Chess

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The Independent Culture
BOBBY'S brilliancy in the 11th game of his match with Spassky finally confirms that he still remembers what the chess pieces are for. His greatest skill in the past was a mixture of accurate calculation of the calculable, and a magical intuition for the incalculable. In that respect, two moves in the latest game were classic Fischer.

After sacrificing a pawn in the opening, Fischer exploited his development lead, opening the long black diagonal with 15. Nf5] Since 15 . . . Nxf5 16. exf5+ or 15 . . . gxf5 16. Bxg7 would be disastrous, Black must play 15 . . . Bxb2. There followed 16. Ncxd6+] (16. Nfxd6+? Ke7 gets nowhere) Kf8 17. Nxh6.

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Black can hardly consider 17 . . . Bxa1 18. Qxa1 when after 18 . . . Ke7, White can simply play 19. Nxb7 Qxb7 20. Qe5+ Kd7 21. Rd1+ winning quickly. But Spassky's 17 . . . f6 forced Fischer to find something deep.

The obvious point of his 18. Ndf7]] was to win the exchange after 18 . . . Qxd1 19. Raxd1 Ke7 20. Nxh8 Rxh8, but Black's bishop pair and passed a-pawn and White's apparently offside knight make it unclear who stands better. 21. Nf5+]] clarified everything. After 21 . . . gxf5 22. exf5+, any king move is met by a fatal check on d7 or d8, so Black must play 22 . . . Be5 when 23. f4 regained the piece with a winning position (though still not easy).

Fischer had to see all this when playing 18. Ndf7, and probably envisaged it with 15. Nf5] As I may have said before, Bobby is back.

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