15 October 2013

Fischer's Endgame

I learned so much from writing the series of posts on Fischer's Middlegame, that I decided to summarize the further analysis of his endgame. To recap, the quoted bullets are from the chapter on preparing for the 1972 Spassky match titled 'Fischer's play: An analysis', from 'Russians Versus Fischer' by Plisetsky and Voronkov (1994 edition). Here are extracts from the section on the 'The Endgame' together with links to Chessgames.com for the referenced games.

'1. Even in the simplest positions, which seem absolutely drawn, he does not give up the struggle'

'2. Fischer draws upon an extensive arsenal of strategic devices'

'3. Fischer is superb at endgames that provide scope for sharp combinative play, which require that his opponents calculate far ahead'

'4. Fischer feels very confident in endgames in which he has some kind of definite advantage'

'5. In positions in which his opponent is deprived of opportunities to play vigourously, Fischer plays faultlessly'

'6. In defending difficult positions he displays great ingenuity and staunchness.'

The Soviet GMs also pounced on some weak spots. 'In Fischer's record there are cases of inferior playing on his part.'

'1. When his opponent plays vigourously, Fischer always feels insecure.'

'2. In endgames difficult to evaluate, where everything cannot be calculated, Fischer's play is not faultless.'

'3. If a defensive idea is well camouflaged and does not strike the eye, Fischer may not notice it.'

'4. Sometimes Fischer makes mistakes in the endgame that are not characteristic of him but are, rather, a result of the strain of the struggle.'

'5. Fischer is sometimes inaccurate when he is worse off in the endgame'

What to make of all this? These 'cases of inferior playing' all have a strong psychological quality. Is it really possible to learn anything from them? In future posts I'll take a look at a few of the endgames to see what can be gleaned. The two games mentioned in both the strengths section and the weaknesses section would be a good place to start.

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