Friday, April 8, 2011


NM Joe Pascual

Jose L. Pascual is a National Master and three times Philippine champion (1952-53, 1955-57, 1959-64 ). He was privileged to play against the great Bobby Fisher in an exhibition game in Davao City when Bobby came to visit the Philippines in 1968. Below is NM Joe Pascual's personal note on the said memorable game as published in the 1975 Davao Chess Journal which was lend to me by Engr. Jun Atmosfera.

My memorable game with Bobby Fischer
by NM Jose L. Pascual

When the great Bobby Fischer came to visit the Philippines in 1968, he was then a Grandmaster, he came to Davao City for a three- day stay as a guest of the chessplaying Dacudao family headed by Dr. Elias Dacudao. Fisher was accompanied by our country's foremost promoter of the chess game, Dr. Florencio Campomanes, Smatsky to his chess friends.

We were privileged to play with the great Fischer an exhibion game as a former national champion and the only national master in Davao. The site of our game was the gymnasium of the University of Mindanao which was literally filled to the rafters with local chess afficionados and enthusiasts.

We remember that we were quite busy that memorable day as we had to set up the stage for our game, set up a giant board for our spectators and issue press releases for the event. When the time for our game came, we shook hands with Bobby as Smatsky or Campomanes informed me that FIscher would play the White pieces and that our game would only be a two-hour game. That is, one hour for each player and we have to finish the game in two hours. Of course, we could do nothing but accept the conditions as we really did not expect to win the game but were already contented for the privilege given us to play with the great Fischer.

Following is the record of that game which became memorable when Bobby included it in his book entitled " My 60 Most Memorable Games .........................

[Event "Exhibition Game"]
[Site "UM Gymnasium, Davao City"]
[Date "1968.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "GM Bobby Fisher"]
[Black "NM Joe Pascual"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteELO "?"]
[BlackELO "?"]


With personal notes fron NM Joe Pascual

(Additional inputs from Caissa's Father. The moves were originally written in the descriptive notation which I translated to the algebraic notation for convenience)

1. e4

We really expected this first move of Fischer. We could not respond with our favorite 1...e5 to avoid a Ruy Lopez game which we heard is favorable to White. And so, although we were not well versed with the Sicilian Defense as it was the popular response to 1.e4 at that time, we decided to essay it against Fischer move as a psychological reply than a desire to equalize or win.

c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bc4 e6

7. Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9. O-O-O Qc7

(CF: This is the starting position of the Sozin Velimirovic Attack,
one of Fischer's favorite line gainst the Sicilian Defense.)

10. Bb3 Bd7?!

(CF: Better is 10... Na5 or 10...0-0 as the d7 square is
reserved for Black's knight at f6 after the eventual g5
pawn push from White. After 10...0-0 (by transposition),
the game Fischer vs. B. Larsen, rd. 9, Palma de Mallorca
interzonal 1970 continued 11. g4 Nd7 12. h4 Nc5 13. g5 b5
14. f3 Bd7! with slight advantage for Black. Larsen went
on to win in 52 moves.)

11. g4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4

With the pawn onslaught launched by White with 11.g4, we knew
that we had to give up Castling in either side as Castling in
the Q-side would only cram our position after White's g pawn
advance to the 5th rank and at the same time prevent us from
launching a counter-attack on the Queen side. So, perhaps, more
for psychology than anything else, we launched a counter-attack.


Here, retreating the Bishop would lose a pawn and so Fischer decided
to counter with his text move. It took Fischer quite some time to
make this move. Relatively, of course.

13. g5

( CF: Actually, retreating the Bishop to e3 is a much better move.
Then if 13...Bxg4 14.Nd5! )

13...exd4 14. gxf6 dxc3 15. fxe7 cxb2+ 16. Kb1?!

(CF: A slight inaccuracy. The imediate capture of the b pawn is
better because if Black had initiated the exchange of pieces,
White would have to capture the b pawn sooner or later thereby
losing a tempo.)


This spelled my doom. Much better was not to recapture immediately.
This move exposed my King which the great Fischer exploited
magnificently with a devastating attack. Without recapturing the
pawn immediately but instead try to simplify with 16...Be6 perhaps,
Fischer might have offered a draw as we were a pawn up with the
game leading to the end-game.

17. Qh5 g6 18. Qh4+ f6 19. e5!

( CF: A pawn sacrifice to open- up Black's uncastled position. The
rest of the game is a model example of how to conduct an attack
against an uncastled King.)

19...dxe5 20. f4! e4 21. Qh6 Rae8 22. Rd4 Kd8 23. Rhd1 Kc8

24. Rxd7 Qxd7 25. Rxd7 Kxd7 26. Qg7+ Kd6 27.Qxb7 e3 28.Qb6+ 1-0

Final position

Enough's enough! We cried after bewailing our 16th move.

After that move, the rest was easy for Fischer as they say. We
did not really take our loss so deeply as we not only expected
to lose but were quite satisfied to have given a good fight with
our Sicilian Defense. We were quite taking it easy during the whole
game while Fisher stood rooted to his seat. We stood up about four
times during the whole game to glance at the giant demonstration
board and scrutinize the spectators, grandstander that we are. We
consumed 15 minutes to Fischer's 45.

A memorable game and day indeed!

Replay the game below.

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