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Robert James Fischer vs D LaPierre Ballard
Simul, 40b (1964) (exhibition), Wichita, KS USA, Apr-04
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-21-04  northernsoul: even though it was a simul that's still a win against Fischer - can you imagine being able to say that at dinner parties for the rest of your life?
Jul-21-04  michlo: must be pretty resilient seeing he also played a game in 1889 against Gunsberg
Jul-21-04  WMD: From John Donaldson's book A legend On the Road:

D La Pierre Ballard has this to say about the exhibition:

Bobby played 40 games that night at the University of Wichita Campus Activities Center. He lost to me, drew with Dan Pritchard and won the rest. His most notable game was against Keith Carson, who was the best player in Oklahoma at the time. Bobby played the Vienna. Eventually an ending was reached in which Bobby had an f-pawn and an h-pawn. Keith had studied this Rook and Pawn type of ending previously and thought he could draw. Bobby played like Capablanca and by constant maneuvering managed a win.

I went with the man who organized the exhibition to pick up Bobby. I cannot remember that man's name. He had been a Colonel. Bobby was very late - 45 minutes, I recall. On the way to the simul I sat with him and chatted.

I asked him about his recent article in the magazine ChessWorld, which only lasted three issues. He had listed the ten best players of all time. He had put Morphy as first. He told me that Morphy, were he alive, would have been then the best player in the world. The great accumulation of knowledge since 1860 would be assimilated and mastered by Morphy very quickly and then, were he alive in 1964, he would have been the best.

I asked him about Petrosian. He rattled off an ending from a game of Petrosian's and said, "The man obviously did not know how to play that ending."

Before the simul Bobby gave a talk about his famous game at Bled 1961 where he had beaten Geller in 22 moves. Bobby had White in a Steinitz Deferred Ruy. Bobby started the talk by showing 1.e4 on the board. He then said, "I always play pawn to King four for my first move just like Steinitz did before he got old!"

During my game Bobby made no comments until the end. He said after he turned over his King that 32.Qh7+ would have been much better than what he played. He did not say "I resign." I noticed that when he played a pawn or Bishop that he thoughtfully screwed it into the board, i.e. he twisted it between his thumb and forefinger.

It cost $5 to play Bobby. That was a lot for a 19-year-old college student then. I figured it was my one and only chance in my whole lifetime so I put a big effort into it. My game ran over three hours and I did not move a muscle the whole time, except to play my moves.

Jul-24-04  OneArmedScissor: Just curious... How much do you think 11. axb3 had an effect on Fischer's end game?

One of the most confusing things to me is whether it's worth it to give up a bishop to double up my opponents pawns. Any insite would be great!

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <OneArmedScissor> Strange game, also highly ironic given RJF's contempt toward the Sicilian Dragon. You're right that the doubled Pawns after 11. axb3 may become an endgame liability, but these Dragon fights often finish in the middlegame anyway. The interesting factor is how White's a file is now opened, allowing 11 ... b6!? 12. Qd5 and if 12 ... Rb8 13. Rxa7 and White is rolling. I wouldn't be afraid of 12. Qd5 Qc7 13. Qxa8 Bxc3+ 14. Kd1! Bxb2 15. Rxa7 either (15 ... Qd6+ 16. Qd5), since it's hard to trap the Qa8. Finally, I wonder about these annotations awarding "!!" to 29. f5 & 30. Ng5+, but totally ignoring 20. Ne4? dropping the exchange to 20 ... Bg4, and that's what would have lost this endgame for White.
Jul-28-07  Helios727: Isn't white supposed to play f3 on either move 7 or 8?
Jul-28-07  paul1959: <Helios727> This is not a Dragon since Black has not played d7-d6. Black has a move in hand and is always about to play d7-d5 instead. White has no time for f2-f3. In most accelarated fianchettos I saw , White played c2-c4 instead of going for Nc3-Bc4 setup.
Jul-28-07  Giearth: <michlo:Ballard must be pretty resilient seeing he also played a game in 1889 against Gunsberg>

He must be! :) Though he might be -56 years old at that time ;)

I have a pix showing Fischer vs Ballard from

According to, Ballard's real name was D La Pierre Ballard :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

" People who talk about three-dimensional chess obviously know nothing about the present form. "

-- J.G. Ballard

or other way round ...

Sep-01-14  jerseybob: Ballard quotes Fischer as saying 32.Qh7+ would've been much better, and he's right, in that it gives black more chances to slip up. But if he's implying that white missed a win or draw, would somebody show me? After 32.Qh7+,Ke8 (a)33.Bf6,Rd1+ 34.Rd1,Qd1+ 35.Ka2,Qd5+ 36.Ka1,ef and what?, or (b)33.Qg6+,Kd7 34.Bf6,ef 35.Qg7+,Kc6 36.Re7+,Rc7 etc.
Dec-01-14  TheFocus: From a simul in Wichita, Kansas on April 4, 1964.

Fischer scored =37=1-2.

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