Magazine article The Spectator

Fischer's Revenge

Magazine article The Spectator

Fischer's Revenge

Article excerpt

Last week I gave a murderous victory, by Mikhail Tal against Bobby Fischer, in the context of reconstructing the match that might have been between these two great gladiators of the chessboard. This week the main game is Fischer's stunning revenge.

Fischer-Tal; Bled 1961; Sicilian Defence 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e6 S Nc3 Qc7 6 g3 Nf6 This move is imprecise. He should have played 6 . . . a6 and if 7 Bf4 then 7 . . . do. 7 Ndb5 Qb8 8 Bf4 Ne5 This is practically forced as after 8 . . . e5 there follows 9 Bg5 a6 10 Bxf6 gxf6 11 Na3 and Black is in a bad way. This might appear to be similar to the Sveshnikov variation, as favoured by Kramnik and McShane, which has appeared in recent columns, with outstanding black results. However, in this particular case the peregrinations of the black queen, leading to its displacement on b8, deprives Black of some useful central control. Any comparison with the main line Sveshnikov would, therefore, redound to White's considerable advantage. 9 Be2 Paradoxically, the bishop is much better placed here than on g2. 9 . . . Bc5 This is another bad move from Tal. Better was 9 . . . a6. 10 Bxe5 Qxe5 11 f4 Qb8 12 e5

12 . . . a6 This is forced as if 12 . . . Ng8 then 13 Ne4 and the drawback of the bishop's positioning on c5 is clear. 13 exf6 axb5 14 fxg7 Rg8 15 Ne4 The bishop is again shown to be misplaced and White maintains his pawn on g7. 15 . . . Be7 16 Qd4 Ra4 17 Nf6+ Bxf6 18 Qxf6 Now White threatens simply Qh6 and Qxh7. Black counters by threatening . . . Qxc2. 18 . . .Qc7 19 0-0-0 Beautiful play. White threatens Bd3 and Bxh7 and can afford to disregard the threat of . …

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