Fischer Goes for Alekhine’s Defense | Minić vs Fischer | Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)

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The 1970 Interzonal was held in Palma de Mallorca from November 9-December 12, and was the last Interzonal held as a one-section round robin. With the tournament swelling to 24 players and further expansion on the way, future changes were inevitable. The following players vied for six slots in the candidates matches to be held in 1971: William G Addison, Miroslav Filip, Robert James Fischer, Efim Geller, Svetozar Gligoric, Vlastimil Hort, Robert Huebner, Borislav Ivkov, Eleazar Jimenez Zerquera, Bent Larsen, Milan Matulovic, Henrique Mecking, Dragoljub Minic, Renato Naranja, Oscar Panno, Lev Polugaevsky, Lajos Portisch, Samuel Reshevsky, Jorge Alberto Rubinetti, Vasily Smyslov, Duncan Suttles, Mark Taimanov, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Tudev Ujtumen..

Ujtumen from Mongolia, about as outside as an outsider could get, actually held the lead by himself after round 3. However, reality and Robert J. Fischer set in, as the American quickly soared to a dominating position. The other contenders didn’t worry about it too much; after all, you only had to finish in the top six to qualify for the Candidates, and there was even a seventh spot open for a reserve. So they played it safe, while Fischer kept working hard.

At the quarter pole following round 6, Fischer had 5.5 points and a 1.5 point lead on Geller, Gligoric, Larson, Panno, and Ujtumen. But then came a bad stretch: he managed to draw lost positions in round 7 and 8, but Larsen didn’t let him off the hook in round 9. By now the lead had vanished, as Geller joined Fischer at the top with 6.5.

That led to the critical round 12 encounter between the leaders, Geller holding a half-point lead and playing the White pieces. Any normal grandmaster, when Geller offered an early draw, would have accepted to get an easy half-point closer to qualification. Fischer, hungry for a win after five rounds without one, refused.

Geller played inaccurately and lost a pawn, reaching a difficult rook ending. Eventually, a hallucination and a final mistake sealed his fate, and Fischer took the lead. The rest was a matter of technique: Fischer won two more in a row, took a couple of draws for a breather, then started his famous streak with full points in his last seven games.

Read more here

Read more about events before 1970 Instrzonal tournament

Dragoljub Minic vs Robert James Fischer
Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970), Palma de Mallorca ESP, rd 14, Nov-28
Alekhine Defense: Exchange Variation (B03)

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. ed6 cd6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bd3 Bg7 8. Nge2 O-O 9. b3 Nc6 10. Be3 d5 11. c5 Nd7 12. Bb5 e5 13. O-O Nc5 14. de5 d4 15. Nd4 Ne5 16. h3 Ne6 17. Ne6 Be6 18. f4 Qa5 19. fe5 Qc3 20. Qd4 Qa5 21. a4 Bb3 22. Bf4 a6 23. Be2 Rae8 24. Ra3 Bd5 25. Rb1 Bc6 26. Bf3 Be5 27. Be5 Re5 28. Bc6 bc6 29. Rc3 Re2 30. Rc6 Qg5 31. Qg4 Qg4 32. hg4 Rd8 33. g5 Rd5 34. Kf1 Ree5 35. Ra6 Rg5 36. Rb2 Rd1 37. Kf2 Rf5 38. Kg3 Rd3 39. Kh2 Ra3 40. Ra7 h5 41. Kg1 Kg7 42. Rb1 Kh6 43. Rf1 Rf1 44. Kf1 f5 45. Ra8
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