Fischer vs Taimanov, 1971: An Interesting and Instructive Endgame

Today, I was going through some games and I found a very interesting and instructive position from the game played between Bobby Fischer and Mark Taimanov in 1971. There is nothing better than studying such games to improve your chess.

Position after move no 42. White to Play

Q :In this position Fischer played Rd3. What are the reasons behind exchanging the rooks?

A: When there are pawns on both sides of the board then the bishop is better, but here it is not clear. The position is not open and both sides lack good pawn levers. Here a concrete evaluation is necessary to justify the rook exchanges. I believe the reasons here are quite different than simply knight vs. Bishop end-game.

1) The position of the Black knight is very poor; it is very difficult to find good square for the knight from where it can attack White’s pawns.
2) Black’s king side pawns are on light squares and Black can’t liquidate those pawns.
3) Key factor: While Black’s knight is busy defending the king side there are quite good chances that White king will find his way to march to a6.

Fischer reached to the desired position after few more moves with brilliant bishop maneuver. It is really interesting. Here are the moves:

43. Rd3 Kc7 44. Rxd6 Kxd6 45. Kd3 Ne7 46. Be8 Kd5 47. Bf7+ Kd6 48. Kc4 Kc6 49. Be8+ Kb7 50. Kb5 Nc8 51. Bc6+ Kc7 52. Bd5 Ne7 53. Bf7 Kb7 54. Bb3 Ka7 55. Bd1 Kb7 56. Bf3+ Kc7 57. Ka6 Ng8 58. Bd5 Ne7 59. Bc4 Nc6 60. Bf7 Ne7 61. Be8 Kd8

And now it’s time for some action. Here Fischer sacrificed the bishop to win the queenside pawns and Black resigned quite soon.

Ashvin Chauhan