Fischer vs Spassky – 50 years ago

by Frederic Friedel
7/11/2022 – Half a century ago, exactly on this day, the most famous chess match in history began: Boris Spassky vs Bobby Fischer in Reykjavik, Iceland. Five year ago we celebrated the event by reporting on it, game for game, as if it was all taking place live. Today we bring you links to all the reports we published at the time, starting with our full report on the drama that surrounded game one. It contains original film footage which nobody should miss.

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Bobby Fischer in Iceland

The drama of game one

The Match of the Century started with game one on July 11, 1972. It is wonderfully described in Frank Brady's 1974 book Bobby Fischer, which appears to be out of print. We bring you excerpts of the events on day one.

"When Fischer awoke on the afternoon of the first game, July 11, 1972, and it slowly began to permeate his consciousness that he was actually in Iceland playing for the championship of the world, he was nervous. After years and years of tribulations and controversy, and the recent brouhaha about the match, Fischer had arrived at the threshold of his lifelong goal. Laugersdalhöll was to be his universe for the next two months.

All details had been checked and double-checked in the playing hall to ensure maximum comfort for the players. Laugersdalhöll is a cavernous, dome-shaped stadium (someone described it as a large Icelandic mushroom), with huge, white-covered sound baffles on the ceiling that resemble mammoth albino bats. The entire first floor was covered with carpeting to muffle the sound of entering and exiting spectators, and the folding seats were replaced with upholstered and consequently "soundless" chairs. The two film towers were pushed back, on Fischer’s request, and the lighting intensity on stage was increased. A handsome, Eames-designed executive swivel chair, an exact duplicate of the one he sat in while playing Petrosian in Buenos Aires, was flown in from the U.S.

The Spassky-Fischer Match of the Century was played in Laugardalshöllin, a giant sporting arena. This is how it looked before the start of the match.

Bobby was driven to the Stadium by Lombardy, and due to heavy traffic they arrived shortly after five o'clock, the scheduled starting time. Fischer rushed through the backstage corridor on to the horticultured stage, and was greeted by the polite applause of an audience of 2,300 spectators.

Spassky made his first move precisely at five – and Schmid started Fischer's clock

Fischer, dressed in a white shirt and blue conservative business suit, sped to the table

The two men shook hands while Fischer kept his eyes on the board. Then he sat down in his black leather chair, considered his move for ninety-five seconds, and played his Knight to his King Bishop's third square.

As moves were made on the board, they were simultaneously shown on forty closed-circuit television monitors in all points of the stadium. In the cafeteria, where spectators wolfed down the local variety of lamb-based hot-dogs and gurgled bottles of two-percent Icelandic beer, the action on the stage was discussed vociferously. In the basement, Icelandic masters more quietly explained and analyzed the moves on a large demonstration board, while in the press rooms, a condescension of grandmasters surveyed the television screens and analyzed in their heads, to the confusion and awe of most of the journalists. In the playing hall itself, decorum and quiet reigned. But when it did not, Lothar Schmid or the Assistant Arbiter, Gudmundur Arnlaugsson, would activate a large white electrical sign that insisted, in both English and Icelandic, upon immediate attention: Silence! Thögn!

End of excerpt from Brady's book. On my recent trip to Iceland Gardar Sverrisson showed me a window that had been cut into the back wall in 1972:

The window was installed so that cameras could film the action from the other side

Original film footage shot by the rear window camera (during game one in 1972)

If you watch the video above  you will see that Fischer was very uncomfortable with the setup – he is clearly preoccupied with the cameras in the hall.

Fischer goes over to the chief arbiter Lothar Schmid to vigorously protest. Lothar can't do anything about it and the games proceeds.

On the cover of Ludek Pachman's book we have an image of the stage: the window is hidden in the FIDE logo banner. Fischer noticed and complained about it.

I hand over to Brad Darrach, journalist and film critic, who wrote one of the most influential books on Bobby Fischer – first published in 1974, and still a fascinating read. Get a copy – mine, pictured on the right, cost $2.95 a couple of decades ago. In it Darrach describes the key moment of game one (excerpts):

The game developed with curious blandness on both sides and soon arrived at a "standard position" in the Nimzo. Spassky had often reached this position before, Bobby never. Why had Bobby urged the action into this form now? When was the zinger coming?

The zinger never came. Slyly repeating, move for move, a game that Spassky and Krogius had played in 1958, Bobby brought the position dead even.

Spassky sat staring at the board for twenty minutes. He decided there was nothing to do but nudge the game gently toward one of those sleepy standoffs known as a grandmaster draw. After the twenty-eighth move, the position was so hopelessly drawn that five hundred ticket-holders went home. Another five hundred were jostling in the lobby, some picking up souvenirs, some buying commemorative stamps.

 

"Too bad," Thorarinsson was saying to a Yugoslav reporter. "We had hoped for an exciting game to get the match going." "I don't know what's got into him," Lombardy was mumbling to another grandmaster in the press room, where most of the Western experts were sitting. "Maybe he's just too worn out to play. Well, I better go backstage. Couple more moves, they'll call it a draw." As Lombardy rose, Bobby made his twenty-ninth move.

In a balanced position Fischer captured the pawn on h2 with his bishop...

...and calmly pressed his clock

Bishop takes Pawn!? Spassky jolted like a man hit by a bullet and stared at the board. Four seconds later, the move was flashed on the closed-circuit TV. Lombardy's jaw dropped. "What!" Byrne yelled, and went pale. At the other end of the lobby, Geller gasped and grabbed Krogius' arm. "It's a mistake!" grandmaster Gligoric told grandmaster Olafsson. "They put the wrong move on the screen!"

But it wasn't a mistake. Geller, Nei and Krogius stared at the nearest TV screen, heads together, mumbling excitedly. Byrne and Lombardy began shuffling pieces in Byrne's chess wallet. A dozen reporters clustered around them. "Jesus!" Byrne gasped. "Maybe Bobby's got something!" Down in the analysis room, an Icelandic master was moaning, "I don't get it! What does he see that I don't see?"

A roar filled the lobby. People in the restaurant were yelling so loud the noise could be heard in the playing hall. In sixty seconds every entrance to the hall was choked with people charging back in. "Bobby's attacking! Bobby took a poisoned pawn! Bobby busted the game wide open!" Thorarinsson stood in the center of the lobby, his grin spreading from wall to wall. "One move," he said blissfully, "and we hit every front page in the world!"

In his book Brady writes:

29...BxKRP? An incredible blunder caused by Fischer's overenthusiastic attempt to win an obviously drawn game. He overlooked that after 30 P-N3 P-KR4 31 K-K2 P-R5 32 K-B3 P-R6 33 K-N4 B-N8 34 KxP BxP White cuts off the escape of Black's Bishop by playing 35 B-Q2." We have full analysis of the critical moment below.

On his forty-first move, Spassky, to take advantage of overnight analysis, decided to adjourn the game. Since five hours, the official adjournment time, had not yet been reached, he took a loss of thirty-five minutes on his clock. Spassky had a Bishop and three Pawns against Fischer's five Pawns. He sealed his move and handed the large brown envelope to Schmid.

