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    « Pachman Strikes Back | Main | Swindle Like a Grandmaster »
    Thursday
    Apr142005

    More Fun with Pachman

    "Tragedy is what happens to me; comedy is what happens to you." - Mel Brooks

    In the previous post, I recalled a somewhat questionable bit of gamesmanship by Ludek Pachman; today's excerpt from his Checkmate in Prague (pp. 63-65) finds the ethical shoe on the other foot:

    "I had quite a time with him [the 15-year old Bobby Fischer] on that South American trip. We encountered each other first in Mar del Plata soon after the start of the tournament when Bobby, full of optimism, told me: 'I have white, and I'll wipe the floor with you.'

    "I asked if he would allow me to defend myself a bit, to which he replied, with some magnanimity: 'You can do that; at least it will be more interesting.' He went all out, but I happened to be in good form, first playing defensively, then making a counterattack. On adjournment Bobby was a piece down, but he still hoped for a draw so when he had to resign, he leapt up, swept the pieces to the floor and ran from the hall.

    "We spent about a fortnight after the tournament in the same hotel in Buenos Aires where we became friends. We even began working together for the next event in Santiago. One day I showed Bobby my secret weapon - a new variation which I planned to use with black in the Sicilian Defence. I had discovered an interesting point involving the sacrifice of pieces. It looked fine and Bobby was unstinting in his praise. In private, however, he found a 'hole' in my analysis; white had a final surprise and it led straight to mate.

    "Bobby kept his discovery to himself, recording the entire variation in his notebook with the remark: Play against Pachman! In Santiago, however, he drew black, so he was unable to use his weapon. Seldom in my life have I played a game to compare with that against Bobby. We were both leading in the tournament while he had the added incentive of wreaking revenge for his earlier humiliation. He sacrificed a piece, followed immediately by a rook - mate seemed imminent, then, finally, my king escaped across the board to safety. Sweeping his pieces off with an angry gesture, Bobby ran out without waiting to sign his capitulation.

    "In the next round [DM: Actually, it was three rounds later.], I met Sanchez of Colombia. He plays every game 'hard for a draw' and it is no easy matter to win against him. Therefore, I was overjoyed when I got him into the Sicilian Defence, actually into the variation for which I had prepared my secret weapon! Naturally, I started to use it, then came a surprise, my king was mated. [DM: In the actual game, he doesn't get mated but although he came under a heavy attack, the game concluded in an ending. I'll have to examine the game more carefully at some point, to determine if the choice was Pachman's, to bail out into a hopeless ending rather than get mated in his originally intended main line, or if Sanchez missed a quicker win and let Pachman partially escape.] I eyed my opponent doubtfully - he had revealed himself as a brilliant attacker - when Bobby burst in behind me:

    "'Sanchez didn't beat you. I upset that variation! He simply played the way I showed him. That's very nice!'

    "I managed to control myself sufficiently to congratulate Sanchez, and Bobby, too. Without a trace of reproach, I asked Bobby whether it had not occurred to him to tell me about his discovery. He laughed: 'Why should I? I wanted to beat you.'"

    The conclusion of this tale will come soon; for now, here are the games referred to above.

