Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bobby Fischer Loses Latvian Gambit

Bobby Fischer lost a tournament game to the Latvian Gambit. That amazed me, but there is more to the story. The game was played at the 1955 U.S. Junior Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska. At the time Pupols was 20 and Fischer was 12. This was two years before Fischer won the first of eight US Championships. Bobby's time was devoted to daily long hours of detailed chess opening study.

The day Fischer was to play Pupols in the evening, they were all together in the home of Aleks Liepnieks where the older guys were playing poker. When Viktors Pupols would drop out of a poker game, he played blitz vs Fischer, beating Bobby repeatedly with the Latvian Gambit. Viktors told him that he would play the Latvian that night vs Bobby in their tournament game. Fischer did not believe him and continued to study the Ruy Lopez and Giuoco Piano all day long.

In the Larry Parr book Viktors Pupols: American Master, we read that Viktors said, "Bobby lost more Latvian Gambits that afternoon than in all the rest of his life!"

[My Philidor 2.Nf3 Playbook includes the Latvian Gambit]

Fischer - Pupols, USA-chJ, 1955 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.d4 d6 5.Nc4 fxe4 6.Nc3 Qg6 7.Ne3 Nf6 8.Bc4 [A critical line is 8.Be2 c6 9.0-0 Be7 10.f3+/-] 8...c6 9.d5 Be7 10.a4 Nbd7 11.a5 Ne5 12.Be2 0-0 13.0-0 Bd7 14.Kh1 Kh8 15.Nc4 Nfg4 16.Qe1 [16.Nxe5=] 16...Rf7? [Black is winning after 16...Nf3!-+] 17.h3 Nf6 18.Nxe5 dxe5 19.Bc4 Rff8 20.Be3? [20.dxc6 Bxc6 21.Be3= Stockfish, Rybka, Fritz] 20...Nh5 [20...cxd5!-+] 21.Kh2 Bd6 22.Bb3 Nf4 23.Bxf4? [23.Rg1=] 23...exf4 24.Qxe4? [24.f3 Rae8-/+] 24...f3+ 25.g3 Bf5? [25...Qh5!-+] 26.Qh4 Rae8 27.Rae1 Be5 28.Qb4 Qh6 29.h4 g5 [At various points Black had a mating attack with 29...Bxg3+! 30.fxg3 Qd2+ 31.Ne2 Rxe2+ 32.Kg1 Rg2+ 33.Kh1 Rh2+ 34.Kg1 Qg2#] 30.Rh1 gxh4 31.Kg1 h3 32.dxc6 bxc6 33.Qc5 Qg7 [Again 33...Bxg3!-+] 34.Kh2 Qf6 [34...Bd4!-+] 35.Qxa7 Bd4 36.Qc7 Bxf2 37.Rxe8 Rxe8 38.Rf1 Bd4 39.Rxf3? [39.Qf4!=] 39...Bxc3 [39...Bg1+!-+] 40.bxc3 Re2+ 41.Kh1 Be4 42.Qc8+ Kg7 43.Qg4+ Qg6 44.Qd7+? [44.Qf4!=] 44...Kh6-+ White lost of time. 0-1


You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. 44.Qf4! is the only possible move that does not lose big time by force, so it cannot be the blunder that 44.Qd7? was. Likely endings after 44...Bxf3 45.Qxf3 are White bishop and pawn vs Black rook which should favor Black. One Houdini analysis I did not turn to = until 47 ply. Probably a better evaluation is -/+ or =/+ since White has to work for the draw (unlike 39.Qf4!=).

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