The Original Article: "GAME OF THE CENTURY"

Apr 1, 2010, 12:57 PM |

This is the original report of the game Byrne-Fischer, in which the phrase "Game of the Century" was used as a descriptive term:

Chess Review 1956



The following game, a stunning masterpiece of combination play performed by a boy of 13 against a formidable opponent, matches the finest on record in the history of chess prodigies.

There are several famous precedents:

Morphy's triumph at 13 over visiting Jacob Loewenthal in New Orleans, 1850;

(More on Paul Morphy's Childhood)




Reshevsky's victory at 10 over Janowksi in New York, 1922;






Pomar's much heralded win at 12 against Saemisch at Madrid, 1943;

and even more sensational draw at 13 with Alekhine, Gijon 1945.



On depth and brilliancy of play, however, only the famous game in which Capablanca at 12 won against Corzo is comparable to this one.

And even then it must be said that Capa's performance owed something to analysis while Bobby Fischer's sparkles with stupendous originality.

(Ed Winter on child prodigies).

Bobby Fischer's Game of the Century, with original comments by Hans Kmoch.


"It can be added too, that Black wasted a lot of time in the opening, then executed his grandiose combinations in some twenty minutes." - Kmoch

END Chess Review Article. 

One delightful anecdote is that Byrne walked around to the other boards when his position was hopeless, deciding whether to resign or not. He then commented that he would let the kid play it through to mate, since it was a brilliancy.

It's interesting that, during the tournament, a new rule was enforced: the players were expected to keep an accurate score, or else they would have to forfeit their game. This happened in Mednis-Hearst, in which both players failed to keep an accurate score. Hearst offered to allow Mednis the full point, since his position was better, but Kmoch would have none of it, and scored the game 0-0.

Why this rule is interesting, is that it appears Bobby did not keep such an accurate score himself. At least the move 19, looks a bit inaccurate. Does this mean that Kmoch should have judged this game as a loss for Bobby as well?