Mar del Plata Master - Bobby Fischer

Mar del Plata Master - Bobby Fischer

GM Illingworth

As you've probably noticed by now, I like to investigate the games of the leading experts of particular chess themes. Be it Rubinstein's rook endings, Nakamura's Nimzo-Larsen, or, in the case of this post, Bobby Fischer's expert handling of the KIng's Indian Defence. 

I noticed that Fischer had some struggles against 1.d4 through his career, as his results with the Grunfeld and Queen's Gambit Declined were not what he would have hoped. Even within the King's Indian, he had trouble dealing with the Samisch Variation (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3). This could perhaps be attributed to his choice of replies (5...e5?!, 5...0-0 6.Be3 b6?!/6...Nbd7), but in 1992 he fixed this gap by employing the Panno Variation with 6...Nc6 on several occasions against Spassky. True, back then the chess world did not know that the 6...c5! pawn sacrifice was in fact perfectly sound. 

Another line of the KID where Fischer came under fire was the Petrosian Variation (5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.d5), where his pet 7...Nbd7 saw him lose twice to Tal after 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 in the 1959 Candidates tournament.

But when it came to the Mar del Plata, Fischer was an absolute gun - especially since 1967, where he won nearly every game he played from the position after 6...e5. To be clear, the Mar del Plata starts with 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7, and as I mentioned in a previous post, the discussion mainly revolves around 9.b4 and 9.Ne1, with some other moves tried on occasion by strong players.

In the game below, we'll learn how to deal with 9.Nd2, which is not at all trendy, but shouldn't be taken lightly, for it was the subject of a fairly recent ChessBase DVD by GM Mihail Marin.


If you want to learn more about how to play the KIng's Indian as Black, you should absolutely work through the games from the Zurich 1953 Candidates tournament. Those with a strong chess erudition will want to get their hands on GM Vassilios Kotronias's King's Indian series.
What is your favourite Bobby Fischer game? Do you prefer to play the White or Black side of the Mar del Plata? Comment below, let me know!
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