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Are We What We Have Been Influenced By?

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Have you ever thought about the past influences you show in the way you play Chess?. Think about it for a while.

My early Chess influences were , in this order, Karpov-Petrosian-Nimzowitsch (and the Hypermodern movement)-Botvinnik-Fischer and Spassky . I have learnt many things from all of them. If I reduce the list it would read: Karpov-Nimzowitsch et alii-Fischer-Spassky. Now you may say: “So what? Different chessplayers,different styles, etc.” Well, let’s try to find the common denominator. In fact when we speak of “influences” in Chess I immediately think of  openings and   certain middlegame recurrent positions. 

1.- Openings: Karpov (from his beginnings till around 1986), Fischer, Spassky and Nimzowitsch have had 1. e4 as their main opening as White. As Black Karpov ,Fischer and Spassky have played the Sicilian (my main weapon). The four have played Hypermodern defences : the Nimzoindian, the Queen´s Indian, the Grünfeld, the King’s Indian, the Benoni. I have played all of them + the Orthodox (Spassky’s weapon for many years too). 

2.- Middlegames: I have studied many books on strategy, middlegame Pawn constellations, etc. Books written by GMs from the Soviet Chess School and other GMs. like Pachman, Soltis, Grau (Argentina),Marovic, etc. I have studied Tarrasch´s and Steinitz´s games… BUT the greatest influence of all came from around 1979-80, when I came across my first copies of Nimzowitsch’s “Chess Praxis” and “My System” (the latter is a curious extended edition including different appendix with Nimzo’s articles which do not appear in the original and editions made after it (I suppose the editor decided to include them for the sake of completeness…). Then I managed to get a copy from “Blockade” published in the United States. And afterwards , I have tried to obtain anything on Nimzowitsch. For instance I have a copy from “Aron Nimzowitsch 100 Partier Forsynet med Stormensterens egne Kommentarer Og Skakcauserier” by Bjorn Nielsen in Danish (!!). And Nimzowitsch led me to Reti, Tartakower, Breyer,…

The Hypermodern reaction to the “classicism” represented by Tarrasch is known by everybody. I began to play Hypermodern Defences and typical middlegame set-ups avoiding the invasion of the centre with Pawns but trying to control and attack it from the wings. In my early years I used the English, the Reti or the Barcza System as White. I even tried bizarre systems like 1. c4, e5 2. e4 or 1. e4, c5 or …e5 / 2. c4. Or the Dresden Variation of the English, a most cherished  set-up of Nimzowitsch’s.

In Chess we could distinguish several periods (Chess writers call them “Schools”): Morphy, Anderssen et alii belonged to the Romantic School. Then came the Classical School with Tarrasch and contemporaries. One step forward and we have the Hypermodern School (curiously both Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch claimed they were trying to explain Steinitz’s ideas … to reach conclusions poles apart…). Afterwards, the Soviet Chess School, comprising everything, re-formulating many concepts,discovering new ones, etc. Today’s chessplayers follow an eclectic path (I guess). In a period of ultra-dynamism you can still find positional masterpieces in a classical or a hypermodern style be those what they may. I have written that certain school of thought has proclaimed that there is no strategy these days because the opening stage has been so extended that modern “tabiyas” may place the game between the 20th and the 30th move. (You can notice it at top-level Chess and in CC). But nearly everybody has a favourite idol : you may like Capablanca’s classical approach or Tal’s romantic one. Etc.

Perhaps knowing about all this may help us to improve because by insisting upon those features we have subconsciously acquired since our beginnings we may play within” our true style” or at least avoid repeating past mistakes, when perhaps we mixed things… (after all , one cannot play the Alekhine (1. e4, Nf6/ with the idea of invading the whole board with our Pawns… Get it?)

(In a different post I will write about Richard Reti (1889-1929) but I would like to include one of his compositions -No, it is not the famous  King/Pawn-race one…): 


This study was published by Reti and Mandler in 1924. White to move wins.  Instructions:

1.- This is not a mate problem.

2.- Study the position and try to imagine how White can proceed and how Black can defend his position.

3.- You can do it without moving the pieces. Then, try to find a solution by moving the pieces if necessary.

