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Spassky vs Fischer, World championship match 1972, Game 11
[Event "Reykjavik WCh"]
[Site "Reykjavik WCh"]
[White "Boris Spassky"]
[Black "Robert James Fischer"]
What is the 1972 World Championship ?
The World Chess Championship 1972 was a match for the World Chess Championship between challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States and defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. The match took place in the Laugardalshöll arena in Reykjavík, Iceland, and has been dubbed the Match of the Century. Fischer became the first American born in the United States to win the world title, and the second American overall (Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion, became a naturalized American citizen in 1888). Fischer's win also ended, for a short time, 24 years of Soviet domination of the World Championship.
The first game was played on July 11, 1972. The last game (the 21st) began on August 31, was adjourned after 40 moves, and Spassky resigned the next day without resuming play. Fischer won the match 12½–8½, becoming the eleventh undisputed World Champion.
In 2016, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov commented on the global significance of the match, saying:
I think the reason you look at these matches probably was not so much the chess factor but to the political element, which was inevitable because in the Soviet Union, chess was treated by the Soviet authorities as a very important and useful ideological tool to demonstrate the intellectual superiority of the Soviet communist regime over the decadent West. That’s why the Spassky defeat [...] was treated by people on both sides of the Atlantic as a crushing moment in the midst of the Cold War.
The match was played during the Cold War, although during a period of increasing détente. The Soviet Chess School had long held a monopoly on the game at the highest level. Spassky was the latest in an uninterrupted chain of Soviet world chess champions, stretching back to the 1948 championship.
Fischer, an eccentric 29-year-old American, was a vocal critic of the Soviet domination of chess, because he believed that Soviet players gained an unfair advantage by agreeing to short draws among themselves in tournaments. In August 1962 Sports Illustrated, and then in October the German magazine Der Spiegel, published Fischer's article "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess", in which he expounded this view. Fischer himself rarely agreed to early draws in unclear positions.
The pressure on Spassky was enormous because for the Soviets, chess was part of the political system. While Fischer was often famously critical of his home country ("Americans want to plunk in front of a TV and don't want to open a book ..."), he too carried a burden of expectation because of the match's political significance. No American had achieved the world championship since the first champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, became a naturalized American citizen in 1888. The excitement surrounding the match was such that it was called the "Match of the Century", even though the same term had been applied to the USSR vs. Rest of the World match just two years before.
Spassky, the champion, had lost the world championship match to Tigran Petrosian in 1966. In 1968, he won matches against Efim Geller, Bent Larsen, and Viktor Korchnoi to win the right to challenge Petrosian for the title. This time Spassky triumphed, 12½–10½. He is often said to have had a "universal style", "involving an ability to play the most varied types of positions" ...
Game 11: Spassky–Fischer, 1–0 (Sicilian Najdorf)
Spassky–Fischer, game 11
Spassky played the extraordinary 14.Nb1!!
August 6. This game was a dramatic win for Spassky, his first since games 1 and 2. As in game 7, Fischer essayed his favorite Poisoned Pawn Variation; Spassky surprised him with the startling 14.Nb1 (given !! by many annotators at the time), retreating the knight to its starting position. Although later analysis showed that the move was only sufficient for equality if Black responded correctly, Fischer did not. If 15...Ne7!? by Black then 16.N1d2!? and the game is unclear (Gipslis). After inferior defense by Fischer, Spassky trapped Fischer's queen and handed him his only defeat ever as Black in the Poisoned Pawn.
Sicilian Defense, Najdorf Variation, Poisoned Pawn Variation (ECO B97)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Be2 h5 12.0-0 Nc6 13.Kh1 Bd7 (diagram) 14.Nb1 Qb4 15.Qe3 d5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.c4 Nf5 18.Qd3 h4 19.Bg4 Nd6 20.N1d2 f5 21.a3 Qb6 22.c5 Qb5 23.Qc3 fxg4 24.a4 h3 25.axb5 hxg2+ 26.Kxg2 Rh3 27.Qf6 Nf5 28.c6 Bc8 29.dxe6 fxe6 30.Rfe1 Be7 31.Rxe6 1–0