Byrne vs Fischer, New York 1956

A 13-year-old Bobby Fischer gives a harsh lesson on development and King safety to an opponent twice his age.

Annotated Classic Game | Hot Off The Chess,

This week’s annotated game is a real gem. It was played between Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne and if you have not yet seen it, you are in for a treat.

The game took place at the Rosenwald Trophy in New York, way back in 1956. At the time, Fischer was just 13-years-old (roughly half the age of his opponent); as Byrne would later remark about the game, not yet the Bobby Fischer that we all know. Actually, it would be another year or so before the youngster would take the chess world by storm and begin sealing his place in chess history … and, depending on opinion, infamy.

Donald Byrne plays White and causes himself all kinds of problems. His 11.Bg5 (for which there are not enough question marks) is a very poor move, not only moving a piece twice in the opening and neglecting his development, but also taking his eye completely off of his King. This allows Fischer to show one of his great chess skills — taking his opponents lapses to task. His 11…Na4! is straight to the point and begins a sequence of events which will see White facing all kinds of trouble.

A huge part of Byrne’s problems, is that his King is un-castled and immobile in the centre. It is like a red flag to a bull to one as aggressive as Bobby Fischer, as you will see.

Von Doren, Fine Timepieces |

From this game, it would be very easy for those to whom chess is an unknown or new curiosity, to conclude that the knight is in fact the most powerful piece on the board. With it, backed up by his light-squared bishop, Fischer creates absolute havoc.

Despite this win, Bobby Fischer would not have been happy with his overal performance, netting just 4.5/11 — a point behind Byrne. Samuel Reshevsky would win the event, with 9-points.

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Total chess nut! I enjoy following the chess world and giving my two-penneth. I don't pretend to be an expert, I'm more a knowledgeable enthusiast. My chess writing can also be seen at