As the crowds began to file out, Fischer drove back to the Loftleider to analyze the position with Lombardy, discussing it in the car without sight of the board. Byrne said: "Fischer is playing desperately for a draw." Larry Evans felt Fischer had drawing chances, "perhaps." Gligoric thought Fischer's chances were "slim." But Krogius said it was "probably a draw."

The game was continued the next day, and Fischer left the playing table for half an hour to protest the presence of the television cameras. Then he resigned on move 56. He told his second Lombardy that he had played too quickly "because the cameras distracted me."

Here's how the decisive moves of the game were reconstructed in the movie Pawn Sacrifice.

Twenty years later he was asked by a journalist whether he had been trying to create winning chances in the game by complicating a drawn position.”Basically that's right. Yes,” he replied.

Analysis of Spassky-Fischer game one

Note that you can get a larger replay board if you click anywhere in the notation. And clicking on the fan icon below the board will start an engine with which you can analyse. 

[Event "World Championship 28th"] [Site "Reykjavik"] [Date "1972.07.11"] [Round "1"] [White "Spassky, Boris V"] [Black "Fischer, Robert James"] [Result "*"] [ECO "E56"] [WhiteElo "2660"] [BlackElo "2785"] [Annotator "ChessBase"] [PlyCount "111"] [EventDate "1972.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 (4... c5 {Petrosjan-Fischer, Buenos Aires 1971, 0-1/40.} 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ { Spassky-Petrosjan, Moskau wm (5), 1-0/31.}) 5. e3 (5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 { Thorbergsson-Fischer, Rykjavik 1960, 1/2/26.}) 5... O-O 6. Bd3 c5 (6... Nc6 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Na5 9. Nd2 c5 10. O-O $16 {Reshevsky-Fischer, Los Angeles 1961, 1-0/28.}) 7. O-O Nc6 {This position was never played before by Fischer.} 8. a3 Ba5 9. Ne2 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Bb6 11. dxc5 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 Bxc5 13. b4 Be7 14. Bb2 $14 {Byrne} Bd7 $1 15. Rac1 Rfd8 16. Ned4 Nxd4 17. Nxd4 Ba4 (17... Rac8 { Byrne}) 18. Bb3 Bxb3 19. Nxb3 Rxd1+ 20. Rxd1 Rc8 21. Kf1 Kf8 22. Ke2 Ne4 23. Rc1 Rxc1 24. Bxc1 f6 25. Na5 Nd6 26. Kd3 Bd8 27. Nc4 Bc7 28. Nxd6 Bxd6 29. b5 { [#]} Bxh2 $6 {Byrne/Smith} (29... Ke7 30. h3 (30. Ke4 f5+ 31. Kd4 $2 Bxh2 $19) 30... e5 {/\ 31... Ke6= Botvinnik}) 30. g3 h5 31. Ke2 h4 (31... g5 32. Kf3 g4+ 33. Kg2 h4 34. Kxh2 h3 35. f3 f5 36. e4 Ke7 37. Be3 a6 38. bxa6 bxa6 39. exf5 exf5 40. fxg4 fxg4 41. Kg1 Ke6 42. Kf1 Kd5 43. Bg1 Kc4 (43... Ke4 44. Ke2 $18) 44. Ke2 Kb3 45. Ke3 Kxa3 46. Kf4 $18 {Timman}) 32. Kf3 (32. gxh4 Bd6 $15 {Byrne }) 32... Ke7 (32... h3 33. Kg4 Bg1 34. Kxh3 Bxf2 35. Bd2 $1 $18 {Byrne}) (32... g5 $6 33. Kg2 (33. e4 $2 h3 $10 34. Be3 Bg1 {/\ 35... g4 -+} 35. g4 $8 a6 { -/+/-+ Purdy}) 33... g4 34. Kxh2 h3 35. e4 {/\ 36.f3 +- Byrne} (35. f3 f5 36. e4 Ke7 37. e5 $3 $18 {/\ Kf1-.., Bg1 Purdy})) 33. Kg2 hxg3 34. fxg3 Bxg3 35. Kxg3 Kd6 36. a4 {/\ Ba3 Byrne} (36. e4 Kc5 37. Be3+ Kxb5 38. Bxa7 g6 {/\ 39... f5 = Pachmann} (38... Kc4 39. Kf3 Kd3 {/\ e5, g7-g5-g4 = Gligoric})) (36. Kg4 g6 37. Bb2 e5 $10 {Gligoric}) 36... Kd5 (36... Kc5 37. Ba3+ Kc4 38. Bf8 g6 39. Be7 $18 {Smith} f5 40. Kf4 $18 {Pachmann}) 37. Ba3 Ke4 {?? Pachmann} (37... e5 $142 {Smith} 38. Kg4 g6 39. Be7 f5+ 40. Kg5 (40. Kf3 Kc4 41. Bd6 Kd5 42. Bb8 a6 43. b6 g5 $10) 40... Ke4 41. Bc5 (41. Kxg6 f4 $10) (41. Bd8 Kd5 42. Bc7 Ke4 43. Kxg6 f4 44. exf4 exf4 45. Kf6 f3 46. Bg3 Kd5 47. Bf2 b6 48. Ke7 Kc4 49. Kd7 Kb4 50. Kc6 Kxa4 51. Be1 Kb3 52. Kb7 (52. Kd5 Ka4 53. Kc4 Ka3 $10) 52... Kc4 $10) 41... b6 $2 42. Bxb6 $1 axb6 43. a5 $1 $18 {Purdy}) (37... a6 $1 $10 38. b6 ( 38. bxa6 bxa6 $10) (38. Bf8 axb5 39. axb5 Ke4 40. Bxg7 (40. Kf2 f5 41. Bxg7 e5 {/\ f4 =}) (40. Bc5 e5 $10 {Purdy}) 40... Kxe3 41. Bxf6 