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Efim Geller vs Alexander Kotov
"Kotov Guard" (game of the day Nov-21-2017)
USSR Championship (1955), Moscow URS, rd 4, Feb-15
Spanish Game: Closed. Pilnik Variation (C90)  ·  1-0



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Given 44 times; par: 29 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: 25...Rxe1+ does not seem to help Kotov, so going back further, how about 22...Rh4 and if 23.g3 then 23..Rh6

This seems to dampen down White's K-side attack quite effectively.

Mar-20-04  karlzen: <chessical>, I think Rh4!? is an interesting way of saving the game. However, it looks a bit "computerish" (not saying you used a computer to find it) because it takes real courage to put the rook in such a nasty situation. I don't have enough time to analyse this exhaustively right now, but I think black has to give up his queen for some compensation in a couple of lines. My analysis: 22...Rh4!? 23.Nf5! Rf4 (23...h6 24.Bxg7!? Qd7! unclear - might be black's best shot; 23...Nd3 24.Qf3! Rf4 25.Qh5 h6 26.Bxg7!) 24.Qh5 h6 and now:

25.Nxh6+!? (just trying the different sacs) 25...gxh6 26.Re3 Nxd5 27.Rg3 c3! 28.Ne6+ Kh7 29.Bxc3 Qxc3 30.Rxc3 fxe6 31.Rb3 Bc6 and black has three pieces for the queen which allows him to play on.

25.Nh3?! Rxf5 26.Qxf5 Nd3 27.g6 followed by Nxb2 and Bg7 looks good for black.

25.Re7!? Qxe7 26.Nxe7+ Bxe7 27.Nh3 Rh4 and after taking on d5 black will have rook, bishop and two good pawns for the queen.

25.Bxg7!! is probably best. It's not so hard to find this possibility, but to know whether or not it's actually good, is another thing. 25...Rxf5 (or Nxh6+ decides) 26.Qxh6 Bxg7 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Qxf5 Bxd5 29.Rab1 (29.a3 Bxa1) 29...Qc8 30.Qf4 Qc5 31.Re6!! and it looks very good. So perhaps black can't take on d5, but what then? 28...Kg8 to get rid of Ne6+ is an idea but then 29.Rac1 with the point of Rxc4 Qxc4 Qxf7+ looks good.

My result: 22...Rh4!? 23.Nf5 h6! 24.Bxg7! Qd7! is the variation to analyse further. Hope it's tidy enough drunkenknight! :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Karlzen> In a game after 22...Rh4 23.Nf5 I would have played Rf4.

In truth, I had not considered 23...h6!?, although 22...Rh4 23.Nf5 h6 24.Nxh4 (a plausible alternative to 24.Bxg7)hxg5 25.Nf5 Nd3 26.Re2 Bxd5 27.Rc2 Rb8 28.Bd4 still is rather pleasant for Black

I would be suprised if any program actually played 22...Rh4, it seems a "human" move as it decentralizes the R rather than remaining on the e-file. What does Crafty think?

Mar-21-04  karlzen: I agree with you <chessical> that black looks fine after 24.Nxh4 in the h6 variation. I made some analysis myself, soon I realised that the position with three hanging white pieces(!) and one for black, called for something extra. I gave my friend Fritz a go and together we came to the conclusion that white looks to be winning after Bxg7!: (by the way, you're right, the computer doesn't want to play Rh4 !) 24.Bxg7 Qd7 25.Ne6!! fxe6 26.dxe6 (this passed pawn will decide the game) 26...Qc6 (26...Qb5 27.Nxh4 Bxg7 28.Rb1! Qc5 29.Qg4 Nd3 30.Re3 Ne5 31.Qg3 Bc8 32.Nf5 Qc7 33.f4) 27.Nxh4 Bxg7 28.Qh5! Rf8 29.e7 Re8 30.Rab1 Nd3 (30...a5 31.Rbc1! c3 32.Qg6!) 31.Rxb7! Nxe1 32.Qg6! winning easily.

Instead of 28..Rf8: 28...a5 29.Qf7+ Kh8 30.Re3 Qe8 31.Qxb7 Rb8! (31...Bxa1 32.Rg3 Bf6 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Ne5+ Bg5 35.Nd7! Kh8 36.Qe4 Qg8 37.Rxg5! hxg5 38.Nf6) 32.Qf7 Nc2 33.Rc1 Nxe3 34.fxe3 Qxf7 35.exf7 c3 and white is better, but is it enough to win?

Thus I had to find an improvement for white. Fritz didn't help for a start, but after giving it the first few moves it found a great resource for me. 30.a3 Nc2 (30...Nd3 31.Rab1 Rb8 32.e7 (32.Rxb7 might not be sufficient due to black's strong c-pawn) 32...Nxe1 33.Rxb7! Qxb7 34.e8=D+ Rxe8 35.Qxb7 and white must win. c- or d- will fall because of Nf5 and Qc6/8 etc.) 31.Rab1 Rb8 32.Qf5!! (simple stuff!) 32...Nd4 33.Qg6 with the mutual ideas of e6-e7-e8 and Nf5, there's nothing black can do about it.

28...Nd3 is black's last try to survive in the Rh4 complex as I see it. 29.Qf7+ Kh7 30.Rab1 Rb8 (30...Rf8 31.Qg6+ Kh8 32.e7 Re8 33.Rb6! with Nf5 to follow) 31.Qg6+ Kh8 32.Nf5 (a knight on the rim is not always dim!) 32...Rg8 33.Nxh6 .

29...Kh8 is no better: 30.Rab1 Rb8 31.Rxb7 Qxb7 32.e7! Nxe1 33.e8=Q+ Rxe8 34.Qxb7 and we arrive at the same position as 28...a5 29.Qf7+ Kh8 30.a3 Nd3. White is winning.

Still, I have yet to refute my original suggestion of 24...Rae8!. :)

Jan-31-06  notyetagm: Geller was an unbelievably strong tactical attacking player.
Jan-27-07  morphyvsfischer: um... Black has equal chances in the 24...Rae8! line; I doubt better because white still has the initiative, but black does at least chances. 14...cxd4 followed by Bd7 and Rac8 is the way to play it. 19...c4 was chosen for 20 a3 to be bet by 20...c3. 26...f6 27 Qg6 following with Nh6+, Nf7+, and Rh3 mates. This is a very good model on how to attack the same side castled king.
Mar-17-09  notyetagm: 29 ?

click for larger view

29 ♖e8x♗f8+! 1-0

click for larger view

29 ... ♔g8x♖f8 <deflection: h8> 30 ♕h6-h8#

click for larger view

Geller's 29 ♖e8x♗f8+! is a great example of the <KING DEFLECTION> tactic.

The Black g8-king is <OVERLOADED>, having to keep the White e8-rook out of the f8-square and the White h6-queen out of the h8-square. The Black g8-king *cannot* defend these two squares, f8 and h8, by himself.

Mar-17-09  notyetagm: Incredibly well-played game by Geller.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: I can't view this game for some strange <> reason, but wouldn't 27. Rh3 be faster?
Oct-22-10  igiene: 27. Rh3 seems wrong because Black can escape with 27..f6, 27.Bxg7 is far more stronger
Mar-08-11  theodor: in this page, I didnt sow 26. ..;Nxd5. in my half an hour eval, I didnt found a win for white! any refutation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <theodor> 26....Nxd5 is met by 27.Rh3 f6 28.Qg6 winning.
Mar-09-11  theodor: <perfidious> thanks, I saw it(mate on h8 with the Rook).
Nov-05-14  tranquilsimplicity: In my view, Geller not Spassky, is the 'Master of the Initiative'! Geller's masterly employment of in-between moves is characteristic of his ultra-dynamic style.#
Nov-21-17  actinia: 22. ... Re7? is unusually passive. 22. ... Rh4 is much more aggresive
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: With regard to computer analysis, if the poster can indicate, and even elucidate, the key ideas and then support the position with computer verification, I find this very helpful.

Humans are good at spotting errors, opportunities missed, and critically important moves. We can understand the position. Computers understand nothing but are extremely good at not overlooking details and correctly calculating long tactics.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Looks like Kotov's guard abandoned him


Nov-21-17  Ironmanth: fantastic game!
Nov-21-17  ninja warrior: caught off-guard, morph.
Nov-21-17  goodevans: The finish to this game feels awfully familiar. 'Recent familiar', that is, rather than '2011 familiar'.

Can anyone recall a recent GOTD or puzzle with a very similar finish?

Nov-21-17  Huddsblue: I'm unsure goodevens. The most recent GOTDs can be found here:Game Collection: Game of the Day 2017 and Puzzles here: Game Collection: Puzzle of the Day 2017
Nov-21-17  goodevans: Thanks, <Huddsblue>.
Nov-21-17  rgr459: Pants. Removed.
Nov-21-17  Huddsblue: Oh dear cormier. I think most of us just enjoyed viewing the game with our own eyes and made up our own minds without being bombarded with silly Stockfish analysis which meant nothing.
Sep-27-18  DarthStapler: This sounds like a pun I would have submitted, but I don't recall if I did.
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