Just uncovered – Fischer's Electronic Archives

4/1/2008 – Two and a half months after the death of the great chess legend Bobby Fischer, the examination of his legal estate has yielded some intriguing information, gleaned from the hard disk of his notebook computer. Apparently the reclusive former World Champion followed the chess activities of his colleagues quite closely, and in fact corresponded with a few of them. Today we received copies of his letters.

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Fischer's Electronic Archives

Fischer's notebook, a Dell Inspiron 8200 attached to a modern HP Photosmart C5180 printer

On the hard disk of the somewhat outdated Dell notebook experts found copies of ChessBase 7.0, Fritz 7.0 and Fritz 10 installed, as well as a number of other chess engines, like Rybka 2.3.2a, Shredder 10 and Fritz 5. In the directory "MyInternetGames" the experts found a large number of games played by an account on the Playchess.com server, where the owner had apparently achieved a rating of 3300+.

Where the analysis was done and the Internet games were possibly played

The games in the Internet chess directory are currently being analysed, although it is too early to say whether they were the work of Fischer himself. So far none have been found that could be the ones he is alleged to have played against Nigel Short in 2001. We will inform you when further results become available.

Apart from the chess games the hard disk of the notebook also revealed a large number of email communications that were apparently written by Fischer, dating from the mid 70s right up to December 2007. These messages are currently being analysed by experts to see if they address games that were played on the international tournament circuit. For reasons of privacy our contact in Iceland deleted the names of Fischer's correspondence partners and their email addresses in the copies he sent us. That makes the task only slightly more daunting, since the first names and subject lines, in many cases, make the connections more or less obvious. Once again we will inform you if we are able to reconstruct the context of these messages, or find any correlations between the moves given in Fischer's messages and games actually played by the addressees. Maybe our readers can help us in this endeavour?!

Fischer Emails

   Date: 29 Sept 1978 02:12:07 -0700
   From: Robert J Fischer <61713.1244@compuserve.com>
   To: [Deleted]
   Subject: Your match against Karpov
   Manila, 9/28/1978
Dear Viktor,

I was glad to see that you followed my advice and played the King’s
Indian Attack. 10 P-KB3 against his stupid Tartakower was nice, wasn’t
it, even if you lost that game. But playing 10 P-KB3 in the Open Ruy
Lopez was going too far. The 17th game was a cheapo. The Russians use
all kinds of tricks. Forget the 27th game, shit happens. I think that
the psychologist made you nervous. You have to fight back on that
front as well. Complain about everything, about the color of his
shoes, the flavor of his yogurt, everything.
You asked me for advice, I can only say just play the Open Ruy again.
He will be nervous and think that you have prepared something for him.
With white you should continue to play 1 P-QB4 and then try 3 P-K4.
Against Queen’s Gambit play the Exchange. The idea of playing the Pirc
which comes from your second Keene I think is very bad. Whatever you
do, don’t play that. It doesn’t fit your style and Karpov knows it
very well. I repeat: DO NOT play the Pirc.
PS: If you tell anybody about our correspondence I will personally 
KILL you. My greetings to Petra.

   Date: 15 Jan 1980 22:34:32 -0700
   From: Robert J Fischer <61713.1244@compuserve.com>
   To: [Deleted]
   Subject: European Team Championship
   Manila, 1/15/1980
Hi Tony,
Thank you for your letter. I am feeling great here. I have just
finished my new book, “60 More Memorable Games” and gave it to my
publisher here in the Philippines. I hope he doesn’t lose it, he is
very disorganized. It is my only copy.
I wish you all the best for the European Team Championship in Sweden.
If you have to play Karpov, which is quite likely, I have a cool idea.
Just play 1… P-QR3. The idea is …P-QN4, …B-N2, …P-K3 and then …P-B4. I
tried it, later it becomes a Sicilian, nothing special. But Karpov
will be furious and will not be able to play straight. Wanna bet? He
will probably try to stop you from playing in any of his tournaments.
But what the hell, its worth it just to see his face, isn’t it?

