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Robert James Fischer vs Efim Geller
"Under the Microscope of Analysis" (game of the day Feb-18-2016)
Skopje (1967), Skopje YUG, rd 2, Aug-08
Sicilian Defense: Fischer-Sozin Attack. Main Line (B89)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 22 OF 22 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-21-16  Moszkowski012273: Sorry <Ayler> no internet chess for me can't stand the stuff... But if you DO ever make it to NYC feel free to look me up!
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <harrylime> Well, <Moszkowski012273> made an unsupported statement "17.Rxf6...and white is winning." (Fischer vs Geller, 1967 (kibitz #516)). Normally I disregard such unsupported statements but the resulting position after 17.Rxf6 looked interesting. About 2 years ago I looked at Fischer's claim, supported by Geller, that 20.Qf4 instead of 20.a3 would lead to a win. The analysis I did using several engines could neither confirm or refute that claim, the results were inconclusive. Then a short time ago there were several discussions about Rf5-h5 at various times. It looked on the basis of the analysis I did using several engines that Fischer had a draw at some point if he had wanted it (and I thought that at that time he didn't, he was going for a win), but after a certain point a loss was unavoidable.

I found out that 17.Rxf6 had been considered earlier by Geller and others, and they thought that it lead to a win for White. Did it? I don't know. It certainly seems to lead to a definite advantage for White but whether it's enough to win or not is, in my mind, still open to question. And I haven't reviewed the engines' analyses yet or do any forward sliding, so I have no idea if it does or not lead to a win

Are you not interested in the reality of the various positions? Or do you believe that MSMG is the gospel according to Fischer, the final word, and that everyone else is wrong? The fact is that neither Fischer, Geller, Boleslavsky, and to a lesser extent Kasparov had access to computers and strong chess engines when they did their analyses, and modern computers and chess engines can do a better job at detailed analysis than all these illustrious grandmasters put together, provided that they are properly used. And I am conceited enough to believe that I have some idea how to use them properly and what some their limitations are, so that I can come up with some reasonable conclusions, and back them up. So that's what I am doing, analyzing the various positions with multiple engines to see what they conclude.

But even I am not conceited enough to believe that this will be the final word on this game. It is wonderfully complex and rich, and I am sure that future and more capable analysts will be able to do a better job than I am doing, particularly if they have access to better computers and chess engines than I currently do.

Besides, I like doing this kind of analysis. Plus I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands. And I hope that others might be interested in the results.

Does that help answer your question?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<savagerules> lol Fischer probably spent 1% as much time analyzing this game as this Ayler guy has.>

I think that shows that Fischer, regardless of some people may think, had more common sense than this Ayler guy has. Or as the old joke went, "I may be crazy, but I am not stupid."

However, even I with my excessive verbosity, couldn't come up with 1,000 pages of this stuff. And if I did, I would just blame it on the engines.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Moskowski01223> Sorry <Ayler> no internet chess for me can't stand the stuff>

I understand and don't blame you a bit. Like the title of my forum page says, De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est (there is no disputing taste). And my wife and I are planning on a trip to NYC within the year, I'll make sure to look you up. Don't worry, nothing threatening implied, I just want to find good places to eat as recommended by someone who lives there.

Feb-22-16  morfishine: <diceman> You miss the point
Feb-22-16  Moszkowski012273: Absolutely sir! (<Ayler>)... Would LOVE to help! I mean that! 703-772-5582.. Still a Virginia number but I've been in NYC for 15 years.
Feb-22-16  Nosnibor: <Moszkowski012273> I mentioned 17 Rxf6 in my post of 18/02/2016 and also mentioned the source.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <morfishine: <diceman> You miss the point>

There wasn't really one to miss.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Nosnibor> I mentioned 17 Rxf6 in my post of 18/02/2016 and also mentioned the source.>

You certainly did and I missed it. Sorry about that. I guess that would have meant that I would have started this round of analyses for 17.Rxf6 2 days earlier.

