Spassky - Fischer 1972 WCH Game 9 (D41)

Collating remarks and analysis on one game from different sources results in some fascinating differences of opinions, even this short game has several to ponder. This is why I deliberately did not weed out some comments that directly contradict each other in order to show the differences of opinions present among several different GMs - in this case including Larry Evans,Gligoric, Kotov,Polugaevsky, Stein and Tal - along with several other Soviet masters

As far as the opening theory goes keep in mind that 2 of my sources were published in 1973 and the Gligoric/Wade book in 1972. However,  this game and the notes are a good background for beginning to learn the Semi-Tarrasch Defense "open" variation (6.e4 as opposed to 6.e3 which tends to keep the game closed - at least compared to 6.e4)

Halldor Petursson (1916-1977) was one of Iceland's most famous caricature artists. He did 18 wonderful cartoons on the 1972 WCH for a newspaper in Iceland. You can see all of them at


  • 23 months ago


    @NimzoRoy: I think the rating system is flawed to this day. Let's suppose someone is  unrated and have a provisional rating of 1500. Also suppose he is very good at chess and wins 3 games in a row against a 2500 rated player. Will his rating result above 2500? I think Not.

  • 4 years ago

    NM Petrosianic

    Fascinating... thanks!

  • 4 years ago


    After the 3rd game it's safe to say everyone knew Fischer would be showing up for every game thereafter. Lucky for Bobby that Spassky was such a nice guy and put up with all his antics instead of refusing to give in to any of Fischer's demands after the 2nd "no show" game - which probably would've resulted in Fischer quitting for good and saving Spassky's title.

    Considering the disparity in their ratings (Fischer 2780 Spassky 2660) which is still a record for the #1 rated player being so far ahead of the #2 rated player there's no need to make up any excuses for Spassky's losing but of course that's not how the Soviets saw it: they thought it was a reflection on their entire culture. At the time of the match I believe Prof. Elo (or some other expert on Elo ratings) pointed out that at this level being rated 100 pts higher than your opponent predicted you'd win 62.5% of the games played. 

    FUN FACT: Bobby lost rating pts after the match ended because of all the draws in the second half (he didn't perform as well as the rating system predicted) Afterwards FIDE changed the rule so that no one winning a match could lose rating pts, no matter how "poorly" they performed by winning.

  • 4 years ago


    The thing about this game was the atmosphere surrounding the whole match.  Some people believed Fischer was "hypnotizing" Spassky somehow.  Also there was tension on Boris not knowing if Bobby would even show up for certain games.

Back to Top

Post your reply: