Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Famous Blunder

One of the most analysed World Chess matches is that played between the American legend “Bobby” Fischer and Boris Spassky.

The match took place in Reykjavik (Iceland) in 1972 after some days of delay because of Fischer’s demands about the prize-fund.

That match was more than a game competition. It had also a political significance. Chess had a high consideration in the ex-Soviet Union and a symbol of soviet prestige. Remember that at that time the world was politically polarised by socialist (led by USSR) and capitalist (led by the USA) blocks.

Soviet chess players had dominated the game and no American had achieved the world championship since the first champion Wilhelm Steinitz. (Steinitz became a naturalized American citizen in 1888)

It is understandable that the pressure on Spassky was enormous.

With that background, it is not strange that mistakes could appear during the games.

Actually the first mistake appeared right in the first game, but not on Spassky’s side, but on Fischer’s. The American miscalculated the consequences of his 29th move and lost a bishop.

The following is the position after Spassky’s 29.b5

For sure Fischer knew the consequences of his move 29…Bxh2. For a player of his level is easy to see that the bishop is lost. But he had a moment of over-confidence and overestimated his chances.

Here it is worth to remember that Fischer completely dominated the qualifying matches previous to World match. He beat convincingly Taimanov in quarterfinals with a score of 6-0, the same score against Larsen in semifinals and 6,5-2,5 against Petrosian in the final.

Fischer’s blunder in the first game of World Chess match 1972 is one of the most famous mistakes in the history of chess.

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