The game started with the Grunfeld Defence – three knight’s variation. This is the position after 10 moves with Fischer playing with black.
White plays 11.Bg5?, a bad move as the first basic rule of chess implies that the pieces should be developed and placed in good positions so as to have a good positive play. It is a waste of a move as it allows a sudden crescendo of tactical points to be uncovered by Fischer. Be2 followed by O-O would have been more sensible.
Moving forward, 11…Na4! It’s difficult to identify a bad move and then capitalize on it at the same time. Fischer exactly did the same. An excellent move! Now, white plays 12.Qa3. On 12.Nxa4 Nxe4, white would have faced certain difficulties with black’s knight and bishop playing in the center, which is why Na4 is the better move.
12…Nxc3. The idea is to capture the e4 pawn and attack the king which is trapped in the center. 13. bxc3 Nxe4. The board now looks like this-
White plays 14. Be7? He knows his king is trapped in the center and still he is still opening the e-file for black’s rook to have better attacking play. A bad move in these circumstances. Black now has a very good position with all its pieces placed in the right position.
14…Qb6 15. Be4 Nc3 16. Bc5. 16. Qxc3 would have led to 16. …Rae8 17. Qe7 Qc7, with black in a much better position .
Moving on, 16 …Rfe8 + 17. Kf1. The board now looks like this-
17…be6!! An excellent move, probably one of the best moves one could see in a game. If this is the Game of the Century, then this should be honoured as the counter of the century. Brilliant by Fischer! Black offers his queen in exchange for a ferocious attack with his minor pieces. Declining this offer may just prove fatal for white after 18. Bxe6. It leads to a smothered mate or the fools mate with..Qb5+ 19. Kg1 Ne2+ 20. Kf1 Ng3 21.Kg1 Qf1+ 22.Rxf1 Ne2#
Also, 18. Qxc3 leads to 18…Qxc5, which is indeed troublesome for white.
Moving forward to what happened, 18. Bxb6 Bxe4 19. Kg1 Ne2 20. Kf1 Nxd4. This tactical scenario where a king is repeatedly revealed to checks is called a “windmill”. After the 25th move, the board seemed like this:
Sacrificing his queen for good attacking play was indeed an audacious move by Fischer. Black has a rook, a bishop and a knight in exchange for white’s queen. Also, white’s rook is unplayable; one can simply say it is of no use in front of Fischer’s stormy play.
The board seemed like this after the 32nd move-
The genius of Bobby Fischer’s play can be seen here as every piece and pawn of his camp is defended. White has literally nothing to do. With black to play, after the 36th move, the position is-
Its mate in 5 moves from here on. White’s queen is unable to protect the king and is stuck nowhere.
36…Ng3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4+ 38. Kd1 Bb3+ 39. Ke1 Ne2+ 40. Kb1 Nc3+ 41. Kc1 Rc2#
Fischer did it in style. Undoubtedly one of the best players of all time plays the Game of the Century with so many tactical theories involved, at the age of 13.
“Psychologically, you have to have confidence in yourself and this confidence should be based on fact” – Bobby Fischer