Chess

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BOBBY Fischer's opening innovation and endgame expertise in his 21st game against Boris Spassky earn him full marks for technical merit. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5.Nb5 d6 6. c4 Nf6, the standard continuation has long been 7. N1c3 a6 8. Na3 Be7 9. Be2. Instead Fischer produced a novel idea with 7. N5c3 Be7 8. g3, tucking the bishop away on g2 and avoiding the need for a later f3 to support the e-pawn.

Spassky fought his way to a dynamic equality, and in the diagram position, with White's extra pawn about to die, the game seemed a sure draw. Then Fischer played 48. c7]] and things became interesting.

After 48 . . . Qxc7 49. Qe8+ Kh7 50. Qxe6 White would remain a pawn ahead. Nevertheless, this is perhaps what Spassky should have played, for after 50 . . . Ra3 it is hard to see how White makes progress.

Instead, Spassky kept material level with 48 . . . Rxc7, when 49. Qb8+ Kh7 50. a5 h5 51. h4 Qc5 52. a6 left Black with problems. The game continued 52 . . . Rf7 53. Qb1+ Kh6 54. Qa2] Re7 55. Qd2+ Kg6 56. Re2 Kh7 57. Qc2+] Qxc2 58. Rxc2 Kg6 59. Ra2 Ra7 60. Ra5] and Black's passive rook is fatal. The end was 60 . . . e5 61. Kg2 Kf6 62. Kf2 Ke6 62. Ke3 Kf5 63. Kf3 g6 64. Ra3] g5 64. hxg5 Kxg5 65. Ke4 and Black resigned. After 65 . . . Kg4 (or 65 . . . Kf6 66. Ra5) 66. Kxe5 Kh3 (or 66 . . . Kg5 67. Ra4]) 67. Kf5] White picks off the h-pawn then strolls with his king towards b6.

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