Game 7: Fischer vs Spassky 1972

Posted: 06/11/2013 by Ian in Club News

Fisher-Spassky“The Match of the Century”

The name Bobby Fischer, at least to Americans, is synonymous with chess. A prodigy in the 50s, a world class player in the 60s, the 70s saw Fischer at his pinnacle. He earned the right to challenge Boris Spassky in a title run without comparison, defeating Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen with perfect scores of 6-0, and ex-champion Petrosian 6½-2½. Now the stage was set, and the only thing standing between Fischer and Spassky was Fischer himself.  The match was mired in political overtones, during the height of the Cold War. The Soviet chess system had a monopoly on the title since 1948, and the expectations on Spassky were enormous. While Fischer studied chess virtually in seclusion, Spassky had the full resources of the USSR. Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports Committee, said: “Basically, the Soviet leadership and the powers that be in sport, were interested in just one issue: how to stop Fischer from becoming World Champion.”  With the match set to begin in Reykjavik, Iceland, Fischer (who had not signed any documents confirming his participation) began to make a number of demands, including a percentage of television rights, a larger prize fund, and all manner of conditions covering everything from the lighting to the chair cushions. To satisfy Bobby’s demands of a larger prize fund, British chess promoter James Slater donated a dazzling $125,000 to be added to the prize fund. Fischer still needed more convincing by Bill Lombardy (Fischer’s last-minute choice as second), and one famously persuasive telephone call from Henry Kissinger. Mere hours before he would be forfeited, Fischer arrived in Iceland.

On July 11th, the “Match of the Century” had begun. Whether it was a blunder, or a passion to win at all costs, the first game saw Fischer uncharacteristically lose a simple drawn endgame. Game 2 was awarded to Spassky by forfeit when Fischer failed to appear in a dispute over the presence of cameras in the playing hall.  With the score 2-0 in Spassky’s favor, Fischer refused to play unless TV cameras were removed from the playing hall. Only a last minute agreement by Spassky to play away from the cameras permitted the third game to be held. This turned out to be a huge psychological mistake by Spassky. In game 3, in a small room backstage, Fischer beat Spassky for the first time in his life. The games then returned to the main stage, but without cameras. Winning again in games 5, 6, 8, and 10 the Fischer juggernaut had become unstoppable.

On September 3, 1972, Robert James Fischer became the 11th World Chess Champion.

Game 13

Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match (1972) • Alekhine Defense: Modern. Alburt Variation (B04) • 0-1

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bc4 Nb6 6. Bb3 Bg7 7. Nbd2 O-O 8. h3 a5 9. a4 dxe5 10. dxe5 Na6 11. O-O Nc5 12. Qe2 Qe8 13. Ne4 Nbxa4 14. Bxa4 Nxa4 15. Re1 Nb6 16. Bd2 a4 17. Bg5 h6 18. Bh4 Bf5 19. g4 Be6 20. Nd4 Bc4 21. Qd2 Qd7 22. Rad1 Rfe8 23. f4 Bd5 24. Nc5 Qc8 25. Qc3 e6 26. Kh2 Nd7 27. Nd3 c5 28. Nb5 Qc6 29. Nd6 Qxd6 30. exd6 Bxc3 31. bxc3 f6 32. g5 hxg5 33. fxg5 f5 34. Bg3 Kf7 35. Ne5 Nxe5 36. Bxe5 b5 37. Rf1 Rh8 38. Bf6 a3 39. Rf4 a2 40. c4 Bxc4 41. d7 Bd5 42. Kg3

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