Sunday, June 28, 2015

Walter Browne vs Fischer Alekhine

Walter Browne faced Bobby Fischer in a tournament game and Browne almost won. Leading to his world championship run, Fischer played the Alekhine Defence as Black instead of his normal Sicilian Defence Najdorf. Probably Bobby Fischer did not want to reveal secrets to his future opponent Boris Spassky.

Forty-five years ago there was a gap of knowledge in the games of Robert J. Fischer. His awesome book My 60 Memorable Games covered up to 1967. Games from the period 1968-1971 were not widely available in English language books, but in those gap years Fischer won tournaments and won matches vs Taimanov, Larsen and Petrosian. Nowadays those Fischer gap games are easy to find, but in 1972 they were not.

Commentators on the 1972 World Championship match were surprised Fischer played the Alekhine Defence. In reality Bobby Fischer played both openings. After Spassky crushed his Najdorf Sicilian in Game 11, Fischer reasonably chose the Alekhine Defence to win Game 13 and draw Game 19. Fischer drew other Najdorfs in Games 7 and 15. In the Browne game Fischer stood better in the opening but his f-pawn plans bombed.

Browne - Fischer, Rovinj/Zagreb (15), 03.05.1970 begins 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Be2 Bg7 6.c4 Nb6 7.exd6 cxd6 8.Nc3 [8.0-0 0-0 9.Nc3 transposes.] 8...0-0 9.0-0 [9.h3= would prevent the pin.] 9...Nc6 10.Be3 Bg4 11.b3 d5! 12.c5 [12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.cxd5 Qxd5= saddles White with an isolated d-pawn.] 12...Nc8 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Bxf3 e6 15.Qd2 [15.b4 a6 16.Ne2=] 15...N8e7 16.Nb5?! Nf5 17.Bg4 a6 18.Bxf5 axb5 19.Bc2 Ra3 20.b4 [20.Qd3 Qh4-/+] 20...f5 [20...Qh4!?] 21.Bb3 Qf6 22.Qd3 f4 [22...Ra7 23.Rad1 f4=/+] 23.Bc1 Ra6 24.Bb2 f3 25.g3 Qf5 26.Qxf5 gxf5 27.Rad1 Nxb4 28.Rfe1 f4?! [This bold attack should lose. Correct is 28...Kf7!= when Black is fine.] 29.a3 Nc6 30.Rxe6 fxg3 31.Bxd5 gxf2+ 32.Kxf2 Kh8 33.Re3 b4 34.axb4 Nxb4 35.Bxf3 Ra2 36.Rb3 Nc6 37.Kg3 Rg8 38.Kf4 Rf8+ [38...Na5!?] 39.Ke4 Rf7 40.Bg4 Re7+ 41.Kd3 [Houdini and Stockfish prefer 41.Kd5+- ] 41...Ra4 42.Ra1 Rxd4+ 43.Bxd4 Bxd4 44.Ra8+ Kg7 45.Rb5 Bf2 46.Bf5 Ne5+ 47.Kc3 Be1+ 48.Kd4 Nc6+ 49.Kc4 Bh4 50.Bc8 Nd8 51.Ra2 Rc7 52.Bg4 Be7 53.Kd5 Nc6 54.Rab2 Nd8 55.Rb1 Bf8 56.R1b2 [56.Rg1+-] 56...Be7 57.Rg2 Kh8 58.Ra2 Kg7 59.Ra8 Bh4 60.Rb8 Rf7 61.Rb2 Kh6 62.Rb6+ Kg7 63.Rb3 h5 64.Bc8 Be7 65.Rb5 [65.Rg3+ Kh7 66.Rg2+-] 65...Rf3 66.Bxb7 Rxh3 67.c6 Rc3 68.Ra8 h4 69.Ra4 h3 70.Rc4 h2 71.Rb1 Rxc4 72.Kxc4 Bd6 73.Kd5 Bg3 74.Bc8 Kf7 75.Bh3 Ke7 76.Rc1 Kf6 77.Ra1 Ke7 78.Rf1 Nf7 79.Bg2 Ng5 80.Kc5 Ne6+ 81.Kb6 Bc7+ 82.Kb7 Bd6 83.Bd5 Nc5+ 84.Kb6 Na4+ 85.Ka5 Nc5 86.Kb5 Kd8 87.Rf7 Kc8 88.c7 [Now Black is able to reach a drawn ending. At this critical point 88.Rh7!+- seems to give White winning chances since the Black bishop is overworked covering c5, c7, and h2.] 88...Nd7 89.Kc6 h1Q 90.Bxh1 Ne5+ 91.Kb6 Bc5+ 92.Kxc5 Nxf7 93.Kb6 Nd6 94.Bd5 Kd7 95.Bc6+ Kc8 96.Bd5 Kd7 97.Bb3 Nc8+ 98.Kb7 Ne7 1/2-1/2

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