Aug-16-19  Robyn Hode: This line in Alkehine's is rarely played nowadays. Much more common is 4...dxe5 5 Nxe5 g6.
Jun-20-22  CapablancaDisciple: The times for this game from a website called

<<Game 19, August 27th, 1972

Spassky Fischer
White Black
1. e4 Nf6
2. e5 Nd5
3. d4 d6
4. Nf3 Bg4
5. Be2 e6
6. 0-0 (0:04) Be7 (0:05)
7. h3 (0:06) Bh5 (0:06)
8. c4 (0:08) Nb6 (0:08)
9. Nc3 (0:08) 0-0 (0:08)
10. Be3 (0:16) d5 (0:27)
11. c5 (0:22) Bxf3 (0:27)
12. Bxf3 (0:43) Nc4 (0:27)
13. b3 (0:47) Nxe3 (0:28)
14. fxe3 (0:47) b6 (0:34)
15. e4 (0:59) c6 (0:40)
16. b4 (1:06) bxc5 (0:56)
17. bxc5 (1:06) Qa5 (0:56)
18. Nxd5 (1:08) Bg5 (0:57)
19. Bh5 (1:23) cxd5 (1:09)
20. Bxf7+ (1:25) Rxf7 (1:17)
21. Rxf7 (1:25) Qd2 (1:23)
22. Qxd2 (1:46) Bxd2 (1:23)
23. Raf1 (1:46) Nc6 (1:24)
24. exd5 (1:54) exd5 (1:25)
25. Rd7 (1:54) Be3+ (1:30)
26. Kh1 (1:54) Bxd4 (1:32)
27. e6 (1:57) Be5 (1:38)
28. Rxd5 (2:01) Re8 (1:39)
29. Re1 (2:01) Rxe6 (1:40)
30. Rd6 (2:02) Kf7 (1:40)
31. Rxc6 (2:06) Rxc6 (1:40)
32. Rxe5 (2:06) Kf6 (1:41)
33. Rd5 (2:08) Ke6 (1:41)
34. Rh5 (2:09) h6 (1:42)
35. Kh2 (2:11) Ra6 (1:43)
36. c6 (2:13) Rxc6 (1:45)
37. Ra5 (2:13) a6 (1:46)
38. Kg3 (2:14) Kf6 (1:48)
39. Kf3 (2:18) Rc3+ (1:52)
40. Kf2 (2:20) Rc2+ (1:52)

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