b6 42. Bd8 Kd3 43. Bxb6 Kc4 $10) (38. Kf4 g5+ 39. Kf3 axb5 40. axb5 g4+ $1 41. Kxg4 Ke4 42. Bc5 e5 43. Kh5 f5 44. Kg6 f4 45. exf4 exf4 46. Kf6 Kd5 47. Bf2 b6 $1 $10 {Purdy}) 38... Kc6 39. a5 (39. Bf8 Kxb6 40. Bxg7 Ka5 41. Bxf6 Kxa4 42. Kf4 b5 43. Ke5 b4 44. Kxe6 b3 45. Kd5 Kb4 $1 (45... Ka3 $2) 46. e4 a5 $10 {Purdy}) 39... Kd5) (37... Kc4 38. Bf8 Kb3 (38... g6 39. Be7 f5 40. Kf4 Kb3 41. a5 Kc4 42. Kg5 $1 Kxb5 43. Kxg6 Kxa5 44. Kf6 $18) 39. Bxg7 (39. a5 Ka4 40. a6 b6 41. Bxg7 Kxb5 42. Bxf6 Kxa6 43. Kf4 Kb5 44. Bd4 $18 {Purdy}) 39... Kxa4 40. Bxf6 Kxb5 41. Kf4 Kc4 42. Bd4 {/\ 43.Ke5 +- Timman}) 38. Bc5 $1 (38. Kf2 {Byrne}) 38... a6 (38... b6 $2 39. Bxb6 $18 axb6 40. a5 bxa5 (40... Kd5 41. a6 $18) 41. b6 $18 {Byrne}) 39. b6 $1 f5 (39... e5 40. Kg4 (40. Bf8 Kxe3 (40... g6 41. Bh6 f5 42. Kh4 f4 43. exf4 exf4 44. Kg4 f3 45. Kg3 $18 {Purdy}) 41. Bxg7 Kd4 $1 42. Bxf6 Kc5 43. Bd8 $1 Kb4 44. Kf3 Kxa4 45. Ke4 Kb5 46. Kd5 $1 a5 $1 $10 {Prins} (46... e4 {Botvinnik} 47. Kd6 a5 48. Kc7 Ka6 49. Bg5 a4 50. Bc1 $1 $18 {Purdy})) 40... g6 (40... Kd5 41. Bf8 g6 42. Be7 Ke6 43. Bd8 $1 $18 {/\ e4, Kc4 nebst Zugzwang Timman}) 41. a5 (41. Kg3 $1 f5 42. Kh4 f4 43. exf4 Kxf4 (43... exf4 44. Kg5 $18) 44. Be7 $1 e4 45. Bg5+ Kf3 (45... Kf5 46. Bd2 $18) 46. Bc1 $1 e3 47. Kg5 e2 48. Bd2 Kf2 49. Kxg6 $18 {Pachmann}) (41. Be7 Kxe3 42. Bxf6 e4 (42... Kd4 $10 {Timman}) 43. Kg5 Kd3 44. Kxg6 Kc4 45. Kf5 {Vergleiche Partie. Gligoric}) 41... Kd5 42. Be7 f5+ 43. Kg5 f4 {/\ Kc8/Ka8} 44. exf4 exf4 45. Kxf4 Ke6 {/\ Kc8, Ka8 Byrne}) ( 39... Kd5 40. Bf8 g6 41. Be7 f5 42. Kf4 $18 {Pachmann}) 40. Kh4 {/\ Kg5-g6-c7 +-} f4 $2 {Byrne} (40... Kd5 41. Bd4 (41. Bb4 $1 Kc6 (41... Ke4 42. Bd2 Kd3 43. Bc1 Kc2 44. Ba3 Kb3 45. Bf8 Kxa4 46. Bxg7 Kb5 47. Kg5 $18) 42. Ba5 $1 Kc5 43. Kg5 Kc4 44. Kg6 Kd3 45. Kxg7 Kxe3 46. Kf6 $18 {Pachmann}) (41. Ba3 $2 Kc6 42. Bb2 Kxb6 43. Bxg7 Kc5 44. Kg5 Kd5 45. Kf4 b5 46. a5 b4 47. Bb2 Kc4 48. Ke5 Kd3 49. Kxe6 Kxe3 50. Kxf5 $10 {Pachmann}) (41. Be7 Kc4 (41... Ke4 42. Bg5 g6 43. Kg3 e5 44. Bh6 Kd5 $1 $10 {Wade}) 42. Bg5 e5 {/\ f4 = Gligoric}) (41. Bf8 g6 42. Kg5 Ke4 43. Kf6 $1 Kxe3 44. Kxe6 Kd4 45. Kd7 f4 46. Bd6 f3 47. Bg3 $18) 41... e5 42. Bc3 f4 $1 (42... Ke4 43. Kg5 f4 44. exf4 $10 {Gligoric}) 43. exf4 exf4 44. Kg4 Kc5 45. a5 (45. Ba5 g5 46. Kxg5 Kd6 47. Kxf4 Kd7 48. Kf5 Kc8) (45. Ba5 g5) 45... g5 46. Kxg5 Kd6 47. Kxf4 Kd7 48. Kf5 Kc8 {/\ Kb8, Ka8 Byrne} 49. Be5 Kd8 50. Ke6 Kc8 51. Bd6 Kd8 52. Bc7+ Kc8 $10) 41. exf4 Kxf4 42. Kh5 $1 Kf5 (42... g5 43. Kg6 $1 g4 (43... Kg4 44. Kf6 e5 45. Bd6 $18 {Gligoric}) 44. Bd6+ e5 45. Kf6 g3 46. Bxe5+ Kf3 47. Ke7 g2 48. Bd4 $18 {/\ Kb7 Byrne}) (42... e5 43. Kg6 e4 44. Kxg7 e3 45. Bxe3+ Kxe3 46. Kf6 Kd4 47. Ke6 Kc4 48. a5 $18 {Purdy }) 43. Be3 (43. Bf2 $143 g5 44. Be3 g4 45. Kh4 Ke4 {Timman}) (43. Be7 $18 { Timman}) 43... Ke4 (43... g6+ 44. Kh6 Kf6 45. Bd2 Kf5 46. Bg5 e5 47. Bd2 Kf6 48. Be3 Kf5 49. Bg5 $18 {Zugzwang. Pachmann}) 44. Bf2 (44. Bc1 $18 {Botvinnik} Kf5 (44... Kd3 $2 45. Kg6 Kc2 46. Kxg7 $1 Kxc1 47. Kf6 $18) (44... Kd5 45. Kg6 Kc5 46. Be3+ Kb4 47. Kf7 (47. Kxg7 $2 Kxa4 48. Kf6 Kb5 49. Kxe6 Kc6 $10 {Wade}) 47... Kxa4 48. Kxe6 Kb5 49. Kd7 a5 50. Kc7 Ka6 51. Bd4 g5 52. Bf6 g4 53. Be5 a4 54. Bd6 $18 {Purdy}) 45. Bg5 e5 46. Bc1 e4 47. Be3 {Vgl. Partie}) 44... Kf5 45. Bh4 e5 (45... g6+ 46. Kh6 e5 47. Bg5 e4 48. Bd2 Kf6 49. Be3 Kf5 50. Bg5 { Zugzwang +- Byrne}) 46. Bg5 e4 47. Be3 {Vgl. Partie} Kf6 (47... g6+ 48. Kh4 Kf6 49. Kg4 $18 {Byrne}) 48. Kg4 Ke5 49. Kg5 Kd5 50. Kf5 a5 (50... Kc4 51. Kxe4 Kb4 52. Kd5 Kxa4 53. Kd6 {/\ 54... Kc7 Byrne}) 51. Bf2 {Zugzwang} (51. Bd2 $2 Kc5 52. Bxa5 e3 $10 {Timman}) 51... g5 52. Kxg5 Kc4 53. Kf5 Kb4 54. Kxe4 Kxa4 55. Kd5 Kb5 56. Kd6 {1-0 (28) Spassky,B (2660)-Fischer,R (2785) Reykjavik 1972 MainBase [ChessBase]} (56. Kd6 a4 57. Kc7 Ka6 58. Bc5 Kb5 59. Bf8 Ka6 60. Be7 $18) *

The analysis and material from Chess Life & Review appears courtesy of US Chess.

