In memoriam: Bobby Fischer's 1956 debut

by ChessBase
1/23/2008 – With the passing of the legendary Robert James Fischer, our Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos finds it appropriate to commemorate his great career and contributions to the game. Dennis starts with the game that launched him on the world stage, his win as a 13-year-old over the very strong master Donald Byrne, from the 1956 Rosenwald tournament. Wednesday night, 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

With the passing of the 11th World Chess Champion, the legendary Robert James Fischer, it's appropriate to spend some time commemorating his great career and contributions to the game. We'll start this week with the game that launched him on the world stage, his win as a 13-year-old over the very strong master Donald Byrne, from the 1956 Rosenwald tournament.

Though it was a prestigious event, Fischer's participation was not "on the merits", as it were (his rating in 1956 was a not exactly whopping 1726!), but because he had won the U.S. Junior Championship earlier in the year. So although he was clearly on the rise, I'm sure he was still looked upon as an outside in the de facto U.S. Championship. He didn't win the event, but he finished with a very respectable –2 performance. And then there's the game with Donald Byrne...

To say that the game was brilliant is to understate things, though Hans Kmoch's label "Game of the Century" may go a bit too far. He's right in spirit, though: this was a stunning debut by the youngster. Not only was it a great game, but it was a promise of much more to come, a promise that was fulfilled – at least in chess – over the years to come. So I think this is an appropriate way to begin our tribute to Fischer's career, and I hope you'll join me tonight (Wednesday) night at 9 p.m. ET on the server as we examine this game.

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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