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Efim Geller vs Vasily Smyslov
Zuerich Candidates (1953), Zuerich SUI, rd 7, Sep-09
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E29)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  Gypsy: A very weak performance from Geller.
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  offramp: Black's knight is on a5 for 40 moves, and he plays mainly with R+B v R+B+N.
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  Honza Cervenka: 28.Qe2 was a huge mistake in quite difficult situation allowing 28...Nd5 but I would not call Geller's performance here "very weak". I would rather say that Smyslov's handling of Nimzo from black side was great.
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  Fusilli: I suspect that the mistake was 17. Qa2 instead of 17. exf6 e.p.
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  plang: After 8..b6 a standard position in the Samisch variation was reached which had resulted in decisive victories for White in both Lilienthal - Najdorf 1948 Saltsjobaden Interzonal and Bronstein - Najdorf 1950 Budapest Candidates Tourney. Smyslov's idea was to delay ..d6 so he could speed up his attack on c4. The standard continuation is 11 f4..f5 12 Ng3 with White playing for a kingside initiative. 11 Qa4 was criticized by Bronstein (and others) as being too slow. Smyslov used an hour to find 11..Qc8! with the idea of 12 dxc..Ne5 13 Rd1..bxc with a comfortable game.
Kasparov and Bronstein both felt that 14 dxc? was a positional error recommending 14 d5 instead. 17 Qa2?! was very passive; 17 exf probably offered better defensive chances. After 37..Qe7 Geller was forced to exchange queens and enter a bad endgame as 38 Qe5..Qg7 costs White the e-pawn (if 39 Qe2..Rd5). Smyslov's 49..Rg5! allowed less counterplay than 49..Rxh2 50 Rf6 would have. Geller lost on time but after 55 Nf4..cxd+ 56 Kxb3..Be2 the d-pawn will be decisive.
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  Honza Cervenka: <After 37..Qe7 Geller was forced to exchange queens and enter a bad endgame as 38 Qe5..Qg7 costs White the e-pawn>

I guess that <38.Qe5> should be 38.Qh5.

Jan-06-11  sakredkow: Very nice summary plang. Thanks.
Dec-28-11  Karpova: Vasily Smyslov: <It was difficult for me to play Geller for a simple reason - when we sat down at the board, hatred was written on his face, he was ready to destroy his opponent. And if someone fell into that kind of condition, I couldn't play.


Most importantly, you have to understand yourself, find the correct psychological condition. If you're playing and you see that your partner is ready to devour you, and you also get caught up in that state of mind, then you won't be able to play, you're being used.

Again, with Geller I had an interesting incident at the Candidates Tournament in Zürich. In the first round I was playing the Nimzo-Indian against him, I got a position in the Sämisch Variation that I'd analysed at home. The Capablanca System, the Ne8 retreat, then I played b7-b6, Na5, Ba6. I put the queen on a4 and played f7-f5. And suddenly Efim Petrovich says, 'I offer you a draw.' I say, 'No, I want to play.' He was surprised, 'Sorry, you don't want a draw?' I, laughing, 'No, I don't.' Then he thought for a while, sacrificed material and obtained a crazy attack. But I repelled the attack and, having obtained a minimal advantage, won the game anyway.

I'm saying this because you have to study yourself, understand your optimal psychological condition and always try to hold onto it, no matter what's happened on the board or off it.>

Source: Page 229-230 in Evgeny Bareev & Ilya Levitov, 'From London to Elista', 2007, Alkmaar, The Netherlands

Mar-24-20  dashjon: From Zurich 1953 by Bronstein: "Smyslov spent an hour on 11...Qc8." Normally the Knight on the rim is dim but Smylov's Knight on a5 had an I.Q of 140 fixing whites position to defending c4. Geller defended as well as one could and playing against Smyslov;it must have been like playing Frankenstein!
Dec-24-21  FM David H. Levin: <Fusilli: I suspect that the mistake was 17. Qa2 instead of 17. exf6 e.p.>

In his book on the tournament (translated by Oscar D. Freedman), David Bronstein suggests 17. exf6 Nxf6 18. Bg5 Bxc4 19. Bxf6 Bxd3 20. Rxd3 Rxf6 21. c4, "keeping the knight out of c4 and creating strong pressure on the queenside. Black's win would be far from simple in that case; for instance, 21...Raf8 22. f3 Nb7 23. Rfd1, with Ng3-e4 in view."

But White's weak back rank allows Black to impede this regrouping by 22...Qe4! (instead of 22...Nb7):

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After 23. Rc1 Qe5 24. Ng3 (24. Rcd1 Nxc4 25. f4 [25. Qxc4 Qxe2] 25...Ne3! 26. Qd2 Nxd1!) 24...Rf4 25. Ne4 Nc6 with ...Nd4 upcoming, Black would retain control.

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