 


Previous articles

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (1)
In the final week of June 1972 the chess world was in turmoil. The match between World Champion Boris Spassky and his challenger Bobby Fischer was scheduled to begin, in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, on July 1st. But there was no sign of Fischer. The opening ceremony took place without him, and the first game, scheduled for July 2nd, was postponed. Then finally, in the early hours of July 4th, Fischer arrived. Frederic Friedel narrates.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (2)
The legendary Match of the Century between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer was staged in the Laugardalshöllin in Reykjavik. This is Iceland’s largest sporting arena, seating 5,500, but also the site for concerts – Led Zeppelin, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie all played there. 45 years after the Spassky-Fischer spectacle Frederic Friedel visited Laugardalshöllin and discovered some treasures there.

Subsequent articles

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (3)
On July 11, 1992 the legendary Match of the Century between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer finally began. Fischer arrived late, due to heavy traffic. To everybody's surprise he played a Nimzo instead of his normal Gruenfeld or King's Indian. The game developed along uninspired lines and most experts were predicting a draw. And then, on move twenty-nine, Fischer engaged in one of the most dangerous gambles of his career. "One move, and we hit every front page in the world!" said a blissful organiser.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (4)
7/16/2017 – The challenger, tormented by the cameras installed in the playing hall, traumatically lost the first game of his match against World Champion Boris Spassky. He continued his vigorous protest, and when his demands were not met Fischer did not turn up for game two. He was forfeited and the score was 0-2. Bobby booked a flight back to New York, but practically at the very last moment decided to play game three – in an isolated ping-pong room!

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (5)
7/21/2017 – After three games in the Match of the Century the score was 2:1 for the reigning World Champion. In game four Spassky played a well-prepared Sicilian and obtained a raging attack. Fischer defended tenaciously and the game was drawn. Then came a key game, about which the 1972 US Champion and New York Times and Chess Life correspondent GM Robert Byrne filed reports. In Reykjavik chess fan Lawrence Stevens from California did something extraordinary: he manually recorded the times both players had spent on each move.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (6)
7/26/2017 – In the sixth installment of our series we offer readers a glimpse of what had been happening behind the scenes of “The Match of The Century”, especially in the Russian camp. A tense Boris Spassky, cajoled by seconds Efim Geller and Nikolai Krogius, nevertheless failed to perform to the dismay of his friends and admirers. It’s also the story of a gamble that could have hurtled Bobby down the precipice in that fateful Game 6 of the match. A cautionary tale and object lesson for aspiring players.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (7)
8/4/2017 – After the first two traumatic games World Champion Boris Spassky was leading 2-0 in the Match of the Century. But then Fischer started to play and struck back: in the next eight games he scored 6½ points, chalking up a 6.5-3.5 lead. Games 8, 9 and 10 were quite spectacular, and are the subject of today's report. Younger players will also learn about "adjournments" and how exactly "sealed moves" were handled. Some were born after these practices were abandoned.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (8)
8/9/2017 – After ten games in the World Championship match in Reykjavik, 1972, the score was 6½-3½ for Challenger Bobby Fischer. The match seemed virtually over – in the last eight games Boris Spassky had only managed to score 1½ points. "If it had been the best of 12 games, as in the Candidates matches, Spassky would already have been on his way home..." wrote Garry Kasparov in his Great Predessors book. In game 11 Boris took on the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian, even though he had obtained a lost position in game seven. Take a look at what happened.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (9)
8/11/2017 – In game eleven of the World Championship match in Reykjavik, 1972, Boris Spassky had comprehensively outplayed the challenger in his favourite poisoned pawn variation of the Sicilian Defence. In game 12 he made a confident draw with black and Fischer realized his opponent was gaining ground. In the 13th game he abandoned the Sicilian and, to the chagrin of Spassky, played, for the first time in a top-level game – the Alekhine Defence. It turned into one of the most exciting battles of the match, and is beautifully annotated by GM Robert Byrne.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (10)
8/18/2017 – The Match of the Century was coming to a head, with Spassky, but despite all his efforts, unable to reduce the deficit. "I felt that Fischer was like a large fish in my hands," he lamented, "one that was slippery and hard to hold on to. At certain moments I let him slip. And then again the psychological torment would begin. Everything had to be begun again from the start ..." Spassky was beginning to feel despondent.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland — 45 years ago (11)
8/25/2017 – After draws in games 14 and 15, Fischer still had a three-point lead in the World Championship match, and the Spassky side was getting nervous. The Champion was fighting hard but not getting any points. Suspicion arose that Fischer might be using secret weapons: hypnosis, devices planted in the lights or the chairs, and even perhaps assistance from an "IBM" (Russian for "computer" at the time). All this was formally investigated, while Fischer continued to coast.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (12)
8/30/2017 – The score was 10½-7½ for the Challenger, who needed 12½ to win the title. Was Bobby Fischer content merely to sneak in by split points? "I don't believe it — it's never been his style," wrote commentator GM Robert Byrne. "I think the explanation for the draws is to be found in Spassky's improvements in his openings." In games 11 and 12 Fischer kept coasting, but he also relaxed somewhat with social encounters.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland – 45 years ago (13)
9/1/2017 – The score was 11½-8½ for Challenger Bobby Fischer, who needed 12½ to win the title. In game 21 he had the black pieces and he played a Sicilian variation he had never before shown any liking for. He gained a distinct advantage, but then allowed Boris Spassky to sacrifice an exchange to get a drawn position. However, the still-reigning World Champion went on to blunder and finally lose his title.


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/19/2022 09:57
@Arzi while I have read your aphorisms and I have no issues with them whatsoever. Normally I wouldn't react to these comments, but you have addressed a question to me, namely:

"I'm an idiot but which person are you out of the remaining options, Lajosarpad?"

I presume that in the above quote you consider yourself to be an agnostic (one who refuses to assume things) rather than an "idiot". I have no proof for that. But it is clear beyond reasonable doubt that you would not seriously consider yourself to be an idiot. So, am I a believer? Or, in other words: should I refuse to treat highly probable statements as facts? It is obvious to me that it's unwise not to treat highly probable statements as facts.

It would be difficult to operate without using the information we draw from highly probable conclusions. You are free to do so if you want.

When we do science and researching, oftentimes we don't have the luxury of having hard-proof for everything. Yet, it would be unwise to dismiss highly probable patterns as "unproven".

Without assigning an actual value to the probability of Fischer's mental illness, let's consider the example when there is a 99% chance that a statement is true. If we treat this as a fact, then from many such cases, on average, we are right 99% of the times and wrong 1% of the times. Yet, if we are to accept your proposal and dismiss these statements because they are "unproven", then we will be ignorant 100% of the times. So, what is better: being right 99% of the times or being ignorant 100% of the times?
arzi arzi 7/16/2022 09:27
The liar's paradox.
There is a card. On one side of rhe card there is a text:" On the other side of this card the sentence is true."
and on the other side:
"On the other side of this card the sentence is not true."

