World Champion Robert Fischer
For many, many years, the annotations in Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games" have gone unchallenged and all his writings have been considered to be sacrosanct. Now, however, Robert Huebner picks up his microscope and subjects the work to a penetrating examination. He presents some pertinent comments which are well worth considering albeit his conclusions are a matter of opinion rather than a definitive and objective appraisal of Fischer's comments.
This CD by ChessBase is well worth close examination as it presents an enquiring and searching review of analysis previously considered to be faultless.
I, for one, am not entirely convinced that Fisher's analysis can be faulted, but after a close scrutiny of Huebner's comments there is still a nagging suspicion that maybe, just maybe, there may be a few chinks that need to be addressed again.
Appended to this review is a copy of Huebner's comments on the game between Fischer and Tal played at the Leipzig Olympiad in 1960 - probably the most exciting draw ever played.
I would like to comment on this game as a whole. I quote the notes from Fischer's book, which I analyzed; they follow immediately after the game-moves to which they refer, and they are bracketed by inverted commas.
Tal also commented on the game: M. Tal, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, 1976, Game number 36, p. 211-214. Compared to Fischer's notes Tal's comments only contain little that is new; I quoted what seemed to be important to me.
G. Jacoby treated the game in one of his training groups in Hamburg on the basis of my first notes; thus, I was able to make use of hints by Bobzin, Joecks, Kastek, Schulte, Stein, Wahls (and possibly others).
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 6.b4 cxd4 7.Qg4 Ne7 8.bxa5 dxc3 9.Qxg7 Rg8 10.Qxh7 Nbc6 ["On 10...Nd7 11.Nf3 Qc7 12.Bb5 a6 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.0-0 d4!? (Archives) 15.Nxd4 Qxe5 16.Qd3 is better for White."; After 10...Nd7 11.Nf3 Qc7 12.Bb5 a6 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.0-0 d4 the "Encyclopedia of Chess Openings" gives in Volume C (2. edition) under 16/17, footnote 80 the continuation 15.Bg5 Bc6 16.Bxe7 Kxe7 17.Qh4+ Ke8 18.Ng5 Qxe5 19.f4|^ (Euwe). I find it difficult to agree to this assessment; to my mind, Black has a considerable advantage after 19...Qf5 .; But Fischer's belief that White would be better after 10...Nd7 11.Nf3 Qc7 12.Bb5 a6 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.0-0 d4 15.Nxd4 Qxe5 if he continues with 16.Qd3 deserves to be examined. 16...Qg7 (16...0-0-0 17.g3 (17.Qxc3+? Bc6 and Black wins.; 17.Qc4+ Kb8 18.Bf4 Rxg2+ 19.Kh1 (White cannot cope with the attack Black obtains after 19.Kxg2 Qxf4 Black threatens, among other things, to play 20...e5) 19...Rxh2+ 20.Bxh2 Rh8 21.Nf3 (21.f4 Qe4+ 22.Rf3 Nf5 23.Qd3 (23.Qe2 fails to 23...Ng3+ ) 23...Qxd4 Black is winning.) 21...Bc6 22.Qxc6 Rxh2+ with advantage for Black.) 17...Nd5 (17...Bb5 fails to 18.Qxc3+ Nc6 19.Nxb5 ) 18.Rb1 Qc7 Black has good prospects.; 16...Rd8 17.Qe3 Qd5 (17...Qg7 18.g3 does not convince for Black: 18...Ba4 (18...e5 19.Nf3 White is better.; 18...Nd5 19.Qe4 White has nothing to fear.) 19.Ne2 Nd5 (19...Bxc2 20.Qxc3 does not yield anything at all for the second player) 20.Qe4 Bb5 21.Re1 (or 21.a4 Black achieved nothing.) ) 18.f3 Ba4 19.Ne2 Nf5 20.Qf2 (20.Qxc3 Bb5 21.Nf4 Qd4+ 22.Qxd4 Nxd4 23.Rf2 Nb3 and Black wins.) 20...Qc4 Black has enormous pressure 21.Bf4 Bxc2 22.Rac1 Rd2 ) 17.g3 e5 18.Ne2 Bb5 19.Qf3 Qh7 20.Re1 Bc6 21.Qe3 0-0-0 Now 22.Qxe5 fails to (22.Nxc3 is refuted with 22...Nf5 .) 22...Qxh2+ Black has enormous pressure. Not White, but Black should have the better prospects after 16.Qd3. This might be the reason why 11.f4 instead of 11.Nf3 is given in the ECO C (2. edition) 17/16 as main line.]
