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Mark Taimanov vs Efim Geller
"Once Upon a Taimanov" (game of the day Sep-12-2012)
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 12, Sep-19
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Positional Defense Closed Line (E95)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Once upon a Taimanov :-)
Sep-12-12  rilkefan: I was surprised to see ...c5. In Bronstein's book on the tournament he suggests 10...Qe7, 11...a5, and ...Nc5 and ...f5 because he's of the opinion that the locked pawn configuration makes it harder for black in the KID. The only move of black's Bronstein criticizes is 20...h4 - he says the pawn needs more support to be a threat and white's attack on the queenside is slow so black should have prepared ...f5 instead. He writes that white, having nearly cleared the first three rows of pawns, was able to exploit the resulting mobility to disorganize black's defense by shifting from qside to kside to qside.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Here Taimanov pulls off the neat trick of being stronger on both sides of the board. Made possible by a space advantage which allows white to switch from side to side and also prevents black from marshalling the best defence.

Good analysis by <rilkefan>!

Sep-12-12  newzild: <rilkefan> The Black pawn configuration c5-d6-e5 is quite common in the King's Indian Defence, especially against lines in which White plays Nd2 at an early stage. The idea is to blockade the queenside (stopping White's thematic c5 break) to obtain enough time for ...f5 and a kingside attack. Usually White will play on the queenside with b4, and black will try to maintain his blockade with ...b6.

Of course, in this case Black failed to play ...f5. But that does not mean he was strategically wrong in playing ...c5.

Sep-12-12  C4gambit: why not 38. ... Re7?
Sep-12-12  C4gambit: Got it, 38. ... Re7, 39. Nf6+ Kg7,40. Qh1 Qh8 41. QxQ KxQ 42. RxB RxR 43. NxR
Sep-12-12  Abdel Irada: I think I've diagnosed Geller's problem in this game: He celebrated a bit too freely the night before, and was still trying to set up his pieces while Taimanov was moving his.
Sep-12-12  rdt: Why 38. ... Qxg5? It seems to be a very large sacrifice that gains very little. For instance, 38. ...f5 to me seems to do just as much in slowing down white's attack, without sacrificing the piece.
Sep-12-12  Abdel Irada: On 38. ...f5, White replies 39. ♘f6†, winning the piece anyway. Perhaps Geller felt that he might as well get a pawn for it.

Perhaps the best of his options at that stage was 38. ...♔g7, but this fails to 39. ♘f6, ♗c8; 40. ♘xe8†, ♕xe8; 41. ♕f6†, ♔g8; 42. ♖b2, ♗g4; 43. ♖h2, ♗h4; 44. g4 .

If there's any conclusion to be drawn from Geller's situation on move 38, it's that he shouldn't have been in it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Abdel Irada: I think I've diagnosed Geller's problem in this game: He celebrated a bit too freely the night before, and was still trying to set up his pieces while Taimanov was moving his.> Good differential diagnosis, Doc. LOL
Sep-12-12  JohnAnthony: (Once) good analysis by Bronstein, shared by rilkefan. The Zurich 53 book of Bronstein's is one of my favorites, very instructional.
Sep-12-12  Expendable Asset: 18... Re7 is better. It was obvious by then that White was trying to infiltrate through the Queenside. 18... N6d7 followed by 19... Bf6 not only does little to help Black's Kingside attack , but also builds unnecessary bumps for his Queenside, defensive operation. Black's position at move 18 was already uncomfortable enough.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White is a knight ahead and the f-pawn looks dangerous.
Sep-12-12  rapidcitychess: Amazing domination. Black allowed a Czech-Benoni like position, and waited for Taimanov to finish him off.
Sep-12-12  scormus: <Abdel Irada: .... still trying to set up his pieces while Taimanov was moving his.>

That's so logical it simply must be true. Look at the position before move 23. You can see he planned to complete the manoeuver with the planned Bh8. But the room must have stopped spinning by then and he saw the pieces would be on the wrong squares. So he tried to correct it with Nh7, intending Nf6 followed by K moves and Ng8, then route the Bto g7 and f8. But that was too many tempis lost even in the "positional KID".