All you think is true is not true ... and vice versa.
arzi arzi 7/16/2022 08:59
Every human is a sunshine.
Every human is a creature of a light and a shadow.
That is why every creature of a light and a shadow is a sunshine.
arzi arzi 7/16/2022 06:48
Three people: a believer, an atheist and an idiot. A believer knows that God exists. A person acts and talks according to his/her beliefs. An atheist knows that God not exists. Also this person acts and talks according to his/her beliefs. An idiot knows that he/she doesn't know if God exists. Despite that, the idiot decides to go to local pub for few beers with his/her friends. I'm an idiot but which person are you out of the remaining options, Lajosarpad?
arzi arzi 7/16/2022 06:07
Wow! More you are using words to prove your points less them actually prove. You can call me whatever make you happy, dear Lajosarpad.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/16/2022 04:13
@Arzi "Still, you are giving your statement as a fact "

Because I'm convinced that Nepo could not handle his loss, as all the evidence point towards this direction. If you think I'm wrong, then you can explain how well Nepo recovered from his loss in game 6 in that match. Which, of course, would be a less than convincing position.

"If you did not asked it from Nepo, why do you write as you know what really happened to Nepo?"

He lost 3 further games without ever winning in that match. So he clearly was inferior in comparison to his former self after game 6. Which suggests that he couldn't handle the extreme stress and the painful loss. Which are evident signs of a mental breakdown.

"Is there anything in the whole world you don´t know?"

There are lots of things I do not know. But thank you for showing all readers that you are trolling in the quote above.

"Dude" means "man" or "guy". If you do not consider yourself a "man" or a "guy", then please excuse me, I will call you "madam" from now on. Or whatever you prefer.

"Did he get a serious nervous breakdown or just a mild mental breakdown? Did it last hours, days, months, almost a year? Did he need medicine to recover? If yes, what kind of medicine? Did alcohol work as a medicine?"

I only know that he had a mental breakdown during the match after game 6 from which he couldn't recover by the end of the match. I presume that after the match he was haunted by it for a while, but recent evidence suggests he has fully regained his balance.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/16/2022 04:13
@Arzi You continue by saying that chess grandmasters are not supercomputers and commit mistakes. That's true. But they rarely accompany such mistakes with hysteria about the cameras and defaulting their next game in a world championship match. So, my position's foundation is not only the fact that he committed a mistake that we would not expect from a GM, but also he was hysterical during the game and defaulted the next game. Judging all these are making me think that he had a mental breakdown. To give you another example of a blunder, Kramnik stepped into a 1-move mate against the engine. He handled his loss graciously, explained his thought process and did not show any signs of hysteria. Therefore, in the case of Kramnik's blunder I have not enough evidence to think that he had a mental breakdown. While, in Fischer's case at game 1, his whole attitude during game 1 and game 2 are clearly suggesting he had a mental breakdown those days.

Saying that I compare myself to him is clearly ignoring my point in an attempt to picture me as someone who equates himself to one of the best chess players in history. Anyone who has read my post and then your trolling knows that you have applied a cheapo in the quote above. If you think I'm wrong, then you can argue why that position on the board was difficult to assess and why a chess player of Fischer's callibre can be expected to make this mistake. That would be a logically valid way to argue against my point. But, taking out from context my comparison between me and Fischer, which served the purpose to illustrate how easy should have been for Fischer to dismiss that variation as unfavorable is an invalid way of conduct on your part.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/16/2022 04:11
@Arzi Fischer has shown symptoms of mental illness in his later years (not in 1972, to be clear) and specialists said he was mentally ill. As a result, I treat his illness as a fact. On the other hand, you cling on to the fact that there was no proof about his illness (he refused to be examined by doctors, to be clear). While you are technically correct in making this statement, your mistake is that you are taking the lack of proof as a premise and totally ignore that a plethora of evidence is pointing towards the alleged existence of a mental illness.

"Now you're comparing Fischer to yourself and trying to prove your point with it?"

You are trolling in the quote above. I said that Fischer was much better a chess player than me, yet, in that position I would clearly see that the bishop move is a mistake. So, Fischer, a player who was much much stronger than me in normal circumstances would have no problem seeing that the move is bad. My argument takes as premise that 1. Fischer was a much better chess player than me 2. I have no trouble seeing that the move is wrong and, the conclusion is that therefore it is normal to expect Fischer not to make that blunder. As a result, something was clearly preventing him to judge the position according to his normal levels.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/16/2022 04:10
@Arzi to clarify: I don't believe that Fischer was mentally ill during his match in 1972. He just couldn't handle the stressful first game, did not show up at game 2 and it was likely that he will lose the match in a whitewash, but, instead recovered and achieved a historic win in the match. I called the mental state during game 1 as a "mental breakdown". You seem to not understand this term and unwilling to look it up. So I will tell you what I (and every definition I found) mean when the term of "mental breakdown" is being used:

A temporary state of mind under extreme stress that prevents the person from operating normally.

The evidence suggests that Fischer had a mental breakdown during game 1 and that years later he developed a mental illness. You say that we cannot know factually that in his later years he was mentally ill. Yet, for starters, nearing his end of life he refused treatment because he was afraid of the doctors. By the way, one of the main reason he was not examined properly was his refusal for treatment. This is a clear sign of paranoid behavior and I am not a specialist in the area, but based on his behavior I think it is beyond reasonable doubt that he was mentally ill during his later years.

To illustrate what "beyond reasonable doubt means" let me provide you a funny example: I have never seen you, so I have no idea how you look alike. Yet, I'm convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you are a human being. That is, I have no factual data about this, no information about any medical doctor examining you and confirming that you are a human being, but it would be a ridiculous position to start doubting that you are a human being, even though technically I have no proof for this.
WillScarlett WillScarlett 7/15/2022 10:09
I submit what may be a welcome palliative or anodyne for those who may be fearing the advent of a mental breakdown stemming from a close reading of any prior postings:

https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/spasskyfischer.html

Section 6 is especially relevant.
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 04:14
To Queenslander, I agree with you, why don't we analyze the second game. By the way, I've been about 8 months in Queensland. Great area!
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 03:27
Lajosarpad:"You still do not understand what a mental breakdown is. (Sigh) Let me define the concept again:..."

I´m happy for you that you have found the truth from google search. Why don´t you search with the google search about Nepo´s real thoughts? Did he get a serious nervous breakdown or just a mild mental breakdown? Did it last hours, days, months, almost a year? Did he need medicine to recover? If yes, what kind of medicine? Did alcohol work as a medicine?
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 03:09
Lajosarpad:"Dude, a mental breakdown is a state of mind that prevents the individual from handling a stressful situation. Nepo had a mental breakdown during the match, but, once that stressful situation ended, he had approximately a whole year to recover until the candidates tournament."

