Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Bobby Fischer’s most outrageous chess game! – The “Game of the Century”!

Bobby Fischer’s most outrageous chess game! – The “Game of the Century”!


Hi all. I think there are some chess games
though just so good that one should to try and revisit them and look at them again from
different perspectives. Now one of the games that I consider really exceptional
was from Bobby Fischer – Robert James Fischer when he was 13 years old in 1956 it was
October 1956 played at the Marshall chess club. It was at Fischer’s first
adult tournament – an invitational tournament that was a result of Bobby
Fischer winning the US Junior Championship three months earlier and it
was the Rosenwald tournament – so the first adult all master tournament of Fischer’s
career and in the seventh round Fischer was paired against Donald Byrne. Donald
Byrne was an international master and a former US Open champion. The Rosenwald
tournament by the way was named after Lessing J Rosenwald who was the former
chairman of Sears Roebuck who was an important art collector and chess patron
so let’s have a look at this fantastic game again. Let’s see. Knight f3 from
Donald Byrne playing white so not too committal.It can transpose into various
things like the English opening. Fischer played Nf6 so symmetrical reply and we
do have a signal for the English opening here c4. Fischer played g6. At this
stage it can go into various kind of terrains here – an English opening – a
Kings Indian type position. White plays Knight c3 we have Bishop g7 and white
now kind of transposes it potentially to a Gruenfeld or a Kings Indian
defense by playing now d4. If he wanted to keep it in English
opening style territory maybe g3 instead so is occupying the center a bit
with d4. Black castles. and now seemingly a very solid sensible
move Bishop f4 now Fischer played quite a common move here not to play d6 but
actually d5 so it’s more of a Gruenfeld defense flavor to it and this
next move is often transposing into the Russian system of the Gruenfeld where
white is losing some tempo with the Queen but is trying to establish a
powerful center so there’s obvious downsides here to white’s play with the
potential tempos on the Queen possible but the upside that is promised the
central occupation and control so that’s the trade really in chess you often you
have to get the pair together to get the advantage you have to give up something
so here yeah the Queen the subject to tempo gains. d takes… Queen takes. Fischer
now plays c6 so is establishing a bit more of a grip on d5. Also b5 is
often on the cards here as a move to gain a tempo on Queen without moving the
Knights and the knight supporting by that c6 pawn of b5 is enabled that could be
useful to try and influence the center we see white playing e4 so he has got
what he wanted b5 is I believe a popular move here
but Nbd7 was played and usually here the move which is usually
played is Be2 so this a few games in livebook with Bishop e2 but white
seemed to be wanting to get a grip on all the black’s counterplay here. So that seems to
be the message with this next move rook d1 as though don’t even think about any
e5 later or a knight move perhaps e5 Don’t even think about this because
I’m using prophylaxis here to stop any naughtiness with e5 – as I’m looking at your
Queen X raying your queen. Fischer reacts with Knight b6
and another move which portrays this kind of style of play trying to get a grip
on black totally strangling black from both sides of the board to try and say
you know ‘Don’t dare any pawn breaks’. The Queen actually went to c5 here so it’s
kind of trying to intensify the pressure on blacks dark squares and looking at e7 is a point to this that white wants to kind of say to black you know I’m
going to have this Vulcan type grip here with Bishop g5 putting pressure on
your dark squares. Fischer reacts here with Bishop g4 and yes it
would seem sensible here to try Bishop e2 now sensible developing move trying to get
castled but this idea of having you know trying to get a real grip on black
is continued with this next move Bishop g5 and it’s kind of risky thing in
principle to do to move the same piece twice instead of getting on with
development. Added to that the king is still two moves away from casting into safety
so the King is on this ‘e’ file. We’ve had this piece that’s moved twice but are
these big issues can actually be exploited. The bishop as such is not so
much an unprotected piece. It’s protected by the Queen and the knight but having
said that black does have the option to take away protection of that bishop so
potentially leave it as an unprotected piece which could then fall victim to
potential double attacks as we know loose pieces tend to fall often from
double attacks so as well as moving the piece twice it’s not entirely safe in
principle given that Black has the option what Bishop takes f3. There are a
lot of subtle little factors in this position but most notably the King the
center two moves away from castling, slightly
loose piece piece on g5 and also this Queen subject to potential tempo gains but it
doesn’t seem obvious here if for example Nbd7 the queen could
step back comfortably to a3 and keep exerting this annoying dark square
pressure but there’s a really stunning move that is played in this position and
if you haven’t seen this game before then it will come as a real shock I’ll
give you five seconds to pause the video and see what you can do with the black
pieces okay so in this position what did Fischer play with the black pieces
. So there’s a few factors as I say. The bishop is slightly loose. The king in the
center and the Queen potential tempo gains but it doesn’t seem obvious how to
