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Boris Spassky vs Efim Geller
USSR Championship (1959), Tbilisi URS, rd 13, Jan-31
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Wormald Attack (C77)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-19-04  ughaibu: This is a great game, Geller leads Spassky on and I was expecting him to catch everything and somehow come out ahead, but Spassky with a surprising queen sacrifice shows that Geller had given him too much rope.
Jan-22-04  ughaibu: No views on this one?
Jan-22-04  Benjamin Lau: 18. e5! sticks out in my mind. 7...d5 is a novelty according to the opening explorer. It may have been opening preparation from Geller that Spassky avoided by playing the (intentionally?) unambitious c3 instead of dxe5 leading into a wilder Marshall-ish Ruy position.
Jan-22-04  TrueFiendish: 28.Ne4! An artist's move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: How much did Spassky see when he played 28 Ne4?

Instead of taking the queen, Spassky had to foresee the Geller's possibility of grabbing d4 with check!

click for larger view

If 31...Bxd4+ 32 Kh1 Rxh8 33 Bxd5+ Ke8 34 Bxa8 Kd7 35 Rd1 Rxa8 36 Rxd4+ Kc8 37 Rc1 a5 38 Be7 Qh5 39 Rc5 Qg6 1.51/17 Rybka

click for larger view

Notice the white pieces have all sprung to life in the second diagram while the Black pieces seem glued to same squares.

Jan-18-09  GlassCow: Fascinating, complicated and brilliant play by both heavyweights. This is getting added to my favorite games for certain.
Jan-18-09  computer chess guy: 34 .. a5!? 35. ♘e6+ ♔c8 36. ♗c5 ♔b8 (Rybka 3, depth 16).
Jan-18-09  xrt999: did Geller lose on time?
Jan-18-09  blueofnoon: I do not think so. Geller realized 3 minor pieces are indeed better than the queen and resigned. A terrific game!

With shorter time control, it is difficult to see games like this these days.

Jan-18-09  veigaman: Spassky, one of the greatest of all time!. This game is a human masterpiece!
Jan-18-09  talisman: <veigaman> you are correct sir! thanks!... for this is some ballgame!
Jan-19-09  Granny O Doul: I'm betting it was a time forfeit.
Jan-25-09  xrt999: goes. 4th try.

I plugged this end position into my CM program: CM vs CM, and the game continues for 63 additional moves and ends in a draw.

Cheers CG.

Premium Chessgames Member
  stoy: If this is a win for white, how does it happen? I smell a flag fall.
Jan-25-09  Ychromosome: Check out the white knight on f2 that enables castling.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: To those who don't see how white can win this:

I'm no expert, but it seems that black's b-pawn is about to fall. After it's gone, white's king and minor pieces will gang up on the remaining black pawns. Then one or more white pawns march up and promote. The white pieces and pawns should be able to shield the king from perpetual check. All black can do is sit back and watch it happen.

Jan-26-09  ughaibu: It looks a clear enough win to me and the time control would probably have been at move 72, so I see no reason to doubt that Geller resigned.
Jan-26-09  positionalgenius: its a win for white. truly magnificent game.
Jan-26-09  M.D. Wilson: Why would Geller want to play on in a losing position? Hence the resignation.
Jan-27-09  xrt999: This game is a draw!

(I mean, after the b-pawn falls that is. (thanks Gregor for pointing out this to all of us))

The black queen just continually harasses the white king and the game continues for 63 moves and ends in a 3 move draw on my CM. (63 moves of perfect 10 ply engine play)

This was my initial assumption, and I just proved it to myself for the second time. Wether or not Geller saw this drawish nature or not is not so much dependant on playing 63 perfect drawing moves as it is already having played 73 grueling moves against Boris Spassky. Although the year is 1959 and Geller is in his prime, how would you feel after not only 60 moves against Spassky, but 10 additional moves only to lose a pawn? Spassky played perfect.

Then to sit there and analyze wether or not you can one here can say. Geller probably did resign, and this wouldnt suprise me.

BUT....just run it through whatever engine du jour is popular and see for yourself, there is no clear win. This game is a draw.

Jan-27-09  xrt999: <Jan-19-04 ughaibu:>

<Jan-26-09 ughaibu:>

Hey, why dont you just think about what I said and come back in 5 years....sheesh....LOL!

Jan-27-09  I Like Fish: Why...
Jan-28-09  blacksburg: this is a pretty clear win for white, but your engines aren't going to show it to you.

white wins the b pawn, then slowly advances all of his pieces and wins the g pawn, then the h pawn, then makes a queen. the black queen will not be able to stop it, and there will be no perpetual checks because white has a small army of 3 pieces to escort the king.

no way black will draw this. it might take 50+ moves for white to win, but he WILL win, the queen is no match for the 3 pieces here.

and in general, if geller and chessmaster disagree about something, i'm going to believe geller. i mean, this isn't deep rybka 10 we're talking about here, it's chessmaster.

Jan-28-09  ughaibu: Xrt999: do you want to try playing it out, on here?
Jan-28-09  M.D. Wilson: I'll go with Geller's assessment of the position.
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