Sep-12-12  erniecohen: 21. ♕c6, winning the d-pawn, might have ended this game a bit sooner. As it was, Black had a fighting chance with 36...♕xg5 37. ♗xd7 ♖e7 38. ♗c6 ♕c1+ 39. ♔h2 ♖xb7 40. ♗xb7 ♕xc4.
Oct-09-12  ll931110: <erniecohen> No, as commented in Bronstein's book: (actually the analysis is given for White's 20th move, but still holds) 21. Qc6 Ra7 22. Qxd6?? Rc7! followed by 23...Be7 wins the Queen.
Oct-10-12  erniecohen: <ll931110: <erniecohen> No, as commented in Bronstein's book: (actually the analysis is given for White's 20th move, but still holds) 21. Qc6 Ra7 22. Qxd6?? Rc7! followed by 23...Be7 wins the Queen.>

Sorry, Bronstein messed up on this one:
21. ♕c6 ♖a7 22. ♕xd6 ♖c7? 23. ♘b5! axb5 24. ♗a5 ♖c6 25. d5xc6 ♕xa5 26. ♖xb5 ♕d8 27. c6xd7 .

Oct-10-12  Rhialto: As I recall, after 21. Qc6 Ra7 22.Qxd6 Black can instead play 22...Bb7! threatening ...Be7. 23.Rxb7 gives White great compensation for the Exchange but Taimanov's play was wiser I think. Black's position is pretty hopeless and he is not really threatening to free himself, so why hurry?

36...Qxg5 37.Bxd7 Re7 38.Bc6 Rxb7 39.Bxb7 Qc1+ 40.Kg2 Qxc4 41.Qd3 forces either a queen exchange or the win of Black's a-pawn, so while this was a better chance it's not much of one, especially as, in practical terms, this line ends right at the adjournment.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Since the logical intended follow-up to 9..Re8!? is 10..exd why not play 9..exd at once? As played the rook is misplaced on e8 making the f5 break more difficult tp accomplish. At the 1952 Stockholm Interzonal Golembek played 11 h3!? (weakens f4) against Geller and Black went on to win; 11 g3 is more logical. 12..Ng4? was a waste of time since 13..f5 is bad for Black Taimanov thought 13..b6 was better. Romanovsky recommended 18..Re7 with the idea of ..Rb7.
Jan-14-14  Ulhumbrus: In his classic book on the Zurich 1953 tournament Bronstein indicates that the move 34 Qf3!! threatens an entire plan, namely, the plan of of 35 Kg2, 36 Bxd7, 37 Qf6+, 38 Rh1 and 39 Rh8 mate. Black's queen is then overworked. After she goes to d8 to defend the square f6, she cannot defend the square b7 against the invasion Rb7
Premium Chessgames Member
  jbennett: I'm doing a series of videos on the Zurich 1953 tournament. For round 12 I selected this game to cover:
Sep-23-16  cwcarlson: 33...Qd8 34.Rb7 Rb7 35.Rb7 Qa8! saves the a6 Pawn. Black should not lose after 36.Rd7 Bd7 37.Bd7 Rb8. 34.Qd2 is .
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Bronstein's Zurich 1953 tournament book made me fall in love with Taimanov, in particular this game and his win over Averbakh. It was nice to think of him as someone other than the guy who got shut out by Bobby Fischer.

See the quote from PoisonPawns from April 16, 2005.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Taimanov excels in one of his specialities: the KID with white. He defeated KID afficionado Geller by blocking the centre, taking total control of an open file (the b-file)—taking control of an open file features in some of this best games, e.g. Stahlberg vs Taimanov, 1953. While Black is trying to prevent a R entry down there, White gets threats on the K-side, so that White penetrates to b7 anyway, and Black's game collapsed.
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