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The Independent Culture
LURCHING between brilliance and banality, Bobby Fischer's comeback is not living up to its initial promise. After the first game, Fischer fans expected a 10-0 crush. Then draws in games two and three suggested that perhaps he should play Karpov before taking on Kasparov, and when Fischer lost game four, they began to wonder.

On Wednesday night, Fischer lost again. Now everyone must admit that 20 years in the wilderness have taken their toll.

One of the greatest strengths of the old Bobby was his iron grip on tactics. Things never started happening until he was ready. But this time he was sucked into a skirmish of Spassky's choosing.

Playing 24. a3 and 25. Bc3, White must be sure either of winning back the a-pawn, or launching a decisive K-side attack. However, Spassky's 25 . . . f5] undermined the centre when White was unprepared.

27. Nf4 and 28. Nh4 looked aggressive, but were just gestures while White's game was irrevocably falling apart.

The most charitable assessment of this game is that Fischer needs time to scrape off the rust. What lies under the rust remains an open question.

Fischer-Spassky: game 5

----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 e5 24 a3 bxa3 2 Nf3 Nc6 25 Bc3 f5 3 Bb5 a6 26 Bxg7 Qxg7 4 Ba4 Nf6 27 Nf4 fxe4 5 0-0 Be7 28 Nh4 g5 6 Re1 b5 29 Ne6 Qf6 7 Bb3 d6 30 Qg4 Nxd5 8 c3 0-0 31 Nxg5 hxg5 9 h3 Nb8 32 Qxd7 Nb4 10 d4 Nbd7 33 Qxb7 Nxc2 11 Nbd2 Bb7 34 Rxe4 a2 12 Bc2 Re8 35 Rf1 Nb4 13 Nf1 Bf8 36 Rg4 a1=Q 14 Ng3 g6 37 Rxa1 Qxa1+ 15 Bg5 h6 38 Kh2 Qg7 16 Bd2 exd4 39 Qf3 Qe5+ 17 cxd4 c5 40 g3 Rf8 18 d5 Nb6 41 Qg2 Ra7 19 Ba5 Nfd7 42 f4 Qf6 20 b3 Bg7 43 Rxg5+ Rg7 21 Rc1 Qf6 44 Rh5 Qe6 22 Rb1 b4 45 g4 Rxf4 23 Ne2 Qe7 White resigns -----------------------------------------------------------------