4.- You can cover the solution and try to find the first move and so on checking your election against the solution as if it were a game. White must play for the win, Black will try to , at least, get a draw. This is an exercise of threats/defences ,threats/counterthreats.

Remember that ,  in Chess, all the work you do always pays off, always reward.

1.- Ng1, Kd2! / 2. Nf3+ , Kd3! /3. Ke1, Ke3 / 4. Ne5, Ke4 /5. Nc4, Kd3 6. Nd2, Ke3/ 7. Nf3, Kd3 /8. Kf1! Ke3 / 9. Ne1, Kd2/ 10. Nc2!, Kd1 / 11. Nb4, Kd2 / 12. Nd5 winning.



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March 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

A Contribution by Bobby Fischer.

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In a previous post I wrote about the clash between Queen vs. Rook+Rook and I even said that two pieces seemed stronger than one (depending on concrete details, of course). The great Bobby Fischer provoked in no less than five of his games the fight between his Q and his opponents’ R+R. BUT always a Pawn up for Bobby (even though sometimes he had doubled Pawns too , which apparently seemed a handicap.) This is a difficult struggle of heterogeneous forces and the key is to maintain the material advantage and the creation of threats one move after another without respite, with the advance of the Pawns on the one hand and the activity of the Queen on the other. This requires deep intuition and great calculation skills. Any mistake and the two Rooks would bounce back stopping the threats and creating deadly ones on their own because they are “two against one”. So the side with the Queen must handle the concept of “timing” with absolute dexterity. You can see how Fischer managed to do it. The games are wonderful.

The first position is from Fischer – Seidman, US.Ch. Ch. 1960

Fischer -Seidman

The game continued: 24. Re8, Qxe8  25. Bxe8, Rxe8  26. h3, b4  27. cxb4, Rxb/ 28. Qxf6, Kg8  29. Qg5, Kh8  30. Qf4, Ra4  31. Qf7, Rg8  32. Qc7, Ra2  33. Qe5, Rg7  34. g4, h6  35. Qb8, Rg8  36. c7! , 1-0


The following position was from Fischer – D. Byrne, Bay City Open, 1963. (Bobby has just played 24. Rhe1)

Fischer-. D.Byrne

The game continued: 24…, Qxe1/ 25. Rxe1 Rxe1 26. Kb2, Rh1  27. Qf4 , Rf8  28. c4, f6/ 29. c5, Rh5 30.Qc7, Rxh6  31. Qxb7, Rh5 32. c6, Re5  33. c7, Re-e8 34.Kb3, g5  35. Ka4 ,Ra8  36. c4, h5  37. c5, h4  38. Kb5, Kh8 39. a4, Kg8 40. Kb6, f5  41. Qd5, Kg7  42. Kb7, Kg6  43. Qe6, Kg7  44. Qe7, Kg6  45. f4! , gxf4  46. Qh4,  1-0


Fischer had repeated the theme in the game he played vs. Bisguier in the Stockholm Interzonal, 1962, beating his opponent in 54 moves.

Fischer game

Bisguier-Fischer, Stockholm 1962:

24…Rxf2  25. Qxf2, Rxf2  26. Rxf2, g4  27. Bc1, Qb5  28. Bf4, Qd3  29. Rd2, Qg6  30. Ne1, h5  31. Ng2, Kh7  32. Re1, Nd8  33. Nh4, Qe8  34. h3, gh  35. Kh2, Nf7  36. Kh3, Bh6  37. Rc2, Qg8  38. Rf1, Qg4  39. Kh2, Ng5  40. Bg5, Bg5 41. Nf3, Be3  42. Re2, Bh6  43. Ref2, Kg8  44. Nh4, Qd4  45. Rf7, Qg4  46. R1f3, Qg5  47. R3f4, d4  48. Nf3, Qg6  49. Nh4, Qf7  50. Rf7, Kf7  51. Kg2, d3  52. Kf2, Bg7  53. Nf3, Kg6  54. Ke3, Kf5 /  0-1


The following position corresponds to the game Portisch- Fischer, Santa Monica (USA), 1966:


Fischer played: 11…., Qd7 12. Ba3, Re8 13. Bd3, f5/ 14. Qxa8, Nc6  15. Qxe8, Qxe8 16. 0-0, Na5 17. Rae1, Bxc4 18. Bxc4, Nxc4 19. Bc1, c5  20. dxc5, bxc5  21. Bf4, h6  22. Re2, g5  23.Be5?, Qd8  24. Rfe1, Kf7  25. h3, f4  26. Kh2, a6  27. Re4, Qd5  28. h4, Ne3  29. R1xe3 ,fxe3  30. Rxe3, Qxa2  31. Rf3, Ke8/ 32. Bg7, Qc4, 33. hxg5, hxg5  34. Rf8, Kd7  35. Ra8, Kc6 / 0-1


And the last example took place a year before the previous one, in the game Fischer- Bilek ,Havana 1965:

1. e4, e6  2. d4, d5  3. Nc3, Nf6  4. Bg5, dxe4  5. Nxe4, Nbd7  6. Nf3, Be7  7. Nxf6, Bxf6  8. h4, h6  9. Bxf6, Qxf6  10. Qd2, 0-0  11. 0-0-0, b6  12. Bb5, Qe7  13. Rh3, Bb7  14. Rg3, Kh8  15. Bd7, Bxf3  16. gxf3, Qxd7  17. Rdg1, f6 (D)

Fischer Bilek

18. Rxg7, Qxg7  19. Rxg7, Kxg7  20. Qf4, Rac8  21. h5, ,c5  22. Qg4, Kf7  23. Qg6, Ke7  24. dxc5, Rxc5  25. Qxh6, Rg5  26. b3, e5  27. Kb2, Rf7  28. a4, Ke6  29. Qh8, Re7  30. h6, Kf7  31. Qh7, Kf8  32. Qd3, Kf7  33. h7, Rh5  34. Qd5, Re6  35. f4, f5  36. fxe5, Rxh7  37. Qd7, Re7  38. Qxf5, Ke8  39. f4, Kd8  40. e6 , 1-0  An impressive  game.


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February 1, 2014 at 7:24 am

Posted in CHESS, Chess games, Fischer

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CChess is a Jungle…

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CChess is a jungle. Let me explain: you like CC and perhaps you are playing in any  ICCF official event. This is my case. Of late, I have realized that most of my opponents are not only armed to the teeth with databases, and the rest of CC paraphernalia: many of them seem to be connected to the webserver  perpetually: I work hard on my move, find it, check and recheck it well , not always…- send it and “voilà” , I have not written it down yet and   the answer flashed on the screen. Believe me: I have sent moves at the oddest and infamous hours. It doesn´t matter: there is always someone with their move or conditional move ready  and deciding s/he is not going to give you any respite. And it is not a matter of different time zones… Some days ago I told an opponent -and friend of mine from Sweden- that I saw today’s CC as a jungle full of lions, panthers, tigers … and me. The problem is that I saw myself as a kitten and the rest of felines instead of considering me a fellow-feline companion considered me as their food… Then, do I lack the famous “killer instinct”?. Or perhaps am I more an artist and not a fighter and so on?. The answer to both questions is in the negative. No, I want to win all my games, to beat all my opponents, I like fighting and winning. So, I do not know why I see myself as a kitten and the rest as a wild group of big felines out for blood. -And please, do not suggest I should need a psychiatrist 🙂 🙂 –

I have found the following position and notes (do not know where it appeared or wrote the accompanying legend) in my archives:


“J. Mendheim. 19th century. This 5-mover is a great example of stormy power play. The solution usually contains sparkling combinations, and positions resemble actual games”. (So mate in five moves)

How is Boris Spassky? Since he fled to Mother Russia already some time ago the only things that have come out are that he is recovering slowly from a stroke, that he made brief public appearances and that he decided to be inscribed as a Russian -instead on a French- chessplayer again. I have been unable to get in touch with him as I did before (you can read about all this in previous posts in this blog). Well, I frequently remember that July 2007 when we met in my hometown, and spent several days together… This episode was the second stroke he suffered in the space of several years. He managed to recover quite well from the first one, but experts say that a repetition is usually terrible. When I read about him and Fischer sometimes it seems as if the early seventies of the past century were placed two centuries ago, belonged to a  part of my life lost in the mists of time. Curiously enough, unknown snaps featuring Bobby Fischer keep appearing: the last one (“Spraggett on Chess” Blog) depicts Fischer giving  lecture at Hart House in Toronto, Canada. It is very curious but Fischer seemed to have been always doing something on my very birthday date along the years…

