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Efim Geller vs Oscar Panno
"Follow the Leader" (game of the day May-14-2014)
Gothenburg Interzonal (1955), Gothenburg SWE, rd 14, Sep-07
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Goteborg (Argentine) (B98)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: This game had two brothers

Spassky vs Pilnik, 1955

Keres vs Najdorf, 1955

and a half brother.

Gligoric vs Fischer, 1958

Feb-29-04  doctor collins: The mentor of 9...g5 and 10...Nfd7 was Julio Bolbochan, an Argentinian GM who prepared Panno for the World junior championship of Copenhague 1953. This is what Panno told me. Obviously, they overlooked Bb5!
Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: I've seen this game along with it's two twins as <Benzol> lists them above in Anthony Saidy's book "The March of Chess Ideas," but I can't remember why white's home-cooked 13. Bb5 works as well as it does. What does it accomplish? Years ago I played it in a Microsoft chess program and it came up with the same move in about half a second. I don't see what it accomplishes. I'd probably play 0-0 immediately.
Aug-28-04  ughaibu: Bb5 wasn't home cooked, this line, the Goteborg variation, was prepared by the Argentinians but "refuted" over the board by the Soviets. Bb5 prevents a knight from protecting the other knight if it's on e5. 00 isn't possible immediately!!
Aug-28-04  francescog: for instance, 13. Bb5 clears the way for the 14. 0-0+, which wasn't possible earlier, maybe you meant 13. 0-0-0, which wouldn't have been so effective, because white is already down a N. As for choosing the b5 square, and not a safer d3, I can only say that I love that move but I fear I would have not been able to choose the right one...
Aug-28-04  clocked: The obvious point of the bishop move is to bring the rook to f1 and mate. A secondary point is to take away Qe8 as part of the defense after Ne5. However, THE point is to undermine the defense of f7 by attacking c6 and d7 (the squares the 2nd knight would like to go to protect the e5 knight.

An example, 13.Bb5 Kg7 14.0-0 Ne5 15.Bg3 and black is denied the defense Nbc6 or Nbd7. Compare this to the same line after white plays 13.Be2

Aug-28-04  Whitehat1963: <ughaibu> I no longer have the book, but I believe Saidy was very skeptical of three simultaneous "over-the-board" refutations. Sounds highly unlikely to me; sounds like home cooking on both sides. <francescog> yes, you're right. I didn't see that 0-0 wasn't possible without the bishop out of the way. But I'm certain I wouldn't have placed it on b5 in 100 years!
Aug-28-04  ughaibu: Okay, but I disagree with both you and Saidy. Geller was the first to find and play the moves, it's even conceivable that Keres and Spassky followed his lead from the demonstration board. Why would the Soviets (all 3) have prepared such an obscure line?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: I believe the English version of Saidy's book is called "The Battle of Chess Ideas".

From page 39
What is afoot? All three Soviet players sacrifice a piece. Is one looking over the other's shoulder and imitating him, or was the sacrifice, with all it's ramifications planned the day before? Indeed, was it found in the USSR by some diligent analyst and made communal property before they set out for foreign shores?".

I myself don't think that it was all prepared by the Soviet contingent before hand. How would they have known what the Argentinians would play before the start of the round? I think that Keres and Spassky followed Geller's lead when the same position arose on the three boards.

Geller has commented in both in the Soviet tournament book and in his own book "The Application Of Chess Theory".

From the Soviet tournament book
"At this point Keres and Spassky were still examining the consequences of sacrificing the knight at e6, while their opponents Najdorf and Pilnik were talking in a most animated fashion and looking at my game with Panno. Then Najdorf came over to me and said 'Your game is lost. We have all this analysed'. If Black were able to establish his knight on K4 then he would repel the attack. 13.Bb5!
"Now, however, this is not possible and Najdorf and Pilnik went back to their boards worried. The text had not been properly assessed by the Argentinians in their preliminary analysis".

From the "Application Of Chess Theory"

"Several times in my career situations have occurred which are known by the name of "twin games". This was the case when in the 19th USSR Championship two games were played, between Geller-Flohr and Petrosian-Smyslov, which up to a certain point were identical. In one of the rounds of the 1956 USSR-Yugoslavia match the games Geller-Karaklajic and Averbakh-Ivkov coincided, and at the international tournament in Budapest in 1973 the same happened in Geller-Karpov and Hort-Hecht. Finally, the present game had similtaneously two "twin brothers": Keres-Najdorf and Spassky-Pilnik - a unique instance in the history of chess! Subsequently it received the name of the "Argentinian tragedy". In twin games it is in principle more advantageous to occupy the second position, since it is possible to introduce corrections using the experience of one's neighbour. Unfortunately, it has never worked out that way: it has always been me who has had to commit himself first. Sometimes this was provoked by an urge to solve the problems of the position myself, sometimes because I learned of the existence of the "twins" later than my colleagues. At times I had to pay for my "haste" (against Flohr and Karaklajic), whereas my neighbours, Petrosian and Averbakh, achieved more. In the present game, on the other hand, priority was rewarded by a quicker win than in the other games".

Aug-29-04  francescog: <clocked> thanks for the explanation!


Aug-29-04  WMD: <Okay, but I disagree with both you and Saidy. Geller was the first to find and play the moves, it's even conceivable that Keres and Spassky followed his lead from the demonstration board. Why would the Soviets (all 3) have prepared such an obscure line?>

According to The Oxford Companion, Geller played 11.Nxe6 first, but Keres was first with 13.Bb5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <WMD> I'm more inclined to believe Geller (See my previous post) as he was an eyewitness to the actual events as they unfolded.
Aug-30-04  WMD: I'm less inclined to believe Geller.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <WMD> What reason would Geller have for distorting actual events, what would he have to gain?
Aug-30-04  WMD: Kudos.
Aug-30-04  sneaky pete: <WMD> The Oxford Companion has it wrong. A eyewitness report by Evert Straat (for a Dutch newspaper) states Keres was the second (and Spassky the third) to play 11.Nxe6 .. half an hour after Geller did and only after Geller had played 13.Bb5! .. etc.
Aug-30-04  WMD: Give Efim my apologies next time you see him. I suggest you write to Edward Winter with this discovery, because almost nothing would please him more than correcting the Oxford Companion.
Jun-27-05  calman543: In an old issue of Chess Life magazine they printed the time used per move in each of the three games (called the Gothenburg Trilogy, I believe). The record showed that Spassky and Keres waited for over an hour (making no moves) for Geller to find the winning line.
Jun-29-05  calman543: That's a type of cheating that would be eliminated by Fischer-Random chess.
Jul-01-05  calman543: WMD, I think Efim is is dead now.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <WMD, I think Efim is is dead now.> I strongly suspect <WMD> knows that. Why is what Spassky and Keres did cheating, though?
Jul-03-05  calman543: It is a type of cheating because they got to watch someone else find the winning line in a position just like their own. Legal yes, but still.
Aug-12-05  RookFile: This game shows what a terrific player Geller was. He's thrown into an unfamiliar situation, obviously prepared the experienced Argentinians. Geller reaches down and finds the most principled move: 13. Bb5!! which had been overlooked by Panno, Najdorf, etc. before the game.

Years later, another strong player found the antidote: 13.... Rh7:

Gligoric vs Fischer, 1958

Aug-12-05  ughaibu: RookFile: Rh7 was first played at master level in the Soviet Union, no doubt Calman543 would say Fischer cheated by adopting the idea.
Aug-12-05  RookFile: That's interesting, ughaibu. I did a search on chessbase's online site, the earliest game they have with ....Rh7 was Gligorich vs. Fischer. Who were the players that played it before?
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