Friday, October 20, 2006

Game of the Century

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Normally I don’t feature games. However, I will make an exception this time as today is the 50th anniversary of the game between Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne that is generally accepted at the greatest game ever played.

Chessbase featured this immortal game in its website yesterday and the annotation is theirs. So, take out your chess sets and enjoy,
This game has been labeled the “Game of the Century” and has been discussed in countless chess books, most encyclopedias and motivated me and countless others to take the game seriously.

Fischer was only 13 years old when this game was played and Byrne was one of the top 10 players in the USA at that time.

Donald Byrne-Robert James Fischer. Rosenwald Memorial, New York, 1956.

1.NF3 NF6 2.C4 G6 3.NC3 Bg7 4.d4 0-0 5.Bf4 d5 6.Qb3 dxc4 7.Qxc4 c6 8. e4 Nbd7 9. Rd1 Nb6 10.Qc5 Bg4 11.Bg5?!

11…Na4!!!. Reuben Fine calls this a brilliant reply. Botvinnik calls this a “stunning and shocking move,” while Fred Reinfeld called it “one of the most magnificent moves ever made on the chessboard.” Rowson says it is “one of the single most powerful moves of all time.” 12.Qa3. This is forced, probably the only playable move in the position. [12.Nxa4 The knight sacrifice cannot be accepted: 12...Nxe4 13.Qc1 (13.Qxe7 Qa5+ 14.b4 Qxa4 15.Qxe4 Rfe8 16.Be7 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Bf8 and Black is winning) 13...Qa5+ 14.Nc3 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Nxg5 and Black is clearly better.]

12...Nxc3. A kibitzing GM here said that Black was simply lost in this position. 13.bxc3 Nxe4!! 14.Bxe7 Qb6!

15.Bc4 Nxc3! 16.Bc5 Rfe8+ 17.Kf1

17...Be6!!! The move that brought the 13-year-old instant worldwide fame.

Fine says, "An astounding reply...which wins in all variations". "To have foreseen this spectacular queen sacrifice several moves in advance – as Fischer must have done – is extraordinary," writes Graham Burgess.

18.Bxb6 Bxc4 19.Kg1 Ne2+ 20.Kf1 Nxd4+ 21.Kg1 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nc3+ 23.Kg1 axb6 24.Qb4 Ra4! 25.Qxb6 Nxd1.

The rest is a mopping operation which Bobby conducts with absolute precision. Byrne is stubborn and plays on against the 13-year-old. 26.h3 Rxa2 27.Kh2 Nxf2 28. Re1 Rxe1 29.Qd8+ Bf8 30.Nxe1 Bd5. Instead of simply pushing and promoting a queenside pawn, the young Fischer plays for mate. 31.Nf3 Ne4 32.Qb8 b5 33.h4 h5. Rawson notes that every black piece is defended, “a sure sign of good technique.” 34.Ne5 Kg7 35.Kg1. To avoid the pin...Bd6. But now it is a forced mate for Black.

35...Bc5+ 36.Kf1. 36.Kh2 Nd2 threatening 37...Nf1+ 38.Kh3 Bxg2# 37.Kh1 Ra1+ 38.Kh2 Nf1+ 39.Kh3 Ra2 and mate to follow.

36...Ng3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4+. There were shorter mates: 37...Re2+ 38.Kd1 Bb3+ 39.Kc1 Ba3+ 40.Kb1 Re1#; or even 37...Bb3 38.Qh8+ Kxh8 39.Nxf7+ Kg7 40.Nd6 Re2#. 38.Kd1 Bb3+ 39.Kc1 Ne2+ 40.Kb1 Nc3+ 41.Kc1 Rc2#
Cepca news. Mandy Baria has announced that the October tournament of the club is on the 22nd Sunday at Stella Maris starting at 1:30 p.m.

Congrats to the winners of the United Architects of the Philippines District C-1 played at the The Gaisano Bowlingplex last Oct. 14. Champion was Ronald Hamac of Lapu-Lapu Chapter, 2nd Jeffrey Solis of Cebu Chapter, and 3rd Glenn Dakay of Sugbu Chapter.

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