   Date: 06 Oct 1984 23:04:16 -0700
   From: Robert J Fischer <61713.1244@compuserve.com>
   To: [Deleted]
   Subject: Your match against the little Russian
Manila, 10/6/1984
You play like a child. In your third game how could you play N-QR4??
What a terrible move. In the sixth game you exchanged queens. Why? You
cannot play without the queens, you lose the rook ending. My sister
would have held it blindfold. 61 K-Q1 was a terrible move. In the next
game you play the Tarrasch (the Trash). You should play King’s Indian
and not this kind of bullshit. In the ninth game hadn’t you seen my
game against Saidy? The same ending with reversed colors. 0-4 after nine games, oh god. But okay, it is not lost yet. My advice
for the rest of the match is play for a draw in every game. Don’t risk
anything, just hang on, tire him out. He is much older than you. Be
ready to grab a game when he blunders. Remember you can lose one more
game. Copy his openings. That’s what Bronstein did against Botvinnik. It
will drive him nuts. Play many different openings, like I did against
Boris. Try Queen’s Indian with P-QR3. With black if you must play
Queen’s Gambit try the Cambridge Springs Variation. It is not as bad
as people think.
I am helping you against the little Russian because you are from
Azerbaijan and not a Russian. Lucky for you. I hope you never think of
moving to Moscow!
PS: Always remember that you must not tell anybody about our 
correspondence. NOBODY. You will earn my eternal hatred if you do so.

   Date: 31 Aug 1985 04:32:23 -0700
   From: Robert J Fischer <61713.1244@compuserve.com>
   To: [Deleted]
   Subject: Nimzo Indian
Manila 8/30/1985
Hello Garry,
Many thanks for your letter. I can understand your complaints about
the match conditions, very well in fact. But why did you accept them?
I would never have done it. Just stay away and let them see what they
can do. You asked me about a weapon against his Nimzo Indian. Okay, simply
play 4 N-B3 and after 4… P-B4 you go 5 P-KN3. I’ll bet you he won’t be
able to resist and will try to refute the line with 5… N-K5. After
that you can play e.g. 6 Q-Q3 Q-R4 7 QxN BxN+ 8 B-Q2 BxB+ 9 NxB Q-N3
and now maybe 10 PxP is an idea: 10… QxNP 11 R-QN1 Q-B6 12 Q-Q3 QxQ 13
PxQ N-R3 14 P-Q4 R-QN1 15 B-N2 K-K2 16 K-K2 and Black is in trouble.
One more thing: if he castles on move four then you play 5 B-N5!
Yours sincerely,

   Date: 02 Oct 1985 06:41:46 -0700
   From: Robert J Fischer <61713.1244@compuserve.com>
   To: [Deleted]
   Subject: Nimzo Indian
Manila, 10/1/1985
Hi Garry,

So, things are not going so bad against the little Russian. The
weather here is great. Yesterday I sat in the park with my pocket
chess and analyzed the Taimanov a little and I had this idea. After
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 Nf6 7.N1c3 a6
8.Na3 can’t we simply sac a pawn for the initiative? Okay, after 8…d5
9.exd5 exd5 10.cxd5 Nb4 11.Bc4 we play 11…Bg4. Now if 12.Be2 Bxe2
13.Qxe2+ Qe7 14.Be3 Nbxd5 15.Nc2 Nxe3 16.Nxe3 Qe6 17.0–0 Bc5 18.Rfe1
0–0 it is a draw. Not bad for Black? But if he plays 11.Be2 so
11...Bc5 12.0-0 0-0 and now 13.Bg5 is best, with advantage. Worse is
13.Bf3 because of 13...Bf5 14.Bg5 Re8! 15.Qd2 b5! and the knights are
out of play. I warn you, NEVER tell anyone you got this idea from me. You can tell
people that Adorjan found it during a tram ride or something like
that. Hey, hang on, I see now that it doesn’t work because of: 12.Be3 Bxe3
13.Qa4+ Nd7 14.Qxb4 Bc5 15.Qe4+ Kf8 16.0–0 b5 17.Nc2 and White simply
has an extra pawn. Shit. Anyway, I don’t think Karpov will find it
over the board.
Yours, Bobby PS: DO NOT show our correspondence to ANYBODY. I hope you are happy
with my short algebraic, which is a pain, but if you have trouble with
the descriptive I will have to adapt.