11.Nf3 Qc7 12.Bb5 Fischer gives an exclamation mark to this move and remarks: "Harmoniously pursuing development without losing time. Also playable is [12.Bf4 Bd7 13.Be2 0-0-0 14.Qd3 Qxa5 15.0-0 Rg4 16.Bg3 (Unzicker - Dückstein, Zürich 1959)."; An extensive discussion of the move can be found in E.Agur's book (Bobby Fischer: A Study of His Approach to Chess, London 1992) in the chapter with the charming, even though incomprehensible heading "The Poetry of Empty Squares" on p.122-123. Among other things Agur writes: "Years before the publication of 'My Sixty Memorable Games', grandmaster Efim Geller annotated the game for the German magazine 'Schach' (Footnote: December 1960, p.358), and this is what he saw in Fischer's move: " 12.Bb5? ; It is well known that 12.Bf4 leads to White's advantage. 12.Bb5 is, besides, disadvantageous since Fischer will have to exchange his bishop in order to protect his e5 pawn, which is bad for his position." Of course, Agur comes to the conclusion that Fischer's move is the better one. But if the notes, which I will offer in the following, are correct, 12.Bb5 at any rate does not lead to an advantage for White. Of course, it would be presumptuous and mistaken to pass a final judgment on the merits of the move 12.Bf4. If one goes by practical experiences, it offers better chances for an advantage than 12.Bb5.]
12...Bd7 13.0-0 0-0-0 ["After the game Petrosian suggested 13...Nxe5 but 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 16.Qd3! keeps White on top (if 16...Qe4 17.Qxe4 dxe4 18.f3! wins a Pawn)."; It might be rewarding to compare this with Tal's view: "The most critical moment of the game. At this point I spent about 40 minutes assessing the position arising after 13...Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 16.Qd3 . At first sight it appears very attractive for Black. He has good chances both in the middle game (in view of the open files on the K-side), and in the endgame, thanks to his far advanced pawn on c3. But at the board I somehow could not find a way to strengthen my position significantly, while at the same time the b-file gives White considerable counterchances. For example: 16...Rac8 17.Rb1 Kc7 18.Rb5 Kb8 19.Be3 and White has activated his forces. It is very difficult for Black to set his central pawn mass in motion, and therefore I rejected 13...Ne5, preferring the stronger move in the game."; The crucial question is: 13...Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 Is the position after 16.Qd3 really better for White? Here are some possible continuations: 16...Rac8 (16...Nc6? 17.Rb1 Kc7 (17...Nxa5 18.Qb5+ Nc6 19.Qxb7+ Qc7 20.Bf4 with advantage for White: 20...e5 fails to 21.Bxe5 ) 18.Qf3 Qg7 19.Bf4+ e5 20.Bg3 d4 21.Rb5 f6 22.Rfb1 Rab8 23.Qd5 The threats of 24.Qb3 and 24.f4 are very strong.; 16...Rh8 . Black tries to immediately attack as sharply as possible, but I do not trust his position after 17.h3 Rag8 18.Rb1 Kc8 19.Rb4 .; 16...d4 was played in the game Chandler-Vaganian, Naestved 1985 (Inf. 40/367): 17.Rd1 is stronger than 17.Rb1; the knight is first lured to an unfavorable square: (17.Rb1 Qd5 18.f3 Rac8 19.Qe4 (19.Bf4 e5 20.Bg3 f6 was played in the game Chandler-Vaganian; it is difficult to assess the position, but it should offer enough possibilities for Black) 19...f5 (After 19...Kc6 20.Rb4 White has an advantage) 20.Rxb7+ Rc7 21.Rxc7+ Kxc7 22.Qxd5 Nxd5 23.Rd1 e5 24.f4 Kd6 Black shouldn't lose.) 17...Nf5 (17...Nc6 18.Qf3 Qd5 19.Qxd5+ exd5 20.Rb1 with advantage for White.; After 17...Qd5 18.Qxd4 Rxg2+ 19.Kf1 the threat of 20.Qa4 is lethal as was shown by Vaganian in the Chess Informant) 18.Rb1 (18.Qf3 Qd5 19.Qxd5+ exd5 leads to an endgame that is difficult to assess; I think the position is balanced) 18...Qd5 19.f3 Rac8 (19...Nh4 20.Rb5 Rxg2+ 21.Kf1 Qd6 22.Be3 (but not 22.Qxd4 Rg1+ ) 22...e5 23.Qe4 leads to a position in which Black should not be able to survive) 20.Qe4 To my mind, White is clearly better here.) 17.Rb1 Rc7 was played in two games: 18.Be3 (18.Rb4 Nc6 19.Rh4 Qg7 20.g3 happened in the game Horváth,Is.-Luther,T, Szekszard Open 1989. I do not believe that Black has to fear the position that arises after 20...Kc8 .) 18...Nc6 19.f4 Qd6 20.Bd4 Qxa3 21.Ra1 Qb4 22.Bxc3 Qc5+ 23.Rf2 a6 was played in the game Balashov-Lputian, Uzgorod 1988. Here, too, Black apparently has nothing to worry about. Thus, the feeling that White is better after 16.Qd3 might have betrayed both Fischer and Tal.]
