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MATCH STANDINGS
Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates Playoff Match

Paul Keres4.5/8(+2 -1 =5)[games]
Efim Geller3.5/8(+1 -2 =5)[games]

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates Playoff (1962)

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian had won Curacao Candidates (1962), with Paul Keres and Efim Geller sharing 2nd-3rd. Their playoff for clear 2nd was important for two reasons. First, Mikhail Botvinnik had not yet formally decided if he would defend his championship title. According to Petrosian, "This explained the hastily-arranged match between Keres and Geller ... The match was needed to determine ... the right to participate in a match for the world championship itself, if Botvinnik did not play." 1

Moscow, 11-25 August 1962 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Keres ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ 1 4˝ Geller ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 0 3˝

Botvinnik did end up deciding to defend his title, but if he had not, Petrosian would have faced the winner of this playoff in a world championship match. Second, whoever lost/won the Botvinnik - Petrosian World Championship Match (1963), the ex-champion would be seeded directly into the next candidates event. If the ex-champion decided to play in the next cycle, then only the playoff winner would earn a spot in the candidates. 3

The match proved to be a gripping struggle. After seven games the score was tied, and Keres therefore needed to win the last game, because Geller would be declared victor in a drawn match due to his superior Sonneborn-Berger score in the Candidates tournament. 4 Keres rose to the occasion in Game 8, saccing a knight in a sharp kingside attack to destroy Geller's defense in just 28 moves.

Because Botvinnik declined to play in the next WCC cycle, both Keres and Geller were seeded into the candidates matches. At the Varna 1962 FIDE conference, it had been decided that in the post-1963 cycle the next WCC candidate would be decided in a series of matches, rather than in a tournament. 5 In the 1963-66 cycle, Keres lost his quarterfinal match to Spassky; Spassky - Keres Candidates Quarterfinal (1965). Geller won his quarterfinal match against Smyslov; Geller - Smyslov Candidates Quarterfinal (1965), but was eliminated in his semifinal match against Spassky; Spassky - Geller Candidates Semifinal (1965).

Notes

1 Igor Botvinnik, ed., Stephen W Giddins transl., Botvinnik-Petrosian: The 1963 World Chess Championship Match (New in Chess 2010), p. 93.
2 Round order and dates: Paul Keres, Photographs and Games (International Chess Enterprises 1997), pp. 337-338.
3 Tidskrift för Schack, March 1965, p. 69 (translation by User: Tabanus).
4 Paul Keres and John Nunn, Paul Keres: The Quest For Perfection (Batsford 1997), p. 148.
5 Yuri Averbakh, Steve Giddins transl., Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes - the Personal Memoir of a Soviet Chess Legend (New in Chess 2011), p. 114.

Original collection Game Collection: 1962 Candidates play-off match: Geller-Keres by User: capybara; Introduction written and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project, with invaluable help from User: Benzol, User: Tabanus, and User: Paint My Dragon.

 page 1 of 1; 8 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Geller vs Keres ½-½591962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffA15 English
2. Keres vs Geller  ½-½431962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffB36 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
3. Geller vs Keres 0-1351962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffE12 Queen's Indian
4. Keres vs Geller  ½-½321962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffA46 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Geller vs Keres  ½-½181962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
6. Keres vs Geller 0-1411962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffA56 Benoni Defense
7. Geller vs Keres  ½-½511962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffE55 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation
8. Keres vs Geller 1-0281962Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates PlayoffD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-15-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <According to Petrosian, "This explained the hastily-arranged match between Keres and Geller ... The match was needed to determine ... the right to participate in a match for the world championship itself, if Botvinnik did not play.">

FWIW, here's the full paragraph from the above-quoted book:

"Of course, at that time, it was difficult for me to explain to everyone the full complexity of my position. I had won the right to play Botvinnik. But it was well-known that when he emerged from the Polytechnic Museum, after beating Tal in the return match, Botvinnik had said something to the effect that, if a Soviet player won the next Candidates' event, he might decide not to defend his title. Under the rules of the International Chess Federation, the conditions for the world championship match must be ratified by the FIDE President, not less than four months before the start of the match. Given that matches in Moscow usually began around the middle of March, Botvinnik still had quite a long time in which to consider whether to defend his title. There were some outward signs that the chess federation of the USSR was preparing for the possibility of Botvinnik refusing to play the match. <This explained the hastily-arranged match between grandmasters Keres and Geller, who had shared 2nd- 3rd places in the Candidates' tournament. The match was needed to determine outright 2nd place, the player concerned thereby gaining the right to play in the next Candidates' tournament, but also, what is more important, the right to participate in a match for the world championship itself, if Botvinnik did not play.>

So, time went on, and the uncertainty was prolonged. Both Botvinnik and I were members of the Soviet team, which travelled to Bulgaria, where the seaside resort Golden Sands saw a new victory by the Soviet players, this time in the XV Chess Olympiad.

After we returned to Moscow, some further time elapsed, and only then did I receive the official letter from the USSR Chess Federation, in which I was informed of a meeting on 10 November, to discuss the arrangements for the world championship match between myself and Botvinnik. I received this on the final Saturday in October, 1962."

Mar-15-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: From the page's header: "After seven games the score was tied, and Keres therefore needed to win the last game, because Geller would be declared victor in a drawn match due his superior Sonneborn-Berger score."

Huh? A player's Sonneborn-Berger score is calculated by by adding the sum of the conventional scores of the players he/she has defeated to half the sum of the conventional scores of those he/she has drawn against. Similar to the calculation of a player's scoring %.

But in a match, if the score is tied (as it was in this match after round 7) each player will have won/lost/drawn the same number of games, so their Sonneborn-Berger score will be identical. So, considering only the match results, there was no way that Geller could have had a superior Sonneborn-Berger score.

So I assume that Geller's "superior" Sonneborn-Berger score was the result of his performance in the 1962 Candidates Tournament. And that was indeed the case; per my calculations Geller's Candidates Tournament SB score was 206.25 and Keres' was 205.25.

But I think that the author(s) of this page's header should clarify that with something like "After seven games the score was tied, and Keres therefore needed to win the last game, because Geller would be declared victor in a drawn match due his superior Sonneborn-Berger score <in the Candidates Tournament>" (emphasis mine). Who knows, maybe there are some other readers for which this is not obvious either. And maybe this was made clear in the reference to the Paul Keres and John Nunn book, but there's no way to check that unless you have the book. Which I, of course, don't, and I suspect most other readers don't either.

Mar-15-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <AylerKupp> Here you are!

"Then came the great Candidates' Tournament at Curacao [ Curacao Candidates (1962) ] in which he [Keres] missed winning the event by the narrowest margin. A loss to Benko [ Benko vs Keres, 1962 ] in the penultimate round (after he had beaten him thrice in previous rounds!) cost him first place and he came equal second with Geller with 17 points, half a point behind Petrosian. This was the fourth time Keres had come second in a Candidates' Tournament. [...]

A match was played at Moscow between Keres and Geller to determine who should be classed second and thus have the right to take part in the next Candidates'. It was a very evenly contested affair. When the 8th and last game was reached the score was 3.5-3.5 .

Keres had to win the last game since, in the event of a draw, Geller would gain the right to play in the Candidates' <as he had the superior Sonneborn-Berger score <at Curacao>>. However, Keres won the match with a fine game." [ Keres vs Geller, 1962 ]

Source: Paul Keres and John Nunn, Paul Keres: The Quest For Perfection (Batsford 1997), p. 148.

Mar-16-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <whiteshark> That was fast! Thank you.

Now, what are you going to do to ensure world peace? :-)

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