Pawn Sacrifice Special Lesson: Fischer Channels Morphy

To celebrate the release of the movie Pawn Sacrifice, I have decided to put the spotlight on Bobby Fischer’s games in many of my group chess lessons. Below, I’ve attached my notes to the Fischer game that I presented this last Saturday at Achiever Institute in Fremont. If you missed this lesson there, I will be delivering a repeat performance at Achievements Academy in Dublin on Sunday, September 27th. Pawn Sacrifice is currently in theaters across the country.

Bobby Fischer playing a simul in 1964.
Bobby Fischer playing a simul in 1964.
[Event “Bobby Fischer’s Simultaneous Exhibition Tour”]
[Site “Chicago”]
[Date “1964.3.23”]
[Round “”]
[White “Fischer Robert J (USA)”]
[Black “Rouse T.”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C57”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

{[ TWO KNIGHTS’ def.,C57] Fischer Robert J (USA) +6 =0 -2}

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 {?} {This moves just asks for trouble. Much better is the 5… Na5 line where black gives a pawn to gain the initiative.}
( 5…Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 Nd5 9.Nf3 Bd6 10.O-O Nf4
11.Re1 Nxd3 12.cxd3 O-O 13.Nc3 Re8 14.h3 c5 15.b3 Ba6 16.Ba3
Bxd3 17.Ne4 Bxe4 18.Rxe4 f5 19.Ra4 e4 20.Nh2 Nc6 21.Rc1 Ne5 22.d4
Nd3 23.dxc5 Bf4 24.Rc2 e3 25.f3 {…0-1, Short Nigel D (ENG) 2698 – Kasparov Garry (RUS) 2812 , Leuven 10/ 9/2011 Match (blitz)})


Position after 6. d4.
Position after 6. d4.
{This is the Lolli Variation. White’s other tasty choice is known as the Fried Liver Attack and continues:}
( 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 ) 

6… exd4 

{Black’s most common move but certainly not the best. Other options include:} 
( 6…Be7 7.Nxf7 Kxf7 8.Qf3+ ) ( 6…Be6 7.O-O Qd7 8.Re1 )
( 6…Nxd4 7.c3 f6 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 fxg5 11.O-O
Bf5 {is black’s best bet.} )

7.O-O Be7

Position after 7... Be7.
Position after 7… Be7.
( 7…Ne5 8.Re1 f6 9.Qxd4
c6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.Bxd5 cxd5 12.Qxd5 Bd7 13.Qxd6 Kf7 14.Rxe5 fxe5
15.Nxe5+ Ke8 16.Bg5 Qc8 17.Qe7# {1-0, Holes Michal (CZE) 1882 – Stransky Pavel, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) 2008.04.30})

( 7…f6 8.Re1+ Be7 9.Qf3 Ncb4 10.c3 Nc2 11.Bxd5 Nxe1 12.Qh5+
g6 13.Bf7+ Kd7 14.Qg4+ Kd6 15.Ne6 Qd7 16.Bf4+ Kc6 17.Nxd4+ Kb6
18.Qe2 Rf8 19.Be6 Qe8 20.Na3 Bxe6 21.Nxe6 Bxa3 22.bxa3 Nxg2 23.Bxc7+
Kc6 24.Qe4+ Kb5 25.Rb1+ Ka6 26.Nc5# {1-0 Chris Torres – Iddo Zohar, Cupertino 2012.})

8.Nxf7 {and now it starts to look like a Fried Liver except that white is already castled.}

8… Kxf7 9.Qf3+ {Developing with threats just as in the Fried Liver Attack.}

9… Ke6

Position after 9... Ke6.
Position after 9… Ke6.
( 9…Ke8 10.Bxd5 Rf8 11.Bxc6+ bxc6 12.Qxc6+ Bd7 13.Qd5 Rf7
14.Qxd4 Bg5 15.Qe4+ Be7 16.Bg5 Kf8 17.Bxe7+ Rxe7 18.Qxh7 Kf7
19.Qh5+ Kg8 20.Nc3 Bc6 21.Rfe1 Rf7 22.Re2 Qd4 23.Rae1 Raf8 24.Rf1
Bd7 25.Qg5 Bc8 26.Qe3 Qd6 27.Rd2 Qg6 28.f3 Bb7 29.Qd3 {…1/2-1/2, Krebs Caroline 998 – Hoffmann Paul (GER) 2338 , Hanau 3/22/2008 Ch Hessen (Gr. F)})

10.Re1+ {Bobby Fischer plays Re1 where Paul Morphy had previously played Nc3. Of course, both lines win.}
( 10.Nc3 dxc3 11.Re1+ Ne5 12.Bf4 Bf6 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.Rxe5+ Kxe5
15.Re1+ Kd4 16.Bxd5 Re8 17.Qd3+ Kc5 18.b4+ Kxb4 19.Qd4+ {1-0, Morphy Paul 2680 – Amateur1, New Orleans 1858 Simultan (blindfold)})

Ne5 {Now both of black’s knights are pinned.}

11.Bf4 {Fischer adds more pressure to the pinned knight.}

11… Bf6

12.Nc3 {!} {And more pressure to the other pinned knight as well.}

Position after 12. Nc3!
Position after 12. Nc3!
12… c6 {Taking on c3 is also bad:} ( 12…dxc3 13.Rxe5+ Bxe5 14.Re1
Kf7 15.Rxe5 Re8 16.Bg5+ )

13.Rxe5+ {!} {Strong chess players love to sac a rook like this. Especially if we can reload the gun with the other rook.}

13… Kf7 {Had black cpatured the rook play could have continued:}
( 13…Bxe5 14.Re1 Rf8 15.Nxd5 Rf5 16.Ne3+ Kd7 17.Nxf5 Bxf4 18.Qxf4
Qf8 19.Re4 c5 20.Re6 Kd8 21.Rd6+ Bd7 22.Bb5 Qe8 23.Rxd7+ Qxd7
24.Bxd7 Kxd7 25.Qd6+ Kc8 26.Ne7# )

14.Nxd5 {!}

Position after 14. Nxd5!
Position after 14. Nxd5!
14… Be6
( 14…cxd5 15.Rxd5 {!} )

15.Rxe6 {!}

Position after 15. Rxe6!
Position after 15. Rxe6!
15… Kxe6 {Black has other options but they also lead to a checkmate for Fischer.}
( 15…cxd5 16.Bxd5 Qd7 17.Qh5+ g6 18.Re4+ Qxd5 19.Qxd5+ Kg7
20.Qxb7+ Kg8 21.Bh6 Rf8 22.Qb3+ Rf7 23.Re8# ) ( 15…b5 16.Qh5+
g6 17.Rxf6+ Qxf6 18.Nxf6+ bxc4 19.Qa5 Rhc8 20.Ng4 Re8 21.Nh6+
Kf6 22.Ng8+ Rxg8 23.Bg5+ Ke6 24.Re1+ Kd7 25.Re7+ Kd6 26.Qe5# )

16.Nxf6+ Ke7 17.Re1+ Kf8 18.Qa3+ {And the only option left is 18… c5 followed by 19. Qxc5 Qe7 20. Qxe7#}1-0

Position after 18. Qa3+
Position after 18. Qa3+

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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