Understanding Bobby Fischer by GM Susan Polgar
Bobby Fischer is one of the greatest chess players in the history of the game, achieving landslide tournament wins and producing incredible works of art. The games of Bobby Fischer advanced theory in the opening, middlegame and endgame and his fantastic moves have proved an inspiration for generations of players.
Bobby Fischer had an exceptionally creative style and was well-known for his prowess as a deep positional player. However, one of the things that really allowed Bobby Fischer to dominate his contemporaries in the mid-20th century was that he never missed an opportunity to play a short, forcing combination.
Fischer was famous for his alertness for weaknesses in his opponent’s position, and he combined consistent pressure with forcing tactics to regularly push opponents off balance and capitalize on the slightest initiative.
In this video, a chapter from her ¨Bobby Fischer’s Most Brilliant Instructional Games and Combinations¨, GM Susan Polgar explains how Bobby found the astonishing moves in one of his best games: Robert Byrne vs Bobby Fischer, 1963.
7 years earlier, Bobby Fischer had stunned the world when, aged just 13, he beat Donald Byrne in “the Game of the Century”. Now he faced Robert, Donald’s brother, in the US Championship.
Playing the Black side of the King’s Indian Defense, Bobby Fischer got an isolated queen pawn position, giving his pieces great activity. On move 14, Robert Byrne played Rfd1, a case of “the wrong rook” although the reason is far from obvious.
In the next few moves, Bobby jumped a knight into d3, sacrificed it on f2 and brought his other knight into play. It looked like Fischer had played a tactic to win rook and 2 pawns for 2 knights. But Bobby didn’t take the rook but the bishop – everyone was stunned. Surely, Black was just lost? How could Bobby play such a move?
Three moves later, with the GM commentators telling the audience that White had a won game, White resigned! Even at this point, the final combination wasn’t obvious and Bobby was disappointed not to get to play the further rook sac he’d seen so many moves earlier.
Robert Byrne can take heart from the fact he wasn’t the only one beaten by Bobby in the US Chess Championships: Bobby beat ALL 11 of his opponents for an unparalleled 11-0 whitewash, one of the most incredible tournament victories of all-time.
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