Fischer vs Spassky – the critical sixth game

by ChessBase
2/6/2008 – Fischer started his 1972 World Championship match with a blunder and a forfeit. He won games three and five to pull level, and then in game six abandoned his usual 1.e4, sending shock waves through Spassky and the chess world with 1.c4. Our lecturer Dennis Monokroussos looks at this key game.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

And so we come to the end of our three-part series commemorating the chess of Bobby Fischer (though it's my intent to revisit more of his games in the future). We started with a look at his early career, studying his brilliant 1956 win over Donald Byrne. Last week we continued with a game from his middle period, a nice victory of Lajos Portisch in 1966. And now we conclude with a game from the culminating event of his career, his 1972 World Championship match against the defending champion, Boris Spassky.

Fischer started off down 0-2, losing the first game on a blunder and the second game with an intentional forfeit. It seemed the match might not continue, but after much cajoling from others and tremendous sportsmanship from Spassky game three finally occurred, and it was a Fischer win. After a narrow escape in game 4, Fischer won again in game 5 to tie the scores. And now we come to game 6, the subject of our show this week.

The game was notable for several reasons. First, the opening. While Fischer had occasionally dabbled with non-1.e4 openings with White, those outings were rare and hadn't occurred even once in his three Candidates matches. When Fischer opened this game with 1.c4, it came as a palpable shock to most observers, and Spassky, as I'll explain during the show, didn't react as he should have during the game. The second noteworthy aspect is the game's quality: this is widely thought to be one of Fischer's two strongest creative achievements in the match. And third, this game him the lead for the first time in the match, a lead he never relinquished.

It is therefore a game not only of aesthetic and instructional value, but of historical significance to boot. All told, a fine reason to join me tonight – Wednesday night – at 9 p.m. ET on ChessBase's server. Hope to see you there!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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