Game 8 - Mirror Man
After the beautiful display in "Game 6", Fischer once again tries his hand at 1. c4 - taking Spassky out of his well research replies to 1. e4, which would be the expected choice for Bobby.
Spassky goes in for a known line which is a tough nut to crack - the Symmetrical English - black copies white's opening, hoping to sustain only a minimal disadvantage which may turn into a draw or at least an equal game.
After a hard fought exciting draw in game 7, 1. c4 c5 must have felt like a sure draw but Fischer capitalises on a slip or two and steers a winning exchange up game to the full point in short order.
What can we learn from this game?
- Symmetry is not equality
- Exchanges are risky
- Important to break up defences
Symmetry is not equalityMany of the earliest chess positions saw black striving for equality by playing in the mirror image of white - of course if it were that easy we could all draw against the GMs!
Important to know when to steer from the symmetry into more rich play - Fischer's d4 is the standard approach in this English opening.
After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4?! 4. Qe2 Qe7 black cannot blindly follow 5. Qxe4 with 5...Qxe5?? so must accept the loss of a pawn with 5...d6 6. d4 dxe5 7. dxe5
Exchanges are riskyIn the game, Spassky went in for an exchange sacrifice - this meant white wasted time to win material whilst black got the desired break-up of the white queen-side pawns.
Of course the strategy is sensible enough but the compensation in the form of the two bishops and additional (non-passed) d pawn wasn't enough compensation for the rook given and white made short work of the rest.
Important to break up defencesDespite being an exchange down, Spassky made it tough for Fischer to smash through.
We saw some great ideas from Bobby to really make those rooks count:
- 27. f4 creating space for his king to breathe
- the pawn split up with 32. f5+
All Games from the 1972 World ChampionshipRe-live the drama of Reykjavik! The entire 1972 game collection is available here.