Bobby Fischer vs Pal Benko – Crushing the Pirc Defense


Bobby Fischer vs Pal Benko, Round 10 of the 1963/64 US Championship: Bobby Fischer went 11/11 at the 1963 US Championship, thoroughly establishing his dominance as the best chess player the United States had ever produced. In round 10 of this legendary performance, he faced off against the strong Grandmaster Pal Benko. Fischer opened with e4 and Benko responded with the complicated Pirc Defense – leading to Fischer employing the Austrian Attack to gain a strong center and attacking chances against the black king. Benko began to play strange moves early in the opening, opening up his own kingside with 11. …gxf5 and proceeding to falter with the passive defensive move 15. …Kh8? – allowing Fischer to play 16. Qg4 and establish a temporary bind on black’s counterplay involving an …f5 break. Benko continued his passive defense with 16. …c6?! and 17. …Qe8? – allowing Fischer to play a devastating shot with 18. Bxd4 and 19. Rf6!! after which black was unable to recover. This is a fantastic attacking game and perfectly demonstrates why you never want to defend passively!


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