Dude? No, I´m arzi. Did JJ from chessfeels tell you about Nepo´s mental breakdown? Or, did Nepo? Ouh, my mistake! You don´t have Nepo´s phonenumber.
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 03:05
Lajosarpad:"A variety of authors have speculated about Bobby Fischer's mental state...So, based on this fact (1) and on the fact that..."

Those are not the facts but opinions. Speculation is not a fact. Also believing is not a fact. Has any doctor examined Fischer in his own will and with him about his "mental disorder" or his possible schizophrenia? Anybody can speculate but the real facts are still missing. I don´t know if Fischer had a schizophrenia. He might had it but I can´t give any 100% facts about it. Nobody can any more. They should have examined Fischer about schizophrenia when he was alive.

Lajosarpad:"I did not witness the process of the analysis by GM Karsten Müller, but I ..."

GM Timman had already done that before, as GM Karsten Müller said in his notes.

Lajosarpad:"So, Fischer, a player much better than me does not see that a move that is obviously mistaken in my view? It happened. But it is not normal to happen. So, something else must be the cause....But super GMs rarely commit such errors as this one in classical games. "

Now you're comparing Fischer to yourself and trying to prove your point with it? Great! Still, superGMs do mistakes, they are not supercomputers. They are humans, even Fischer.

Lajosarpad:"I don't have his phone number and would not bother him with such questions even if I had it..."

Still, you are giving your statement as a fact ("Another example of mental breakdown is Nepo's state of mind..."). If you did not asked it from Nepo, why do you write as you know what really happened to Nepo? Is there anything in the whole world you don´t know? Google search will help you to examine that problem.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:34
@Arzi "Man with a mental breakdown do not play so strongly as Nepo did in candidate tournament."

You still do not understand what a mental breakdown is. (Sigh) Let me define the concept again:

"A nervous breakdown, also known as a mental health crisis or mental breakdown, describes a period of intense mental distress. A person having a nervous breakdown is temporarily not able to function in their everyday life." https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/nervous-breakdown

The words of "period" and "temporarily" clearly imply that mental breakdowns are affecting a person during a period of time and they are temporary, caused by intense stress. So, what in the name of common sense drives you to believe that if Nepo had a mental breakdown during his match with Carlsen, he would be in the same state of mind a year later? You seriously need to read about what a mental breakdown is if you do not want to look ridiculous. But, if you choose to ignore the fact that mental breakdowns are temporary, then be my guest.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:33
"He had NO mental breakdown because of his previous WC match."

Dude, a mental breakdown is a state of mind that prevents the individual from handling a stressful situation. Nepo had a mental breakdown during the match, but, once that stressful situation ended, he had approximately a whole year to recover until the candidates tournament. I remember our discussion about predictions. I expressed hope that Rapport would win and I also told you that I think either Nepo or Caruana will win.

Nepo's collapse in the match against Carlsen did not play any role in my prediction, because psychologicall collapses / mental breakdowns during a stressful situation are temporary affairs one recovers from once he is back into his comfort zone. And I'm also sure that Nepo analysed after the match why he was not able to handle his loss in game 6 and at least tried to find a good approach to handle such cases. We did not see that in the current candidates, as he did not lose a single game. But, if I was Nepo, the main thing I would try to solve is to have a better handling of painful losses.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:26
@Arzi "Well, if great GMs today, like Karsten Müller, have examined that game and noticed that it (29...Bxh2) was NOT a losing move, then we do not need any mental reasoning about that move."

I did not witness the process of the analysis by GM Karsten Müller, but I presume that he spent a lot of time analyzing this game and used computer assistance as well. Such an approach is perfectly valid during an analysis, but one would be suspended from tournaments if he was to use computer assistance and would lose time if starts to ponder many hours on a move. I believe Fischer that at the time of the game he thought that move was correct, but I think this is far below his level. He is one of the best chess players in history. Such moves like Bxh2 are great mistakes, I would avoid boxing in my bishop that way during a game unless something very concrete arises. And my chess is not of GM callibre. So, Fischer, a player much better than me does not see that a move that is obviously mistaken in my view? It happened. But it is not normal to happen. So, something else must be the cause.

"Somehow you are handling Fischer as a supercomputer in your previous statements."

I'm handling Fischer like the super GM he was, during the match of his life. He was of course human and he made errors. But super GMs rarely commit such errors as this one in classical games.

"If I was you I would ask from Nepo himself, not from JJ in chessfeels. "

I don't have his phone number and would not bother him with such questions even if I had it. It is obvious that he collapsed during the match, up until game 6 the match was balanced and then Nepo had a painful loss and afterwards Carlsen dominated.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:15
@Arzi "So, you saw that mental breakdown from his 29. move (Bxh2)? You should stop your work as a programmer and start new life in mental institute as a doctor in medicine. "

First, mental breakdown is not yet a mental problem, it's the mishandling of a stressful situation. Second, I presented an opinion and I could be wrong.

"You could fool me. Somebody could think that you are saying that the later mental disorder in Fischer was already starting to pop up in 1972"

I would be simpler to just admit that you misunderstood what I said. "Excentric and volatile" is not a mental health problem yet. Persons with these traits are more likely to develop mental health problems, like in the case of Fischer, who also developed such a problem later in his life, when he became paranoid. It is not my statement, it is a well-known fact that Fischer was mentally ill later in his life:

"A variety of authors have speculated about Bobby Fischer's mental state. For example, Valery Krylov, a specialist in the "psycho-physiological rehabilitation of sportsmen," who is cited in Garry Kasparov's mini-biography of Fischer, believed Bobby suffered from schizophrenia." https://psmag.com/social-justice/a-psychological-autopsy-of-bobby-fischer-25959

So, based on this fact (1) and on the fact that he was the protagonist of multiple scandals (2) I am on the opinion that Fischer was an excentric and volatile person and in 1972, during game 1 of the match, he could not keep his cool and lost due to psychological factors. You seem to agree with me on this when you say that it's okay to be "a bit" nervous at the first game of the world championship match. So, you either do not understand what I said or distorted it on purpose. In the case of the former the solution is simple: you stop acting as if I was ever suggesting he was ill during the match. And if you have a drop of honor, then you can also acknowledge that you misunderstood me.
Queenslander Queenslander 7/15/2022 02:05
I'm looking forward to Game 2! (Someone had to say it.)
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 07:51
Lajosarpad:"...Nepo's mental breakdown.."

Before the candidate tournament started I asked who would win that. I predicted 3 players, Caruana, Nakamura and Rapport would be on top and Nakamura would win if those three have to play of victory. I didn't even think about Nepo and his chances. I thought Nepo had lost faith in himself and wouldn't do well in the tournament at all. How wrong I was! He had NO mental breakdown because of his previous WC match. Man with a mental breakdown do not play so strongly as Nepo did in candidate tournament. Actually, Nepo is now stronger than ever. He is now a real threat against Magnus. Beware Magnus!
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 06:52
Lajosarpad:"Fischer was not a supercomputer."

