Excerpt from George Mirijanian interview of Harold Dondis in “Chess Horizons”, October - December 2004


George Mirijanian: I understand you’ve beaten some strong players

during your long playing career. Is that right?


Harold Dondis: Occasionally. I did beat Bobby Fischer [in a simul in

Fitchburg on March 2, 1964].

George Mirijanian: Can you tell me something about that event?

Harold Dondis: The place was mobbed. I was a little fellow and a guy grabbed me and then spectators and players put me on their shoulders. It was a fluke game. It was a 19-mover.  Fischer was experimenting with a gambit by Weaver Adams. I knew the line by Larry Evans and Fischer made a mistake and I trapped his bishop. He was very gracious in resigning. I could never do that again. So once in a while, you do hit it. You beat somebody much stronger.  I’ve beaten Jim Bolton [at the 1972 Central New England Fall Open in Leominster]. I even beat John Curdo once or twice. I drew with Petrosian in a simul [at the Boylston Chess Club in 1982]. But I’m not much of a player.


White: Fischer, R.

Black: Dondis, H

[C27] Fischer tour simul Fitchburg, 02.03.1964

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3

In tournaments Fischer almost always employed the Ruy Lopez, occasionally dabbling with the King’s Gambit and Evans Gambit/Two Knights Defense. Here Bobby, perhaps to honor the memory of the late great New England master Weaver Adams, author of White to Play and Win, adopts his pet opening against 1…e5.

2...Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Qh5 Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.d4

The main move here is 6.Nb5 which leads to long forcing play after 6...g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6. Fischer sidesteps this with a sideline that Adams tried for awhile before going back to 6.Nb5.

6...Nxd4 7.Nd5 Ne6 8.Qxe5 c6

Sidestepping 8...Be7? 9.Bh6! 0-0 10.Nxe7+ Qex7 11.Bxg7.


ECO, Vol. C, 2nd Edition gives 9.Nf4 Qe7 10.Nf3 Nf5 11.0-0 Ned4 12.Qxe7+ Bxe7 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 with a clear advantage to Black Adams).


The first edition of ECO, Vol. C, ends here with the remark that Black has a clear advantage, according to GM Larry Evans.

13.Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Be3 Nxb3 15.axb3 d5 16.Rxa7 Rxa7 17.Bxa7 Bxg4 18.Bd4 Be7 19.Kd2 c5 0-1

(Chess Horizons, April 1979, p.31)


In A Legend on the Road it is reported that Dondis wrote:

“Fitchburg, site of the simul, is a mill town which, perhaps due to organizers like George Mirijanian, was quite wild about chess. As I recall, Fischer had asked for as many boards as possible. There was not enough room for the overflow crowd and it was so enthusiastic about seeing a possible world champion that, when Fischer erred against me, and a move later graciously resigned, the crowd bore me out of the room on its shoulders! I’ve never seen that in chess.”