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Efim Geller vs Paul Keres
USSR Championship (1973), Moscow URS, rd 10, Oct-15
Spanish Game: Closed. Averbakh Variation (C87)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: What’s the best play for black?

20…Rf8 21 Nxc8 Rxc8 22 Bxe7 Qxe7 23 Qxd7 Qxd7 24 Bxd7 Rc7, could be the best scenario from a bad situation, losing a knight for a pawn.

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Aug-08-08  kevin86: In this one,white lends black a piece in order to chase the adverse queen away. Once this is done,the attack can begin.
Aug-08-08  karnak64: I might have ranked this one in the "insane" category. Heck of a shot by Geller against top competition.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <YouRang> LOL - funniest post I've read for ages! Thanks.
Aug-08-08  euripides: Geller enjoyed combinations on f7.

Geller vs H Ree, 1969

Aug-08-08  euripides: ... or f6:

Geller vs Velimirovic, 1971

Aug-08-08  MiCrooks: To me the best part of all of this is that it was Geller pulling it on Keres! (though certainly past his prime a couple of years before his death) I wonder if that had something to do with Geller going into this line? Sometimes the best thing to do against a sharp attacking player is put them on the defensive.
Aug-08-08  Marmot PFL: Black's position is extremely cramped and undeveloped, so winning for white should not be too difficult. 20.Nd6 looks very strong (though an obvious move) and if 20...hg5 21. Nxg5 with major threats and big compensation. 22.Ng5xf7 is coming and Rf8 fails as Nxf7 Rxf7 is met with Bb3. Otherwise what can white do about threats of Qd3xg6 etc? He can't break the pin of the Ba4 and even returning the exchange still leaves white with one dominating knight on d6.

Geller finds a better move order but this a totally winning position, not what you would expect to get against Keres.

Aug-08-08  Stara Zagora: This is a very complicated position. I spent more than an hour analyzing the consiquences of 20. Nd6 but I totally missed the weakness of the a2-g8 diagonal and thus the sacrifice on f7. You can always learn new things from Geller - the Maestro of the attack.
Aug-08-08  DarthStapler: After Nxf7, Kxf7 Ng5+ Kf6 and then what?
Aug-08-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I totally missed this one, but Master Chess (32 bit 20 MHz) gets it in a few seconds. If 21... Kxf7 then 22 Nxg5+, Kf6 leads to a mate in 4 which is hard to see itself!
Aug-08-08  melv: White eliminated all three of the pawns that were protecting the king.
Aug-08-08  patzer2: Here's my anaysis using the Opening Explorer and Fritz 8:

<1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 d6>

Much more frequently played is the mainline 6...b5 as in Karjakin vs E Inarkiev, 2008

<7. c3 O-O 8. d4 Nd7>

Worth consideration is the mainline 8...Be7, as in Tiviakov vs K Miton, 2007

<9. Be3 Bf6>

This is the only move played in the six games given in the opening explorer (including this one). However, I can't help wondering if 9... b5 10. Bc2 Nf6 might be a better choice here for black.

<10. Nbd2 Re8 11. d5 Ne7 12. b4 g6 13. c4 c6 14. Rc1 Bg7?>

Against Geller, this was probably the losing move. Offering more resistance IMO is 14... Rb8 15. Qc2 Bg7 16. a3 cxd5 17. cxd5 b5 18. Bb3 f5 .

<15. c5! dxc5 16. bxc5
cxd5 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Bg5 Ne7 19. Ne4 h6 20. Nd6!!>

This move solves today's difficult Friday puzzle and prepares a winning demolition of the weakened Black King position.

<20...hxg5 21. Nxf7!>

This pawn demolition sacrifice is the key follow-up move in Geller's combination. Offering only equality is the much weaker 21. Nxc8? Nxc8 22. Bxd7 Re7 23. c6 b5 24. Nxg5 Bh6 25. Qg4 Bxg5 26. Qxg5 Rxd7 27. cxd7 Qxg5 28. Rxc8+ Kh7 29. Rxa8 Qd2 30. Rf1 Qxd7 31. Rxa6 =.

<21... Qa5>

Black loses his Queen or gets mated after 21...Kxf7 22. Nxg5+ Kf6

[22... Kf8 23. Ne6+ ;

22... Kg8 23. Qb3+ Nd5 24. Qxd5+
Re6 25. Qxe6+ Kh8 26. Qh3+ Kg8 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Ne6+ Kf7 29. Qxg7+ Kxe6 30. Bxd7+ Bxd7 31. Rxe5#]

23. Nh7+ Kf7 24. Bb3+ Nd5 25. Qxd5+ Ke7 26. Qd6#

<22. N7xg5>

This wins, but also decisive is 22. Bxd7 Bxd7 23. Qxd7 Qxa2 24. Nd6 Rad8 25. Qc7 Qe6 26. Nxg5 Qd5 27. Rcd1 Qb3 28. Ngf7 Rc8 29. Qd7 Rb8 30. Nxe8 .

<22... Rf8 23. Bxd7 Qxa2 24. Re2 Qa3 25. Re3 Qb4 26. Bxc8 Raxc8 27. Qd7 Nf5 28. Qe6+ Kh8 29. Qxg6> 1-0.