YES, that is a CORRECT statement. Somehow you are handling Fischer as a supercomputer in your previous statements. Saying that his bad move was not like him but there must be some hidden mental issue (internal) in it. NO, there was no internal issues. He said himself that he made the move too quickly, hastily.

Lajosarpad:"If you are interested in Nepo's mental breakdown during his recent match, you can read this article: https://chessfeels.substack.com/p/chessfeels-40-we-need-to-talk-about"

If I was you I would ask from Nepo himself, not from JJ in chessfeels.
arzi arzi 7/15/2022 06:45
Lajosarpad:"I mentioned my opinion, according to which he had a mental breakdown."

So, you saw that mental breakdown from his 29. move (Bxh2)? You should stop your work as a programmer and start new life in mental institute as a doctor in medicine.

Lajosarpad:"In this case I have given you a single link, which was pointing to a google search which provides you this information"

Google search as a ultimate truth. Nobody knows better about Fischer´s mental state than Lajosarpad with his google search.

Lajosarpad:"I did not say he had a mental health problem during game 1 in 1972....Lajosarpad:"I think the answer is likely to be stemming from psychology. Fischer later had a mental disorder, so, in hindsight, it's not unreasonable to think that he was already excentric/volatile at this point, especially given the fact that he was part of many controversies before this one. ""

You could fool me. Somebody could think that you are saying that the later mental disorder in Fischer was already starting to pop up in 1972? By the way, about that mental disorder, did any doctor examine Fischer's mental health or did you find the results with google search?

Lajosarpad:I have seen his comment. But why did he believe that this clearly bad move will help him? Was this his best chess? Of course not. He had some internal troubles during the game."

Well, if great GMs today, like Karsten Müller, have examined that game and noticed that it (29...Bxh2) was NOT a losing move, then we do not need any mental reasoning about that move. It was a just a careless mistake done in hastly, nothing more, nothing less.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:28
@Arzi Finally: I believe Fischer did not have mental health issues during his 1972 match, but in my opinion he was already excentric and volatile, so he was prone to mental breakdowns or psychological collapses during extremely stressful situations. Of course I may be wrong and I am happy to hear other opinions, such as the one Nirvana1963 described. But I am not interested in answering questions that misrepresent what I said.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:27
@Arzi

"If the game was salvageable then this mental breakdown, explained by Lajosarpad, is not the right answer."

Fischer was not a supercomputer. He was a great chess player, playing his first world championship game. Whatever the result of a supercomputer's analysis or the many-houred analysis of grandmasters, he had to make a move over the board, with limited time on his clock and had no means to calculate the position up until the end. By contrast, letting computers run on this position for quite a while may help us understand the objective evaluation of the position, but this was clearly out of sight for Fischer.

But: the very fact that starting from this move everybody searches for a draw for Fischer clearly means that this was a mistake. I would go further: on GM level this is arguably a blunder.

"Although a thousand super GMs or more think that Fischer's move was bad, none of them were playing that WC match."

Yes, this is true. But nevertheless, the thousand or so super GMs are right. From a position where Black was comfortable, Fischer made this bishop move that made his position very difficult and ultimately self-destructed it. I think that's not likely from a world championship challenger.

Another example of mental breakdown is Nepo's state of mind after his loss in the 6th game against Carlsen. Nepo is a perfectly sane person, but he could not play his great chess after game 6, which he could not recover mentally or psychologically during the match and therefore Carlsen dominated the rest of the games.

If you are interested in Nepo's mental breakdown during his recent match, you can read this article: https://chessfeels.substack.com/p/chessfeels-40-we-need-to-talk-about
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:13
@Arzi By the way, you seem to agree that the camera was bothering him. Was the camera the real problem? Or was the real problem his stress? I think it was the latter. And I think he couldn't handle the stress that day and projected his psychological problems on the camera.

"In a very first WC match it is ok to be a little nervous"

Basically that was my point. I explained that according to my opinion he was in a very stressful situation and he had a mental breakdown. Since you do not know what a mental breakdown is, you misunderstood my point and you believed that I was saying that he had a mental health problem. I did not say that. I said he was eccentric and volatile. But you did not understand it. So I have explained what a mental breakdown is. But, since you do not read references, you remained ignorant about this.

"By the way Lajosarpad, it does not matter how many links you give us to prove your points"

In this case I have given you a single link, which was pointing to a google search which provides you this information.

So, let me clarify again: I did not say he had a mental health problem during game 1 in 1972. If you insist on this, then you will have to do so alone, as I will not allocate further time into answering a question that is very ignorant to what I said and whose author did not bother to read the basic information that would have clarified it. The link therefore was not a "proof" about some mental health problem, since, again, I did not make that claim. The link was an attempt to help you understand what I said.

"Either you missed that or did not care about his saying but wanted to explain the fact for behalf of Fischer."

I have seen his comment. But why did he believe that this clearly bad move will help him? Was this his best chess? Of course not. He had some internal troubles during the game.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/15/2022 02:00
@Nirvana1963 you might be right, but I think it's unlikely, because a person of world champion caliber, such as Fischer was during this game in "normal" circumstances rarely commits such a blunder. He was boxing in his own bishop, even a much weaker player than Fischer would not really commit such mistakes. So, Bxh2 was way below Fischer's normal level, so, something happened to him. According to your opinion, it was arrogance. I rather think he was extremely nervous.

@Arzi it's strange that according to you I'm misrepresenting what I "should" say. I can assure you that I will say what I think, regardless of what I should think or say according to you.

"Maybe you are trying to find too difficult answer in a easy question?"

The statement above does not make sense. Nevertheless, I mentioned my opinion, according to which he had a mental breakdown. Then you asked your simple question:

"with a starting mental health problem seems to be a bit exaggerated, don`t you think, Lajosarpad?"

I tried to explain to you that "mental breakdown" does not imply a mental health problem. So, I did not say that he had a mental health problem. My point was that he was excentric and volatile. Persons with such traits are more likely to handle badly stressful situations than balanced people. I have given you a link so you may understand what a mental breakdown is, because in your comment you have given clear signs that you did not know what it is.

