Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Fischer or Kasparov?


More questions and answers about late chess legend Bobby Fischer

Question: Who is a better player, Bobby Fischer or Garry Kasparov? And who would win if they played a match?

Answer: If the match was played when both players were at their prime it would be incredible. But if I have to pick, I would say Garry has a very small edge because he was the first world champion that fully utilized chess databases and computer programs. That is how Garry raised his game to a whole new level and maintained it for so long. Without it, it is a major handicap, but both players are just phenomenal; two of the greatest world champions ever.

I don't think there would be a contest if they played a few years ago. Garry stayed at number one for an unprecedented 20 years or so. It is very hard to imagine that Bobby could win such a match with such a big age discrepancy.

Question: What do you think about Fischer-random chess?

Answer: I love it! It is a wonderful game and a wonderful contribution to chess. It certainly returns chess to the days when opening theory did not extend twenty five moves deep. Fischer-random forces you to think for yourself from move one. Another great contribution from Bobby is the Fischer clock.

Below is one of Bobby's instructional games that I discussed in my chess instructional DVD series. You can find a full line of instructional chess DVDs at www.ChessMaterials.com. This was a game against former World Champion Tigran Petrosian, a very solid player, one of the hardest persons to beat.

Grandmaster Bobby Fischer - Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian
Candidate Match (7), Buenos Aires, Oct. 19, 1971

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6

This is the Paulsen variation of the Sicilian defense.

5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.0-0 d5 8.c4!

This is a strong move to undermine Black's solid center.

8...Nf6 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.exd5 exd5

After 10...Nxd5 the answer would be 11.Be4 and if 11...Be7, then 12.Nc3 with a better position for White. Now White has a target, Black's weak isolated Pawn on d5.

11.Nc3

Bobby spent 20 minutes on this move.

11...Be7 12.Qa4+! Qd7?

Better would have been 12...Bd7 although White's advantage is clear in that case too.

13.Re1!

This is even better than 13.Bb5 axb5 14.Qxa8 0-0.

13...Qxa4 14.Nxa4 Be6 15.Be3 0-0 16.Bc5!

It is a good strategical idea to exchange the dark square Bishops.

16...Rfe8 17.Bxe7 Rxe7 18.b4! Kf8 19.Nc5 Bc8 20.f3 Rea7?! 21.Re5! Bd7 22.Nxd7+!!

It is a brilliant decision to masterfully transforming one kind of advantage into another.

22...Rxd7 23.Rc1

Threatening both Bxa6 and Rc6.

23...Rd6

If 23...g6 then 24.Rc6.

24.Rc7 Nd7 25.Re2 g6 26.Kf2 h5

After 26...Re8 White would continue with 27.Rxe8+ Kxe8 28.Ra7 Rb6 29.a3 Nb8 30.Ke3.

27.f4!

To take control of the e5 square.

27...h4?!

This move only further weakens Black's position.

28.Kf3 f5?! 29.Ke3 d4+?! 30.Kd2

The threat is Bc4, Kd3 and then Re6.

30...Nb6 31.Ree7 Nd5 32.Rf7+ Ke8 33.Rb7 Nxb4?

This ends the game even faster. Black could have dragged the fight longer with 33...Rb6 34.Rxb6 Nxb6 35.Rg7; or 33...Rb8 34.Ra7 Nf6 35.a3 Rbb6 36.Bc2. However, in either case the end result would not have been different than in the actual game.

34.Bc4 planning Rh7 and Black resigned 1-0

11 comments:

Bill Clinton said...

Its not fair to say Kasparov would have won a match. Bobby didnt have computers. If he had there is NO DOUBT he would have been stronger. So you can not compare.

Anonymous said...

Kasparov is certainly a better player long term. When both were playing at their peak I would have thought Fischer was better.
That only maybe because I grew up wathching him play before his long breakdown. Kasparov has done more positive for chess. MLF

Charles Thompson said...

I feel like Fischer had an advantage in his time because he knew how the Russians played...but being an outsider he wasn't so easy for them to study...and he also didn't pick up bad habits of dogmatic thinking that damaged the imagination of chess players around this time.

But he simply wasn't as strong as Garry. I feel that way mainly by simply comparing their moves...but there's other things that make me feel that way which are easier to explain.

First of all, Fischer ran from Karpov. Of course he and his fans have plenty excuses...but i think he would've been happy to play Karpov if he knew he outmatched the guy....he knew that he did not. Fischer didn't leave enough games to prove his performance...his short appearance in the chess world could have been a lucky streak.

Also, the guy was crazy. It might seem counter-intuitive to some but i feel like being crazy damages your chess performance.

Charles Thompson said...

I feel like Fischer had an advantage in his time because he knew how the Russians played...but being an outsider he wasn't so easy for them to study...and he also didn't pick up bad habits of dogmatic thinking that damaged the imagination of chess players around this time.

But he simply wasn't as strong as Garry. I feel that way mainly by simply comparing their moves...but there's other things that make me feel that way which are easier to explain.

First of all, Fischer ran from Karpov. Of course he and his fans have plenty excuses...but i think he would've been happy to play Karpov if he knew he outmatched the guy....he knew that he did not. Fischer didn't leave enough games to prove his performance...his short appearance in the chess world could have been a lucky streak.

Also, the guy was crazy. It might seem counter-intuitive to some but i feel like being crazy damages your chess performance.

Charles Thompson said...

I feel like Fischer had an advantage in his time because he knew how the Russians played...but being an outsider he wasn't so easy for them to study...and he also didn't pick up bad habits of dogmatic thinking that damaged the imagination of chess players around this time.

But he simply wasn't as strong as Garry. I feel that way mainly by simply comparing their moves...but there's other things that make me feel that way which are easier to explain.

First of all, Fischer ran from Karpov. Of course he and his fans have plenty excuses...but i think he would've been happy to play Karpov if he knew he outmatched the guy....he knew that he did not. Fischer didn't leave enough games to prove his performance...his short appearance in the chess world could have been a lucky streak.

Also, the guy was crazy. It might seem counter-intuitive to some but i feel like being crazy damages your chess performance.

Anonymous said...

The comparison is practically impossible...Fischer devoted huge amounts of time and energy to extract information which today is easily available to any interested amateur.

Who knows what Fischer would have done if he had had instantaneous access to, well, everything.

He may have become flat-out bored with the game.

mayahans said...

Kasparov would have won even if you take away the computers. He was a more universal player than kasparov. He was equally adept in e4 and d4(and c4) openings. He was like Alekhine ,good in all phases of the game.He is the best player ever.

Anonymous said...

Fischer had never been really tested. Defend the title for many times and being a No.1 for 20 years is much more harder. Garry Kasparov is the best so far. Only Carlsen has the chance to beat Garry's greatness.

Anonymous said...

Send Kasparov and Carlsen back to the 'no-computer' era and Fischer would tower above them all.

Anonymous said...

Fischer is very great but I think gary is better because the generation in which fischer played was not as strong as the generation which gary has played. Gary kasparov
created a record by holding world title for more than 20 years. So gary should be better. He should have won.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think Garry's brain more stronger than Fischer...maybe Fischer has the beautiful play than Kasparov, but Fischer's beautiful play not ever punished by the super Grandmaster like in this era. If Fischer meet Kramnik and Fischer all out of the his offensive play..maybe Kramnik will make Fischer to be salted fish on the chess board..You've seen how Kramnik defeated Kasparov in WCC 2000 how kramnik only defend and wait Kasparov to make a wrong and than Kramnik just punished with the beautiful play.