Robert Fischer

'Bobby' Fischer was known as a threat to the Soviet domination of world chess for many years, but kept withdrawing from qualifying as the challenger over disputes with organizers. He finally qualified in 1971, having stormed past the other Candidates with huge scores, and beat Spassky in a match which was as dramatic off the board as on it.

In contrast to the real-life dramas, he played a very cool, rational sort of chess, no-nonsense and razor-sharp.

[Event "style: Fischer the unstoppable"]
[Site "style: Fischer the unstoppabl"]
[Date "1963.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Byrne, R."]
[Black "Fischer, Robert"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D71"]
[PlyCount "42"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. e3 O-O 8. Nge2
Nc6 9. O-O b6 10. b3 Ba6 11. Ba3 {[#]  "...at worse completely safe. To turn
this into a mating position in eleven more moves is more witchcraft than
chess!" -- KIRBY} Re8 12. Qd2 e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Rfd1 Nd3 15. Qc2 {[#]} Nxf2
16. Kxf2 Ng4+ 17. Kg1 Nxe3 18. Qd2 Nxg2 {Eliminating the defensive bishop
rather than snatching at material} 19. Kxg2 d4 20. Nxd4 Bb7+ 21. Kf1 {As Byrne
resigned, GMs in the press room were still arguing that White was winning.} Qd7
{[#]  White resigns.} 0-1


[Event "style: Fischer the unstoppable"]
[Site "style: Fischer the unstoppabl"]
[Date "1963.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Byrne, R."]
[Black "Fischer, Robert"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D71"]
[PlyCount "42"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 d5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. e3 O-O 8. Nge2
Nc6 9. O-O b6 10. b3 Ba6 11. Ba3 {[#]  "...at worse completely safe. To turn
this into a mating position in eleven more moves is more witchcraft than
chess!" -- KIRBY} Re8 12. Qd2 e5 13. dxe5 Nxe5 14. Rfd1 Nd3 15. Qc2 {[#]} Nxf2
16. Kxf2 Ng4+ 17. Kg1 Nxe3 18. Qd2 Nxg2 {Eliminating the defensive bishop
rather than snatching at material} 19. Kxg2 d4 20. Nxd4 Bb7+ 21. Kf1 {As Byrne
resigned, GMs in the press room were still arguing that White was winning.} Qd7
{[#]  White resigns.} 0-1


That game was from the 1963 US championships, which he won 11-0 against masters and grandmasters. His last-round game was this one:
[Event "USA-ch"]
[Site "New York"]
[Date "1963.12.30"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Fischer, RJ."]
[Black "Benko, Pal"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B09"]
[Annotator "attack: Greek diagonal"]
[PlyCount "41"]
[EventDate "1963.12.15"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "USA"]

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 {The Bishop seems to
'bite on granite' but supports the f4-f5 break.} Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Nc6 9.
Be3 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. f5 gxf5 12. Qxf5 Nd4 13. Qf2 Ne8 14. O-O Nd6 15. Qg3
Kh8 16. Qg4 c6 17. Qh5 Qe8 18. Bxd4 exd4 {[#] The stage is nearly set for
e4-e5, but it doesn't mate yet because of f7-f5} 19. Rf6!! Kg8 20. e5 h6 21. Ne2
1-0


I like that 19th move even better than crash-bang-wallop sacrifices.

He played the sharpest lines as Black and kept faith with the Ruy Lopez all his adult life -- until he surprised everyone with a Queen's Gambit in his match with Spassky.

[Event "WCC"]
[Site "weak pawns: hanging pawns (we"]
[Date "1972.??.??"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Fischer, Robert"]
[Black "Spassky, Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D59"]
[Annotator "MB"]
[PlyCount "81"]

1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 b6 8. cxd5
Nxd5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nxd5 exd5 11. Rc1 Be6 12. Qa4 c5 13. Qa3 Rc8 14. Bb5 a6
15. dxc5 bxc5 16. O-O Ra7 17. Be2 Nd7 18. Nd4 Qf8 {[#]} 19. Nxe6 fxe6 20. e4 $1
d4 21. f4 Qe7 22. e5 Rb8 23. Bc4 Kh8 24. Qh3 Nf8 25. b3 a5 26. f5 exf5 27. Rxf5
Nh7 28. Rcf1 Qd8 29. Qg3 Re7 30. h4 Rbb7 31. e6 Rbc7 32. Qe5 Qe8 33. a4 Qd8 34.
R1f2 Qe8 35. R2f3 Qd8 36. Bd3 Qe8 37. Qe4 Nf6 38. Rxf6 gxf6 39. Rxf6 Kg8 40.
Bc4 Kh8 41. Qf4 1-0


A beautiful, flowing attack, which the spectators stood up to applaud. To his credit, Spassky also stood and clapped.

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