Bobby Fischer’s Visits to Colorado

Bobby Fischer visited Denver on April 26 during his only nationwide Simultaneous Exhibition Tour where he gave a lecture and simul against 55 players. In Todd Barwick's extensive report (pdf), which you can find on or here at US Chess, he shows those simul games.

Fischer later returned to Denver during the hot summer of 1971 to play the World Championship Quarter Final Match against Bent Larsen of Denmark – the only match on Fischer’s journey to become World Champion in 1972 that was played on U.S. soil.

Fischer vs. Larsen in Denver, from Chess Life & Review

 Fischer won this historic match 6-0.  Also included in the full article is a detailed summary of eye witness accounts of the match with their encounters and insights into the character and personality of the two famous Grandmasters.

The most significant move, setting the tone for the match was Fischer’s 19.f5! from the first game.

[Event "Fischer - Larsen Candidates Semifinal"]
[Site "Denver, CO USA"]
[Date "1971.07.06"]
[White "Robert James Fischer"]
[Black "Bent Larsen"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C19"]
[PlyCount "81"]
[EventDate "1971.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. a4 Nbc6 8. Nf3
Bd7 9. Bd3 Qc7 10. O-O c4 11. Be2 f6 12. Re1 Ng6 13. Ba3 fxe5 14. dxe5 Ncxe5
15. Nxe5 Nxe5 16. Qd4 Ng6 17. Bh5 Kf7 18. f4 Rhe8 19. f5 exf5 20. Qxd5+ Kf6 21.
Bf3 Ne5 22. Qd4 Kg6 23. Rxe5 Qxe5 24. Qxd7 Rad8 25. Qxb7 Qe3+ 26. Kf1 Rd2 27.
Qc6+ Re6 28. Bc5 Rf2+ 29. Kg1 Rxg2+ 30. Kxg2 Qd2+ 31. Kh1 Rxc6 32. Bxc6 Qxc3
33. Rg1+ Kf6 34. Bxa7 g5 35. Bb6 Qxc2 36. a5 Qb2 37. Bd8+ Ke6 38. a6 Qa3 39.
Bb7 Qc5 40. Rb1 c3 41. Bb6 1-0[/pgn]

Vic Traibush, the “Official Scorekeeper” for the first two games, observed that every time Fischer moved a piece, he very precisely slid the piece to the exact center of the square. Vic noted, however, that when Fischer played 19.f5, he picked up the pawn and slightly tilted it toward Larsen as he moved it forward. On the drive from Denver to Boulder to Traibush’s house after the game that night for dinner, Vic asked Fischer if he was aware of how he moved the pawn. Vic said Fischer didn’t realize that he had moved the pawn that way and was mortified. Noticeably disturbed by his action, Fischer said, “That was very unprofessional.”

Todd Bardwick
Todd Bardwick is a National Master, 5-time Denver Chess Champion, and has been a full-time chess teacher for over 25 years. Bardwick wrote the Colorado Chess Column for the Rocky Mountain News (1993-2009), The Chess Detective® column for Chess Life for Kids (2002-2017), and is the author of Teaching Chess in the 21st Century, Chess Strategy Workbook, and Chess Workbook for Children which is translated and published in Russia, Korea, and the Czech Republic. Bardwick’s website is