18 September 2012

The Match That Never Was

Here's a photo that I bet you've never seen before, unless you happen to be a follower of Chess Club Live (CCL) on Facebook.com.

You can find the original CCL photo on 'Imagine Karpov and Fischer had sat at the board...', along with over a hundred comments. If you look carefully at the board in the photo, you'll see a Sicilian Najdorf, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6, where Karpov has just played 6.Be2, a line in which he was a specialist and which Fischer had encountered many times as Black. CCL has also fabricated a game using the same opening, 'I got the distinct impression Fischer was busted', displayed as a screen snapshot. Here's the PGN:-

[Event "The Match That Never Was"]
[Site "Chess Club Live, Facebook.com"]
[Date "1975.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "A.Karpov"]
[Black "R.Fischer"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f4 Qc7 9.f5 Bc4 10.a4 Nbd7 11.Be3 Be7 12.a5 O-O 13.O-O b5 14.axb6 Nxb6 15.Kh1 Rfc8 16.Bxb6 Qxb6 17.Bxc4 Rxc4 18.Ra2 1/2-1/2

I doubt that Fischer would have accepted a draw on the 18th move, but who knows, because the whole exercise is just for fun. CCL has other imaginary matches in mind -- 'If you could using a Time Machine which two chess players alive or in history would you match up to play and why?' -- where another one of the first is 'Chess Time Machine presents Garry Kasparov vs Bobby Fischer'.

The Fischer - Karpov match brought back memories. I once constructed 24 unfinished games in an attempt to recreate the same match, which I called TMTNW (the title of this post gives the meaning of the acronym). I'll come back to it for a future post.


Later: Tales of another Fischer - Karpov encounter, this one from Chessbase.com:-

That first article informed,

[Chessbase] will present a hitherto secret game played between Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. In 1976, a year after receiving the title by default, Karpov met with Fischer in the Philippines (see Russians vs. Fischer, compiled by Dmitry Plisetsky and Sergey Voronkov, Chess World Ltd. 1994; 366-367), hoping to arrange an unofficial world championship match. Fischer was interested, but the USSR Sports Committee would have none of it and the proposal came to nought. In the wake of the failed negotiations, however, Fischer and Karpov played a number of informal games before returning to their respective countries.

Not only did they not play, they never met in the Philippines, although there was a Philippine connection.

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