Fischer – Darga [Germany]
    FRG-USA Berlin West, 1960
    French Defense

This games took place during the height of the Cold War (1960-1964).  The Western Allies set up a western German constitutional convention with a goal of ultimate reunification. The USSR refused to acknowledge this and in May 1949, the Western Allies established the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG/West Germany). The USSR countered with the adoption by a People’s Congress in the East of the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR/East Germany).

   1.e4 e6

The French Defense; If the Sicilian defense is for Day Traders who like to take risk, live on the edge and thrive in high stress out of control situations the French Defense is for Accountants analytical, structured, detail oriented and adverse to risk.

2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5

The French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation named for Szymon Winawer. Championed by solid strong players like Botvinnik. I know in my early days of chess and playing e4 the French and the Winawer would strike fear in my heart.




5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3

White ends up with the double pawns which Black will make great effort to play against. Black in turn gives up his dark squared Bishop that makes his Kingside subject to attack. White must play strong and aggressively as the pawn structure favor Black in an ending.



Black plays the most popular move Ne7,  also possible is Qc7 as well as Qa5.


Lines can be like veins on a leaf so with this move Fischer moves off of the center path.  7. Qg4 is the most common where Black can give up the Kingside pawns with the “Poisoned Pawn Variation” 7…Qc7 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 cxd4 10. Ne2 and in return he vaporizes White’s center; or Black and chose 7…0-0 8.Bd3 Nbc6, which holds on to the Kingside pawns but allows White to laser focus on the Kingside.  Fischer takes on 7. a4 which allows the Bishop a long diagonal from a3 to f8 and it stops Black from attacking the c2 square by placing his Bishop or Queen on a4.

7…Qc7 8.Nf3 b6 9.Bb5+ Bd7

White stops the Bishop from taking the a6 or b7, square in truth he wants to place as much wood in between Black’s Queen and the Kingside.

10.Bd3 Nbc6 11.0-0 c4 12.Be2 f6

All of his is known theory White will most likely play 11. Re1 putting pressure on the center.

13.Ba3 fxe5

By playing Ba3 White is eying Bd6 a move on principle that any chess player would want to prevent, so he exchanges away the center. The truth of the position is that Bd6 is not fatal however if Black is to allow it he should castle Kingside 13…0-0 14.Bd6 Qd8 15.exf6 Rxf6 16.Qd2 Qe8.  I notice in many amateur games that players beat themselves by not having the patience to play the position as it stand opposed to striking out against what they feel it “should be.”  It is very challenging in chess to determine each and every move what the board is telling you opposed to what you want to hear.

14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.Re1

One of the inherent dangers of simplifying down is that by releasing the tension in the position moves become more forcing and it’s easier for your opponent to find his own way.  Or if you prefer the sound bite version “the threat is greater than the execution.”  Here we find if 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.Re1 Qxc3, Black may very well go pawn grabbing will minimal risk. So instead we find Re1 leaving the tension on the board longer.


A rare case of the wrong Knight.  Playing N5c6 is a safer road to home and Black has few weaknesses.

16.Nxe5 Nxe5 17.f4 Nc6 18.Bg4 0-0-0 19.Bxe6 Bxe6

Black should be happy to just seek safety for his King. However why must he advance White’s Rook to e6? When 19…Rhe8 completes development and challenges the file.

20.Rxe6 Rd7

Black should be happy to just seek safety for his King. However why must he advance White’s Rook to e6? When 19…Rhe8 completes development and challenges the file.

21.f5 Nd8 22.Re3 Qf4

This move violates the basic principle of completing development, how dare Black charge off with his Rook serving no purpose on h8. You may think the same of White however the Rook on a1 is x-ray supporting the pawn push a5.

23.Rf3 Qe4 24.a5 Nc6?

Black should not allow White to exchange and instead should capture 24…bxa5.  This is not an obvious move but a careful review of the position reveals that after 24…bxa5 25. Bc5 Nc6 the Black pawn on a5 is very hard to attack.  The Knight is known to be a great defender and will take good care of  b8 should White double on the b file. While the Rook on d7 can cover b7, White will not have an easy time breaking in.

25.axb6 axb6 26.Qb1 Kc7

Black’s safety is only an illusion.



A remarkable simple move but very profound, these are the kind of moves that are difficult to find over the board. Beautiful in that it clears the file, There is no defense against the treat of Bf4+  so the game is over.

27…Qe1+ 28.Rf1 Qxc3 29.Bf4+ Kb7 30.Qb5 1-0


by U.S. Champion Bobby Fischer
International Grandmaster

The King’s Gambit has lost popularity, but not sympathy.
Analysts treat it with kid gloves and seem reluctant to
demonstrate an outright refutation. “The Chessplayers Manual”
by Gossip and Lipschutz, published in 1874, devotes 237 pages
to this gambit without arriving at a conclusion. To this day
the opening has been analyzed romantically – not
scientifically. Moderns seem to share the same unconscious
attitude that caused the old-timers to curse stubborn Steinitz:
“He took the beauty out of chess.”

To the public, the player of the King’s Gambit exhibits courage
and derring-do. The gambit has been making a comeback with the
younger Soviet masters, notably Spassky (who defeated
Bronstein, Averbach and myself with it). His victories rarely
reflected the merits of the opening since his opponents went
wrong in the mid-game. It is often the case, also, as with
Santasiere and Bronstein, that the King’s Gambit is played with
a view to a favorable endgame. Spassky told me himself the
gambit doesn’t give White much, but he plays it because neither
does the Ruy Lopez nor the Giuoco Piano.

The refutation of any gambit begins with accepting it. In my
opinion the King’s Gambit is busted. It loses by force.

