Monday, 7 November 2016

Fischer and Tal, two scarce games collections

Games of Bobby Fischer, Philippines, circa 1972.

This pamphlet, of 24 pages, has very little information on its origins. There is no date, no mention of an author, editor, compiler, annotator, publisher or printer, nothing. The only clues are the references to Fischer as World Champion, therefore dating this no earlier than 1972, and the price of P2.00 (two pesos) on the front cover indicating that this was sold in the Philippines.

A one page biography of Robert James Fischer is followed by 25 games from 1965 to 1971 in no particular order. 

The games are lightly annotated and most include one diagram. These diagrams are, unfortunately, difficult to study due to the strange depiction of the white pieces on white squares and black pieces on black squares. 

I can find no record of this publication in any bibliography, catalogue or library including the Cleveland Public Library and the the Royal Library at The Hague.   

50 Selected Games of Mikhail Tal (World Chess Champion - 1960).

Again there is virtually no information in this typescript pamphlet to reveal its identity, not even a price. The poorly written introduction is signed R. G. Wade, and two games from 1971 are included, although both are dated 1972; other than that there are no clues as to its age or origins.

The table of contents is chopped off so that the final two games are not listed. Tal's tournament record on page 3 lists events up to 1967 although games are included up to the 39th Soviet Championships in 1971

The fifty games - all wins for Tal - have no notes and no diagrams.  The earliest game is dated 1944, against Gligoric, in the East vs West match. This date seems improbable but I have been unable to trace the game.

There are numerous errors in the game headings; wrong tournaments, wrong dates, misspelt opponents names, and there are also some discrepancies in the recorded moves compared to other sources. For example, the game between Niemela and Tal on page 9 has one extra move for each player at the end compared with the games in the databases at and

The game against Gligoric on page 21 ends after white's 33rd move; however, other sources continue this game to move 43, e.g. and

This publication is also absent from all bibliographies, catalogues and libraries that I have checked.

These two pamphlets were probably privately published, seemingly secretly, and it is a mystery how they were distributed and sold. 

                                       © Michael Clapham 2016

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