get a tempo from the Queen. Okay I’ll show you now in five seconds from here okay
Na4!! and arguably technically this is one of the strongest moves of the game
it’s an absolutely amazing stunning move exploiting all these little factors
really. The knight is protecting e4 and imagine this Knight fork that’s one
idea and that looks at that Bishop which might be loose and you might think well
what about e7 but the Kings on the e-file so let’s see all this in action.
What if white did take this Knight here He didn’t actually – he retreated his
queen and let us see what happens here Knight takes a4 Nxe4 and yes we’re
exploiting not only a tempo going on Queen but that potentially those bishop
and here is just very very tricky in this position. Various moves to consider
if queen c1 trying to protect the bishop is that Bishop that loose ?! Well the thing
is there is another loose piece over here and there’s also the King still in the center so
Queen a5 could be annoying but technically black does best with taking
first on f3 then playing Queen a5 check and he’s getting the
material back. Black is getting the material back with advantage here. This
is just incredibly annoying. The bishops now loose so you know the outrageous looking
moves don’t work here. You want to try and protect the bishop but Bishop d2. Black
and now play Knight takes and then take on a4 and White’s completely shattered
here – shattered structure significantly worse. This is a nightmare scenario
so it seems Qc1 doesn’t really help matters at all if we look in this
position. Qc1 doesn’t really help matters at all so another idea
Qb4 just humbly retreating the queen and he’s holding the knight but
then that bishop is is an exploitable loose piece or is it?! Well black
technically does best to create another loose piece first. Knight takes creating a
loose knight winning the exchange here so yeah a rook against two minor pieces
it’s quite good with the king in the center . This is really crushing. b5
with the king in the center and White is falling to bits here and then if white
tries this the knights loose and this other knight
is going to be victimized with Queen d5 and White is just really falling to
bit like this for example total nightmare scenario
absolute nightmare scenario. We just rewind that so Queen b4 here
doesn’t fare that well either So so far queen c1 queen b4 – they are not really up to it. Bishop takes e7 this is horrible
this knight takes is actually hitting the knight on a4 and also black and fling in a
check here which is very useful so if Nxa4 then again black is hugely
better in this position. You can to shatter the structure and win the b2
pawn. Absolute nightmare for White here. Black will be
loving this position and one more try: A key variation – a well celebrated
variation in this game Queen takes will check we can just take here and the king
in the center is exposed in this variation After Queen takes here Bishop e7 black
can gain another tempo with Bishop takes and now Bishop f8 exploiting the pin
and white is again in a terrible state so it seems
whatever happens after nxa4 It seems horrible in all of those
scenarios mentioned after Nxe4 All of these factors are coming
together : the tempo gains on the Queen the loose pieces sometimes, the e-file
– they’re all coming together so yeah white trying to keep controlling
position – Queen a3 was played. Fischer now plays Knight takes c3 B takes now we have Knight takes e4
offering e7 opening up this ‘e’ file against the king it’s a really
unfortunate position it seems ah but not only is Fischer potentially ripping
open the e-file – he’s also got his eye on this diagonal being ripped open
really more subtle here so what can White do in this position?! Well he took on e7 now just this brilliant move Queen b6 is
played which occupies that b4 and supports the idea of the tactic like
nxc3 so here it’s really really tricky for white with the King in
the center if he goes for Bishop takes f8 then it’s not just the e-file that’s
actually this diagonal believe it or not that’s been put under scrutiny after
Bishop takes, the Bishop is re-routing to this diagonal so say Queen b3. The
crushing move here would be nxc3 and you see that this diagonals
lit up now – it’s hopeless this position for white if he takes and we have that
skewer – ouch! and if Queen takes then again this is
just a nightmare after takes – black has got a crushing position here pawn up
and it’s just absolutely crushing okay so this this is just unbelievably bad as
well so white tries now to Castle it’s too little too late
take bishop so Bishop c4 is played Fischer is not letting white off here
he plays nxc3 so on surface seemingly trying to
distract the Queen from the e-file so that rook e8 will be really good but White
plays what seems to be initially a very resourceful move. He plays actually
Bishop c5 gaining what seems to be an important tempo on the black Queen if
instead Bishop takes f8 here Bishop takes and this is just horrible for White. This position it’s all falling to bits
for example like this using the pin so yeah what seems to be a clever move is
played Bishop c5 just to demonstrate by the way Qxc3 again here this
is just bad this position is just better for black – pawn up ‘e’ file control weak
pawn on d4 under great scrutiny so Bishop c5 but now white is forfeiting casting rights because the Knight is eyeing e2 after the check cannot put anything in
front here really it’s pretty horrible you might think Ne5 – not
really black has all sorts of resources it’s just absolutely horrible you could
even consider taking and then Bd6 check so White forfeits casting rights
with King f1 now apparently the story goes that
Fisher had only 20 minutes here to reach move 40 so this is about move 16 move 17
