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  1. 05 Dec '13 09:39
    In the game Fischer v Bergraser, 1967, the following position occurred after 23...gxf6



    My question is this, what possible reason could Fischer have of exchanging his good and active bishop on f3 for a passive knight leaving himself with a 'bad bishop', the defence of the f pawn does not seem justification enough. I have consulted my books and chessgames.com but no one has commented on this exchange, any ideas would be appreciated.

  2. 05 Dec '13 12:02 / 2 edits
    Hi Robbie.

    Knowing a game has been won we sometimes we look for justification
    in bad moves to see how it fits into why the game was won.
    This can confuse the reader who expects these top guys to play perfect
    chess all the time and every move is part of some great scheme.
    If puzzled the last thing we think of is that it may have been a wrong decision.
    How could it be.....White Won!

    However here is not the case.


    The e3 Bishop is not bad. If there were Black pawns on d5 and f5 then it would have a glum looking future.

    The White f-pawn is being attacked, Rg4 encourages f5 shifting the Rook to h4.
    The Bishop can drop back to e7 to hit it the Rook and move back to d6 again.

    There is an e6 pawn up for grabs but this cannot seriously be considered
    whist the King is still in the centre.

    Nor can I see anyway of letting it go and maintain an initaitive.
    If White castles he losses the f-pawn with a check.

    24 Bxc6 splits Black's pawns, saves the f-pawn (allowing White to remain
    a pawn up.) and allows castling.

    After 24.Bxc6 bxc6.
    (Black kept the Queens on to maintain pressure on the f-pawn and take the g1 Rook off the open file.)


    A patronising writer would say Fischer saw he could utalise the exposed
    Black King (the opened b-file) and tart up the notes accordinlgy with the
    way the game finished saying Fischer say it all.

    That is not the case, Black blundered is a very difficult and most likely lost position.

    Here is how it ended.

  3. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    05 Dec '13 12:14
    My guess is this:

    Fischer is a pawn up and probably simplifying to a won endgame.

    The exchange creates an isolated pawn, allows him to protect f4 and opens the b file which later allows the winning tactic of Qb4+ winning a rook on f8.

    Also this series of forced moves keeps the initiative allowing time to castle queenside.

    Finally, he may have seen some possibility for Black's Knight (maybe Ne7-f5, I don't know) that he wishes to prevent. The better bishop maybe only a temporary/optical advantage that he exchanges for more something more concrete. There has to be progress to win a game after all.
  4. 05 Dec '13 12:26
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi Robbie.

    Knowing a game has been won we sometimes we look for justification
    in bad moves to see how it fits into why the game was won.
    This can confuse the reader who expects these top guys to play perfect
    chess all the time and every move is part of some great scheme.
    If puzzled the last thing we think of is that it may have been a wrong decisi ...[text shortened]... with a check in the position. Guess what Fischer played next.} 30. Qb4+ {Black resigned.}[/pgn]
    ok, I understand, the bishop is not necessarily bad because those central pawns are not yet fixed, thats quite insightful GP and something that I had not considered, thanks for taking the time.

    Rg4 i did consider and would probably have played myself and now that you mention it Bxc6 is a brilliant move. I love these games of Fishy, there is just so much to learn.
  5. 05 Dec '13 12:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Ragwort
    My guess is this:

    Fischer is a pawn up and probably simplifying to a won endgame.

    The exchange creates an isolated pawn, allows him to protect f4 and opens the b file which later allows the winning tactic of Qb4+ winning a rook on f8.

    Also this series of forced moves keeps the initiative allowing time to castle queenside.

    Finally, he may have se ...[text shortened]... he exchanges for more something more concrete. There has to be progress to win a game after all.
    I read somewhere recently that if your opponent has pawn weaknesses its generally a good idea to exchange minor pieces and keep the heavy pieces on the board, do you think this is a good instance of that here?
  6. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    05 Dec '13 12:49
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    I read somewhere recently that if your opponent has pawn weaknesses its generally a good idea to exchange minor pieces and keep the heavy pieces on the board, do you think this is a good instance of that here?
    I don't know - I personally have not encountered that "rule of thumb" before.

