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Mysteries of the Chessboard

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The famous “Three Pawns Problem”. Known centuries ago, the Hungarian Josef Szén apparently solved it.  In 1836,  in Paris,  he challenged players to play this position for a stake.  We, chessplayers actively taking part in OTB / CC events tend to think we know “these little” things…

Perhaps you should try to show  that “whoever plays, wins“, which apparently is the solution of the riddle…But “saying” is not the same as “showing”…

Our wonderful Chess microcosm is full of things  we think we know…Though sometimes knowing nothing about something is better than believing we know something when do not know if we will be able to prove it in practice. ..


Bobby Fischer is one of the most enigmatic individuals in the realm of Chess. Yet hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written about his life and games. There have been books and revision of those books (criticism and countercriticism with the same degree of bitterness). Even if you read and re-read Brady’s books on him there are several details never explained in the past , never to be explained in the future. As an example, I have been unable to understand how he managed to avoid army recruitment in a period when everybody had to serve no matter what your name was…

Who and why? -These would be two interesting questions to be answered.

I have a small list of Fischer’s most famous statements. Here some of them (with the most mysterious one featuring the last place ):

– “You have to have fighting spirit…You have to force moves and take chances.”

-“Ideas, I never memorize lines” (?????)

-“Genius. It’s a word. What does it really mean?. If I win, I am a genius. If I don’t, I’m not”

-“I think my subconscious mind is working on it all the time. Even when I’m not playing or studying, I sit down at the board and I get a lot of new ideas. Things are coming to me all the time.”

-“There are tough players and nice guys , and I am a tough player.”

My favourite one because in my opinion it contains a perfect definition of the process which happens in a Chess game, summarizes Fischer’s Chess life and shows you in what direction one should  go  to play Chess, understand GMs’  games, etc.:

“They make mistakes” (My own Chess mantra!!)

And now the most enigmatic one : “When I was eleven, I just got good.”

I JUST GOT GOOD??????????????????????????????????????????????????

This few words have been a self-inflicted torture for me. How on earth one “just gets good“???? I want to know how. I need to know it. If you are a true chessplayer you cannot read this and keep on living as if nothing happens… We should spend a lifetime trying to find the answer to this …riddle?.  And no, nobody has managed to explain this statement…Nor even Brady -as far as I know-.

Some experts say that one of the things that boosted Fischer’s strenght took place when he realize the potentiality of the Black pieces and devoted a lot of study to establish an active Black repertoire. Others say he had access and literally devoured Soviet books and magazines even in the original… But not only Soviet literature. In fact he tried to get everything no matter if the material was from major tournaments of smaller events. For instance: let’s take a line which is becoming very fashionable of late:

1. e4  c5  2. Nf3  d6  3. d4  cd4  4. Nd4:  Nf6  5. Nc3  a6  and now everybody knows  6. Be3 / 6. Bg5/ 6.Bc4/ 6.Be2/6.f4, etc.  But in  the game Fischer -Bolbochan , Stockholm Itz. 1962, Fischer uncorked :     6. h3 (and later he even beat Najdorf at Varna Ol. 1962 in a famous game). Many people worship the talent of those great players who are able to find incredible moves -which ate the same time seem modest, humble, etc.:

WRONG!-  The Spanish player and author Pablo Moran , in his book on Fischer,  explains that “…this move was first played in the game Freire – Rossolimo, at  Coruña (Spain)International tournament 1951 – a not very known event, by the way. Mr. Moran says that Mr. Freire told him “If Rossolimo wants to attack on the Queen side I will attack on the King side .” I have been unable to find this game, but Mr. Moran was present there and among the participants was the former Spanish “wunderkind”  and GM Arturo Pomar who apparently made second.

Here the Fischer game:

W.: Fischer (1)

B.: Bolbochan (0)

Stockholm Itz 1962

1. e4  c 2. Nf3  d6  3. d4  cd4  4. Nxd4  Nf6  5. Nc3  a6  6. h3  Nc6   (Mr. Moran says that the original game Freire-Rossolimo had gone: 6…, e5 / 7. Nf3,h6 /8.Bc4,b5/9.Bd5 ,Nxd5/ 10. Nxd5. the game was a draw)

(And the other Fischer game is somewhat more famous: Fischer-Najdorf, Varna 1962:  6…, b5!? 7. Nd5  Bb7? (-7…Ne4-)  8. Nf6  gf6  9. c4  bc4  10. Bc4  Be4  11. 0-0  d5  12. Re1!  e5  13. Qa4!  Nd7  14. Re4!  de4  15. Nf5!  Bc5  16. Ng7!  Ke7  17. Nf5  Ke8  18. Be3  Be3  19. fe3  Qb6  20. Rd1  Ra7  21. Rd6  Qd8  22. Qb3  Qc7  23. Bf7  Kd8  24. Be6 .- 1-0)

7. g4   Nxd4  8. Qxd4  e5  9. Qd3  Be7  10. g5  Nd7  11. Be3  Nc5  12. Qd2  Be6  13. 0-0-0  0-0  14. f3  Rc8  15. Kb1  Nd7  16. h4   b5  17. Bxh3  Bxh3  18. Rh3  Nb6  19. Bb6  Qb6  20. Nd5  Qd8  21. f4  ef4  22. Qf4  Qd7  23. Qf5  Rcd8  24. Ra3  Qa7  25. Rc3  g6  26. Qg4  Qd7  27. Qf3  Qe6  28. Rc7  Rde8  29. Nf4  Qe5  30. Rd5  Qh8  31. a3  h6  32. gh6  Qh6  33. h5  Bg5  34. hg6  fg6  35. Qb3  Rf4  36. Re5  Kf8  37. Re8  Black resigned.



Written by QChess

November 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in CHESS, Chessplayers, Fischer

Tagged with ,

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