1 P-K4 P-K4 2 P-KB4 PxP 3 N-KB3 P-Q3!

This is the key to a troublesome position, a high-class
“waiting move.” At Mar Del Plata, 1959, I played 3…P-KN4
against Spassky, but this is inexact because it gives White
drawing chances in the ensuing ending: e.g., 4 P-KR4 P-N5 5
N-K5 N-KB3 6 P-Q4 P-Q3 7 N-Q3 NxP 8 BxP B-N2 and now 9 P-B3!
(replacing Spassky’s 9 N-B3) 9…Q-K2 10 Q-K2 B-B4 11 N-Q2
leads to an ending where Black’s extra Pawn is neutralized by
White’s stranglehold on the dark squares, especially KB4.

Another good try, but also inexact, is the Berlin Defense:
3…P-KR3 4 P-Q4 P-KN4 5 P-KR4 B-N2 6 P-KN3 P-N5 (also playable
is 6…P-Q3 7 PxBP P-N5) 7 N-R2 PxP 8 NxP (8 QxP loses to
8…PxN 9 QxB QxP+ 10 K-Q1 Q-B3) 8…P-Q4 9 P-K5 B-B4 10 B-KB4,
where Black cannot demonstrate any advantage.

Of course 3…P-Q4 equalizes easily, but that’s all.

4 B-B4

4 P-Q4 transposes, the only difference if White tries to force
matters after 4…P-KN4 5 P-KR4 P-N5 6 N-N5 (White also gets no
compensation after 6 BxP PxN 7 QxP N-QB3 or 6 N-N1 B-R3)
6…P-KB3! 7 N-KR3 PxN 8 Q-R5+ K-Q2 9 BxP Q-K1! 10 Q-B3 K-Q1
and with his King and Queen reversed, Black wins easily.


This in conjunction with Black’s previous move I would like to
call the Berlin Defense Deferred. By this subtle transposition
Black knocks out the possibility open to White in the last note
(to move 3).

5 P-Q4 P-KN4 6 0-0 B-N2 7 P-B3

Necessary to protect the QP. 7 P-KN3 is always met by P-N5.


Here there is disagreement as to Black’s best move. Puc and
Rabar, Euwe, Keres, and most analysts give the text as the main
line and mention 7…N-K2(!) in passing. I think 7…N-K2 is
best because there is no reason why Black should not strive to
castle K-side: e.g., 8 P-KN3 P-Q4! 9 PxQP PxNP 10 PxP
(if 10 N-K5 PxP+! 11 K-R1 0-0 12 P-Q6 QxP wins)
10…0-0 11 Q-N3 Q-Q3 12 K-N2 N-B4 wins.
There is little practical experience with this sub-variation.

8 Q-N3

If 8 P-KN3 P-N5 9 N-R4 P-B6 10 N-Q2, Euwe and other analysts
betray their soft-mindedness toward this opening by giving the
inferior 10…B-B3(?) 11 N(2)xP PxN 12 QxP – “unclear”!!
This is yet another example of sentimental evaluation -
after 12…Q-K2 followed by B-R6 and 0-0-0 Black wins easily.
The Pawn on KB6 is a bone in White’s throat so why force him to sacrifice when he must

10…Q-K2 is the strongest move.

In this last variation (instead of 10 N-Q2) White can vary with
10 Q-N3 but then comes Nimzovitch’s beautiful winning line:
10…Q-K2 11 N-B5 BxN 12 PxB (if 12 QxP R-N1 13 QxN+ Q-Q2
14 QxQ+ BxQ and Black has a winning endgame) 12…0-0-0
13 BxP Q-K7 14 Q-K6+ (if 14 R-B2 NxQP! 15 RxQ PxR wins) 14…R-Q2!
15 R-B2 Q-Q8+ 16 R-B1 Q-B7 17
N-Q2 N-B3 (threatening N-Q1)
18 B-N6 (if 18 Q-N3 QxQ 19 BxQ P-Q4 with a winning endgame)
18…P-Q4 followed by N-K2 with a winning game for Black.

8…Q-K2 9 P-KR4 N-B3

Again theoretical disagreement. Perfectly good is 9…P-N5!
10 BxP (forced, not 10 KN-Q2 NxQP! 11 PxN BxP+ etc.) 10…PxN
11 RxP – given by analysts again as “unclear,”
but after N-B3 followed by 0-0, White has nothing for the piece.

10 PxP PxP 11 NxP NxKP

A wild position, but Black is still master.

12 BxP+

The game is rife with possibilities. If 12 NxN QxN 13 RxP Q-K8+
14 R-B1 Q-R5 15 BxP+ K-Q1 16 Q-Q5 N-K4! 17 PxN BxP
(threatening B-R7 and mate) 18 R-Q1 Q-N6 wins,
owing to the threat of R-R8+.

12…K-Q1 13 NxN

Not 13 N-K6+ BxN 14 QxB QxQ 15 BxQ NxQP!

13…QxN 14 BxP

14 RxP also loses to 14…Q-K8+ 15 R-B1 R-R8+ 16 KxR QxR+
17 K-R2 QxQB etc.


And Black wins…
Of course White can always play differently, in which case he merely loses differently.


London Calling

5. …. Nf6 a waste of time, better is h6 10…. Bxf3, why not Bh5 13…. g5 so now he decides to get frisky

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Crushing it on Chess Dot Com

So I’ve been sort of idle and not playing much these days. Dropped off of ICC and decide to give chess dot com a shot. So my though in this 1 minute games was if you play the Smith-Morra Gambit you ought to have some clue about what you are trying to accomplish. Playing 8. […]

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Thanks for joining my mailing list. I’m really excited about sharing these games and looking forward to helping you develop your chess game. Just enter the password that you received via email and download the pdf file below. Thanks again! Best Regards, NM Paul Powell

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