14.Bg5 ["I simply underestimated the force of Tal's reply. Correct is 14.Bxc6! Bxc6 (if 14...Qxc6 15.Bg5 d4 16.h4! ; or 14...Nxc6 15.Re1 followed by Bg5 and h4 with a decisive bind) 15.Qxf7 d4 (unsound is 15...Rxg2+ 16.Kxg2 d4 17.Kg1 Rg8+ 18.Ng5 ) 16.Qxe6+ Bd7 (16...Kb8 17.Ng5 is hopeless) 17.Qxe7 Rxg2+ 18.Kxg2 Bh3+ 19.Kxh3 Qxe7 20.Bg5 and White soon consolidates to victory."; My feeling refuses to believe in 14.Bc6, a move that helps to develop the opponent and that sacrifices the light squares; I cannot believe that it wins by force. It is worth the effort to search for improvements for Black in the lines given by Fischer. I After 14.Bxc6 Bxc6 15.Qxf7 the move 15...Rdf8 comes into consideration. If White continues in similar fashion as in the line given by Fischer and after 16.Qxe6+ Bd7 17.Qxe7 Rxg2+ plays 18.Kxg2 Black, after (Better is the continuation 18.Kh1 After 18...Rxf3 19.Bg5 (19.Be3 cannot be recommended for White; Black can reply 19...d4 20.Bxd4 Qc6 with the threat of 21...Rh2) 19...Rgxf2 (19...Rfxf2 fails to 20.Qf8+ ) 20.Rxf2 Rxf2 21.Kg1 Rf5 22.Bf6 Kb8 23.Rd1 it is obvious that White has a great, possibly decisive advantage. The attempt 15...Rdf8 cannot shatter Fischer's claim.) 18...Bh3+ 19.Kxh3 Qxe7 is basically a tempo up, compared to Fischer's proposal; after 20.Kg2 Qh7 21.Ng5 Qxc2 the situation indeed lacks the clarity White would welcome. 22.Be3 is answered by (On 22.e6 Black replies 22...d4 ) 22...Qf5 threatening 23...d4 and 23...Qe5.; II A critical position arises after 14.Bxc6 Bxc6 15.Qxf7 d4 16.Qxe6+ Kb8 17.Ng5 It is very interesting to continue with 17...Ba4 putting a painful question to the pawn on c2: (In the game Mrdja-Dr. Reefschläger, Lugano Open 1982 17...Nd5 was played; Black apparently pursues the idea to win the pawn on e5, after which his initiative should balance his material disadvantage. White therefore played 18.f4 but he now has problems developing his queen's bishop; moreover, the hole on e3 is extremely annoying. (18.Qh3 appears safer to me. 18...Qxe5 (after 18...Rde8 19.Nf3 the second player has problems to protect the pawn on d4. (19.Qd3 Qxe5 20.Nf3 fails to the reply 20...Rxg2+ ) ) 19.Nf7 (19.Qg3 Qxg3 20.hxg3 Ba4 21.Ne6 Bxc2 22.Nxd4 Bh7 with an unclear position.) 19...Nf4 20.Bxf4 Qxf4 21.Nxd8 Bxg2 leads to a draw.; 18.a6 comes into consideration: 18...Rde8 (After 18...b6 there is nothing wrong with 19.f4 ; 18...Ne3 19.fxe3 Rxg5 20.e4 Rgg8 (20...Rxe5 fails to 21.Qxe5 Qxe5 22.Bf4 ) 21.Bf4 Bxe4 22.Rf2 White should have the better prospects.) 