-----Original Message-----
From: RJF-chess [mailto:rjf@jca-chess.com]
Sent: Monday, 4 October 2004 02:59
To: [Deleted]
Subject: Tricks in the Marshall

Tokyo, October 2004

My dear Peter,

I am following your little match on the Internet. His game does not impress me. He looks weak and pathetic. I think you are close to victory. You can do it! As I said, you must keep switching openings. That is poison for Russians. 1.d4 in the fifth game was exactly right. I a glad you were able to remember the variation we analyzed on your balcony in Szeged.

Yesterday I was sitting in the bathtub and thinking about the Marshall Gambit and had an idea. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Re4 g5 I can see that Fritz is very slow to understand the variation with 16.Qf1!?. Take a look. If 16...Qh5 17.Nd2 Bf5 18.f3 Nf6 19.Re1 Rae8 20.Rxe8 Rxe8 21.a4!? and now 21...Qg6! White might come up with 22.axb5. Then 22...Bd3 is a draw after 23.Qd1 Be2 24.Qe1 Bd3 25.Qd1. But he might not be able to resist 23.Qf2? which is bad: 23...Re2 24.Qxe2 [24.bxa6 Rxf2 25.Kxf2 Qh5 26.Kg1 Bxg3! 27.hxg3 Qh3 28.a7 Qxg3+ 29.Kh1 g4! 30.a8Q+ Kg7 31.Qb7 Qe1+ 32.Kg2 gxf3+ 33.Nxf3 Qf1+ 34.Kg3 Nh5+ 35.Kh4 Qh1+ 36.Kg4 Qg2+ 37.Kxh5 Qh3+ 38.Nh4 Be2+ 39.Kg5 Qg4#] 24...Bxe2 25.bxa6 Qd3!! 26.Kf2 [26.a7 Qe3+ 27.Kg2 Bxf3+! 28.Nxf3 Qe2+ 29.Kg1 Ng4 30.a8Q+ Kg7 31.Qxc6 (31.Bxg5 Qf2+ 32.Kh1 Qxf3+ 33.Kg1 Qf2+ 34.Kh1 Qxh2#) 31...Qf2+ 32.Kh1 Qf1+ 33.Ng1 Nf2#] 26...Bxf3! 27.Nxf3 Ne4+ 28.Ke1 Nxc3! etc. and it is curtains.

Naturally the Ruskie will not play it, but I wanted you to know about this variation, just in case.

Yours, Bobby

PS: All the best and bring back some cigars for me. Greetings to Sofie.

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert J Fischer [mailto: [deleted]@emax.is]
Sent: Sunday, 09 December 2007 04:08
To: [Deleted]
Subject: Knight sac in the Moscow

Reykjavik, December 2007

Dear Veselin,

I wish you all the best for the tournament in Wijk. You asked me for new ideas. Okay, here is one I had on the Moscow Variation. After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 dxc4 7.e4 g5 8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0–0 Nbd7 11.Ne5 Bg7 why can’t you simply sac the knight on f7? 12.Nxf7 Kxf7 and then continue with 13.e5 Nd5 14.Ne4? What can Black do? After e.g. 14… Ke7 you play 15.Nd6 and now e.g. Qb6 16.Bg4 Raf8 17.Qc2. That is the point. The queen comes to g6. If now 17… Qxd4 then 18.Qg6 Qxg4 19.Qxg7+ Kd8 20.Nxb7+ Kc8 and now 21.a4 is very strong. If then 21… b4 you simply play 22.Rac1 c3 23.bxc3 b3 24.c4 Rfg8 25.Nd6+ Kc7 26.Qf7 Rf8 and now 27.h3. That really should win. 27.cxd5 is not good I think, because of 27…Rxf7. And after 28.Rxc6+ Kb8 29.Nxf7 you can play. 29...Qe2 and after 30.Nxh8 there is the awful 30…Qxf1+ 31.Kxf1 b2. Well, check it all with the Cheperinof guy. Say he came up with it if it works. DO NOT say you got it from me!

Best regards

André Schulz

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