$1.250.000 | Spassky vs Fischer | (1972) | Game 15

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Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer
Fischer – Spassky World Championship Match (1972), Reykjavik ISL, rd 15, Aug-17
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Main Line (B99)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cd4 4. Nd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. Bd3 b5 11. Rhe1 Bb7 12. Qg3 O-O-O 13. Bf6 Nf6 14. Qg7 Rdf8 15. Qg3 b4 16. Na4 Rhg8 17. Qf2 Nd7 18. Kb1 Kb8 19. c3 Nc5 20. Bc2 bc3 21. Nc3 Bf6 22. g3 h5 23. e5 de5 24. fe5 Bh8 25. Nf3 Rd8 26. Rd8 Rd8 27. Ng5 Be5 28. Qf7 Rd7 29. Qh5 Bc3 30. bc3 Qb6 31. Kc1 Qa5 32. Qh8 Ka7 33. a4 Nd3 34. Bd3 Rd3 35. Kc2 Rd5 36. Re4 Rd8 37. Qg7 Qf5 38. Kb3 Qd5 39. Ka3 Qd2 40. Rb4 Qc1 41. Rb2 Qa1 42. Ra2 Qc1 43. Rb2 Qa1

The name Bobby Fischer, at least to Americans, is synonymous with chess. A prodigy in the 50s, a world class player in the 60s, the 70s saw Fischer at his pinnacle. He earned the right to challenge Boris Spassky in a title run without comparison, defeating Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen with perfect scores of 6-0, and ex-champion Petrosian 6½-2½. Now the stage was set, and the only thing standing between Fischer and Spassky was Fischer himself.

The match was mired in political overtones, during the height of the Cold War. The Soviet chess system had a monopoly on the title since 1948, and the expectations on Spassky were enormous. While Fischer studied chess virtually in seclusion, Spassky had the full resources of the USSR. Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports Committee, said: “Basically, the Soviet leadership and the powers that be in sport, were interested in just one issue: how to stop Fischer from becoming World Champion.

With the match set to begin in Reykjavik, Iceland, Fischer (who had not signed any documents confirming his participation) began to make a number of demands, including a percentage of television rights, a larger prize fund, and all manner of conditions covering everything from the lighting to the chair cushions. To satisfy Bobby’s demands of a larger prize fund, British chess promoter James Slater donated a dazzling $125,000 to be added to the prize fund. Fischer still needed more convincing by Bill Lombardy (Fischer’s last-minute choice as second), and one famously persuasive telephone call from Henry Kissinger. Mere hours before he would be forfeited, Fischer arrived in Iceland.

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