Shelby Lyman on Chess: ‘It Was too Late, We Were Dead’
Hint and Explanation: Better Than … f2
Bobby Fischer offered chess amateurs and professionals alike many great moments.
One such moment occurred in the third round of the 1963-64 U.S. Championship in Manhattan.
Spectators — including a group of grandmasters and national masters, this writer among them — were following the game in an analysis room with a growing degree of amazement..
After 20 moves, Fischer — a piece down — seemed to be losing badly.
“I don’t understand this at all,” Nicholas Rossolimo, a grandmaster and top U.S. player, said. “Fischer has nothing at all for his piece.”
Suddenly, Robert Byrne entered the room, his broad smile belying his abrupt resignation.
Fischer had created an elegant win in what we had regarded as a losing position.
Fischer’s handling of the game had been so profound, that Byrne — a great talent himself — could only express his admiration.
Perhaps inspired by his own creation, Fischer went on to win the event with an 11-0 score. No one was ever to exhibit such dominance in a U.S. championship, before or after.
A decade later, the Russian grandmaster Mark Taimanov attempted to describe the Fischer phenomenon: “We were playing chess. Fischer was playing something else. … Naturally there would come a time when we finally would understand what these moves had been about. But then it was too late. We were dead.”
Below is a win by Boris Grachev against Maksim Vavulin from Championship of Moscow superfinal.
1. d4 Nf6
2. Nf3 e6
3. Bg5 h6
4. Bh4 c5
5. e3 b6
6. N(b)d2 Bb7
7. Bd3 Be7
8. O-O O-O
9. c3 Nc6
10. Re1 d5
11. Qe2 Rc8
12. R(a)d1 Qc7
13. a3 e5
14. e4 cxd4
15. exd5 dxc3
16. bxc3 Na5
17. c4 R(f)e8
18. Ne4 Nxc4
19. Bxf6 gxf6
20. Nh4 Bxd5
21. Nf5 Kh8
22. Qh5 Bf8
23. Nxh6 Qd8
24. Ng4ch Black resigns
Solution to Beginners Corner: 1. … Rxc5! (threatens 2. … Rxc7, as well as 2. … f2 followed by 3. … f1=Q mate).