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Efim Geller
Number of games in database: 2,236
Years covered: 1946 to 1995

Overall record: +803 -346 =1080 (60.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 7 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (300) 
    B83 B92 B84 B42 B33
 Ruy Lopez (178) 
    C92 C95 C96 C84 C78
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (100) 
    C92 C95 C96 C84 C93
 French Defense (80) 
    C07 C05 C09 C03 C16
 Sicilian Scheveningen (74) 
    B83 B84 B85 B81
 Nimzo Indian (70) 
    E26 E59 E55 E54 E29
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (211) 
    C84 C93 C89 C92 C85
 King's Indian (184) 
    E92 E60 E67 E73 E70
 Sicilian (169) 
    B52 B64 B62 B88 B50
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (168) 
    C84 C93 C89 C85 C92
 Orthodox Defense (104) 
    D58 D55 D59 D53 D50
 Queen's Gambit Declined (69) 
    D31 D37 D35 D30 D39
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Geller vs Smyslov, 1965 1-0
   Geller vs Karpov, 1976 1-0
   Fischer vs Geller, 1967 0-1
   Fischer vs Geller, 1967 0-1
   Geller vs Keres, 1973 1-0
   Kotov vs Geller, 1949 0-1
   Geller vs Portisch, 1967 1-0
   Geller vs Panno, 1955 1-0
   Geller vs Fischer, 1962 1-0
   Geller vs Velimirovic, 1971 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1955)
   Budapest (1952)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Skopje (1967)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   USSR Championship (1949)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   Havana (1965)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1952)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   USSR Championship (1969)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   The Application of Chess Theory by xajik
   The Application of Chess Theory by Benzol
   Geller beats the world champions and pretenders by ughaibu
   Grandmaster Geller: The First Quarter Century by Resignation Trap
   Power Chess - Geller by Anatoly21
   Efim Geller's Best Games by KingG
   Legend Geller by Gottschalk
   Geller and Tal beat the French by ughaibu
   King's Indian pioneers by keywiz84
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by suenteus po 147
   WCC Zurich 1953 by Pawn N Hand
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by TigerTiger
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by Atsa
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by TigerTiger

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Efim Geller
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(born Mar-08-1925, died Nov-17-1998, 73 years old) Ukraine
[what is this?]
Efim Petrovich Geller was born in Odessa, Ukraine. He learned how to play chess as a young man, and arrived on the international scene quickly by qualifying as a World Championship Candidate in 1952, thereby earning the grandmaster title. During Geller's career, he appeared in the Candidates five more times and competed in a record 23 Soviet Championships (winning two, in 1955 [rusbase-1] and 1979 [rusbase-2]). His aggressive playing style and expertise in double-edged positions culminated in a positive score against four World Champions over the course of his career (Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, and Robert James Fischer). He also scored victories against Max Euwe, Boris Spassky, Mikhail Tal and Anatoly Karpov, bringing his total of World Champions beaten to eight--a record he shares only with Botvinnik, Petrosian and Viktor Korchnoi. He won the 1992 World Senior Chess Championship.

