Endgame riddle solved: Bronstein could have won against Fischer at Portoroz 1958

by Karsten Müller
7/29/2022 – A few weeks ago, Karsten Müller invited readers to analyze an interesting endgame that occurred in a game Bobby Fischer and David Bronstein played at the Interzonal Tournament Portoroz 1958. Bronstein was better but could not convert his advantage, and this crucial draw later helped Fischer to qualify for the Candidates. However, according to the analyzes of Karsten Müller and the ChessBase readers, Bronstein missed a win in the endgame. | Photo: Bobby Fischer at the Candidates Tournament 1959 | Photo: Tournament Book

Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play

Rules of thumb are the key to everything when you are having to set the correct course in a complex endgame. In this final DVD of his series on the endgame, our endgame specialist introduces you to the most important of these rules of thumb.


As usual Zoran Petronijevic sent the best solution, and here are his conclucions:

  • The initial position of our analysis (after 36.Qe1) is even.
  • 36…Qf4 is imprecise and leads to a slight edge for White.
  • 37.Rd4 gives White a slight edge.
  • 38.Qe4 is dubious and leads to an even position.
  • 40.Rd1 is a cautious move that gives Black a slight edge.
  • 42.Rd7 shows that Fischer liked to play actively.
  • 43.g3 is a clear mistake after which White is lost. It is interesting that Bronstein in his comments liked this move! Either 43.f3 or 43.Bc2 was better. 
  • After the strong 43…hxg3 Black is winning.
  • 47…Rh8 is dubious. Stronger was the strategic move 47…Kf6, after which Black should win. Still, 47…Rh8 does not spoil the win.
  • 50.Rf2 is dubious. More resilient was 50.Bd1, although White should not survive if Black plays precisely.
  • 50..Kd6 is dubious. After 50…e4 Black has a winning position.
  • 53…g5 is a nice breakthrough, after which Black should win.
  • 56…Rh1 is dubious. Better is 56…Rh5, which gives Black a winning position. Still, the game move does not spoil a win.
  • Bronstein’s decisive mistake was 57…e4, after which the position is drawn.



Karsten Müller is considered to be one of the greatest endgame experts in the world. His books on the endgame - among them "Fundamentals of Chess Endings", co-authored with Frank Lamprecht, that helped to improve Magnus Carlsen's endgame knowledge - and his endgame columns for the ChessCafe website and the ChessBase Magazine helped to establish and to confirm this reputation. Karsten's Fritztrainer DVDs on the endgame are bestsellers. The mathematician with a PhD lives in Hamburg, and for more than 25 years he has been scoring points for the Hamburger Schachklub (HSK) in the Bundesliga.