Black resigns as he can't avoid mate, such as, for example, occurs after 29... Qe1+ 30. Rexe1 e4 31. Qh7#.

Aug-08-08  snarky: missed it. 4/5
Aug-09-08  JG27Pyth: I was relieved to see many of the usual stalwarts crumpling on this one... I failed as well... but there's regular failing... which involves not getting the best follow up to the key move, or perhaps missing a key variation or a best defense... that kind of failure allows one a weary veteran dignity... but there's no such consolation today, when not only did I fail to find the solution but I find myself incapable of <understanding the solution> after it has been shown to me... :( !


Aug-05-09  LIFE Master AJ: Wow. Against Paul Keres, no less.

I am not real familiar with all of Geller's games, although I do have at least one book on this player.

Could this be Geller's best game ever?

Feb-19-10  falso contacto: efim geller was something.
Aug-01-10  birthtimes: For some reason, Keres did not play his pet move, 6...b5, and it appears that no one had ever before played 8.d4 against him in this line...
Aug-16-10  sevenseaman: This Geller guy is quite a character; keeps on pulling rabbits out of a hat. His 'immortals' are very gripping, to say the least.

This time around he has wrong-footed all defensive pieces of Keres into apoplectic helplessness.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: I believe this was the game of the year in the Colier's Encyclopedia Yearbook for 1973.
Sep-23-12  birthtimes: If 20...Rf8 then 21.Bxe7 Qxe7 22.Nxc8 and White will be up a piece!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <YouRang....Unsatisfied with the results of my careful analysis, I did some further research and found out that guessing didn't work so good either.>

Not to worry: the redoubtable player who was Black also found his problems insuperable in the final career meeting between two of the finest players who never held the supreme title.

Had someone told me Keres was White and that this was one of his early attacking efforts, I would have believed him.

Nov-05-14  tranquilsimplicity: <Perfidious> <..two of the finest players who never held the supreme title.>

I agree.#

Sep-04-21  N.O.F. NAJDORF: <Woody Wood Pusher: I totally missed this one, but Master Chess (32 bit 20 MHz) gets it in a few seconds. If 21... Kxf7 then 22 Nxg5+, Kf6 leads to a mate in 4 which is hard to see itself!>

It took me a while to figure it out, as 23 Nh7+ is an unusual-looking move!

I make it mate in five, not four.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: Notes by Geller.

<4...Nf6> Keres, an expert in the Ruy Lopez, varies his system. A few rounds earlier, he played 4...d6 against Spassky and the game ended in a draw.

<8.d4> If 8.h3, after 8...Bd7 9.d4 Rc8 10. Ndb2 Bf8, the normal N move from d2 to f1 is hindered by the threat 11...exd4.

<8...Nd7?!> Better is 8...Bd7. (Keres already made this move twice against Fischer in Curaçao 1962, in a slightly different position: he lost the first game and won the second one.)

<9…Be3> More precise than the stereotyped 9.Nbd2 when Black can compensate for the tempo White saved by not playing h3: 9…Bf6 with the threat 10…exd4.

<10…Re8?!> Better give up the centre with 10…exd4 11.exd4 Nb6 12.dxe5. Also not good was 10…exd4 11.exd4 Nb6 12.Bc2 with a broken Pawn structure.

<11.d5> At the right time. The pinned Nd7 hinders development on the Qside, the Bf6 prevents counterplay with ...f5 and the f7 square is weak even if it's not obvious yet. All this is a consequence of Black's passive play in the opening with 8...Nd7.

<12.b4> Better than 12.c4 to which Black could have replied 12…c5. Now it’s impossible because of 13.Bxd7 and 14.bxc5.

<12…g6> If 12…Ng6, 13.g3 and it’s not clear what Black can do next.

<13.c4> I could have played 13.Rc1 first but I wanted to trigger 13…c6, else White can play c5.

<13…c6?!> (It’s surprising Geller puts “?!” after saying it’s necessary. The engine recommends 13…Rf8 with an inferior but solid position.)

<14…Bg7?> The position is lost. (This comment seems slightly exaggerated.)

<15.c5! dxc5> Withdrawing the BB on g7 has provided White an important tempo for the attack.

<16.bxc5!> <18.bg5!>

<18…Ne7> There are no good alternatives: 18…f6? or …Bf6 19.Ne4! or 18…Qa5 19.Nc4.

<20.Nd6! hxg5> If 20…Rf8 21.Bxc7 Qxe7 22.Nxc8 Raxc8 23.Qxd7.

<21.Nxf7!! Qa5> If 21…Kxf7 22.Nxg5+ Kf6 23.Nh7+ Kf7 24.Bb3+ or 22.Kg8 23.Qb3+ Kh8 24.Qh3+. If 21…Qc7 22.N7xg5 with the threat 23.Bb3+.

<23.Bxd7> Simplest: White gets the material back with a strong attack.

<24…Qa3> After 24…Qd5? 25.Rd2, the BQ is trapped.

<25…Qb4> 25…Qa2 also loses the Q: 26.Rc2 Qd5 27.Rd3.

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