19.Qd6 Rxe5 20.Qxc7+ Kxc7 21.Nf3 Ree8 with an unclear position; on 22.Nxd4 Black has 22...Rxg2+ 23.Kxg2 Ne3+ ; 18.Re1 avoids weakening the dark squares and should be strongest: 18...Qxa5 (18...Rde8 19.Qf5 Rgf8 20.Qh7 Qxa5 (After 20...Re7 Black plays 21.Qh6 ) 21.Qd3 Nb4 22.axb4 Qxa1 23.b5 Bd7 24.Qxd4 Bxb5 25.Qd6+ and White wins.) 19.Qf5 Black will have difficulties to prove sufficient compensation for the sacrificed material; after 19...Rdf8 20.Qd3 Nb4 White again has 21.axb4 Qxa1 22.Qxd4 with a winning position for White.) After the sequence 18...Qxa5 19.Rb1 Qc5 20.Rf2 Black could have obtained a dangerous attack with 20...d3 .) White has to try to make use of the newly won liberty of his knight. 18.Qf6 is the indicated continuation. Black has a wealth of moves to choose from: (18.Ra2 fails to 18...Bb5 with the lethal threat of 19...Bc4.; 18.Nf7 Rg6 (18...Rdf8 19.Bh6 (19.Bg5 is met by 19...Rxf7 ) 19...Rg6 20.Qa2 Qc6 with advantage for Black.) 19.Nxd8 (19.Qa2 Bc6 20.Ng5 Bd5 21.Qb1 Qxe5 and Black wins.; 19.Qh3 Rdg8 20.g3 (20.Qd3 Rxg2+ 21.Kh1 Qc6 doesn't save White) 20...Bxc2 with a lamentable position for White.) 19...Rxe6 20.Nxe6 Qc4 Losing the pawn c2 should be White's downfall.; 18.Qh3 Bxc2 19.Ne6 Qd7 does not lead to the desired goal.) 18...Rg6 (18...Nd5 19.Qf5 isn't tempting for him; White defends c2 and consolidates.; 18...Rgf8 19.Ne6 Rxf6 20.exf6 also helps White to obtain some highly pleasing prospects.; 18...Bxc2 19.Ne6 Qc6 20.g3 (20.f3 Rd7 21.Nxd4 Qc5 22.Be3 Rxd4 23.e6 (23.Rac1 is refuted by 23...Rd2 ) 23...Nf5 Black has good prospects.) 20...Rd7 21.Nxd4 Rxd4 22.Qxe7 Qf3 23.Qf6 Bf5 24.e6 White's e-pawn develops a threatening power. (But not 24.Re1 Rf4 25.Bxf4 Bh3 and Black wins) ; 18...Rdf8 19.Qd6 Qxd6 20.exd6 Nf5 21.Bf4 threatening 22.Ne6 neither looks convincing for Black.) 19.Qf7 Rdg8 (19...Bxc2 20.Ne6 (After 20.e6 Black has the reply 20...Nd5 ) 20...Qc6 (20...Bb3 21.Qxg6 Nxg6 22.Nxc7 Kxc7 23.Bg5 with advantage for White.; 20...Rxe6 21.Qxe6 Rg8 22.Qd6 And here, too, Black's pair of pawns should not be powerful enough: 22...d3 23.Bf4 d2 24.e6 etc.) 21.Nf4 Nd5 22.Nxg6 Bxg6 23.Qf3 d3 24.Rd1 Black suffers from a lack of material; after 24...Qc4 White has 25.Qg3 ) 20.e6 Ka8 21.h4 (After 21.Bf4 Qd8 White has to deal with the threat of 22...Rf8) 21...Bxc2 I do understand too little about chess to confidently state who is better. At any rate, I think it justified to say that Fischer's assessment that Black's situation would be hopeless after 14.Bc6: Bc6: 15.Qf7 d4 16.Qe6:+ Kb8 17.Ng5 is too one-sided. I believe that 14.Bg5 does not deserve a question mark and that 14.Bc6 neither deserves an exclamation mark.]