Could you do me a favor? I don't have a copy of Geller's "Grandmaster Geller at the Chessboard". I copied Geller's analysis of 17.Rxf6 (there wasn't that much) here: Fischer vs Geller, 1967 (kibitz #519). If "Grandmaster Geller at the Chessboard" has additional analysis, could you post it here?

BTW, in case you didn't know, there is a quick way to create a link to previous posts if you have a Windows machine. Just right-click on the date of the post and you'll see a pop-up menu with one of its options being 'Copy Shortcut'. Left-click on that and you can paste the link into your post: Fischer vs Geller, 1967 (kibitz #493). It makes it a lot easier to reference other posts.

Feb-22-16  Moszkowski012273: Sorry <Nosnibor> I don't normally spend much time reading the comments on here.
Feb-22-16  morfishine: <diceman> Ok, its pretty simple, regardless of move <21> White's error or miscalculation occurred much earlier

Whats so hard to understand about that?


Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <morfishine: <diceman> Ok, its pretty simple, regardless of move <21> White's error or miscalculation occurred much earlier>

You're not making any sense.

It's as if you want to "pretend" errors were made "much earlier" and "skip" the draws that were there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Detailed Analysis after 17.Rxf6 Bxf6> (part 1a of 4)

click for larger view

These engine unanimously evaluate 17...Bxf6, eliminating White's Bd4, to be Black's best response to 17.Rxf6.

<Critter 1.6a>, PV=1, [+1.07], d=27: 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.e7 <Qc5> (1) 20.Rf1 Qe5 21.exd8Q Rxd8 22.Qc4 <Bxe4> (2) 23.Qxf7+ Kh8 24.Qxf6+ Qxf6 25.Rxf6 Bxg2 26.Rf7 a5 <27.bxc3> (3) Bc6 28.Rc7 Bf3 29.Ra7 Ra8 30.Rd7 a4 31.Be6 <d5> (4) 32.Bxd5 Bxd5 33.Rxd5 Rb8+ 34.Kc1 Rc8 35.Kb2 Kg7 36.Ra5 Rb8+ 37.Ka3 Rc8 38.Ra7+ <Kg6> (5)

click for larger view

(1) <19...Qc5> Seems to lose a possibly critical tempo. Komodo and Stockfish played 19...Qe5 immediately, and Houdini preferred 19...Rfe8 which effectively also loses a tempo, unless it evaluated that Black's queen stands better on c5 (where it stops 22.Qc4) than on e5.

(20 <22...Bxe4> Either precise calculation (computer) or nerves of steel (human). But the aggressive 22...Qxe4 fails to 23.Qxf7+ Kh8 24.Qxf6#. The passive 22...Be8 could put up some resistance but no more.

click for larger view

Restarting the analysis from this position Critter evaluates the resulting position at [+1.63], d=25 after 23.bxc3 Rd7 24.Qd4 Kg7 25.Rf5 Qxd4 26.cxd4 Re7 27.Rd5 Rxe4 28.Rxd6 Kf8 29.c4 Ke7 30.c5 a5 31.Kc1 Rf4 32.g3 Rf2 33.Ra6 a4 34.Bxa4 Bxa4 35.Rxa4 Rxh2 36.d5 Rg2 37.d6+ Ke6 38.Re4+ Kd7 39.Re7+ Kc6 40.Rc7+ Kd5. But this is a loss for Black after 41.d7 Rg1+ 42.Kd2 Rg2+ 43.Ke1 and Black can't stop the d-pawn from queening.

