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Paul Keres vs Efim Geller
"Keres the Ball" (game of the day Apr-22-07)
Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates Playoff (1962)  ·  Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Pillsbury Variation (D41)  ·  1-0
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Given 62 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-24-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Just one of those details that shows the Keres was stronger than Geller.
Jul-22-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  posoo: GET BACK OVER HERE says da keresman. Capablanca was WRONG, tictacs DO matter!
Jul-22-14  Chessman1504: Assuming you meant tactics, when did Capablanca say tactics didn't matter? He was a bit of a tactical monster, so I would find such a comment surprising from him.
Sep-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Botvinnik was quoted to have claimed that Geller was the strongest chess player in the 1960s. Yet here in this crucial game, which Keres needed to win to take the match (or lose second place in the Candidates due to a worse SB score), Keres demolishes Geller seemingly at will. Keres was exceptionally good in seizing the initiative and converting it into an attack.

Whenever I see Keres games such as this it saddens me that Keres never became World Champion. Nevertheless, I regard him with the same awe and respect accrued to the actual World Champions.

I honestly think that Keres at his prime was probably a stronger chess player than at least four World Champions that he played competitively in his career, Euwe, Smyslov, Tal, and Petrosian. I agree that <RookFile: Just one of those details that shows Keres was stronger than Geller.>. For Almost World Champion Korchnoi, Keres was just too powerful, and Victor the Terrible never succeeded in even winning a single game against him in the two decades that they played each other until Keres was just a few months away from dying of an AMI in 1975. Keres was the bane of both Tal and Korchnoi. In fact a quick perusal of CG games shows that for all the players above, only Smyslov and Petrosian managed tied records against Keres; the rest had negative scores.

They say that for some World Champions, a little bit of good luck was needed for them to take the Title. In Keres we see the opposite, what a little bit of bad luck can do to derail a chess master who should have been World Champion.

Sep-20-14  Olavi: <visayanbraindoctor: Botvinnik was quoted to have claimed that Geller was the strongest chess player in the 1960s.>

Pardon me, but this needs a source. It's a sensational novelty.

Sep-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Have to say I have never heard of such a statement being made by Botvinnik--not that I am implying any doubt of its veracity. Bit surprising, really, and I cannot imagine why Botvinnik should have believed that in the face of clear and convincing evidence that it was not so, despite Geller's impressive record against numerous titleholders of the past, present and future.
Sep-20-14  Olavi: I am implying. It is not possible that Botvinnik uttered anything of the kind.
Sep-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: "...Geller was the strongest chess player in the 1960s."

Slight mis-quote if we follow Wiki: it was the late 1960's.

"Former champion Botvinnik stated that, in his opinion, Geller was the best player in the world in the late 1960s."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efim_G...

Sep-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Spassky defeated Geller twice in Candidate matches in 65 and 68 both 3-0 with 5 draws
Sep-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Maybe Botvinnik meant Geller was the best player in the world at 2359 hrs on December 31st 1969. You cannot get more late 1960's than that.
Sep-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Sally Simpson> Thanks for the correction.

Botvinnik may have said something similar for Smyslov for a time span in the 1950s.

Botvinnik strikes me as a very political person, yet he seems to be quite honest and frank when it comes to opining about his chess colleagues.

<plang: Spassky defeated Geller twice in Candidate matches in 65 and 68 both 3-0 with 5 draws>

Spassky IMO was approximately as strong a chess player as Keres.

Although he was being honest, Botvinnik may have been wrong about Geller. In the late 1960s, I think that Spassky was by then already stronger than Geller.

Keres strikes me as a World Champion caliber chess player whose chess strength exhibited a long high plateau, but no peaks. It's notable that a top chess master would often only obtain the Title in that part of his career that his strength experiences a sudden peak, after which his chess strength usually falls off back into his high plateau, and sometimes down into the valley of the ordinary.

It was Keres' supreme misfortune that he during his high plateau of almost 3 decades, there were always players whose peaks went over his. In the mid 30s to early 40s Alekhine, although visibly declining, was always stronger than him; and IMO he would have lost in a WC match even if he got to play one against AAA. In the mid 40s to early 50s, Botvinnik was stronger than him. He would probably have lost a WC match to Botvinnik even if he got one. Then he got in the way of a peaking Smyslov, Tal, and Petrosian, and was bounced off; even though in most of their careers, I believe that Keres was stronger than them. After 1964, Keres' chess strength began to decline. By 1965, Spassky was already stronger than him and beat him in their Candidates match, and in the Soviet Championship that year he was never a contender to win.

The best chance for him to win the Title would have been in the years 1937 to 1963. For example, if it was him that got to play Euwe in the 1937 WC match instead of AAA, I believe that Keres would have won the Title. Theoretically Euwe could have chosen him as it was the right then of the World Champion to choose his Challenger. Later on, if just a bit fortunate, Keres might have won any number of Candidates events in the 1950s, but no such luck.

Even so if the declining Keres somehow managed to pull off a win against a peaking Spassky in the Spassky - Keres Candidates Quarterfinal Match (1965), he might have just been inspired to put an all out effort to win the Candidates, and maybe beat Petrosian. This was his last practical chance to get a Title shot.

Sep-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <visayan: Botvinnik may have said something similar for Smyslov for a time span in the 1950s.>

In an interview given to New In Chess in the mid 1980s, Botvinnik stated that in the mid fifties, Smyslov was the strongest player in the world.

Hard to argue with consecutive wins in candidates tournaments, followed by finally overcoming his bugbear.