14...Nxe5 15.Nxe5 ["Originally I'd intended 15.Bxd7+ but saw that after 15...Rxd7 16.Nxe5 (if 16.Bxe7 16...Nxf3+ 17.Kh1 Qxh2+! ) 16...Qxe5 17.Bxe7 Rh8! Black regains his piece with greater activity: e.g. 18.Rae1 Rxh7 19.Rxe5 Rxe7 and the compact center Pawns far outweigh White's passed h-Pawn.; Not playable is 15.Bxe7? Nxf3+ 16.Kh1 Rh8! "; It is worth to check the judgment passed by Fischer at the end of the line after 19...Re7 (and that is shared by Tal). This is important to be able to decide whether the move in the game was stronger than 15.Bd7. 15.Bxd7+ Rxd7 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Bxe7 Rh8 18.Rae1 Rxh7 19.Rxe5 Rxe7 White has the following plausible attempts: 20.Rd1 is stronger than the other tries (20.f4 f6 21.Re3 d4 22.Re4 e5 23.fxe5 fxe5 24.Rf5 Kd7 25.Rfxe5 Rxe5 26.Rxe5 Kd6 27.Re4 After other moves the reply 27...d3 is strong 27...Kd5 (27...Kc5 28.Re5+ Kc4 29.Re8 isn't better for Black) 28.Re8 Rh6 White's life is extremely endangered.; 20.Rfe1 Rc7 (20...Kd7? 21.R5e3 d4 22.Rd1 costs Black material.; 20...Rh4 21.Rxd5 exd5 22.Rxe7 Rd4 (22...Ra4 23.Kf1 Rxa3 24.Ke2 is concomitant to suicide) 23.Kf1 Kd8 24.Re3 Rd1+ 25.Re1 (The continuation 25.Ke2 Rd2+ 26.Kf3 Rxc2 27.Rd3 Ke7 28.Rxd5 Ra2 should offer no winning chances for White) 25...Rd2 White has a choice whether to force a draw with 26.Re2 (or whether to play for a win with 26.Rc1 .) ) 21.f4 Kd7 22.f5 Rh6 Black is better.) 20...Rc7 (To 20...Rh4 21.Rdxd5 20.Tfe1 Th4) 21.g3 (21.Rd3 Rh4 is uncomfortable for White; after 21.f4 Black can become immediately active with 21...Rc4 22.g3 Ra4 ) 21...Kd7 22.Rd3 Rh8 23.Ree3 Rhc8 24.h4 Kd6 25.f4 f6 26.Kg2 e5 27.fxe5+ fxe5 28.g4 Once more I do not dare to pass a final judgment on the position.; To assess the merits of 15.Ne5 it is worth noting that Tal after 15.Bxd7+ mentions the move 15...Kxd7 . After 16.Nxe5+ Qxe5 17.Bxe7 (The continuation 17.f4 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 Rg7 19.Qh3 Rdg8 has to be analyzed) 17...Rh8 18.Rae1 Rxh7 19.Rxe5 Kxe7 Black indeed has a clearly better position; his king is better than in the lines analyzed above (cp. the position after 15.Bd7 Rd7 16.Ne5 Qe5 17.Be7 Rh8 18.Rae1 Rh7 19.Re5 Re7). It seems to be correct to say that 15.Ne5 is no worse than 15.Bd7, but obviously the following analyzes have to be taken into account to substantiate this claim.]
