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Bobby Fischer plays against Damiano's Defense

Bobby Fischer plays against Damiano's Defense

Aug 3, 2014, 12:22 AM 3

The Opening 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6 is known as "Damiano's Defense." The name, however, was not assigned because Damiano played it, but because he was the first one to publish the opening in writing. Ironically, he identified it as a poor response.

The most notable game I could find in the database featuring Damiano's Defence was between Bobby Fischer and Dr. R.F. McGregor at a simultaneous exhibition held in Houston, Texas in 1964. Fischer, at about 21 years of age, played 31 games winning 26 and drawing 2. One of those two draws was against McGregor playing Damiano's Defence.

Robert Finley McGregor, Ph.D. (1928-2010), who would have been unknown to Fischer, was the State Chess Champion of Wyoming in 1955 and again in 1956. He moved to Texas and attended Baylor University's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences for his PhD in Biochemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Darrell Ward. His memberships include: Sigma Xi, American Chemical Society, AAAS, and the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. McGregor would later become the Texas State Amateur Champion in 1979 as well as the Senior Chess Champion of Texas for several years.

It is likely that he played Damiano's Defence to lure Fischer into believing that he was a much weaker player. Since Simul Givers like to rid themselves of weaker players as quickly as possible in order to better focus on the stronger opponents, Fischer swallowed McGregor's bait along with the hook, line and sinker.


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