Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (81)

by ChessBase
3/26/2012 – We have more on the fascinating topic of the Fischer v Gligorić training match played in 1992. The previous Chess Explorations article gave a reader's inspired reconstruction of one of the games from Fischer's almost illegible score-sheet. Now the Editor of Chess Notes shows further archive material and also quotes some disclosures which he has received from Gligorić about the secret match.

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Chess Explorations (81)

By Edward Winter

Further to the previous Chess Explorations article, which concerned attempts to reconstruct the moves of a Fischer v Gligorić training game played in Yugoslavia in 1992, we are grateful to Mr David DeLucia (Darien, CT, USA) for permission to reproduce another score-sheet. It was given on page 180 of his book Bobby Fischer Uncensored (Darien, 2009):

Regarding that game, Mr DeLucia has sent us Gligorić’s score-sheet, which has not been made public before:

The moves:

Svetozar Gligorić – Robert James Fischer
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 Bg7 4 Nc3 O-O 5 e4 d6 6 Be2 e5 7 O-O Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Nd2 a5 10 a3 Ne8 11 Rb1 f5 12 b4 Nf6 13 f3 Bh6 14 Nb3 Bxc1 15 Qxc1 axb4 16 axb4 f4 17 c5 g5 18 Nb5 g4 19 cxd6 cxd6 20 Qc7 Qxc7 21 Nxc7 Ra2 22 Nc1 Rc2 23 Nb5 gxf3 24 gxf3 Bh3 25 Rf2 Rfc8 26 Nd3 Ne8 27 Bf1 Bd7 28 Rxc2 Rxc2 29 Rc1 Rc8 30 Rxc8 Nxc8 31 Nxd6 Nexd6 32 Nxe5 Bb5 33 Bxb5 Nxb5 34 Nd3 Nd4 35 Kf2 Nc2 36 e5 Kf7 37 d6 Nxd6 38 exd6 Ke6 Drawn.

Page 181 of Bobby Fischer Uncensored transcribed two other games for which Mr DeLucia possesses Fischer’s score-sheets:

Svetozar Gligorić – Robert James Fischer
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 O-O 6 Be2 e5 7 O-O Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Nd2 a5 10 a3 Bd7 11 b3 c5 12 Rb1 b6 13 b4 axb4 14 axb4 Bh6 15 bxc5 bxc5 16 Nb3 Bxc1 17 Qxc1 Nc8 18 Ra1 Rb8 19 Ra3 Rb4 20 Qe3 Nb6 21 Nd2 Ng4 22 Bxg4 Bxg4 23 f4 exf4 24 Qxf4 Rb2 25 Ra7 Bd7 26 Nf3 f6 27 Qxd6 Rxg2+ 28 Kh1 Rc2 29 Nd1 Bh3 30 Qxd8 Rxd8 31 Ne3 Bxf1 32 Nxc2 Nxc4 33 Na3 Nd6 34 e5 Be2 35 Ng1 Bd3 36 Nh3 fxe5 37 Ng5 h6 38 Ne6 Rc8 39 Rg7+ Kh8 40 Rd7 Nb5 41 d6 c4 42 Nd8 Be4+ 43 Kg1 Bd5 44 White resigns.

Svetozar Gligorić – Robert James Fischer
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 O-O 6 Be2 e5 7 O-O Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Nd2 a5 10 a3 Bd7 11 b3 c5 12 Bb2 Bh6 13 Qc2 b6 14 Nd1 Bxd2 15 Qxd2 Nxe4 16 Qd3 f5 17 f4 exf4 18 Rxf4 Nf6 19 h4 Rf7 20 Nf2 Qf8 21 Nh3 h6 22 Raf1 Re8 23 Bd1 Nc8 24 Qg3 Rg7 25 Qc3 Re5 26 Qc1 Qe7 27 R4f2 Kh7 28 Nf4 Ne4 29 h5 gxh5 30 Rf3 Qg5 31 Qc2 Ne7 32 Bc1 h4 33 Ne6 Qf6 34 Nxg7 Kxg7 35 Bb2 Ng3 36 Qf2 Qg5 37 Re1 Ng6 38 Bc2 f4 39 Bxg6 Kxg6 40 Bc1 Qe7 41 Rxe5 dxe5 42 Qe1 Qg5 43 Kh2 Bg4 44 Bxf4 exf4 45 Qe8+ Kg7 46 d6 Bxf3 47 Qd7+ Kf8 48 Qc8+ Kf7 49 Qd7+ Kg6 50 Qe8+ Kf5 51 gxf3 Nf1+ 52 Kh1 Ng3+ 53 Kh2 Drawn.