Sep-21-14  Olavi: <Sally Simpson: "...Geller was the strongest chess player in the 1960s." Slight mis-quote if we follow Wiki: it was the late 1960's.

"Former champion Botvinnik stated that, in his opinion, Geller was the best player in the world in the late 1960s.">

Wiki gives no source either.

<visayanbraindoctor:

Although he was being honest, Botvinnik may have been wrong about Geller>

Where exactly was he being honest? If he ever said that, it would be such news that it deserves to be sourced.

Sep-21-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Olavi> I actually read it from a kibitzer's post here in CG, I just forgot where. I understand your point that the source is unverified. So let's just say Botvinnik never uttered it.

It doesn't change the gist of my core statements about Keres.

Sep-22-14  Olavi: I think that from about 1952 Keres would have had an even chance against Botvinnik, only Smyslov and Tal were in the way. 1962 perhaps... Similarly I'd make Korchnoi the favourite in a match against Petrosian in the 60's. In the first among equals era it was not always the case that if A beats B and B beats C, then A beats C.
Sep-22-14  Petrosianic: <I think that from about 1952 Keres would have had an even chance against Botvinnik,>

Why do you think so?

<only Smyslov and Tal were in the way.>

And Bronstein, and Geller, and Korchnoi, and others who might have had chances to beat Botvinnik. There were maybe about 10 people who were dangerous to Botvinnik then, all in the Soviet Union. That's why he pushed the "Four Soviets" rule, that would eliminate more of them sooner, leaving him with fewer possible challengers to prepare against.

<1962 perhaps... Similarly I'd make Korchnoi the favourite in a match against Petrosian in the 60's.>

Neither the ratings nor the results tend to bear that out. It wasn't until 1973 that Korchnoi finally surged ahead of Spassky and Petrosian.

<In the first among equals era it was not always the case that if A beats B and B beats C, then A beats C.>

True, but Korchnoi was +1-4 against Petrosian at the end of 1962, and didn't get ahead of him until 1974. If you look at the 1968 Spassky-Korchnoi match, Spassky is clearly ahead of him, not only in results, but in positional understanding.

Sep-22-14  Olavi: <Petrosianic: <I think that from about 1952 Keres would have had an even chance against Botvinnik,> Why do you think so?>

Looking at their ganes with each other, and the tournaments they played. I am convinced that 1937-39 Botvinnik would have won comfortably, even more so ten years later.

<
Similarly I'd make Korchnoi the favourite in a match against Petrosian in the 60's.>

<Neither the ratings nor the results tend to bear that out. It wasn't until 1973 that Korchnoi finally surged ahead of Spassky and Petrosian.>

<In the first among equals era it was not always the case that if A beats B and B beats C, then A beats C.>

<True, but Korchnoi was +1-4 against Petrosian at the end of 1962, and didn't get ahead of him until 1974. If you look at the 1968 Spassky-Korchnoi match, Spassky is clearly ahead of him, not only in results, but in positional understanding.>

Korchnoi beat Petrosian twice just before the -66 match. This was my point: he could not cope with Spassky, but he would have had a good chance against Petrosian.

Sep-23-14  EdZelli: "but he would have had a good chance against Petrosian." Fat Chance ! Boris dominated the Chess World from the
mid 60's to late 60's but lost in 1966 by the best master tactician. Just look at game seven of the Petrosian-Spassky match in 1966.

By 1966, Tigran had been there, done that and sold the T-shirt twice in row. No live chess player could claim that.
What else was there to prove?
Victor was a sick-in-the-head, chip-on-the-shoulder cry baby that would resort to nasty antics at his matches just to get a win. Just check his behavior in matches against Karpov, Spassky and Petrosian to name a few.

Sep-23-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After three days I think I understand it. Is it based on Carries the Ball?
Oct-05-14  dernier thylacine: OFFRAMP:
I could not understand what you do not or do not want to understand. For me, even I am a Frenchman whose english is poor, it did not need three minutes before I undestood the com. of EdZelli. So what? Again a mental pyramid for you?
Oct-06-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <dernier thylacine: OFFRAMP: I could not understand what you do not or do not want to understand. For me, even I am a Frenchman whose english is poor, it did not need three minutes before I undestood "Keres the Ball" (game of the day title Apr-22-07)>

Can you explain "Keres the Ball" to me then? That's what I was talking about. I <thought> it was based on Carries the Ball but you obviously disagree.

It may help that Keres is pronounced "Keresh" - but it may not.

Nov-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  disasterion: <Conrad93: It's too bad this game is refuted by computer analysis.>

Two years down the line, but I'm going to rise to this. 'Refuted' in what sense? If you mean that Keres's magnificent attack is somehow flawed, you're going to have to post some analysis - my version of Stockfish can find nothing wrong with white's play after 18... f6.

If on the other hand you mean that Geller's play is less than perfect, you could make the same accusation about ever game in the chessgames database that doesn't end in a draw (or a loss on time); so it's a pretty empty assertion.

Other people up the thread have pointed out that 18... f6 is an error. You don't need a computer to see that. But what follows is glorious.

Nov-20-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <disasterion> By no means does <donkrad> need anything vaguely resembling proof to wave the bloody shirt; unsubstantiated blather is well within his capabilities, along with what you elegantly term empty assertions.
May-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I guess the goal of 15....Bb4 was maybe to play Bc3 and get rid of the b2 bishop. But, he never got close. So, the move has to be considered a waste of time.
May-05-16  ewan14: Keres supreme misfortune was to be Estonian , a people not too popular with Stalin
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