King f1 he takes his time here and he plays absolutely magical move in this
position against Donald Byrne an absolutely magical move if you haven’t
seen this game you might want to pause the video here to see what you would do
with black in this position so five seconds starting from now … okay he didn’t
move the Queen – this knight is hanging here so it looks pretty tricky otherwise
but it seems to be a big problem in this position but he solves all the problems
with this move Bishop e6 offering the Queen offering a queen sac here. There
are various possibilities again for white if we don’t accept the Queen – the bishops being
challenged here first thing to note is if the bishop takes then we can get onto
this key diagonal this is this key checking diagonals with Qb5 check –
this is actually fairly terminal it’s a forced mate actually after King g1 – Can
you see how you would force mate here with black if I give you five seconds to
pause the video okay check here double check it’s the
power double check it’s nothing to be put in front and you can see a mate in two now from this position five seconds starting from now … queen f1 and the king
is being smothered .. checkmate beautiful stuff in that variation with Bishop
takes e6 so the bishops trying to stand guard to this diagonal from the Queen
using b5 potentially but let’s look at the main possibilities – Bishop d3 so
standing guard on that diagonal but here black can save himself .. What would you do to
save black in this position ?! You’ve got loose knight on c3 there’s a really good
move here .. Attack is the best form of defence Black has nb5 hitting
White Queen getting the knight out of danger and this is just better for black for
example taking we take here the queen and it’s just much better for black so
that’s no good Bd3. Bishop e2 again Knight b5 just hitting the
Queen this is the snag. Qb4 and we’ve got a5 and we can just move
Queen and we are much better. White has given up casting right so yeah
Knight d2 we’ve got a really good move here we can actually play Knight b1
here hitting the Queen spectacularly. If Knight takes we can take on c4. Qc1 Nxd2
check. Ouch! It’s all falling to bits. So there’s not too many moves apart from
taking the Queen here so Bishop takes b6 and it’s virtually all over actually
here after Bishop takes b6 because black is getting so much material for the
Queen yes technically it’s a queen sacrifice but there’s just so much
material for it after bishop takes b6 the damage is really being done and it
seems so you know combination of three things
tempo gaining Queen a slightly loose piece move twice and King the center has
resulted in this nightmare forcing sequence now after Bxc4
picking up a bishop ..Check…. now picking up a central pawn now with see-saw checks. The see-saw continues putting the King there. nc3 check – the knight
is very powerful on c3. Now getting this bishop there’s a lot
material being collected and whites rooks are not very happy about this
position particularly this one is moaning yeah yeah it’s not being given a chance to do
anything useful so far in this game and the queen is still subject to harassment
still in this position it’s just a nightmare – Where the Queen go ?! queen c1 got
ne2 check so yeah Queen b2 Ne2 check – Queen has got limited
squares we have Qb4 and we have horrible coordination now rook a4 and
white’s losing even more material the rook so yeah – quite a collection of pieces
with these guys not being very useful still – the rest is just technique
essentially of this game is just so much material for the Queen. h3 rook
takes a2 – yes trying to get the rook out and at last the rook seems some light of day but losing f2 in the process so we now got King safety issues as well as
been basically material down White is a sport though – Donald is a
sport. He plays on til the mate he plays rook e1 – it doesn’t really help
the situation this after Knight takes e1 okay but Bishop d5 there’s just too
many pieces for whites Queen. The knight is not helping. There are just too many
exploitable targets. It’s not a position with great coordination with
Queen and knight so that it stumbles back ne4 – powerful centralization now Queen b8 okay while the bishop is pinned
otherwise bd6 is nasty but b5 holding That ‘b’ pawn. That ‘b’ pawn is pretty solid
now so all black has to do is move his King and threatening Bishop d6 to win
the Queen here – you can imagine something like theres bd6 will be winning
Queen we see h4 h5 not letting white do anything. Ne5 Kg7 bd6 is still
very nasty now. King moves but now we have the final
combinative play of combining the power of pieces. This check ng3 check –
the King is swept from one side of the board majestically to the other bb3 ne2 check nc3 check Rook c2 checkmate. Wow!
Fisher’s first adult torment against the former US Open champion Donald Byrne.
what a spectacular game I thought. This was worth revisiting I hope it’s good
revision sometimes it’s good to revise variations and ideas I think some of the
major lessons of this game involve the queen is a very sensitive piece you know
you have got to be very careful and it’s using everything for tempo gains – loose
pieces is another issue – keeping the King a bit too long in the center – these
were all drastically punished by Fischer in this game. Very very instructive game
and he was only 13 and it was his first adult tournament. Incredible the
circumstances surrounding it. So Hans Kmoch called this game the ‘game of the
century’ and the media took hold of the game – even the Russians took notice calling
moves like na4 absolutely brilliant The Russians, Botvinnik – everyone
around the world to notice of this game comments or questions on YouTube
thanks very much! 🙂

