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Why is Fischer considered the greatest chess player ever by so many?


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #41

    Kingskiller

    batgirl wrote:

    Fischer's conduct at the chess board was always considered exemplary and impeccable. 

     

    Let's discuss Fischer vs Botvinnik for a moment...

     

    This particular game is memorable mainly because it's the only example of play between these two antagonists. But the game itself has much to commend itself if we think of chess as a struggle. Fischer, who was 19 years old when he played the Great Botvinnik, many-times champion of the world, achieved an objectively winning game with the balck pieces before adjournment on move 44.  Botvinnik's plan was a specially prepared opening he had originally intended to use against Smyslov. Botvinnik himself wrote later that he was stunned earlier by Fischer's 17th move after which he eventually went down a pawn and faced a possible loss against an opponent he specifically couldn't afford to lose.  During the adjournment, Tal had noted that he saw Fischer analyze the position with some Americans. This game was played in 1962 at the 15th Olympiad in Zlatni Piasaci, a town near Varna, Bulgaria. As a team event, it was common, even customary, for teammates to examine adjourned games of fellow teammates, but it seems safe to assume that Fischer, whose self-dependence wasn't just well-known, but legendary, probably was less interested in their ideas as in their proofing his variations.  What isn't conjecture is that Botvinnik went to bed for a good night's sleep leaving Efim Geller, a master who was particularly effective against Fischer, to spend all night analyzing the adjourned position. Geller found what he was convinced would be the drawing line. Before the game resumed, it was common knowlege among the Russians that it would end a draw.

    When the game did resume, Geller's line seemed to work as intended and Fischer, still a pawn up, conceded a draw.

    Now, on this topic page, it's been suggested that Fischer then somehow acted inappropriately. If he did, this is the first mention of it.

    Botvinnik later wrote in Botvinnik’s Best Games, vol.3: "Only here, with his face as white as a sheet, did Fischer shake my hand, and with tears in his eyes he left the hall."

    Purdy (discussing Alexander Kotov) wrote in 1963: "‘I also knew that he was a very kindly writer. I have never known him to treat anyone unkindly in print. By contrast, his countryman Flohr, a clever journalist, handled Bobby Fischer almost spitefully, when he reported that after he had only succeeded in drawing with Botvinnik in Varna, after having a winning advantage, he left the room and, having reached the corridor, burst into tears. As Fischer probably thought he was alone by then, it was cruel to record such a thing, but Flohr knew it was good “copy”. Kotov would never initiate such a story. Nor would I myself; I am prepared to use it once it has been made public already, for I am not a censor, but I think Kotov is too kind even to do that... I do not decry Flohr. There is virtue in sheer truth. But Flohr could have written sympathetically or purely factually, without spiteful overtones."

    Fischer, later, after deeply analyzing the game claimed he could have won with a different line starting on move 51.  Botvinnik had his own analysis performed on Fischer's analysis and a drawing line was found. Improbably enough, the analysis wasn't done by Botvinnik, but by a 13 year old student of his named Garry Kasparov.  According to Andy Soltis in Bobby Fischer Rediscovered, "Fischer never replied - and this is almost certainly the closest we will ever get to a Fischer-Kasparov match."

    To confound matters even more, this game, after adjournment, has been analyzed very deeply by several different computers, all of which give Black a winning advantage.

    I don't see anything, in this meeting, in Fischer's play or in Fischer's decorum to indicate that he is anything but a chess player of champion caliber.

     

     


    Let me say what I know about this game...

     

    Yes, this opening was prepared by Botvinnik but Fischer's 17th move wasn't winning move - but this move surprised Botvinnik and because of this he made mistakes then and he've got bad position. Geller helped Botvinnik to analyse this position and he found very good way, but I don't know why do you think that Botvinnik was sleeping all night? Fischer was one who was sure he won this game and because of it he didn't analyse the adjourned game very well...And if you read Botvinnik's best games vol. 3 you should know about Fischer telling the judge that Botvinnik is cheating! If you think that it's OK for chess-players to say such things because they are going to draw... I don't think so. And I didn't tell that Fischer plays worse than Botvinik, I said that his chess qualities as endurance are worse. And do you know why did Fischer refused to play match with Botvinnik 7 years later?