    Fischer,Robert James - Pachman,Ludek [C75]
    Mar del Plata (3), 25.03.1959

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c3 Bd7 6.d4 Nge7 7.Bb3 h6 8.0-0 Ng6 9.Nbd2 Be7 10.Nc4 Bg5 11.Ne3 Bxe3 12.Bxe3 0-0 13.h3 Re8 14.Nh2 Qe7 15.dxe5 dxe5 16.Qh5 Na5 17.Bc2 Nc4 18.Bc1 Nf4 19.Qf3 Rad8 20.Bxf4 exf4 21.Qxf4 Bc6 22.Ng4 h5 23.Ne3 Nxb2 24.Nf5 Qf6 25.Qxc7 Qxc3 26.Rac1 Qf6 27.Rfe1 Nd3 28.Bxd3 Rxd3 29.Qf4 g6 30.Rc5 Re6 31.Qb8+ Rd8 32.Qf4 gxf5 33.Rxf5 Qg7 34.Rxh5 Rde8 35.f3 Re5 36.Rh4 Rg5 37.Rg4 Rxg4 38.hxg4 Qd4+ 39.Re3 Qe5 40.Qf5 Qxf5 41.gxf5 Rd8 42.Kf2 Bb5 43.Ke1 Kg7 44.e5 Rd4 45.g4 Kh6 46.e6 f6 47.Kf2 Rd2+ 48.Kg3 Kg7 49.Rc3 Bc6 50.a3 Re2 51.Kf4 a5 52.Rd3 a4 53.Rd8 Rf2 54.Rd3 b5 55.Rc3 Rxf3+ 56.Rxf3 Bxf3 0-1

    Pachman,Ludek - Fischer,Robert James [E51]
    Santiago (6), 1959

    1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.d4 d5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Bd2 0-0 7.a3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Ne4 9.Qc2 a5 10.b3 b6 11.Bb2 Ba6 12.Bd3 f5 13.Rc1 Rc8 14.0-0 Rf6 15.Rfd1 Rh6 16.Bf1 g5 17.cxd5 g4 18.Bxa6 gxf3 19.gxf3 Qg5+ 20.Kf1 Rxh2 21.fxe4 Rf8 22.e5 f4 23.e4 f3 24.Ke1 Qg1+ 25.Kd2 Qxf2+ 26.Kc3 Qg3 27.Qd3 exd5 28.Rg1 Rg2 29.Rxg2 Qxg2 30.Qf1 dxe4 31.Qxg2+ fxg2 32.Rg1 Rf2 33.Bc4+ Kf8 34.Bd5 Rf3+ 35.Kc4 b5+ 36.Kc5 Ne7 37.Rxg2 Nxd5 38.Kxd5 Rxb3 39.Kxe4 b4 40.axb4 axb4 1-0

    Sanchez,Luis Augusto - Pachman,Ludek [B88]
    Santiago (9), 1959

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Bb3 Be7 9.Be3 0-0 10.f4 Qc7 11.Qf3 Bd7 12.f5 e5 13.Nxc6 Bxc6 14.g4 h6 15.h4 Nh7 16.g5 hxg5 17.hxg5 Bxg5 18.Bxg5 Nxg5 19.Qg4 Qe7 20.Rf2 Nh7 21.Rg2 Qf6 22.Rd1 Rfd8 23.Rd3 d5 24.exd5 Bd7 25.Ne4 Qh6 26.d6 Qc1+ 27.Rd1 Qh6 28.Qg6 Kh8 29.Bxf7 Bc6 30.Rh2 Bxe4 31.Rxh6 gxh6 32.d7 Rf8 33.Be6 Rad8 34.Rd2 Bxf5 35.Bxf5 Rg8 36.Rg2 Rxg6 37.Rxg6 Nf8 38.Rxh6+ Kg8 39.Rb6 Kf7 40.Rxb7 Ne6 41.Bxe6+ 1-0

    Reader Comments (3)

    The details make clear, that Pachman has written down the anecdotes from memory. And we know how unreliable that is. Still, the pointe of the story is great. Moreover it tells us something about Fischer's character - even when he was so young still.

    April 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMNb

    The wheel of life catches up with all of us. The details are a bit hazy now, but I seem to recall the roles reversed just before the 1972 WC match.
    Fischer was forced to resign after a Yugolsav(?) player squashed him in the Winawer(?) thanks to a helping hand from several analysts before the game...

    (sorry again for the haze - am away from my library and the old grey pulser ain't what it used to be)

    April 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBabsonTask

    I suppose Babsontask is referring to the game Fischer-Kovacevic, where Petrosian's wife supposedly forwarded an idea from her husband to Kovacevic? I think it was something like that, but the year eludes me too.

    April 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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