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Fischer - Spassky 1972 WCH Summary

Click on the Game # to go to the game directly. Games not posted yet will have an "x" after the  game #  I collated notes from all of my sources*  to come up with some decent analytical coverage of each game  (*except for the NYT book, which rarely had anything in it another source didn't)

Notes on the Notes:     

oo = unclear position (dynamic equality as opposed to "=" indicating static equality)

+= / =+ White/Black has a minor advantage;

+/- (-/+) White (Black) has a major advantage;

+-/-+ White/Black has a winning advantage.

!? interesting move, probably sound

?! interesting move, probably unsound or unnecessary

BCE Basic Chess Endings by GM Fine 

Notes on the Sources: All of my copies are PBs in EN. You can  find them at amazon, but frankly I don't think any of them are worth the prices I saw (as of Feb 2013) even for used copies, with the possible exception of the Evans/Smith book - as long as you aren't expecting heavywt annotations. I'm sure there were more books written on this WCH (World Chess Championship) than any other WCH so if you're interested in a book on it check out 2 books I've never seen - one by GMs Euwe and Timman and another by GM Gligoric. I own Timman's The Art of ChessAnalysis  and it "only" has 24 games - covered in 192 pp of very dense annotations, so I'm guessing his book on the 1972 WCH is also well annotated, esp with GM Euwe co-contributing.  Gligoric used to write Chess Life's "Game of the Month" which was also extensively annotated, until USCF went bankrupt in the late 1970s; so I'm guessing his book is probably excellent as well.  I welcome any comments or reviews of books not described by me here on the 1972 WCH

Chess World Championship 1972 (Simon & Schuster, NY)  by GM Evans and Ken Smith 1972, 261 pp, 8.875" (Ht) x 6.125" (Wide) x 0.625"(thick) PB.  This book has a unique format with a diagram for every move! All the other books here average only 1 or 2 diagrams per game. It is not a good source for extremely detailed coverage of the match itself or bios of the players. The annotations are mostly light and aimed more towards beginners than experts, but with more descriptive and useful prose than The Chess World Championship esp for Class-A and lower-rated players. This is a good book if you want the scores of every WCH from 1948-1972.

Fischer-Spassky From the Soviet Point of View, 1973. 158 pp, 8.5" x 5.375" x 0.5". Each game has a unique annotator or annotators inc GMs Flohr, Korchnoi, Krogius, Smyslov and Tal among many others. The annotations are geared towards intermediate/advanced players and are good, but not extremely detailed. Not a good source for historical or biographical info. 

Fischer-Spassky: The NYT Report on The Chess Match of the Century by Richard Roberts, Harold C Schonberg, IM Al Horowitz and GM Reshevsky, 1972. 218 pp, 7" x 4" x 0.44". Basically a beginners book with sparse annotations but good coverage of the match itself and the events surrounding it.

The Chess World Championship (RHM Press, NY) by GM Gligoric and IM Wade, 1972. xi + 221 pp, 7.875" x 5.375" x 0.8". It includes several useful indices of games, openings, players etc and a 50 pp  intro on the history of theWCH from 1948-1972. Its main feature is  complete game scores from all games in the Hague WCH Tnmt of 1948 and from every WCH match from 1951 to 1972. Only the 1972 WCH is extensively annotated. It's a pain to read 99% of the games in the book because the annotations are only set apart from the game score by brackets - the game moves are not in bold face or underlined (most of the 1972 WCH game moves are in bold face, why not all of them?) Feh! BTW I credited all notes from this book to Gligoric but this is inaccurate - apparently Wade collated notes from several sources (see the "acknowledgements") but they aren't individually credited in each game, so I just arbitrarily credited everything from this book to Gligoric although it would have been more correct to credit the book itself as the source of its' annotations.

BTW this wasn't the worst rout in a modern WCH (ie 1948 - present), in 1961 ex-champ Botvinnik reclaimed his crown from Tal with a score of 13-8 and in 1993 WCH Kasparov tied this record (ie a 5 pt lead) by beating challenger Nigel Short with a score of +6 -1 =13.

