Masthead Challenge

If you’ve given up, or are just curious, here are the stories behind the Masthead diagrams.

Firstly the key to separating one diagram from another is that they start with the first diagram at the left edge of the screen. After that, you can count eight files and find where the next one starts. (This description is certainly true when viewing the website on a desktop machine. How the display is changed on tablet or smart phone may be quite different; certainly with regard to a smart phone.) In any event, the games are given below, with an indication of the point where the diagram in the site masthead is reached.

Diagram ARobert Byrne v Bobby Fischer, USA Championship 1963. The remarkable thing about this game is that in the commentary room two Grandmasters were telling their audience that they thought Byrne had a winning position; there were, however, no more moves – Byrne resigned! Bobby Fischer retained his US Championship crown that year with a 100% performance 11/11.

Diagram BBent Larsen v Boris Spassky, USSR v The Rest of the World, Belgrade 1970. The first of two challenge matches USSR v The Rest of the World. This original event came about at a time when the Soviet Union (USSR) was invincible by any other nation, but perhaps the rest of the world together could challenge the mighty USSR. So it was that this challenge match was put together. The two teams played four matches. There was a debate over the board order for The Rest, as Bobby Fischer was the natural choice for Board 1, but Bent Larsen made a case that he was the leading tournament player of the time. Also, Bobby Fischer at the time had not played any chess for 18 months, since Vinkovci 1968. There was also the consideration that as Fischer was expected to win through the Candidates matches to be Spassky’s challenger in 1972 (as famously was the case) perhaps he did not want to meet Spassky on this occasion. In any event, Fischer did not raise any objection to playing Board 2 with Larsen on 1.

The diagram here depicted was from Round 2 of the match and Larsen essayed the opening line named after him 1 b3, Larsen’s Opening. He was torn to shreds by the World Champion in just 17 moves, with a startling rook sacrifice.

Diagram C – This game – Quinteros-Ribli, Montilla 1974 – does not have the illustrious history of the others, but contains a remarkable queen sacrifice.

The full games, with light notes, are given below.