So, your question directed towards me makes no sense at all. How should I answer your question that implies that my comment claimed Fischer had a mental health problem during the match? The answer is simple: by pointing out that I have never made the claim you attributed to me.
Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 7/14/2022 04:21
The endgame was drawn until the 39th move, but after ...Bxh2?! of course only White can play for a win:
39...f5? [the final mistake]

[Black can draw with 39...e5 40.Kg4 g6 41.a5 (41.Kg3 Kd3= (Timman)) 41...Kd5 42.Be7 f5+ 43.Kg5 f4= (Byrne) due to 44.exf4 exf4 45.Kxf4 Ke6 46.Bh4 Kd7 47.Kg5 Kc8 48.Kxg6 Kd7 with a fortress]

40.Kh4 f4 [40...Kd5 is more tenacious: 41.Bb4! Ke4 42.Bd2 Kd3 43.Bc1 Kc2 44.Ba3 Kd3 45.Bc5 Kc4 46.Bd6! Kasparov ends here. Sullivan continues the line with 46...Kd5 47.Bf4! e5 48.Bh2 f4 49.exf4 exf4 50.Kg4! (50.Bxf4? Kc5=) 50...Kc5 51.Bg1+ Kb4 52.Kxf4 Kxa4 53.Ke5 Kb4 54.Kd6 a5 55.Kc7 a4 56.Kxb7+–]

41.exf4 [the sealed move. Now it is clear that White will win] and 1-0 after some further moves
arzi arzi 7/14/2022 08:27
However, isn't the 1st game salvageable after 29...Bxh2 or was this move leading to a loss, even with the best moves by Fischer? If the game was salvageable then this mental breakdown, explained by Lajosarpad, is not the right answer. Even if the game isn't salvageable, it can't be justified by mental breakdown. Although a thousand super GMs or more think that Fischer's move was bad, none of them were playing that WC match.
arzi arzi 7/14/2022 06:40
Lajosarpad:"I think the answer is likely to be stemming from psychology. Fischer later had a mental disorder, so, in hindsight, it's not unreasonable to think that he was already excentric/volatile at this point, especially given the fact that he was part of many controversies before this one. "

You answered like this for the comments about bishop move. I guess you, lajosarpad, are misrepresenting what you really should say. Maybe you are trying to find too difficult answer in a easy question?

I agree with nirvana1963. My humble opinion is that this bishop move was just a small careless mistake made by Fischer during the game. He should have been concentrating on the game, but he was more focused on the sound of the camera in the back of the room. Simple, an analysis of Fischer's mental health is not needed here. This was just a chess move that didn't work in the game. In a very first WC match it is ok to be a little nervous and also it is ok to defend his rights and fight for the better playing conditions. Should we also analyze Karpov and Korthcnoi about their little "war"? Were they insane? Did they both have mental disorders? Mind reading, telepathy!

By the way Lajosarpad, it does not matter how many links you give us to prove your points, they are just second hand information. The only man that could give us the real fact was Fischer. He already told the fact about this bishop move. Either you missed that or did not care about his saying but wanted to explain the fact for behalf of Fischer.
nirvana1963 nirvana1963 7/13/2022 06:39
I don't think Fischer had a mental breakdown at the time of the match. I think he just felt superior to any other chess player in the world (which was true...). Fischer thought Bxh2 was possible, at least for him, because he was Fischer and he could play anything, at any time, against any player, even in a WC match. I agree he had mental problems after the match, big problems. But all these scandals and controversies before the match came from the fact he felt superior. Besides he had this feeling that 'they' (organisers of tournaments and matches) didn't understand him and didn't recognize his greatness. Bur that's my personal opinion of course.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/13/2022 02:53
@arzi "Justifying the hard-to-see end result in one game (bishop move) with a starting mental health problem seems to be a bit exaggerated, don`t you think, Lajosarpad? "

You are misrepresenting what I said. My point was that given the facts that

1. later (!) he had mental problems
2. prior to the match (!) he was part of many scandals and controversies
3. a world championship match is extremely difficult (ask Nepo) psychologically, in terms of endurance and in terms of constantly facing the best opponent in the world alike
4. this was his first game of his first world championship

I think he had a mental breakdown. Let's define the term of "mental breakdown": "A nervous breakdown (also called a mental breakdown) is a term that describes a period of extreme mental or emotional stress." see https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=mental+breakdown

So, anyone can have a mental breakdown at extreme stressing situations, even if the person is perfectly sane at the time.

I may add that virtually every super GM has seen that Bxh2 is a bad move, except for Fischer, the guy who was better than everyone else. But, for some reason he did not see that it's a bad move in that situation. What may that reason be? I think he had a mental breakdown.
arzi arzi 7/13/2022 06:31
MauvaisFou:" i'm a man of the past and long for 24-game matches, with slower time-controls."

24-game WC match means about 4-5 weeks. If candidate matches are also included, there is too much competition in a year only related to WC matches. In that case, the WC matches could not be played every year, but maybe every other year. Do we want that? A lot of big money tournaments are played in a year and it can be a disadvantage for these tournaments if there is a 24-game WC -match, every year. Two best players can not play in these tournaments because they have to prepare for the coming WC -match.

In movies, you may see the line in the opening credits: "the movie is based on real events and people." ... how much, it remains for the viewer to guess.
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 7/12/2022 09:55
... and Fischer had never won against Spassky !
marcguy marcguy 7/12/2022 09:05
One thing not generally emphasized is how hard it was to beat Spassky outright. Going into the match, both Spassky and Fischer had lost around 60 tournament games, but Spassky had played over 400 more games!
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 7/12/2022 06:10
Arzi : let's hope so ! but anyway ... i'm a man of the past and long for 24-game matches, with slower time-controls.
BKnight : it is terrible to see that they draw colours just before the game ! And many, many other things. It is terrifying, even for people having played or watched only one official game.
BKnight2003 BKnight2003 7/12/2022 04:22
Sad to see the scene in the movie "Pawn Sacrifice", which is fairly good, so different from what actually happened.
arzi arzi 7/12/2022 01:40
MauvaisFou:"Even sadder to see that a WC considers not to play."

MC will play the match. I think that Magnus would have already announced in public that he would give up the title. There has been no announcement even though the opponent is not Firouza but Nepo.
MauvaisFou MauvaisFou 7/12/2022 01:28
It is sad to see what the WC matches have become. Even sadder to see that a WC considers not to play his next match (Fischer forfeiting in 75 is an exception).
arzi arzi 7/12/2022 12:12
Fischer:"Twenty years later (1992) he was asked by a journalist whether he had been trying to create winning chances in the game by complicating a drawn position.”Basically that's right. Yes,” he replied."

Justifying the hard-to-see end result in one game (bishop move) with a starting mental health problem seems to be a bit exaggerated, don`t you think, Lajosarpad?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 7/12/2022 11:38
I think the answer is likely to be stemming from psychology. Fischer later had a mental disorder, so, in hindsight, it's not unreasonable to think that he was already excentric/volatile at this point, especially given the fact that he was part of many controversies before this one. Adding to this the fact that he was playing a world championship match for the first time in his life, facing an exceptionally good player, the world champion Boris Spassky, it is easy to see that he was in an extreme situation. So, I believe he had a mental breakdown, causing him to blunder away the game. Recording a public match should not trouble anyone, it is normal. How else would it be publicized? So, Fischer's complaints were wrong and Spassky is a noble person who continued to play even though the Soviets did everything in their power to prevent that. Fischer was seen as a player representing "the enemy" from Soviet perspective and Spassky could have easily defended his title via political means. But he did not bend to political pressure and bravely decided to decide matters on the board (I wonder whether players will play "the enemy" today, despite FIDE's and other sanctions). Finally, Fischer pulled himself together and defeating Spassky from this unenviable match situation. Spassky lost the chess match, but proved to be the more noble of the contestants.