Those who regularly follow this blog may have realized that changes in the system have erased several images and positions. I do not know why this has happened…-the gremlings???- One of those images corresponds to a mate in three moves problem by Tavariani  (level: difficult):


I think these problems are enough to make you feel the pangs of devoting your lives to playing Chess…Or not.


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November 8, 2013 at 8:29 am

Chess, Strategy and Zen Philosophy

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I am unable to teach Chess to other people. Since I am also a humble student of Zen I have found many points of contact between Chess and Zen Philosophy. Other people have done the same.

The true Zen student find it impossible to talk not only about the meanings of Zen, but also about their status on a present moment , their degree of development, etc. Simply the task is so overwhelming that they are at a loss for words. To them Zen can be learnt/understood, but cannot be taught or explained. You may say there are Zen Masters, Zen books and so on. Yes, but the true, genuine, Masters do not teach (or shall I say “lead”?) but indirectly and perhaps if you ask him you will receive no answer or , if any, something like “this is really a no-tuition a no-teaching at all” by the way the difference between “no-something” / “un-in-im- something” is fundamental.)

Going back to Chess, when I heard some people saying they want to learn the game I see I could show him/her the movement of the pieces and that is all.

I like analysing games. Everybody likes… But ,as I have written somewhere else, I prefer games played until Kasparov´s time. I did not know why I felt so averse to much more recent games till I came across a statement in a blog. I realised “why” I have this odd feeling:  rather unconsciously (or subconsciously) I realised  there is nearly no strategy in today´s games (!). I formed myself as a chessplayer with Kotov´s books, playing and replaying Botvinnik’s, Petrosian’s, Spassky’s, Fischer’s, Karpov’s, Keres’s , Nimzowitsch’s, Capablanca’s, Korchnoi’s, Polugaevsky’s, Tal’s, Smyslov’s, etc. games. And they were full of strategy, planning, tactics, and so on. Not now. Today what matters is the point + the money + the ELO points absolutely minimizing the risk. If you can play book lines up till move 30 everything is OK. In the past players study openings to find a novelty as soon as possible. If you could introduce a new move to surprise your opponent and destroy his/her opening preparation on move 10, it was much better than on move 12 (for fear of being him/her the one in doing it first to you!). Not today. Playing your own moves from the 10th move onwards is considered suicidal : the more you play your own moves the more possibilities of making a mistake and lose. So 30 or more book moves, and if the matter can be finished off with 5 moves better than with 6…  

You may say this is not always so, that there are hundreds of players not doing so, etc. But then the same odd question assaults me: why today’s super -GMs lack the charismatic image those from the past had?. Why in the past the names of Fischer, Spassky,Karpov, Capablanca, rang a bell even to non-chessplayers?

AND I AM NOT SPEAKING OF THE DEATH OF CHESS OR A SIMILAR COMMONPLACE. I simply show my opinion on this matter. Chess is a millenary game and I’m sure it will survive as it is. No matter what the elite do. Chess is much more than the first 50 players  in the ELO rating list.

Now have a look at the following position:


This position appeared after White’s 19th move. It’s Black’s turn to move. S. Reshevsky chose 19…, Bxc2  (because 19…Qc8  allows 20.Bxf5, Qxf5  21. Qb3 ). What would you play now? Choose a course of action before looking at the game continuation.