Wikipedia article: Efim Geller

 page 1 of 90; games 1-25 of 2,236  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Geller vs Kogan 1-034 1946 OdessaB53 Sicilian
2. Geller vs Koblents ½-½31 1947 SverdlovskD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
3. Furman vs Geller 1-041 1947 LeningradD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
4. Geller vs V Saigin  0-137 1947 SverdlovskB60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
5. Geller vs G Ilivitsky 1-026 1947 SverdlovskB60 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
6. Geller vs P Dubinin 1-032 1947 SverdlovskC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
7. Geller vs Lubensky ½-½16 1947 Kiev ch-UkraineC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
8. Geller vs V Zagorovsky 1-026 1948 Soviet UnionD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. A Pirtskhalava vs Geller  1-029 1949 TbilisiA47 Queen's Indian
10. G Ilivitsky vs Geller  0-171 1949 TbilisiD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
11. Geller vs I Aramanovich  1-064 1949 TbilisiB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
12. Chistiakov vs Geller  ½-½56 1949 TbilisiC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
13. A Ebralidze vs Geller  ½-½41 1949 TbilisiD76 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O Nb6
14. Geller vs K Klaman 1-071 1949 TbilisiC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
15. Petrosian vs Geller ½-½30 1949 Tbilisi ch-SU sfC01 French, Exchange
16. D Grechkin vs Geller  ½-½31 1949 TbilisiC85 Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD)
17. Geller vs Novotelnov 0-120 1949 TbilisiC77 Ruy Lopez
18. Geller vs Nezhmetdinov 1-027 1949 Tbilisi URS sfC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. Geller vs V A Vasiliev  ½-½50 1949 TbilisiC78 Ruy Lopez
20. Geller vs Kasparian  1-042 1949 TbilisiB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
21. Kholmov vs Geller ½-½18 1949 TbilisiC48 Four Knights
22. S Kotlerman vs Geller 0-131 1949 OdessaE70 King's Indian
23. Geller vs I Pogrebissky  1-031 1949 TbilisiC78 Ruy Lopez
24. Geller vs Z Solmanis  ½-½23 1949 TbilisiC42 Petrov Defense
25. Geller vs M Grozdov 1-016 1949 Soviet UnionD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
 page 1 of 90; games 1-25 of 2,236  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Geller wins | Geller loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 26 OF 26 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-29-15  saturn2: <jith1207: Geller played with Vishy Anand>He also played against me in a simultanous 1983 or 1984. He opened the games e4 and d4 alternatively. He got angry when someone touched a piece and would not move it. From the results point of view he clobbered all the participants and there were some 2000 players amongst them. <offramp: vodka-drinker> I cannot confirm that, but before this game I had Geller in mind from a book of the chess olympiad 1953 where he seemed thin, introvert, highly intellectual and he was already called 'The Russian Morphy' at this time according to a book on the Olympiad. So I was rather surprised to see a ca 100 kg extrovert man.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <saturn2> The 1939 Buenos Aires event was the last olympiad played in an odd-numbered year. Maybe you mean 1952 (Helsinki) or 1954 (Amsterdam) (see, or maybe you mean the Zurich candidates in 1953?

I remember reading an interview in New In Chess where the person being interviewed referred to Geller as someone who always made a lot of fuss about everything, which is consistent with getting angry at someone for touching a piece and not moving it at a simul exhibition. But I can't remember who the interviewee was. I think Smyslov.

Aug-29-15  saturn2: Fusilli: It was Helsinki. I remember the book well although I dont have it any more. It was one of my first chessbooks. In the Soviet team were Smyslov, Boleslavsky, Kotov, Bronstein and Geller. I also remember all their fotos. Best performance had another guy called Kothenauer or something like that. Geller played a lot of Kingindians in this tournament and the author of the book (Mueller?) described this opening as something newly discovered and almost mystical.
Dec-06-15  thegoodanarchist: Korchnoi on Geller:

<Geller is quite a good attacker, but he calculates variations badly - he wastes a lot of time, and often does not believe in himself.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: How did Kortschnoi know what was going on inside Geller's head?
Dec-06-15  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: How did Kortschnoi know what was going on inside Geller's head?>

Perhaps Kortschnoi was secretly a member of the thought police.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, GM Efim Geller.

Close, but no cigar.

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Geller could have said the same thing about Korchnoi :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <brankat: Geller could have said the same thing about Korchnoi :-)>

The image in my brain is of Geller and Korchnoi simultaneously pointing to various squares on the chessboard while saying in ever-louder voices,

<"He goes here NO he goes there then I go here NO I go there then he goes NO I've lost it He goes there NO he goes over there whose move is it? He goes there...">

Aug-27-16  morfishine: <offramp> Speaking of look-alikes, I always thought Robert Vaughn looked like Efim Geller:

Perhaps Geller was a KGB spy chess playing actor all along lol


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <morfishine>. Wow. You are right. He is the uncle from Murmansk.
Aug-27-16  morfishine: <offramp> Vaughn and Geller both have that dimple on the chin that makes them appear virtually indistinguishable. According to ancient Persian Lore, the dimple on the chin is a sign of great beauty, though in this case, I find neither Vaughn or Geller beautiful

Whats that dimple on the chin called medically? Oh yes: chin dimple or dimple chin; or the less popular cleft chin or chin cleft

Thats all I've got


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Dimplus simplex normalis mandibilis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Quote of the day:

<Players who are devoted to certain opening systems know how unpleasant it can be to play against oneself in the purely psychological sense> - Efim Geller.

