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Efim Geller vs Robert James Fischer
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 16, Jun-02
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation (B92)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-07-08  xrt999: Beautiful play by Geller, with his characteristic avoidance of trades leading to multiple tensions accross the board. It is just so amazing how he holds the game with exact control, leading every move in his direction. For example, 25...Bg5 and 26...Bf6 Fischer is treading water without any other play to speak of.

On the other hand, I dont really care for 21.Nd5; I cant see any other outcome for black except the advantage of the passed pawn, which Geller has trouble coping with.

Also interesting is that after 27.Nc6, Fischer plans on trading the rook, leading to a slight material advantage for Geller to Fischer's passed pawn.

A truly remarkable game.

Dec-01-08  xrt999: In 2008 retrospect, 28.Qxe4 is simply not a move Geller would make; the avoidance in his play is nebulous and detached. The question I ask myself now is did Fischer play 27...e4 aware that Geller would avoid 28.Qxe4, or did he think that Geller would in fact accept the pawn and concede the b file? My gut feeling is that Fischer intended 28.Qxe4 Rxd2; the year is 1962 after all. Geller denies Fischer and plays 28.Rf4

The tension is at b4 (Fischer is aware that at any point b4 by Geller will force Rxb4); Fischer has ample time to play ...Rb7 to allow the escape of the queen yet play continues on with ...e3. Fischer's intention is take the b file and give Geller the e file.

To promote this line with 28...e3, I feel that Fischer is intending that Geller play 29.Re4 to attack the pawn and concede the b file, but again, Geller denies Fischer for the second time. Geller allows the pawn to remain on e3, and instead forces the exchange with 29.b4. So, instead of even pawns and Fischer controlling the b file and Geller controlling the e file, Geller allows the pawn to remain on e3 and forces the rook-knight exchange at b4 with 29.b4. Fischer's game is now totally different; he has a passed pawn on e3 and the bishop in echange for the rook.

Geller, forcing Fischer to transform his play to that of a passed pawn in exchange for the rook, rather than allowing Fischer to take control of the b file in exchange for the e file, takes control of the game not by force, but by denying his opponent's desired line.

Jan-17-09  kurtrichards: Geller always played his best against Fischer as evidenced by Geller's +5 -3 =2 score against the 1972 World Champion. Geller became World Senior Chess Champion in 1991.
Nov-03-09  SugarRaySam: I thought there was still a lot to be played so I went over some variations 45...Be1 46.Ke4 Rc5 47.Kd4 Bg3

(48.Rfa3 Kxf6 49.Rxa5 Rxa5 50.Rxa5 Kf5 = advantage to Black)

48.Ke4 Be5 49.Raf2 Rc4+

(50.Kd3 Rf4!)

50.Ke3 Bd4+ 51.Kd3 Bxf2 52.Kxc4 Bc5 53.Kb5 Bb4 = DRAW

Jul-26-13  birthtimes: 21.Nd5 is a logical move for White. It forces a trade of knights, thus giving White a better minor piece advantage of good knight versus semi-bad bishop.
Jul-26-13  birthtimes: Another plan for White could be 23.Rfa1 Bf6 24.c4 Rb6 25.Nc6 Re8 26.Qe4 as White blockades the protected passed pawn and generates pressure on the a-file...
Jul-26-13  birthtimes: Also 25.Qd3 presents more problems for Black than 25.Qe2. For example, if Black plays 25...Bg5 then 26.Nc6 with a very high probability of Black's queen getting trapped in the middle of the board (via White's Ra5!!!). One line runs 26...h6 27.h4! Bxh4 28.Ra5!
Mar-05-14  zydeco: <birthtimes> I really like the idea of 25.Qd3. It's interesting that Geller, in his last game with Fischer in this tournament, missed a very similar idea to try and trap Fischer's queen (16.....a6). I get the feeling that that kind of maneuver would be a bit of a blindspot for Geller......he's a fanatic about trying to activate all his pieces and play towards the center. Here, it's not as clear, though. If 25.Qd3 black can play 25....Bf6 and meet 24.Nc6 with 24.....e4. If 24.Qe4 black can maybe try 24.....Qd4.

<23.Rfa1> loses a pawn to 23.....Rxd5.

Mar-05-14  zydeco: Btw the players repeat the opening moves of Tal-Fischer from earlier in the tournament (Geller varies with 11.f5 instead of 11.Be3). In both games, Fischer, in an inferior position, sacrifices the exchange for a draw, using his dark-squared bishop and d6 pawn to set up a very effective fortress. The two games together probably gave him the idea that he could draw at will in the Najdorf.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zydeco: In both games, Fischer, in an inferior position, sacrifices the exchange for a draw, using his dark-squared bishop and d6 pawn to set up a very effective fortress. The two games together probably gave him the idea that he could draw at will in the Najdorf.>

You mean the way Black drew to order in the round two game Geller vs Fischer, 1962?

Mar-05-14  zydeco: <perfidious> No, I mean this game: Tal vs Fischer, 1962

Both Tal and Geller seem to get a great queenside initiative based on a powerful centralized knight. As soon as Fischer senses that he's in danger, he sacrifices the exchange to get rid of the knight; his bishop suddenly becomes a very effective defensive piece (supported by the d6 pawn) and white's rooks can't make any headway. Both games are in the same opening variation, and Fischer draws using the same pattern.

Mar-06-14  SChesshevsky: It looks like Fischer gets a N and P, plus a protected passed pawn, at least a few tempo from Geller's back rank problem, maybe undeserved first invasion with a Rook, and closing all White's lines from 29..Rxb4

I'm not sure if Petrosian ever got that much from one of his famous sac's.

Seems a great example of Fischer's underappreciated positional foresight.

Jun-02-14  Howard: Some have claimed that Geller probably had a won position in this game. For those of you who know Uncle Fritz or Uncle Rybka, how about contributing some analysis ?!
Feb-24-15  Howard: By the way, Fischer's M60MG claims in the introduction to one of the games (against Unizker I believe) that Fischer had lost this game---but Evans mentioned years ago in a column of his that that was, of course, an error.

Yeah, I know the opponent's name is misspelled, but I'm too lazy to look up the exact spelling.

Jan-30-16  Howard: To reiterate, didn't Geller miss a win in this game ?
Jan-24-17  Howard: To reiterate...did Geller miss a win ? According to the long out-of-print book Bobby Fisher's Chess Games, he apparently did---around the 24th move I think. But I don't have that book handy.
Jan-24-17  RookFile: 23. Rfa1 looks strong, probably some sort of advantage. Maybe Fischer can hang on anyway. Hard to say.
Jun-10-20  Howard: Bobby Fischer's Chess Games, states that 25.Ra4! would have won for White.

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