The legendary article by Bobby Fischer, titled “A Bust to the King’s Gambit,” published in the inaugural issue of the chess magazine “American Chess Quarterly” in 1961, can be considered the first serious attempt to prove the unsoundness of the King’s Gambit. Fischer’s idea was based on the notion that, with the correct defense by the opponent, White would inevitably end up in a losing position, regardless of the moves chosen. To be honest, I expected a deeply elaborated study that could fill an entire book, but the reality was somewhat disappointing. Fischer’s contribution takes up less than two pages of the standard format and, from today’s perspective, is mainly interesting due to his slightly arrogant style, which was always characteristic of this eccentric grandmaster.
It is rumored that the writing of the article was preceded by Fischer’s defeat in 1960 against Boris Spassky, the future rival for the World Championship title, during the tournament in Mar del Plata (where Fischer and Spassky shared first place). They played the Kieseritzky Gambit, and Fischer chose the Berlin Defense. The game seemed balanced until move 26, where Black made a critical mistake and resigned three moves later. The seventeen-year-old grandmaster and the future world champion allegedly left the game with tears in his eyes and vowed to refute that cursed King’s Gambit once and for all. The mentioned article saw the light of day the following year.
Let’s take a look at the mentioned game.