So says the man who beat Fischer with his own pet variation, the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Sicilian.

Fischer vs Geller, 1967

Dec-16-16  maelith: <How did Kortschnoi know what was going on inside Geller's head?>

Perhaps it is based with Korchnoi playing many times against Geller. There maybe situations against Korchnoi where Geller took lots of time before making a move,and that move is a mistake.

Classical games: Viktor Korchnoi beat Efim Geller 11 to 6, with 15 draws.

This positive score by Korchnoi against Geller is maybe because Korchnoi is a great defender. Korchnoi also loves complication. Tal also has a negative score against Korchnoi. I am impressed that even a young Kasparov can dominate Korchnoi.

Mar-08-17  CountryGirl: Happy birthday in heaven, Efim Petrovich.
It's interesting that Geller had plus scores against the great 'strategists' Petrosian, Smyslov and Botvinnik, but minus scores against those with a more similar style to himself, including Keres and Spassky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Geller was one of the more prepared players in the world with regard to his openings.
Mar-08-17  Sularus: One of the greats who didn't become world champion. happy birthday!
Mar-08-17  Howard: Regarding CountryGirl's comment, Geller also had a plus score against Bobby-what's-his-name.

In fact, he beat him in tournament play more often than anyone else, including three times in a row from 1965-67.

Mar-08-17  Petrosianic: You can't always go by that kind of thing, due to the fact that top GM's often simply stop playing real games with each other after a while.

When Petrosian and Geller drew their final game in 1983, they hadn't had a decisive result with each other in 20 years, and most of their games stopped being real ones. There are a lot of other long-time opponents who do the same thing.

One who DIDN'T do it was Tal vs. Spassky. After Spassky won their Candidates Final in 1965, he never won another game from Tal in his life. Spassky turned Russian Bear against him. Tal, on the other hand, still had a lot of fight left against Spassky, and managed to win 5 games in that time. As a result, he reduced his lifetime deficit against Spassky from 9-1 to 9-6.

Mar-08-17  Petrosianic: Another funny thing about Petrosian and Geller. They drew most of their games through their whole life. But they had two decisive games in the 1956 Candidates.

Vasiliev's book explains that in their Round 1 game, Petrosian was amenable to another draw as usual, got a slightly superior position, and offered it. But Geller was in a fighting mood, said no, Petrosian got rattled and lost.

The next time they played, Petrosian had to avenge that loss, of course, so he went out and played one of his all-time best games. So, two decisive results. But had Geller taken that draw offer in the first game, probably both games would have been drawn.

Petrosian vs Geller, 1956

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: OK - so I had to check - it is true that all their games after 1963 were drawn but from 1949-63 they played 8 decisive game which is mot unusually low.
Mar-08-17  Petrosianic: True, they did play a decent number of real and decisive games before 1963. But they also had plenty of non-games. I show they played 20 draws in 30 moves or less between 1949 and 1963. In fact, I only see ONE draw that went more than 30 moves in all those years, and only three lifetime (out of 32 total draws).
Mar-08-17  Petrosianic: It's always tough when friends play each other. Aren't there those two sisters (I forget their names), who not only draw all their games, but play the SAME game each time, move for move?
Mar-08-17  Petrosianic: The Kosintseva sisters, that's it. But it's been a few years since I last checked them out (figuratively speaking) and I see that they were actually forced to play real games (with some decisive results), when they met in the 2012 FIDE Knockout Women's Championship.

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