Bobby Fischer, who was commanding the White army (Santa Monica 1966),  played:

(19…, Bxc2)  20. Qd2!!  (rejecting 20.Nxd7 or Rxc2 which would probably give small edges though), -and the game continued:

20…, Qe8/ 21. Qxb4, a5/ 22. Qc3, Bg6/ 23. Nh4, Na4/ 24. Qb3 Nxc5/ 25. Rxc5, c6 26. Rec1, Re6/ 27. f4,f5/ 28. a4, bxa4/ 29. Qxa4, Rb8/ 30. Qa3, Qd8/ 31. Nxg6, hxg6/ 32. Rxc6, Rxc6/ 33. Rxc6, Qh4 /34. Rxg6, Kh7 /35. Rg5, Rb4/ 36. Qf3! ,Kh6/37. g3!, Qxh3 /38. Qxd5 and Black resigned. 

(The next post after my holidays. Enjoy yourselves!)


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September 6, 2013 at 6:05 am


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Progressing in Chess can be painful. Today you have access to tons of information and most of it in real time. You study openings, you have a look at recent games (most of which may follow theory up to move 30 or even more…) , you ask Houdini, Fritz, etc what to do, you realise the old way of studying Chess is now out of fashion (you don’t know why, but …), you dream to meet any GM and beat him/her in a briliant game in which you have managed to follow theory up to the 35th move, etc. My question is: “Do they (today’s GMs) play Chess“. Rather they and (we) simply play opening variations. Where have all those beautiful strategical plans gone?. You may say today’s Chess is different from the Chess played in the past. Yeah. And more because today everybody wants to live on Chess. Money has attracted quantity. I’m afraid “quality” has been left behind in some forgotten place…Of course this is only a personal opinion, but some voices have been raised concerning all this. One may say that this may be true for super-professionals, and that the situation is quite different on other levels. The state of Chess today  is rather messy: people under suspicion of cheating who is searched, people caught cheating directly, young boys who only want to earn money and that at 18 has played more games than Fischer or Capablanca in their entire lives, parents -as in any other sport- trying to make a profit out on their chessplaying children (the younger, the better, the earlier, the better, no matter if the boy/girl has to abandon his/her studies and start wandering from playing hall to playing hall since he/she is 8 years old…). You may say this is not really so, and that cases like these are exceptions, but I agree to differ…  I prefer playing Chess but also thinking that I am making an effort to understand the richness of the millenary game. I prefer seeing Chess like the great GMs: as a way of life, as a philosophy of life.

“ZWISCHENZUG” : German word to describe an “intermediate move”, which can be defined as an unexpected move made in the middle of a sequence of moves and which forces the opponent to take immediate action against the immediate threat that poses so altering what seemed the logical development of the line in question. An intermediate move decoys an enemy’s piece, forces to defend immediate mate, attacks hanging pieces, checks to win a tempo, brings one piece into play provoking a threat, etc. You all know all this. Every GM uses them in their plans and calculations. But did you know this device has been the hallmark of Capablanca and Fischer, whose games are full of intermediate moves to implement their attacking plans, to entice their opponents into active ,even apparently winning, plans simply to smash them out of a sudden, to force their opponents into making mistakes or to create tactical whirlwinds and complicate the game to the utmost?. And I can even say a bit more: Fischer’s extreme ability rested  on the fact that he was able to find every intermediate move in any possible line.

Well, in this post I propose the reader a field day in a rather classical style. First of all, solve the following tactical exercises from actual games (the solutions are at the end of the post). Then analyse, in depth, the game I include trying to understand the moves and finding all the “intermediate” moves it contains. Do it with board and pieces.

Tactical exercise 1:

Fische-Mednis White to move.

Tactical exercise 2:

Bisguier-Fischer (Position from the Black side): Black to move.

Tactical exercise 3:

Fischer-Dely White to move.

Tactical exercise 4:

Fischer-Schweber White to move.

Tactical exercise 5:

Minic-Fischer   Black to move (position from the Black side)


W.: ????

B.: ????

???????????????????     (Do you know who played this game?

