Fischer’s Game of the Century

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
It was one of the first books I really loved: The Games of Robert J. Fischer, edited by Robert G. Wade & Kevin J. O'Connell, Batsford 1972. All of Fischer's games were in it, including his match against Spassky in '72, and also lots of fascinating stories of the rise of the American prodigy, by people such as Arthur Bisguier, Harry Golombek and Paul Keres. I played through the majority of the more than seven hundred games at least once, and I guess I'm one of the few that prefers to take this book to a desert island, instead of My Sixty Memorable Games. A few games in the book come with annotations, and one of them is a game played exactly fifty years ago today.

Donald Byrne - Robert J. Fischer Lessing J. Rosenwald Trophy, October 17th, 1956

The game, played when Fischer was only thirteen years old (the photo above is from 1956), won the first brilliancy price and was called the 'Game of the Century' by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 O-O 5. Bf4 d5 6. Qb3 dxc4 7. Qxc4 c6 8. e4 Nbd7 9. Rd1 Nb6 10. Qc5 Bg4 11. Bg5? I'm sure that the comment from the book by Wade & O'Connell refined me as a chess player to some extend. I learned a kind of thinking method like: 'If this and that would be the case, I would have a nice trick. Wait a minute, if I sac that piece first, this and that will be the case and I'll have that trick!' The book says: "The bishop move played allows a sudden crescendo of tactical points to be uncovered by Fischer. The basis of these points is that if the White knight was not on c3 then Black would have ...Nxe4 suddenly attacking both Bg5 and Qc5. White, however, has the excellent defensive possibilities of Qa5 or Qc1. White's defensive possibilities would be shaken if the black knight was not on b6 because Black would have the possibility of ...Qa5+ while white's Qa5 would no longer be feasible. The combination that Fischer's next move initiates are evolved from these considerations. Fischer's overall aim is to open up the centre while the White king is uncastled and to break up White's pawn centre." 11...Na4!! 12. Qa3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Nxe4! 14. Bxe7 Qb6! 15. Bc4! Nxc3! 16. Bc5! Rfe8+ 17. Kf1 17...Be6!! The pointe is a beautiful Philidor's mate after 18. Bxe6 Qb5+ 19. Kg1 Ne2+ 20. Kf1 Ng3+ 21. Kg1 Qf1+ 22. Rxf1 Ne2. White played 18.Bxb6 and how the game continued can be viewed via the below.

>> replay Byrne-Fischer annotated

Fischer's notation form of the game.

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