Replay the games on our Javascript player:

From the ten-game match, therefore, four games (including one reconstruction) have so far been published. Concerning the remaining games, information is currently lacking as to the whereabouts of the score-sheets (Fischer’s and Gligorić’s).

Svetozar Gligorić (Belgrade) has sent us the following account:

‘My friendship with Bobby started when he was 15 years old, and I was 35. It lasted about 40 years. During the two decades of his self-isolation I was one of the very few people who were in regular contact with him.

In 1992 Bobby arrived in Belgrade, several weeks before the beginning of his second match with Spassky. In advance of the match he asked for my help in delivering to him all games played during the 20 years of his absence from chess. I had a little-known computer, and Bobby was unpleasantly surprised by the enormous increase in the number of games with each opening variation which he had in his repertoire. That is when he began to think of reforming the rules of chess at all costs, removing the very tiring task of preparing openings in advance for each game. He spent a year or two trying to persuade me to write a book about Fischerandom chess. I eventually did so. My book, Shall We Play Fischerandom Chess?, was published in London in 2002, while he was still alive.

During Bobby’s stay in my country he asked me to be in his company all the time, and we went to Sveti Stefan together. He had plenty of time at his disposal and since he had not played chess for 20 years he probably felt uncertain about whether he had maintained his previous form. He therefore asked me to do him a favour: to play ten secret training games against him, with his new chess clock (now valid in the whole chess world), which was due to be used in the Spassky match. The games were played in Sveti Stefan, while we were waiting for Spassky’s arrival. Bobby and I had two bungalows close to each other, and he was in the best one, where Sophia Loren had stayed during an earlier visit. As far as I recall, we played our ten games there, one per day. It was agreed that there would be no spectators at all. Bobby did his best, after 20 years away from the board. He made no particular comments about his play but expressed satisfaction with several of the early games. Afterwards he had time to play a few games against Eugene Torre, following his arrival.

Unfortunately, I cannot be of much help now in deciphering Bobby’s handwriting or in providing other details about the game-scores. At that time my wife was seriously ill (she died in 1994), and I was rather absent-minded about chess matters. I remember very little about the ten games which Bobby and I played, except that I won as White in the final game. I think that Bobby had at least three wins. If I had kept my easily readable score-sheets, we would have no problems today, but after the match I gave them all to Bobby, without his asking, to show him that the material would never be used for any publicity purposes.

When Bobby departed from my country in 1993, moving to Budapest, he asked if he could leave many of his possessions in my house for safekeeping. I do not recall the exact date, but subsequently, before his departure to Tokyo, I hired a driver and a car, filled with Bobby’s belongings for delivery to him, but the Hungarian customs officials would not allow the car to continue its journey to Budapest without Bobby’s personal presence at the frontier. He was too lazy to come, and all the material was returned to me in Belgrade. I still have everything. There are many packages but, in accordance with Bobby’s wishes, I have never looked inside them.

My assumption was always that he had probably destroyed most of the game-scores, except the ones where he was particularly interested in the opening variation. I was surprised to learn from you that one score-sheet in my handwriting has been found.’

The above photograph of Svetozar Gligorić comes from our copy of Kandidatenturnier für Schachweltmeisterschaft by Gligorić and Ragozin (Belgrade, 1960).

Other Fischer-related articles by Edward Winter:

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All ChessBase articles by Edward Winter

Edward Winter is the editor of Chess Notes, which was founded in January 1982 as "a forum for aficionados to discuss all matters relating to the Royal Pastime". Since then, over 7,560 items have been published, and the series has resulted in four books by Winter: Chess Explorations (1996), Kings, Commoners and Knaves (1999), A Chess Omnibus (2003) and Chess Facts and Fables (2006). He is also the author of a monograph on Capablanca (1989). In 2011 a paperback edition was issued.

Chess Notes is well known for its historical research, and anyone browsing in its archives will find a wealth of unknown games, accounts of historical mysteries, quotes and quips, and other material of every kind imaginable. Correspondents from around the world contribute items, and they include not only "ordinary readers" but also some eminent historians – and, indeed, some eminent masters. Chess Notes is located at the Chess History Center. Signed copies of Edward Winter's publications are currently available.

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