1. c4, c5 / 2. Nf3, g6/ 3. d4, cxd4/ 4. Nxd4, Nc6/ 5. e4, Nf6/  7. Be2, Nxd4/ 8. Qxd4/ 9. Bg5, h6/ 10. Be3, 0-0/ 11. Qd2, Kh7/ 12. 0-0, Be6/  13.f4 (from now on, you should try to guess Black’s move before making them), …, Rac8/ 14. b3, Qa5/ 15. a3, a6/ 16. f5, Bd7/ 17. b4, Qe5!/ 18. Rae1, Bc6!/ 19.Bf4!, Nxe4/ 20. Nxe4, Qxe4/ 21. Bd3, Qd4/ 22. Kh1, Rce8!/ 23. Be3!,Qc3!/ 24. Bxh6, Qxd2/ 25. Bxd2, Be5/ 26. Bf4, Bxf4/ 27. Rxf4, gf5/ 28. Rxf5, Kg7/ 29. Rg5, Kh6/ 30. h4, e6/ 31. Rf1, f5/ 32. Rb1, Rf7/ 33. b5, ab5/ 34. cb5, Bd7/ 35. g4, Ra8!/ 36. gf5, ef5/ 37. Bc4? , Ra4/ 38. Rc1, Bxb5/ 39. Bxf7, Rxh4/ 40. Kg2, Kxg5/ 41. Bd5, Ba6/ 42. Rd1, Ra4/ 43. Bf3, Rxa3/ 44.Rxd6, Ra2/ 45. Kg1, Kf4/ 46. Bg2, Rb2/ 47. Rd7, b6/ 48. Rd8, Be2/ 49. Bh3, Bg4/ 50. Bf1, Bf3/ 51. Rb8, Be4/ 52. Ba6, Ke3/ 53. Rbc8, Rb1/ 54. Kh2, Kf4/ White resigned.  (The game belongs to the Fischer-Larsen 1971 Candidates’ match held in Denver, USA)

Solution to the problems:

1.- :  32. Rxe6!, Ba3 / 33. Na3, Ke6/ 34. Qg4, Ke7/ 35. Rf2, Re8/ 36. Qg5, Kd7/ 37. Rf7, Kc8/ 38. Qf5, Kb8/ 39. Qd7, 1-0.

2.- :  38. …, g4!!/ 39. Qxg4, Qxg4/ 40. hxg4, Kg7! / 41. Rf5, Rxh1! / 0-1 (42. Kxh1, Rc1/ 43. Kh2, Bxg3/ 44.Kh3, Rh1 #)

3.- :  15. Bxe6, fxe6/ 16. Rxf8!!, Qxf8/ 17. Qa4, 1-0

4.-:   23. Rxe4!! (if you have found this move and the idea behind you have solved the problem),  Qxg3/ 24. Rxd4!, Qg4/25. Rxg4, Bxg4/ 26. Bxg6, Rhg8/ 27. Bh7, Rh8/ 28. Bd3, Rde8/29. f7 and White won on move 47th.

5.- : 27. …, Nc3!/ 28. Kc1, Na4!/ 29. Kb1, Rxb2!!/ 30. Rxb2, Nc3/ 31. Kc1 , Qa3! 32. Bd3, Qa1 / 33. Kd2, Qxb2/ 34. Ke1, Ne4/ White resigned.

(All these positions are from Bobby Fischer’s games)


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January 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

Chess Under the California Sun

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World Champ. Spassky

In 1966 the Piatigorsky couple (the famous cellist George Piatigorsky and his wife Jacqueline) organised the “2nd Piatigorsky Cup”. The first one had taken place three years before. This time, Mrs Piatigorsky decided to invite Bobby Fischer who had not been invited in the previous one -provoking some disrespectful comments on Bobby’s part…-. The great event was scheduled to be played from July 17th all through August  15th, the venue was Santa Monica, California, USA. The importance of he tournament was such that even FIDE recommended its member nations not to organise  any other event during the celebration of the Piatigorsky one.

It was a double round-robin tournament and the always seemingly reluctant Soviet authorities (sending players to the USA…) even agreed to send two players to it , and they were no others than the current World Champion Tigran Petrosian and the challenger Boris Spassky, the two best players in the world (during those years I consider that the World Champion and the challenger were the best players in the world though it is a matter of opinion)  and who had just played for the title with the victory of Petrosian, as everybody knows.