    A pawn weakness may mean easy infiltration in which case exchange the pieces that prevent infiltration and keep the ones that can. A weak pawn is a target - exchange the pieces that defend it and keep the ones that attack. Or tie him down to defence then hit somewhere else. In some circumstances it is simplest to exchange down to the kings to achieve a "no risk" winning advantage.
  7. 05 Dec '13 13:17 / 1 edit
    It is possibly as simple as Ragwort says.
    Fischer is sticking the endgame in his back pocket.


    Fischer is a pawn up, chopping wood with Bxc6 ensures he does not
    meet an opposite coloured Bishop ending.
    Re-organise. (Rf1) holding onto the extra material then use the heavy
    bits to seek out weakness's knowing that exchanges are not a valid option for Black.
  8. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    05 Dec '13 18:13
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    ok, I understand, the bishop is not necessarily bad because those central pawns are not yet fixed, thats quite insightful GP and something that I had not considered, thanks for taking the time.

    Rg4 i did consider and would probably have played myself and now that you mention it Bxc6 is a brilliant move. I love these games of Fishy, there is just so much to learn.
    The 'bad bishop' thing is one of the most over-hyped principles in chess books. Writers like it because it's an easy example to illustrate. However, actual games where this matters are not as frequent as the author's treatment implies.
  9. 05 Dec '13 19:11
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    The 'bad bishop' thing is one of the most over-hyped principles in chess books. Writers like it because it's an easy example to illustrate. However, actual games where this matters are not as frequent as the author's treatment implies.
    sometimes these bishops can have tremendous defensive properties, like the dark squared bishop in the Najdorf, even though the d6 pawn is backward and on a half open file, it hardly ever falls because of that bishop, yet the bishop i suspect, may be considered, a 'bad bishop'.
  10. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    05 Dec '13 23:18
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    It is possibly as simple as Ragwort says.
    Fischer is sticking the endgame in his back pocket.

    [fen]1k1r3r/ppq4p/2nbpp2/8/2QP1P2/2P1BB2/PP5P/R3K1R1 w Q - 0 1[/fen]
    Fischer is a pawn up, chopping wood with Bxc6 ensures he does not
    meet an opposite coloured Bishop ending.
    Re-organise. (Rf1) holding onto the extra material then use the heavy
    bits to seek out weakness's knowing that exchanges are not a valid option for Black.
    After reading your first post, I was going to add what you have written in this second post!

    I am far closer to Andersson than to Tal, and my first thought when looking at it was "He's up a clean pawn and black has more weaknesses, so he reduces counterplay and mitigating tactics, and avoids a potential opposite-colored bishop endgame."

    Fischer was very pragmatic, and was willing to win a game in any manner, so we should not default to thinking that every move he made was attack-oriented.
  11. 06 Dec '13 02:22 / 2 edits
    Hi Paul.

    I tried to say something like that in the first paragraph.
    Don't expect everything you see to be a dazzling move.
    99% of chess at that level is slog and grind.

    I pulled the game from Wade & O'Connell''s Games of Fischer.
    No in depth notes, they give 29...Bxe5 a '?'

    Monaco 1967.
    Monaco actually produced a chess stamp to mark the occasion.

    1 Fischer (United States) 7 pts
    2 Smyslov (Soviet Union) 6.5 pts
    3 Geller (Soviet Union) 6.0 pts
    4 Larsen (Denmark) 6.0 pts
    5 Matanović (Yugoslavia) 5.0
    6 Gligorić (Yugoslavia) 4.5
    7 Lombardy (United States) 4.5
    8 Forintos (Hungary) 4.0
    9 Mazzoni (France) 1.0
    10 Bergraser (France) ½

    I've just did a search for Fischer v Bergraser on the net.
    (should have done that first instead fanning about with ChessPad and trying things.)

    I half expect to see this thread but discovered that it had been Kibitzed at Chessgames.com.

