Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recap of Chess Class 1/19/2013

On Saturday morning, at Columbia Academy in East Hanover, I lectured on the Game of the Century, played by Bobby Fischer when he was 13 years old, as a tribute to Fischer on the fifth anniversary of his death in January 2008 at age 64. It took place during the 1956 Rosenwald Memorial, a tournament which started at the Manhattan Chess Club, continued at the Marshall Chess Club, and ended back at the Manhattan Chess Club.

The game opened as a King's Indian Defense before transposing to a line in the Gruenfeld Defense. International master Donald Byrne, playing the white pieces, made the mistake of neglecting his kingside development while moving his queen bishop and queen again and again, in violation of the opening principle stating that you should move each piece only once until you have completed your development.

Fischer, playing the black side, punished Byrne with several brilliant moves including a knight sacrifice on a4 which could not be accepted and a queen sacrifice on b6 which had to be accepted to avoid checkmate by Philidor's Legacy - smothered mate by the knight. To his credit, Donald Byrne did not resign and allowed Fischer to checkmate him with rook and minor pieces, probably because Byrne sensed that the game would go down in history as one of the greatest ever played.