Shelby Lyman on Chess: Precocity By Any Other Name

Sunday, August 09, 2015
Hint and Explanation: 
Sacrifice and Mate

Bobby Fischer was astoundingly precocious — as he proved in 1958, at the age of 15, when he won the U.S. championship, besting the legendary champion Sammy Reshevsky, one of the world’s strongest players, in his own den.

A few months later, he played five world-class Soviet grandmasters equal. It was his first international tournament.

Shortly after, he was awarded the grandmaster title, the youngest ever to receive it.

In late 1961 and early 1962, at barely 18 years of age, Fischer, his ingenue growing pains as a player largely behind him, ascended the chess stage in full battle regalia.

In two successive tournaments, in Bled, Yugoslavia, and Stockholm, Sweden, an extraordinarily gifted and intimidating group of Soviet grandmasters — who had roamed and ruled the chess landscape with unchallenged abandon — were abruptly brought to their knees.

At Bled, he defeated Mikhail Tal, a former world champion, as well as well as Tigran Petrosian, a future one.

With a combined score in both events of 6-2 against the Soviets, he had breached an apparently impregnable fortress.

Suddenly everything was different. An unstoppable presence had imposed its signature on the existing chess scene,

The Soviets, of course, were still a vital force, but the future indisputably belonged to the Brooklyn chess tsunami, Robert James Fischer.

Below is a win by Maxim Matlakov against Lu Shanglei from the China-Russia match in Ningbo, China.

Matlakov Lu

1. d4 d5

2. c4 e6

3. Nf3 Nf6

4. g3 g6

5. Bg2 Bg7

6. O-O O-O

7. Qc2 Nc6

8. Rd1 a5

9. a3 Ne7

10. Nc3 b6

11. Bf4 Bb7

12. cxd5 exd5

13. R(a)c1 Ne8

14. b4 axb4

15. axb4 Qd7

16. Qb3 h6

17. Ne5 Qe6

18. b5 g5

19. Bd2 Nd6

20. Nc6 Bxc6

21. bxc6 Ra5

22. e3 R(f)a8

23. Nb1 R(5)a6

24. Bb4 N(d)f5

25. Nc3 Rd8

26. Nb5 Rc8

27. Bh3 h5

28. Bxe7 g4

29. Bf1 Nxe7

30. Nxc7 Black resigns

Solution to Beginner’s Corner: 1. Qxg6ch! If ... hxg6 (other moves also lead to rapid mate) 2. h7 mate! (Vidit-Arteiev ’15).

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