Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (91)

11/4/2012 – 'My 61 Memorable Games' claims to be Fischer's update of his masterpiece first published in 1969, but is it genuine? Although the 753-page volume is almost impossible to find on sale, the Editor of Chess Notes recently acquired it. He advocates careful, rigorous scrutiny of the contents, and enables readers to enjoy a riveting literary, historical and analytical conundrum with a multitude of clues.

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Chess Explorations (91)

By Edward Winter

The mystery surrounding ‘My 61 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer’ is both intriguing and important. The back cover bills the book as ‘the new classic that will last throughout the ages’, but is it a genuine work by the late world champion or an attempt by one or more unidentified individuals to dupe the chess world? Given that the volume, a paperback with many photographs, comprises no fewer than 753 pages and purports to offer countless analytical improvements to the original 1969 edition of Fischer’s book, My 60 Memorable Games, the quantity of evidence available for evaluation is enormous. But what conclusions should be drawn on the issue of authenticity?

Any evaluation must, of course, be calm, objective and factual. Too many people have already written about My 61 Memorable Games without having seen it and, in some cases, without even knowing whether or not it existed. For our part, we have steered clear of the subject until now, as it is only recently that the book came into our possession. Since then, we have been scrutinizing it without partis pris and without rushing to judgement.

Below are four sample pages:

The final page above concerns the extra, 61st, game in the book, Fischer v Spassky, Sveti Stefan, 1992 (first match-game).

Examination of the book continues, as can be seen in our feature article My 61 Memorable Games (Bobby Fischer). It provides a detailed description of the book and many further extracts.

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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, 7,830 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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