Besides these two super GMs, the list of players included Bobby Fischer, B. Larsen, W. Unzicker, L. Portisch, S. Reshevsky, M. Najdorf, B. Ivkov and J. Donner. The event seemed tailored to Fischer’s taste: he had always complained about the USA Championships, with few players and in which any small “accident” may cost the championship: here every player would have to play eighteen games against some of the best chessplayers in the world.

Nevertheless, Fischer started the tournament in a rather dull way, with a poor showing: when the first round-robin ended -9 games- he only had 3.5 points. He reacted in the second part of the event beating Reshevsky, Portisch, Ivkov, Donner, Larsen and Najdorf. With two rounds to go Spassky and him were leading the field. But Spassky seemed unbeatable, playing overwhelmingly strong Chess to emerge as the winner with 11.5 points and no losses ( Boris won five of the nine matches and drew the rest losing no game at all). Fischer was second winning more games than Boris but losing three of them. The rest were Larsen, Unzicker, Portisch, Petrosian (a poor performance by the World Champion),Reshevsky,Najdorf, Ivkov and Donner. Knowing Fischer’s character, one may suppose that the worst for him was that  he was unable to defeat Petrosian (two draws) and the loss in his particular duel with Spassky (1.5 -0.5 for the Soviet). I have read that during Petrosian’s years as World Champion many people considered Spassky as the “real” champion (poles apart stylistically speaking ,one may share or not this opinion but it is understandable. Spassky was not only an attacking player  with what was defined as a universal style, he was also one of the most difficult players to beat, and up till 1972, he was Fischer’s “bête noir”).

W.: B. Spassky (1)

B.: R. Fischer  (0)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

1. d4, Nf6/ 2. c4, g6 / 3. Nc3, d5 / 4. cd, Nd5/  5. e4, Nc3 / 6. bc, Bg7 / 7. Bc4, c5/ 8. Ne2, Nc6/ 9. Be3, 0-0 / 10. 0-0, Qc7/ 11. Rc1, Rd8/  12. Qe1, e6 / 13. f4, Na57 14. Bd3, f5 /15. Rd1, b6 / 16. Qf2, cd/ 17. Bd4, Bd4/ 18. cd,Bb7/ 19. Ng3, Qf7 /20. d5, fe/ 21. de, Qe6/ 22. f5, Qf7/ 23. Be4, Rd1/ 24. Rd1, Rf8/ 25. Bb1, Qf6/ 26. Qc2, Kh8/ 27. fg, hg/ 28. Qd2, Kg7/ 29. Rf1, Qe7/ 30. Qd4, Rf6/ 31. Ne4, Be4/ 32. Be4, Qc5/ 33. Qc5, Rf1?/ 34. Kf1, bc/ 35. h4, Nc4/ 36. Ke2, Ne5/ 37. Ke3, Kf6/ 38. Kf4, Nf7/ 39. Ke3, g5/ 40. h5, Nh6/ 41. Kd3, Ke5/ 42. Ba8, Kd6/ 43. Kc4, g4/ 44. a4, Ng8/ 45. a5, Nh6/ 46. Be4, g3/ 47. Kb5, Ng8/ 48. Bb1, Nh6/ 49. Ka6, Kc6/ 50. Ba2 .Black resigned.

W.: B. Larsen (0)

B.: B. Spassky  (1)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

1. d4, d5/ 2.c4, dc/ 3. Nf3, Nf6/ 4. e3, Bg4/ 5. h3, Bh5/ 6. Nc3, e6/ 7. Bc4, Nbd7/ 8. 0-0, Be7/ 9. e4, 0-0/10.Be3, Bg6/ 11. Bd3, c6/ 12. a3, Rc8/ 13. Re1, Bh5/ 14. Rc1, a5/ 15. Be2, Bg6/ 16. Nd2, Ra8/ 17. Qb3, Qb8/ 18. Bf3, h6/ 19. g3, Rc8/ 20. Bg2, b5/ 21. e5, a4/ 22.Na4, ba/ 23. Qb8, Rab8/24.ef, Nf6/ 25. Nc4, Nd5/ 26. Ne5, Ne3/ 27. Re3, Rb2/ 28. d5, Rc2/ 29. Rc2,Bc2/ 30. Nc6, Kf8 /31. de, fe/ 32. Ne7, Ke7/ 33. Bd5, e5/ 34. Be4, Bb3/ 35. Bb7, Rc1/ 36. Kh2, Ra1/ 37. Re5, Kd6/ 38.Re3, Ra3/ 39. g4, Ra2/ 40. Kg3, Rb2/ 41. Re1, a3/ 42. Be4, a2/43. f4,Rd2/ White resigned.

