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The Independent Culture
IN THE patent application for his new chess clock, which increases a player's allocation of time for each move made, Bobby Fischer explains how traditional timing places too great an emphasis on a man's ability to manage his time properly. The way chess has been played for the last century also encourages the pernicious practice of adjourning unfinished games.

Last week, the less favourable side of the Fischer clock was revealed. Game 19 of the Fischer-Spassky match lasted 84 moves and took nine hours; game 21 was 64 moves and eight hours. In the former, Fischer, through sheer tiredness, messed up a totally winning position; in the latter, Spassky threw away what had looked like a certain draw. Fischer's cure for adjournments is beginning to look worse than the disease.

In between these two marathons, Spassky sneaked his fourth win, outplaying Fischer in a model closed Sicilian. After the game, Fischer confessed to not knowing where he had gone wrong. By drifting into a position in which he could find no decent plan, however, he provided further evidence that 20 years' abstention can damage the chess mind.

Here are the moves of Spassky's win as White in game 20:

----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 23 Nc4 d5 2 Ne2 Nf6 24 Nxa5 dxe4 3 Nbc3 e6 25 dxe4 e5 4 g3 Nc6 26 Ne2 exf4 5 Bg2 Be7 27 Nxf4 Ne5 6 0-0 d6 28 Nd3 Rb5 7 d3 a6 29 Nxe5 Qxe5 8 a3 Qc7 30 Nc4 Qxg5 9 f4 b5 31 Be3 Qh4 10 Kh1 0-0 32 Nd6 Bc3 11 Be3 Bb7 33 Qf2 Qxf2 12 Bg1 Rab8 34 Rxf2 Rbb8 13 h3 Ba8 35 Nxc8 Rxc8 14 g4 b4 36 Ra7 Kf8 15 axb4 cxb4 37 Bh6+ Ke8 16 Na4 Nd7 38 Bg5 f6 17 Qd2 Rfc8 39 Bxf6 Bxf6 18 b3 a5 40 Rxf6 Bc6 19 g5 Bf8 41 Kg1 Bd7 20 Ra2 Ne7 42 Rd6 Bc6 21 Nd4 g6 43 Bf1 1-0 22 Nb2 Bg7 -----------------------------------------------------------------