16 comments on “Bobby Fischer’s most outrageous chess game! – The “Game of the Century”!

  1. Replayable game link: http://www.chessworld.net/chessclubs/ltpgnviewer32/ltpgnboard.asp?GameID=812811&v=rFdENlL_-XQ
    Join me or other Youtubers for a game: http://www.chessworld.net/chessclubs/asplogin.asp?from=1053 – Cheers, K

  2. Hi kingscrusher – you asked people on the CCCC chat to comment on this video. You could do a bit less commentary on the opening transpositions, since they aren't particularly relevant to this game.
    I like the much deeper coverage of the moves just before the shocker – most commententors seem to largely ignore them. I also like the coverage of most (all?) of the other plausible responses to N a4 and why
    they fail, plus how to push the advantage after Byrne's actual response. And all the rest is great. This game has been covered so many times – there isn't much point in doing the usual shallow analysis.

  3. I liked your proposed scenarios and option of moves but sometimes I just lost the thread of the game as there was too much of your time between the players moves.

  4. the only time Bobby Fisher lost multiple games in a row,was twice under the age of 16!! he lost 4 strait to Spaasky and 4 strait to Mikhail Tal,all in Russia when a 15 year old Fisher ist came there in 1958, Tal later became world champ in 1960, an Spassky was at the time top of his game and a world contender. Fisher crushed both of them after 16 years old. bobby blanked Tal an beat him also in the blitz .Bobby crushed Spassky an won the world championship!!

  5. wen white played rook D1, in minut 4:10 and bishop G5 5:30 then you dont need to watch anymore becaus white shoud play bishop E2 and casel but he played oposit bishop and miss to castel
    after that robert use that and crush him becaus that was really bad and so bad move that i wen i wach it and put my self in white position i woulde imidiatly put my king on saifty

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