World Champion Robert Fischer by Robert Huebner |
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.
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