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Laszlo Szabo vs Efim Geller
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 1, Aug-30
Catalan Opening: Open Defense (E02)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-09-03  Rookpawn: This was the first game of the famous Zurich Candidates Tournament, 1953, held to determine a Challenger for then World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik.
Dec-04-04  Backward Development: things of interest by Bronstein:
"'Certainly', i would say to myself, 'it must be true that the enemy dark squares will be weak if his pawns stand on light squares and he loses his dark squared bishop. But if he then removes all of his pieces from the dark squares, what will be left for me to attack?' Such was my line of reasoning, until the day i realized that a weakness of the dark squares is also a weakness of the pieces and pawns on the light squares...the combination which was possible after Black's 24th move fairly begs to be included in a textbook, taking place as it does entirely on light squares..." the combo he refers to is Qa7!(Bronstein). if
...Ra8 Bxd5+

if ...Kf8
Nd3 Ra8
Qc5 with a strong position

and if
Qxb7!(Bronstein)"If black takes the queen, then 27 Bxd5+ followed by 28 Rc8+ leads to the complete extermination of Black's pieces-curiously enough, all of them perish on light squares."

Feb-19-07  beatles fan: I am just reading Zurich 1953 myself. I was lent to me by my chess teacher. Great book.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mig55: <Backward Development> If white plays Qa7 black plays e4....and it looks like a draw...
Premium Chessgames Member
  mig55: 28.Nc2 would equilize..
May-19-09  superstoned: mig55
Bronstein mentions 25...e4 (in response to what Szabo should have played, 25.Qa7!). He suggests 26.Bh3.
Nov-10-10  Knight13: 16...Nb6. I don't see 16...Nf6 doing anything. Black could also castle here, which allows him to play ...b4, and if White plays 17. e4, then ...Ndb4 and the d3 square is his.
Apr-16-12  zydeco: The point of 25.Qa7 (according to Bronstein) is to gain time for the knight to come to c5 after a queen exchange, but 25...e4 is a good answer. 26. bxc5 instead of Rxc5 was the big mistake, giving away white's advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Najdorf’s book on Zurich 1953 was recently published in English translation for the first time. (<Zurich 1953: 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship>, by NAJDORF, Miguel, tr. by Kingston, Taylor, ©2012 Russell Enterprises, Inc. ) [Note: Euwe and Ståhlberg also wrote books on this tournament; as far as I am aware, neither of those has ever been published in English translation.]

Najdorf criticizes both players' eighth moves, since <8.Qc6> allows <8. … Rb7 9. Bf4 Bb7 10. Qc1 c5> following Capablanca vs Reshevsky, 1936 in which Black stood better in the early middlegame despite the eventual 1-0 result. He calls Geller’s choice (<8. … Rb8>) a “strange move” since (per Najdorf) Geller knew the Capablanca-Reshevsky game and should have followed it. Interestingly, Fritz 13 prefers Geller’s move, and, of course, Geller did win this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Knight13: 16...Nb6. I don't see 16...Nf6 doing anything. ***>

In fact, Geller’s <16. … Nf6> was a blunder, but Szabo with his counterblunder <17. b4?> failed to exploit it.

Here is what Najdorf wrote [op. cit., supra, at p. 51]: “He should have played <17.Nxb5!! axb5 18.b4> and now (a) <18. … Na4 19. Qxc8+ Bxc8 20. Rxc8+ Kd7 21. Rxh8 Qxb4 22. Ne5+> etc.; (b) <18...Nfd7 19.bxc5 Rxc5> (if <19...Nxc5 20.Qb2>) <20.Qd3>; (c) <18...Be4 19.Qc3 0–0 20.bxc5 Nd7 21.Qb4 Bxf3 22.exf3!> [PP note: the "!" here is per Najdorf; computer analysis indicates the text is no better (in fact, slightly less effective) than 22. Bxf3; see: ] <22...Rxc5 23.Rxc5 Qxc5 24.Qxc5 Nxc5 25.Rb1 Rb8 26.a3!> followed by <27. Bf1>.”

Bronstein (in <Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953>, by BRONSTEIN, David, tr. from the Second Russian Edition by Jim Marfia, ©1979 Dover Publications, Inc., at p. 1) also comments that <16. … Nf6> allows the tactical shot <17. Nxb5> followed by <18. b4> “due to the insufficiently protected rook at c8”, but without providing variations.

Jul-01-12  Howard: The book Creative Chess Strategy makes a reference to that combination around the 20th move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ghuzultyy: Great game by Efim Geller.
Nov-20-15  cwcarlson: After 35.Na1 it's equal.
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