Monday, 18 February 2013

Drawing with Bobby Fischer

During this years ACT Championship I was chatting with one of the spectators, John Winkelman, whose son Albert Winkelman was playing in the tournament. I knew he had played chess in the past, although I usually saw him playing Go, at the ANU Go Club on Wednesday nights. During the conversation he casually remarked he once drew a game with Bobby Fischer, in a tournament in the US mid-west. Resisting the urge to exclaim "Pictures or it didn't happen" I made a mental note to look the game up when I got home.
At first my search of my databases proved fruitless, but I had more success once I hit my library. Sure enough, in "The Games of Robert J. Fischer" by Robert Wade and Kevin O'Connell, there was the record of the 1955 US Junior Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska, showing that in round 9 Fischer had drawn with John Winkelman.
There was no record of the game in the book, which explains why it did not turn up in my database. I asked John whether he had a copy of the game, but  unfortunately he did not. He does remember that is was probably a Ruy Lopez, and that they agreed to a draw as they were 'scared of each other'. As for the tournament Fischer finished on 5/10 (+2=6-2), and picked up a prize for the best Under 12 player. It turns out he was a shoe in for this prize, as he was the only Under 12 player in the tournament.

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