Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match 13th Game

Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match 13th Game

| 8 | Amazing Games

     During the previous 2 games in which Spassky had opened with 1.e4 (Games 7 and 11), Fischer had answered with 1...c5., playing his beloved Sicilian Najdorf. Spassky and his team had undoubtedly prepared for this. Fischer was well known for his deep but narrow opening repertoire. The results for games 7 and 11 were both wins for Boris Spassky.

     In game 13, Fischer once again had the Black pieces. Spassky again opened with 1.e4, fully prepared for Bobby's Najdorf, but Bobby had an opening  surprise. He decided to employ the very risky Alekhine Defense.

Part 1: Introduction to the Alekhine defense:

     The Alekhine defense starts with the moves: 1.e4  Nf6

    Black develops a piece and at the same time attacks white's pawn on his very first move. How should White reply? A move like 2. d3 is passive and locks in white's bishop. Black will just play 2..d5 with a perfectly good game. If white plays 2. Nc3 then black can play 2...e5 transposing into either the vienna game or the four knights opening. Both of these openings are viewed as rather innocuous at the top levels of chess. White therefore, has only one move to punish Black's opening choice:

2. e5  Nd5

  White's second move gains space and attacks the black knight forcing him to move for a second time. Black's plan is simple, lure white's pawns forward where they can become weak. If Black fails to properly counter-attack then he gets crushed. This is not a defense for those faint of heart!



3. d4  d6

     White has a nice space advantage and open lines for his bishops and queen. Black's knight is beautifully placed (for the moment) and his last move has opened up the diagonal for his light squared bishop and the d6 pawn is now exerting pressure on white's e5 pawn. Remember that black's plan was to undermine white's over extended center.

     White now has a number of moves: 4.Bc4, 4.c4, 4.f4 have all been played and Black needs to prepare for each of them. In this game, Spassky plays the mainline with:

4.Nf3   This move reinforces white's center and helps to prepare kingside castling.  Black has several moves to choose from depending on one's style. He can play 4...Bg4, 4...Nc6, 4...dxe5 or:

4...g6   Black prepares to fianchetto the dark squared bishop where it will breathe fire on the long diagonal, helping to undermine white's center. The downside is that if white can maintain his pawn center then the bishop will be "biting on granite", locked behind the pawns.



5.Bc4  Bringing the bishop an active square,attacking the knight and eyeing the f7 square

5... Nb6 counter-attacking 6.Bb3 Bg7

 This is the starting position of what would later become known as the Alburt variation, named after GM Lev Alburt who utilized this system for many years.




Part 2: Spassky-Fischer:

     In this encounter, Fischer surprises Spassky (and his seconds) by employing the Alekhine's defense. Spassky plays a novelty at move 7 and steers the game into uncharted territory!! Spassky then gambits a pawn and Fischer accepts it. The game looks as if it's going to end up a draw with a bishop of opposite colors ending. Fischer finds a creative way to play for the win by sacrificing his bishop! and then stalemates his rook! to reach a rook vs. 5 passed pawn endgame. Spassky under enormous pressure, cannot walk the tightrope and loses his way in the endgame. A truly magnificent game in which Mikhail Botvinnik claimed was Fischer's highest creative achievement. Enjoy! Laughing

Note* Please click on the move list icon on the lower right hand corner of the game board to see further variations and comments.

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