15...Bxb5 ["Playing for a win. After 15...Qxe5 16.Bxe7 Rh8 17.Rfe1 (17.Rae1? loses to 17...Qb8 ) 17...Qxe1+ 18.Rxe1 Rxh7 19.Bxd8 Kxd8 (weak is 19...Bxb5 20.Bf6! ) 20.Bxd7 Kxd7 21.Re3! bails White out."; Tal more or less agrees: "The attempt to play in analogous fashion to a variation given previously, 15...Qxe5 would lead, after 16.Bxe7 Rh8 (or 16...Bxb5 17.Bxd8 Rh8 18.Rae1 Qxe1 19.Rxe1 Rxh7 20.Bf6 ) 17.Rfe1! (not 17.Rae1 Qb8! ) 17...Qxe1+ 18.Rxe1 Rxh7 19.Bxd8 Kxd8 20.Bxd7 Kxd7 21.Re3 d4 22.Re4 to a certain advantage for White." I think the final position of this variation deserves a closer look; the black pawn-duo c3/d4 is twice as dangerous if only one pair of rooks is left. Black, of course, has to begin with 22...e5 . White has two attempts that look plausible: I 23.f4 and II 23.Re5. 23.f4 (23.Rxe5 Kd6 seems more logical: the king immediately marches ahead. (23...Rh6 24.Kf1 (24.f4 d3 25.cxd3 Re6 and Black wins; in analogous fashion after 24.Re4.; 24.Re1 Kd6 (After 24...d3 25.cxd3 Rc6 26.Kf1 White's king comes in time to help) 25.Kf1 d3 (25...Rxh2 26.Ke2 Rxg2 27.Rb1 White holds the draw: 27...Kc6 28.Rb4 Rg4 29.Kd3 etc.) 26.cxd3 Kd5 27.Ke2 Re6+ 28.Kf1 Ra6 29.Ke2 Rxa5 Black is better.) 24...Kd6 (24...d3 25.cxd3 Rc6 26.Re1 does not succeed) 25.Re8 Rxh2 26.Ke2 Rxg2 27.Rd8+ Ke5 28.Rd7 Rg1 29.Re7+ Kd5 30.Rd7+ White holds the draw, for example 30...Kc6 31.Rxf7 Rc1 32.Kd3 Rd1+ 33.Kc4 etc.) 24.Re8 (24.f4 d3 25.cxd3 f6-+ see 23.f4 Kd6 24.Re5; 24.Re4 Kd5 25.Re8 Rh6 26.Kf1 d3 27.cxd3 c2 28.Re1 Kd4-+ ; 24.Re1 Rh5 25.Rd1 Rd5 Inserting 26.a6 (after 26.Kf1 Black replies 26...d3 27.cxd3 Rxa5 ; on 26.Rd3 follows 26...Ke5 ) 26...b6 does help White much. To my mind, he is lost.) 24...f5 25.Kf1 d3 26.cxd3 Rc7 27.Re1 Kd5 28.Ke2 Re7+ 29.Kf1 Rh7 30.Ke2 Rxh2 31.g3 (other moves are no better, for example 31.Kd1 Rxg2 32.Kc2 Kd4 33.Re2 Rh2 and White comes into "zugzwang"; or 31.Rg1 Kd4 32.g4 c2 followed by 33...Kc3) 31...Kd4 32.Rb1 Passive defense seems hopeless 32...c2 33.Rb4+ Kc3 34.Rc4+ Kb2 35.Rb4+ Kxa3 36.Rc4 Kb3 The threat of 37...Rh1 cannot be adequately parried. It is clear that the endgame arising after 22...e5 offers Black excellent winning chances. This leads one to conclude: 15.Ne5 was a mistake, better was 15.Bd7; and 15...Lb5 also was a mistake, better was 15...Qe5.) 23...Kd6 24.fxe5+ (24.Rxe5 d3 25.cxd3 f6 26.Re1 Kd5 27.Kf2 Kd4 28.Ke2 Rxh2 (But not 28...Re7+ 29.Kf2 c2? 30.Rxe7 c1Q 31.Rd7+ and White wins) 29.Rg1 f5 Black wins without trouble) 24...Kd5 25.Rg4 (25.Re1 d3 is hopeless for White) 25...Kxe5 26.h3 f5 27.Rg3 (27.Rg8 d3 28.Re8+ Kf4 29.cxd3 Rc7 30.Re1 c2 neither makes White happy) 27...Rd7 28.Rd3 Rd5 and Black wins.; But the analysis contains still another dark spot.. Both Tal and Fischer claim that after 15...Qxe5 16.Bxe7 Rh8 continuing with 17.Rae1 fails to 17...Qb8 . But White still has a defense here: 18.Bxd7+ Kxd7 19.Bd6 Black cannot let go of the pawn f7; he has to agree to 19...Rxh7 20.Bxb8 Rxb8 We have seen this type of endgame a couple of times already; the position in question is more favorable for White than the positions we looked at earlier. After 21.f4 Rc8 22.Rf3 White at any rate is not in danger of losing.; 15...Qxe5 16.Bxe7 Rh8 After 17.Rae1 Black must not react with 17...Qxe1 : the sequence 18.Bxd7+ Kxd7 19.Qxf7 holds no joy for him. Because White after 15...Qe5 has a satisfactory defense by continuing with 16.Be7 Rh8 17.Rae1, the move 15.Ne5 cannot be considered be a mistake. We will see that 15...Qe5 wasn't stronger than 15...Bb5.]
