I remember reading somewhere that Leonid Stein (one of the top players at that time) has ridiculed Bobby Fischer for grabbing the poisoned pawn in the Najdorf Sicilian during the Spassky-Fischer match in 1972. I wonder if that is really true. Perhaps it was a journalist's way of attracting readers' attention. Can anyone point me to a source of the citation?

1 Answer 1


Although it is hard to prove a negative, I don't believe that Stein ridiculed Fischer for taking the poisoned pawn. My evidence is:

  1. An analysis on Chess.com of game 11 claims to source commentary of Stein's and others from Fischer-Spassky 1972 From a Soviet Point of View. Although I cannot find the original source, the commentary quoted on Chess.com is fair and balanced. In fact, 8...Qxb2 doesn't even receive a dubious mark
  2. Googling leonid stein ridicule picks up no relevant articles on the first page
  3. According to the Chessmaster database, Stein's co-comentators Bronstein and Korchnoi had grabbed the poisoned pawn before. I don't think that Stein would have been critical of a move that other top players had played before in a well analysed opening

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