W.: M. Najdorf (0)

B.: T. Petrosian (1)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup. Santa Monica 1966

1. d4, Nf6/ 2. c4, g6/ 3. g3, c5/ 4. d5, d6/5.Nc3, Bg7 / 6. Bg2, 0-0 /7.Nf3, Na6/ 8. 0-0,Nc7/9. a4, Rb8/ 10. h3, b6/ 11. e4, a6/ 12. e5, Nd7/ 13. ed6, ed6/ 14. Bg5, f6/ 15. Bf4, Ne8/ 16. h4, Ne5/ 17. Nd2, Nf7/ 18. Re1, g5/19. hg5, fg5 / 20.Be3, Ne5/ 21. Nce4, h6/ 22. Ra3, Ng4/ 23. Qc1, Rb7/ 24. Bf3, Rbf7/ 25. Bg4, Bg4/ 26. Qb1, a5/ 27. Qc1,Be5/ 28. Kg2, Qd7/ 29. Rh1, Qf5/ 30. Bg5, hg5/ 31. f3, Nf6/ 32. fg4, Qg4/ 33. Qd1, Qd1/ 34. Rd1, Ne4/ 35. Ne4, g4/ 36. Rd2, Bd4/ 37. Ra1, Re7/ 38. Nf2, Re3/ 39. Ng4, Rb3/ 40. Nh2, Rb4/ 41. Re1, Rc4/ 42. Re6, Ra4/ 43. Rd6, Rb4/ 44. Rc6, a4/ 45. d6, Kf7/ 46. Nf3, Ke6/ 47. Nd4, cd4/ 48. d7, Kd7/ 49. Rh6, Rf5/ 50. g4, Rd5/ 51. Kf3, d3/ 52. Rf6, b5/ 53. Rf4,Rc4/ 54. Re4, Kd6/ 55. Ke3, Rc2/ 56. g5, Rc1/ 57. Rg4, Re1/ 58. Kf2, Re8/ 59. g6, Kc5/ 60. g7, Rdd8/ 61. Kf3, b4/ 62. Kf2, Kb5/ 63. Kf3, a3/ 64. ba3, ba3/ 65. Kf2, Rg8/ 66. Ke3, Rd7/ 67. Rd3, Rd3/ 68. Kd3, a2/ 69. Rg1, Rg7/ 70. Ra1, Rg2/ 71. Kc3, Ka4/ 72. Rh1, Ka3/ 73. Rf1, Rg8/ 74. Rh1, Rc8/ White resigned.

W.: L. Portisch (1)

B.: T. Petrosian (0)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

1. c4, g6/ 2. d4, Bg7/ 3. Nf3, Nc3/ 4. Nc3, Nf6/ 5. g3, 0-0/ 6. Bg2, Nc6/ 7. 0-0, a6/ 8. d5, Na5/ 9. Nd2, c5/ 10. Qc2, Rb8/11. b3, b5/ 12. Bb2, bc4/ 13. bc4, Bh6/ 14. f4, e5/ 15. Rae1, ef4/ 16. gf4, Nh5/ 17. e3, Re8/ 18. Nce4, Bf5/ 19. Bc3, Nb7/20. Qa4, a5/ 21. Rb1, Qe7/ 22. Rfe1, Bd7/ 23. Qc2, Bf5/ 24. Qa4, Kf8/ 25. Rb6, Rbd8/ 26. Qb3, Bc8/ 27. Nf1, Rd7/ 28. Nfg3, Ng3/ 29. hg3, Bg7/ 30. Qb2, f5 /31. Bg7, Qg7/ 32. Nf6 , Black resigned.


Written by QChess

December 27, 2012 at 7:46 am

Posted in CHESS, Chess History, Fischer, Spassky

Tagged with , ,

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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