16.Nxf7 ["White could still have kept some tension with 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 (if 16...Qxe5 17.Rfe1 ) 17.Rfe1 etc."; I think the final position of the line given by Fischer deserves a closer look: 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Rfe1 Black has some difficulties to defend the pawn on f7; if it falls, the knight on e5 remains unassailable. But Black can try to give the pawn on f7: 17...d4 (17...Qg5 18.Qh3 Black cannot parry the threats of 19.Nf7 and 19.Qc3 at the same time.; 17...Rgf8 18.Ng6 Qf6 19.Nxf8 Rxf8 20.Qh3 Black should not have sufficient compensation for the exchange.; 17...Rdf8 18.a4 Ba6 (After 18...Rh8 19.Qg7 the threat of 20.Ng6 reappears) 19.Qh3 Qc7 (19...d4 20.Rad1 Rd8 is refuted by 21.Rxd4 ) 20.Qe3 Kb8 21.Ra3 f6 22.Nf3 e5 23.Qxc3 Qxc3 24.Rxc3 Rc8 The endgame offers better chances to Black.) 18.Qxf7 Qxf7 19.Nxf7 Rd5 20.Rxe6 (20.Ne5 Ba4 21.Rac1 Rxa5 Black is certainly no worse.) 20...d3 21.cxd3 (21.Rd6 isn't stronger; Black replies 21...Bc6 ) 21...Bxd3 The situation is unclear, for example 22.Rc1 c2 23.Re5 (After 23.Rd6 Rxd6 24.Nxd6+ Kd7 White's knight goes astray) 23...Rd4 24.Ree1 Bh7 and the pawn on c2 represents a grave danger for White. Fischer's positional feeling did not betray him, when he rejected this continuation. It also shows that 15...Bb5 isn't worse than 15...Qe5; the move leads to a forced draw.]
16...Bxf1 [In "New in Chess" 1987/2, p. 88-91 E. Agur published an extensive analysis about 16...Rdf8. This splendid work is full of interesting ideas and instructive variations; it would be ungrateful and blunt, not to deal with them at least briefly. For the reader to whom they are not readily available I would like to sum up briefly: The author first deals with the line given by Tal ( M. Tal, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal (1976), p.214.) 16...Rdf8 17.Bh6 Bxf1 18.Bxf8 Bxg2 19.Nd6+ Qxd6 20.Bxe7 He explains that 18...Rg2 instead of 18...Bg2 forces a draw. But he considers 17...Re8 to be stronger than 17...Bf1 because White's pieces are scattered, and Black threatens to exploit this with 18...Nf5.; His main line runs: 16...Rdf8 17.Bh6 Re8 18.Rfe1 (18.Rfb1 Bc6 threatening 19...d4 and 19...Nf5 is no better for White: 19.Bg7 Nf5 20.Be5 Qd7 ) 18...Nf5 19.Rxe6 Rxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Nh4+ followed by 21...Re6 with advantage for Black. I didn't check the lines in detail, but the author's judgment does not contradict my positional feeling.; Then the researcher turns to Fischer's analysis, after having mentioned that the continuation 16...Rdf8 17.Nd6+ Qxd6 18.Qxe7 Qxe7 19.Bxe7 Bxf1 20.Bxf8 Bxg2 21.Bd6 Be4+ 22.Bg3 d4 is unpleasant for White.; Fischer, in his book, gives the sequence 16...Rdf8 17.Rfb1 Bc6 18.Nd6+ Qxd6 19.Qxe7 which he considers to be "about equal."; 16...Rdf8 17.Rfb1 After 17.Rfb1 Agur proposes to continue with 17...Nf5!! He proceeds with 18.Rxb5 Rg7 19.Qh5 Rgxf7 20.Qg4 a6 21.Rb6 Qe5 He analyzes this position extremely thoroughly and comes to the conclusion that Black has good winning chances. His final judgment is: 16...Rdf8 was stronger than 16...Bf1.; The discussion of Fischer's proposal failed to convince me. After 16...Rdf8 17.Rfb1 Nf5 18.Rxb5 Rg7 the manoeuver 19.Qh5 Rgxf7 hardly represents the strongest defensive option for Black. 