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #42

    batgirl

    "this opening was prepared by Botvinnik but Fischer's 17th move wasn't winning move - but this move surprised Botvinnik and because of this he made mistakes then and he've got bad position" 

    That's what I wrote.

     

    "but I don't know why do you think that Botvinnik was sleeping all night"

    I recall having read that Botvinnik mentioned that Geller had been up all night analyzing and found the drawing continuum.  It would seem if they had both been up analyzing together, all night together that is, Botvinnik would have said Geller and I.  And taking that, along with Botvinnik's well known devotion to healthy ritual, it would make sense that he rested while Geller, who was more than capable, would lose sleep.  Maybe Botvinnik stayed up all night, but it's certainly less than obvious and, to me, the implications seem otherwise.

     

    "you should know about Fischer telling the judge that Botvinnik is cheating!"

    I don't remember that (which isn't to imply it's not there, just that I don't remember it). Can you be very specific?

     

    "And I didn't tell that Fischer plays worse than Botvinik, I said that his chess qualities as endurance are worse. "

    Actually you said, "he hadn't character of chess player" Character defined as "his nature, his endurance, and strength,"  and "But I can provide example when his weak endurance and lack of feeling the danger didn't give him the win vs Botvinnik." 

    Then you cited his overconfidence in his seemingly winning adjourned position and his reaction, whatever it may have been, in that particular situation- not even allowing for the fact that he was 19, an adolescent, playing, and wining, against an icon, a true champion; that the win-killer was found by his opponent's second and that he essentially had the carpet pulled out from under him ending a most nerve-wracking and exhausting contest -  to be the basis to claiming that Fischer lacked the character to be a great chess player.  

    Frankly, I don't see it.  

     

     "And do you know why did Fischer refused to play match with Botvinnik 7 years later?" 

    You said: "he refused to play match with Botvinnik, because they had only one game before, where Fischer was sure he would win but Botvinnik made draw."

    I don't follow the cause/effect of that.  Perhaps you can elaborate.

     

     


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #43

    fleiman

    murshid wrote: a little off the topic, but who else were non-russian (or non-soviet) chess champions other than Fischer and Anand? i can remember Capablanca and Max Euwe. were there any others?

    What about Steinitz and Lasker ?


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #44

    Etienne

    Alekhine, although you might say he was russian...
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #45

    batgirl

    Petrosian was Armenian; Tal was Latvian.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #46

    lubo

    batgirl wrote: Petrosian was Armenian; Tal was Latvian.

     Still USSR (soviet union)


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #47

    batgirl

    yes Soviet, but not Russian.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #48

    greyfox

    i think it is because most games of fischer are error free. it is very rare that he miscalculate. that's why i like his style myself. when he play over the board it seems like the game will always be an all out war.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #49

    Etienne

    greyfox wrote: i think it is because most games of fischer are error free. it is very rare that he miscalculate. that's why i like his style myself. when he play over the board it seems like the game will always be an all out war.

     This is false. Bill Wall once posted a list of world champion based on the amount of blunders they would do from engine analysis. Fisher did not rank very well. This does not, however reveal the strength because, for example Spassky scored better than Fisher, Karpov scored better than Kasparov, and the champion with the less blunders was Capablanca.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #50

    likesforests

    A recent computer analysis of past world champions provides some insights into their similarities and differences. Capablanca, Petrosian, and Karpov made the fewest blunders of all world champions. But they also preferred less tactical positions than Fischer.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #51

