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Efim Geller vs Pal C Benko
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 28, Jun-26
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Immediate Fianchetto (E60)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Resignation Trap: In "Pal Benko, My Life, Games and Compositions", Benko wrote: "Against Geller, I was up two pawns in a Queen endgame. I had one move left to play and wanted to be sure he didn't get a perpetual check. Sickeningly, my flag fell as I made my final move and Geller won! Because of this, Keres had to play a match (which he won) with Geller to determine second place, and he later wrote that I had deliberately lost to Geller to "screw him."

Naturally, I'd never do anything like that, but Keres believed otherwise and probably went to his grave with this erroneous impression. One can understand his feelings-losing that one game against me influenced chess history in a very big way Benko vs Keres, 1962 : Petrosian got the match against Botvinnik, won, and became the new champion. And poor Keres never did get to play the championship match that meant so much to him."

Apr-28-05  mynameisrandy: You know, I don't think I could ever accuse someone named "Pal" of unsportsmanlike behavior.
Apr-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I might just have to buy Benko's book.
Sounds like he's got some great stories.
Apr-29-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: What a grudge.
Mar-15-06  sitzkrieg: Grudge against? Based on?
Mar-15-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I think Gypsy is talking about Resignation Trap's entry.
Mar-15-06  sitzkrieg: yes. But i don't understand. Did Benko dislike Keres? Or does Gypsy think those stories are untrue (also about Petrosian and Geller helping against Keres. If so, why?
May-14-11  Howard: As "Resignation Trap" correctly pointed out, as a result of the fact that Keres and Benko tied for second-third place, the two of them had to have a playoff match to determine who would be considered the "second place" finisher----because that individual could look forward to being seeded directly into the 1965 Candidates. Keres won it, and he was thus assured of being seeded. But as it turned out.......Botvinnik--after losing his title to Petrosian in the 1963 World Championship--was NOT interested in accepting his own seeded spot in the 1965 Candidates. Why not? Because the infamous rematch clause--which he'd made good use against Smyslov and Tal--had been cancelled by FIDE for the 1963 match--thus, Botvinnik wouldn't get a rematch against Petrosian! He thus would have to wait until the 1965 Candidates to see if he could qualify for another title match. But he was so upset about his beloved rematch clause being rescinded that he refused to take part in the 1965 Candidates. Thus, his spot was now open! Guess who got it....Geller! As the "third place" finisher at Curacao he was next in line.

In other words, Keres and Geller had played their 1962 tie-break match for nothing, as both of them ended up being seeded into the Candidates anyway. But, of course, no one could have foreseen what was to transpire later.

Aug-25-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  nimh: From V. Heuer's biography of P. Keres:

<The most excitement was caused by the game between Geller and Benkö. Even posteriorly given assessments were changed the most here. >


click for larger view

<When Averbach in his initial information supposed that "Benkö's advantage isn't so big" then afterwards it was him, a renowned endgame specialist, who indisputable proved that the adjourned position had been clearly won for the American.>


click for larger view

<Now we can see the position where Benkö overstepped the time limit. There's no win any more here. For certain, Geller also didn't have a win - just a perpetual. It's said that the loser had been munching on a sandwich at the moment. In one way or another, such a ceding of a half point made the audience become indignant, Fischer, a man of principle, declared that he won't fly on the same plane with such kind of a player (although the both chessplayers from USA had already bought the tickets). Public resentment was so big that Benkö decided to turn up with the article "My worst enemy", where he talked about his chronical time troubles and explaned that i nthe game with Geller he had spent too much time on searching for a win, then completely forgotten the time factor. Benkö probably came to the conclusion that the attack is the best defence and attacked in his article those who had tried to reprimand him. In any case, with this loss Benkö did not win any popularity.>

Mar-21-17  Sally Simpson: "....because that individual could look forward to being seeded directly into the 1965 Candidates."

It was more important that and herein lay the reason for the Keres grudge.

At the time Botvinnik was making gestures that he would not bother defending his title so if Benko had beaten or drew with Geller and Botvinnik, as he hinted in a press conference, might abdicate then it would be Petrosian v Keres for the title.

Salo Flohr does a wonderful piece of writing in September 1962 CHESS saying this was the very last game, the tournament hall was empty, the players had all gone.....there was one spectator!

Benko was wandering about the room between moves and eating sandwiches.

"...he came back to think and think. Why? Who knows? Finally, wonder of wonders he overstepped his time"

When told Geller had won and tied 2ns & 3rd Keres thought it was a joke.

"When the horrid truth came home to him at, he seemed to age, he so upset."

So a match was quickly arranged just in case Botvinnik gave up the title. Geller had draw odds because of the Sonneborn-Berger scoring system. He had a better score v 4th placed Fischer (2½-1½) than Keres (2-2).

Keres won the match. Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates Playoff (1962)

Mar-29-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: I wonder what had gone down between Keres and Benko that Keres would even suspect Benko had thrown the game?

Anything is possible, but there's nothing terribly suspicious about this particular game. Severe time trouble and Benko were old friends, and most people trying to throw a game don't go to the trouble of building up a won position first.

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