20.Qg4 After 20...a6 I also do not like the reply 21.Rb6 ; here, the rook is out of play. (Much better is 21.Rb4 to keep e4 and d4 under control.) ; After 16...Rdf8 17.Rfb1 Nf5 18.Rxb5 I suggest to continue after 18...Rg7 with 19.Qh3 Black has nothing better than 19...Rgxf7 In this position the move 20...Rh7 does not yet pose any decisive threat: White has the reply 21.Bf4. He can choose from a number of plausible continuations; hardly anyone would hit on 20.Qg4, which transposes into Agur's analysis. An appealing sequence is 20.Re1 Rh7 (After 20...Nd4 21.Rxd5 Nxc2 22.Qxe6+ Kb8 White reaches a favorable endgame with 23.Qe8+ (but 23.Rf1 should also lead to a win) ) 21.Bf4 Rxh3 22.Bxc7 Kxc7 23.gxh3 Nd4 24.Rc5+ Kd6 25.Rxc3 Nf3+ 26.Rxf3 Rxf3 27.Re3 Rf4 28.Rb3 Kc6 29.Rc3+ Kd6 30.Kg2 White's h-pawn is extremely dangerous. Continuations such as 20.Rb4 or 20.Qd3 also deserve scrutiny. At any rate, it seems to me, as if Black exposes himself to considerable danger by playing 17...Nf5; this move definitely does not deserve two exclamation marks.- Even though I do not agree to the conclusions of the analytic, I am full of enthusiasm about his work. It is always a pleasure to witness a thorough and careful attempt to reach insight in chess. My nutty eye did not register anything in this position, although I wanted to give as good a review of the game as possible.]
17.Nxd8 Rxg5 18.Nxe6 Rxg2+ 19.Kh1 ["The saving move. Not 19.Kxf1? Rxh2 20.Qf7 (if 20.Nxc7 20...Rxh7 wins a piece) 20...Rh1+! produces a winning attack from nowhere!" The ordinary mortal is puzzled and would like to carry out some more detailed analysis before succumbing to this judgment. The sequence 21.Kg2 Qh2+ 22.Kf3 Qh3+ 23.Kf4 (After 23.Ke2 Qg4+ it is indeed over) 23...Qh4+ 24.Ke5 seems to be forced. Now Black has two appealing options: 24...Qh8+ (24...Qe4+ 25.Kd6 Nf5+ 26.Qxf5 Qxf5 27.Rxh1 Qf6 (27...b6 28.a6 obviously does not help Black) 28.Rg1 Qf7 29.Rg7 Qe8 30.Rc7+ Kb8 31.Rxc3 Black has no winning chances in this position (31.Rd7 is parried with 31...d4 ) ) 25.Kd6 Rxa1 26.Qxe7 Kb8 27.Qc7+ Ka8 28.a6 Rb1 (After 28...Qb8 the reply 29.axb7+ Qxb7 30.Qxc3 is sufficiently strong) 29.Kxd5 I do not believe that White is losing. Of course, 19.Kh1 is safer and better than 19. Kf1; but Fischer's claim that Black wins after 19.Kf1 is a bit rash.]
19...Qe5 20.Rxf1 Qxe6 21.Kxg2 Qg4+ In his notes Fischer with a precise eye chose and presented the critical variations. He assesses the crucial situations with great emphasis and confidence. Such keen judgment is of utmost use in the practical game; it prevents useless hesitation and senseless musings. More doubts are allowed to the scrutinizing analytic. Fischer's notes are of utmost value as hints; but it would be wrong to see them as conclusive analysis. They indicate where research on one's own could start. I tried to enlarge these options a bit. Even Fischer's notes showed some tactical inaccuracies. As I know from my own experience, this cannot be avoided; especially in a game that dazzles like fireworks to quickly fade away afterwards. 1/2-1/2