Yes I know and also my quote from these pages way back on my 60th
blog when I was complaining about writers copying from each other
Five Books and a film Review
“The ‘Game of the Century’ Byrne v Fischer New York 1956.
is a perfect example. How many times have you seen that? “
But please stay with me, I want to clear up a few things regarding this
historic game and the myths, mistakes and legends that surround it
The ‘Game of the Century’ was not Smyslov v Pachman 1956.
Look at the cover again and in particular this bit.
When eager readers turned to page 370 of the Chess Review they saw...
The Byrne - Fischer game actually appears on page 374.
Not the readers would have complained too much or think they had the
‘Game of the Century’. Smyslov -v- Pachman was a cracking game.
Position after 16 moves. The full game is at the bottom of this piece.
Bobby Fischer we know all about and nobody could get him confused with
anyone. However his opponent on that day was Donald Byrne (1930-1976).
Donald was never a G.M. and did not get his I.M. title till 1962. Fischer’s
opponent is sometimes given as Grandmaster R. Byrne (Donald’s brother).
People often slate Donald Byrne in chess forums for either being a sore
loser or a chump for playing on and on and finally getting checkmated.
Quite the reverse. Tim Krabbe reports Donald had this to say:
"First of all, you have to remember that in 1956 no one knew that Bobby Fischer
was going to become Bobby Fischer! He was just a very promising 13-year-old
kid who played a great game against me. When it got to the position where I was lost,
I asked some of the other competitors if it might be a nice thing to let the kid mate me, as
a kind of tribute to the fine game he played. They said, ‘Sure, why not?’ and so I did"
A picture of me in the park (playing with myself!)
Now onto why Hans Kmoch thought that this was ‘The Game of the Century.’
(a game - by the way - Fischer himself left out of his 60 Memorable Games.).
Kmoch is not saying he thought it was the best game of chess played in the
last century. It was the best game played by a child prodigy in the last century.
Time passed (a future pun - keep reading) and the game started appearing
all over the world. Fischer said it was the first time the Russians notice me.
In 1972 Time Magazine (the pun!) had the Fischer - Spassky match on their cover.
But inside Time’s 24th March 1958 issue they mentioned . ‘The Game of the Century.’
The article introducing Bobby Fischer to the America public describes him thus:
“A floppy, abrupt young gangle-shanks, he stumbles through the physical world of school
and subways and summer vacations in a tangle of arms and legs not quite under control.”
I did toy with the idea of not giving the ‘Game of the Century’ but that would be just too silly.
D. Byrne- R. Fischer, Rosenwald Tournament, New York, 1956
Now we look at what could have happened if White took the Knight.
The Phildor type mate I mention. I wanted to introduce this as an excuse to
show you a wee trick to play on your club clever-clogs. (every club has one.)
The Trick. Set this up and ask someone to play the mate.
A Red Hot Pawn game with the mate that could have appeared in the Fischer game.
Varg - LittleBear RHP.2003
The trap set by an RHP player that I mentioned in the main game.
(2326) rsand2 - Brian Bartholomew RHP 2006.
The final position of the Fischer - Byrne game. Any RHP mates like it?
Actually there are quite a few with the same pattern. Here are three of them.
KingC - mmmuuu RHP 2017 (nice mate...pity about the name)
larry newell - historybites RHP 2012
estingl - poboy RHP 2011
Another picture of me.
The Smyslov game that was by mistake the ‘Game of the Century’
V. Smyslov - L. Pachman, Moscow Olympiad 1956
The thread accompanying this blog is Thread 177007