    Fischer actually mentions this game in his 60 games in the notes to the
    Robatsch game (No.41) the game where Black played 3...Qd5-d8.


    Fischer stops here after 13. Bxd5 saying the pawn should prevail.
    So that gives an insight into what follows and why choices were made.

    Been through that book a dozen times, could not recall the game in the notes.
    I knew the stem game quite well as I played 3...Qd8 hoping someone
    would follow the Fischer game as I had an improvement.
    No one did and I lost horribly on both occasions so that ended that experiment.

    One lad on chessgames.com called Bergraser's 29...Bxe5 a duffer's move.

    Bergraser was a correspondence GM, he was also an uncle and his nephew
    just happened to be a member of chessgames.com. (OOPS!).

    Apparently Bergraser's low score can be put down to fact he fell seriously ill
    just after playing Fischer, he was unwell on the day he played Fischer and forfeited 4 games.

    When I was messing about with ChessPad just looking at various lines
    I had a look at a different move here...


    ....instead of Black's Rhf8 which led to all kinds of trouble. (the loss of a Rook being the chief one).

    How about.....exd4

  12. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    06 Dec '13 03:30
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi Paul.

    I tried to say something like that in the first paragraph.
    Don't expect everything you see to be a dazzling move.
    99% of chess at that level is slog and grind.

    I pulled the game from Wade & O'Connell''s Games of Fischer.
    No in depth notes, they give 29...Bxe5 a '?'

    Monaco 1967.
    Monaco actually produced a chess stamp to mark the occ ...[text shortened]... his Queen he has a Bishop a Rook and a good pawn on e3 for it. Looked too messy to call.} [/pgn]
    It's a shame that people throw phrases like "duffer's move" around so easily.

    In 1967, I think it was a great achievement simply to be good enough to be able to play in the same tournament as Fischer. They don't just let anyone have a seat at the table.
  13. 09 Dec '13 13:00 / 1 edit
    Not the only time that people was wondering why he exchanges "strong piece for a weaker one" (game against Szabo 1970 or game against Pettrossian 1971 for example).

    Fischer was always fond of bishops but he did not hesitate to exchange them for Knights.

    I can offer the third explanation, or 2b explanation, a little bit modified (Robbie had posted).

    In this tournament in Monaco, Fischer won at least two more games in reduced endings. (Mazzoni and Larsen, although Larsen blundered draw position).
    I remember the commen in Yugoslavian shess messenger of game Mazzoni - Fischer:
    "Whit is trying to reduce the material, but he cannot reduse his technique in endings!"

    Fischer always went for reducing when he had advance because he was superior in positional play.

    In this position, exchange made Black's pawns look like beed teeth, with "draught" around King. Black was doomed to zugzwang there was he forced to suicidal ...e5.
  14. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    09 Dec '13 13:25 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    In the game Fischer v Bergraser, 1967, the following position occurred after 23...gxf6

    [fen]1k1r3r/ppq4p/2nbpp2/8/2QP1P2/2P1BB2/PP5P/R3K1R1 w Q - 0 1[/fen]

    My question is this, what possible reason could Fischer have of exchanging his good and active bishop on f3 for a passive knight leaving himself with a 'bad bishop', the defence of the f pa ...[text shortened]... bxc6 2.Rf1 {a rather horrible 'bad bishop', in order to defend the f pawn seems unlikely}[/pgn]
    An instructive game for sure.
  15. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    10 Dec '13 13:33
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    It is possibly as simple as Ragwort says.
    Fischer is sticking the endgame in his back pocket.

    [fen]1k1r3r/ppq4p/2nbpp2/8/2QP1P2/2P1BB2/PP5P/R3K1R1 w Q - 0 1[/fen]
    Fischer is a pawn up, chopping wood with Bxc6 ensures he does not
    meet an opposite coloured Bishop ending.
    Re-organise. (Rf1) holding onto the extra material then use the heavy
    bits to seek out weakness's knowing that exchanges are not a valid option for Black.
    What would have happened if black had taken bishop with queen right off?