(3) <27.bxc3> Time to take stock. White is a pawn up but it is doubled and isolated. It would seem to me that the win would not be an easy one, but then again I am not Fischer.

click for larger view

(4) <31...d5> The passive 31...Ra6 might be better but probably would not have been to Geller's liking. Critter evaluates the resulting position after 31...Ra6 at [+1.47], d=28 after 32.a3 Rb6+ 33.Kc1 h5 34.h3 Bg2 35.c4 Be4 (35...h4 fixing the White pawn on h3 where it cannot be defended by White's bishop might be a consideration. If the h-pawns are exchanged then, with all the pawns on the same side of the board, the position is probably a draw) 36.h4 Bf3 37.Bf7 Rc6 38.Kd2 Ra6 39.Kc3 Bg4 40.Rc7 Ra8 41.Kb4 (Black is almost in zugswang) 41...Bf5 (41...Bd1 trying to continue to protect the Ph5 might be a consideration) 42.Bxh5 Bxc2 43.Kc3 Bf5 (43...Bb3 might be better, relieving the rook from the responsibility of protecting the Pa4) 44.Bd1 Kg8 45.Bf3 Re8 46.Bd5+ Be6

click for larger view

And this is a win for White after 47.Rc8, when 47...Bxd5 48.Rxe8+ Kf7 49.Re1. Heck, 49.cxd5 Kxe8 50.Kb4 might be even clearer and quicker since with Black's Pa4 falling next move, Black's king can't stop both White's a-pawn or h-pawn from queening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Detailed Analysis after 17.Rxf6 Bxf6> (part 1b of 4)

click for larger view

If instead of 35...Be4 Black plays 35...h4, Critter evaluates the resulting position at [+1.73], d=30 after 36.Bf5 Rb5 37.Bd3 Rh5 38.Rxd6 Bg2 39.Be2 Re5 40.Bg4 Kg7 41.Kd2 Ra5 42.c4 Rg5 43.Ke2 Rc5 44.Rd4 Kf6 45.Kf2 Bb7 46.Bd7 Ba6 47.Rxh4 Bxc4 48.Rf4+ Kg6 49.Be8+ Kg5 50.Ke3 Bb5 51.Bxb5 Rxb5 52.Rxa4 Rb2 53.Rg4+ Kf6 54.Kd3 Ke6. And all rook endings might be drawn, but not when you're 3 pawns down.

If instead of 43...Bf5 Black plays 43...Bb3, that's apparently a win for White. Critter evaluates the resulting position at [+2.97], d=24 after 44.Bg4 Ra5 45.Rc6 Re5 46.Rxd6 Re1 47.Rd4 Kg7 48.h5 Rh1 49.c5 Kf6 50.Bf3 Rc1+ 51.Kb4 Rb1 52.Ka5 Rf1 53.Be2 Rc1 54.Kb6 Ke5 55.Rg4 Re1 56.Bb5 Rh1 57.c6 Rxh5 58.c7 Rh8 59.Rh4 Rc8 60.Kb7.

If instead of 41...Bf5 Black plays 41...Bd1, Critter evaluates the resulting position as losing for Black at [+3.30], d=25 after 42.Bd5 Rb8+ 43.Kxa4 Bxc2+ 44.Ka5 Rb2 45.Rd7 Ra2 46.Kb4 Rb2+ 47.Kc3 Ra2 48.Rxd6 Bd1 49.c5 Rxa3+ 50.Kd4 Bg4 51.c6 Kg7 52.c7 Ra7 53.Rc6 Bc8 54.Ke5 Ra3 55.Rb6 Re3+ 56.Be4 Rc3 57.Rg6+ Kf8 58.Kd6 Re3 59.Bd5

So, the passive 31...Ra6 instead of the active 31...d5 does not seem to hold much promise for Black to hold out. So much for my alternative considerations.

(5) <38.Kg6> Restarting the analysis from this position, Critter evaluates the resulting position at [+2.12], d=28 after 39.Ra6+ Kf7 40.Kb4 Rb8+ 41.Kxa4 (3 pawns down, this looks hopeless for Black) 41...Rb2 42.Rh6 Rxa2+ (42...Kg7 and, after the rook moves, either 43...Rxa2+ or 43...Rxc2 reducing the deficit to 2 pawns seems better) 43.Kb3 Ra1 44.Rxh7+ Kg6 45.Rd7 Rb1+ 46.Ka4 Rc1 47.Rd2 Ra1+ 48.Kb5 Rb1+ 49.Kc5 Rb8 50.c4 Rc8+ 51.Kd4 Rd8+ 52.Kc3 Rc8 53.Rd4 (53.Rd5 planning to advance the Pc4, seems better) 53...Rc7 54.Kd3 Rc8 55.c3 Rc7 56.Rd6+ Kf5 57.Rd5+ Ke6 58.h4 Rf7 59.h5 Rf3+ 60.Kd4 and this is clearly hopeless for Black.

