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The Game of the Century

The Game of the Century

22 Bobby Fischer

The Post is proud to present its centennial chess puzzle this week. The best possible way to celebrate this unique record is to recall in full one of the greatest ever games in the history of chess.

Donald Byrne played a 13-year-old Bobby Fischer at the Third Rosenwald Trophy in 1956 in what became to be known as “The Game of the Century”. Fischer made an outstanding move midway through the game that sent shockwaves through the chess community.

The game began with the Gruenfeld Defence: Three Knights Variation, Hungarian Attack.

1. Nf3 Nf6
2. c4 g6
3. Nc3 Bg7
4. d4 O-O
5. Bf4 d5
6. Qb3 dxc4
7. Qxc4 c6
8. e4 Nbd7
9. Rd1 Nb6
10. Qc5 Bg4
11. Bg5 Na4
12. Qa3 Nxc3
13. bxc3 Nxe4
14. Bxe7 Qb6
15. Bc4 Nxc3
16. Bc5Rfe8
17. Kf1

Take a good look at this position on the board to the right. White’s last move was Kf1. Here comes the Fischer thunderbolt ... Be6!!
If this is the game of the century, then 17... Be6!! must be the counter of the century. Fischer offers his queen in exchange for a fierce attack with his minor pieces. Declining this offer is not so easy.
18. Bxe6 leads to a ‘Philidor Mate’ (smothered mate) with ... Qb5+
19. Kg1 Ne2+
20. Kf1 Ng3+
21. Kg1 Qf1+
22. Rxf1 Ne2#

Other ways to decline the queen also run into trouble. For example, 18. Qxc3 Qxc5
Or if, 18. Bxb6 Bxc4
19. Kg1 Ne2
20. Kf1 Nxd4

This tactical scenario, where a king is repeatedly revealed to checks, is sometimes called a “windmill”.
Instead, this is how the game is played out:
18. Bxb3 Bxc4+
19. Kg1 Ne2+
20. Kf1 Nd4+
21. Kg1 Ne2+
22. Kf1 Nc3
23. Kg1 axb6
24. Qb4 Ra4
25. Qxb6 Nxd1
26. h3 Rxa2
27. Kh2 Nxf2
28. Re1 Rxe1
29. Qd8 Bf8
30. Nxe1 Bd5
31. Nf3 Ne4
32. Qb8 b5

Every piece and pawn of the black camp is defended. The white queen has nothing to do.
33. h4 h5
34. Ne5 Kg7
35. Kg1 Bc5
36. Kf1 Ng3

Now Byrne is hopelessly entangled in Fischer’s mating net.
37. Ke1 Bb4
38. Kd1 Bb3
39. Kc1 Ne2
40. Kb1 Nc3
41. Kc1 Rc2
White resigns.
Game courtesy of


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