    Ricardo_Morro

    I admired Fischer's play greatly for its incisiveness and clarity. I studied his "60 Memorable Games" avidly. But in recent years, after he surfaced with a bunch of stupid antisemitic rants and other ignorant tirades, I got rid of my copy of "60 Memorable Games" in disgust. Now I prefer to study the games of Alekhine. To me it doesn't matter anymore if he was the greatest player or not. I don't want to extend him any recognition, I want nothing to do with him.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #52

    defense

    Reb wrote: Why is Fischer considered the best ever by so many? He won two candidates matches wih 100% scores , he also won a major tournament (US Closed Championship) with 100%, he defeated the entire soviet system ALONE, and then he actually lost rating points by beating Boris Spassky for the world championship in 1972. He also has won 20 games in a row against all GM players!  What other player has done any of these things? After winning his first US Championship at age 14 he also won EVERY US tournament he played in after that except two. He won 4 games in a row against "Iron Tigran" a man who didnt lose 4 games a year usually. Kasparov only has an equal record against both Tigran Petrosian and Spassky..need I say more?  I do consider Fischer the best chess player ever.....

    In addition, chessmetrics, which uses statistics to compare players across time rates him as number 1 (e.g., ahead of Kasparov who funded the project).  He had the highest rating for 10 years despite Seattle University's statistical studies that show the Soviets really were losing and drawing games to stay ahead of him in tournaments.  His winning percentage in certain openings (e.g., the Lopez) is incredible.  Only Capablanca comes close.  He essentially refuted the Kings Gambit.  The books he wrote are both classics.  His speed chess tournament results are even better than his slow chess results.  Again, only Capablanca comes close.  As Fischer has said his favorite players were Capablanca and then Morphy and his play resembles a combination of the other two greatest players with a Steinitz-like ability when playing defense.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #53

    lubo

    These chessmetrics are useless. They simply answer the question "Who plays like Crafty?" :) Which is rediculous. Crafty plays at elo strength of about 2600 while ALL the champions are STRONGER then crafty (27xx-28xx). This means crafty would like moves at strength 2600 and if the move has a deeper meaning it would simple consider it a bad move :)

    In chess we doesn't have "this position is evaluated to +0.85". We have only 3 grades : win for white, draw and win for black. If move doesn't change the positions grade then it's a good move, otherwise consider it a bad move. That is why there is no single chess engine that could do the task. Because every engine has it's own style and it tends to evaluate moves better if they apply to it's style.

    This means that if Fisher/Kasparov/Topalov chooses to play some firecrack variation with lots of sacrifices and sharp lines in equal position. And at the same time in this positioin Petrosia/Kramnik instead of firecracs chooses some defensive move -- we consider both moves GOOD since they don't change the overall positions grade. 

     

    There were article in chessbase.com about it. Go find it if you need better explanation. ;)

     

     

    @batgirl: fleiman was asking for non Russia (non soviet union)  champion.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #54

    batgirl

    @lubo: chessmetrics has absolutely nothing to do with computers.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #55

    murshid

    batgirl wrote:yes Soviet, but not Russian.

     i asked in my post about non-russian (non-soviet) champions.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #56

    lubo

    @batgirl: True. My bad. I was talking about that recent computer analysis.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #59

    billwall

    On page 66 of Profile of a Prodigy by Brady, there is this statement.

    "When Bobby saw his win slipping away [from Botvinnik], he asked U.S. team captain Hearst to make a formal protest that Botvinnik was receiving help from the Soviet team captain, Abramov.  Fischer said he had seen Abramov smiling after the Russians [Botvinnik and Geller] had exchanged a few words." 


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #60

    Kingskiller

    Yes, Botvinnik and Geller said to Abramov that there is going to be draw with Fischer. I think that's OK to go to your captain to say what's going to happen, but may be you know better. Did you say that Alekhine was in collaboration with German?!!!!!! Are you crazy?!!! He left safe Argentina to join French soldiers, then German captured him and decided to show that they also have developed culture. They made him play chess with other german generals, but nobody could win him and they decided that they'd better let him go.

     

    @Batgirl: When and in what language did you read that book?



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