click for larger view

A lot of long lines and not that much forward sliding so the conclusions may not be all that reliable, but it looks like Critter considers 17.Rxf6 Bxf6 as a likely win for White.

Nov-22-17  Howard: Is there a typo in AylerKupp's February 11, 2016 comment under Part 5d?

He alludes to "White's loss of tempo" after "22.Qf4"---but he probably means 21.Qf4.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all !

Jan-14-18  morfishine: <diceman> I just saw your reply. There's no pretending there were errors much earlier, that should be a given what-with the brevity of this GM level game

Meanwhile, passing on a draw that was there, is in itself an error by the player; but for the analyst, this only makes sense as one tries to go as far back as possible to identify the origin of White's problems.

You are the one lacking sense

Have a nice day


Mar-31-18  qqdos: <Stockfish annotation> on the famous 20th move 20.Qf4! is slightly ambiguous. After 20.Qf4 cxb2; 21.Rh5 Nf6; 22.Rh6 Rxf7; 23.Bxf7 Be4; it gives 24.Rh3 ⩲ (+1.32) and it then gives 24...Rc8 (+0.90) for Black. If you ask Stockfish itself to analyse White's best move after 23....Be4; it finds 24.Bb3 (+1.57). Either way has Bobby's Gem been saved for posterity? <Ayler Kupp> would you like to comment?!
May-07-18  Toribio3: Move #20. a2 to a3 by white was the culprit in Fischer's loss. It gives opportunities for Geller's queen and white colored bishop to do their hostile acts against White castled King. Without those aforementioned opportunities, White could have sustained his attack in the king side.
Jun-19-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: The analysis at

agrees with Fischer that had he played Qf4 one move earlier, he would have had a winning position.

20 a3 was a mistake, because it weakened the bishop on b3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Fischer had he played tournaments more often would have got his revenge pretty soon in the 60's.

He did get his revenge later tho.. 😎👍

Nov-02-19  Howard: If you ask me, the above-posted Stockfish analysis is a JOKE ! It's very brief, and it doesn't even come close to devulging (sp) the complexities of this game.
May-30-21  rwbean: The long comments about 20. ♕f4 and analysis of 17. ♖xf6 are a bit superfluous. "My 60 Memorable Games" doesn't even have analysis of move 17.

Latest Stockfish has 17. ♖xf6 ♗xf6 18. ♗xf6 gxf6 19. e7 at +3.00 (57 ply).

Black has a number of replies but none of them is any good. However, they might be a little difficult for a human to find. 19... ♕c5 20. exd8=♘ ♖xd8 21. e5 ♕xe5 22. ♕c4 etc.

Jun-03-21  qqdos: <rwbean> with the greatest respect, you cannot demolish/sweep away our long-cherished gem (even though flawed) with one flip of the StockFish fin. Yes, 17. Rxf6 mentioned by Geller was a missed opportunity, but the beauty of this jewel lies precisely in the move 20.Qf4.
Jun-03-21  qqdos: <rwbean> with the greatest respect, you cannot demolish/sweep away our long-cherished gem (even though flawed) with one flip of the StockFish fin. Yes, 17. Rxf6 mentioned by Geller was a missed opportunity, but the beauty of this jewel lies precisely in the move 20.Qf4 that Fischer only found after a solitary, no doubt, feverish post-mortem
Apr-03-23  Ulhumbrus: One of Fischer's comments helps to suggest that he saw too late that after 21...Ba4!! and ...Bxb3 Geller was threatening not only ...Bxc2+ but also ...Ba2+! not allowing White's king to escape
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