Pictured above is GM Spassky in front of Fischer's grave in Iceland in 2008. He jokingly asked reporters accompanying him if there was another space available next to Fischer's grave. See the uncropped photo at http://rvkgrapevine.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/page/2/

Game Date White ECO CODE Opening Moves Result Score
1 July 11-12 Spassky E56 NID - Rubinstein Variation 56 Spassky 0 – 1
2 July 13 Fischer   White forfeited 0 Spassky 0 – 2
3 July 16 Spassky A77 Modern Benoni 41 Fischer 1 – 2
4 July 18-19 Fischer B88 SD – Sozin Var 45 = 1.5 – 2.5
5 July 20 Spassky E41 NID - Rubinstein Var 27 Fischer 2.5 – 2.5
6 July 23 Fischer D59 QGD – Tartakower Var 41 Fischer 3.5 – 2.5
7 July 25-26 Spassky B97 SD – Najdorf PP Var 49 = 4 – 3
8 July 27 Fischer A39 EO – Symetrical Var 37 Fischer 5 – 3
9 Aug 1 Spassky D41 QGD – Semi-Tarrasch Def 29 = 5.5 – 3.5
10 Aug 3-4 Fischer C95 RL – Breyer Defense 56 Fischer 6.5 – 3.5
11 Aug 6 Spassky B97 SD – Najdorf PP Var 31 Spassky 6.5 – 4.5
12 Aug 8-9 Fischer D66 QGD – Orthodox Def 55 = 7 – 5
13 Aug 10-11 Spassky B04 Alekhine's Def - Modern Var 74 Fischer 8 – 5
14 Aug 15 Fischer D37 QGD - Orthodox Defense 40 = 8.5 – 5.5
15 Aug 17-18 Spassky B99 SD – Najdorf Var 43 = 9 – 6
16 Aug 20 Fischer C69 RL – Exchange Var 60 = 9.5 – 6.5
17 Aug 22-23 Spassky B09 Pirc Defense Austrian Attack 45 = 10 – 7
18 Aug 24-25 Fischer B69 SD – Rauzer Attack 47 = 10.5 – 7.5
19 Aug 27 Spassky B05 Alekhine Defense - Modern Var 40 = 11 – 8
20 Aug 29-30 Fischer B68 SD – Rauzer Attack 54 = 11.5 – 8.5
21 Aug 31 -Sep 1 Spassky B46 SD – Kan/Paulsen Var 41 Fischer 12.5 – 8.5


  • 13 months ago


    @Nimzo: Congrats on a great article.

    Btw, I have the book by Gligoric that you mentioned. "Fischer v Spassky: The Chess Match of the Century" published by Fontana Books 1972. It includes an interesting "Introduction" which tries to explain, in part, who Fischer really was and why he acted the way he did, and outlines the events leading up to the match itself.

    Also included are both players' playing records and sparsely annotated games of their previous encounters. The actual match games are extensively annotated and the moves are in bold type, easily distinguishable from the analyses. Plenty of diagrams per game. All in all, an excellent read.

  • 15 months ago


    konhidras   Thanks for the compliments but after I finish up this project I'm going to take a breather and start watching videos, doing chess mentor and/or going back and reading some of my own blogs!

    AND I don't have anything on Kasparov - Short 1993 so if you're interested in it there's used copies of a book on it available at amazon (but I suspect the shipping rates to the Phillipines maybe catastrophic). 

  • 15 months ago


    @Nimzo: your articles are great. I enjoyed reading them and playing through them. i hope you can make articles pertaining to the 1993 Kasparov-Short PCA World Championship match (the way you make articles about the Spassky-Fischer match). I have read about it in the book of Dominic Lawson but its basically about the tension and sidelines of the match based on Nigel Shorts experience. The book does not have the analysis of the games. Hope you can make an article about the games played (if you have tiem and feel like doing them).Thanks

  • 15 months ago


    Great overview! 

  • 15 months ago


    Looking at game 2 - Fischer definitely had his way of putting his convictions above results. He lost the whole 16 Game 1961 Match to Reshevsky by forfeit even though they were tied at Round 11.  At the 1972 Match w/ Spassky, I truly believe he did have real problems with the camera noise.  If he was autistic, he might have been more sensitive to the noise. I have recorded concerts before and later discovered a "clicking" sound (from cameras) that was picked up by the sensitive mics.

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