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Efim Geller vs Viktor Korchnoi
Alekhine Memorial (1975), Moscow URS, rd 8, Oct-??
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System (C07)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-24-09  outsider: korchnoi does not get mated every day, and i've seen loads of his games
Mar-24-09  xrt999: After 17.Rae2, you sense the power of the doubled rooks, and that the game is going to revolve around Geller's control of the e-file.

I think 32...Ra1 really does not do much except solidify Geller's control of said file, allowing a big attack.

Rather than 34...Nc6, what other move can stop the attack? 34...Bf5 is one that I considered.

Mar-18-15  iking: Korchnoi is magnanimous in letting Geller do the checkmate .. what a humble man sometimes.
May-06-15  A.T PhoneHome: Well both Korchnoi and Fischer literally played out their games until there was no play left for them.

Pretty mate along the e-file by the way!

May-07-15  MagnusVerMagnus: Geller was a beast, wonder if the USSR, back when they were what they are, ever tried to push him to the top?
May-07-15  A.T PhoneHome: My take is that in the 60's Geller's obstacle was Spassky who, at that point, had developed into a very deep player. Geller was strong at tournaments, but not as strong in matches.

Before those Spassky matches the Candidates system had required one to win the Candidates Tournament as there were no Candidates Matches (introduced after 1962 Curacao Candidates). Geller was very close to the title bout in '62 (tied for 2nd behind Petrosian).

So one could argue that had the Candidates Matches taken place before 1965, Geller's chances would've been even higher.

May-07-15  Howard: Moscow 1975 was almost certainly the strongest tournament of the year, and a sensational triumpth (sp) for Geller, at the age of 50.

Not sure about your Geller comment about his "chances". You stated that he was "not as strong in matches", so how could his chances have been "higher" ?

Granted, Geller came quite close to winning Curacao, and if he hadn't lost a probably-won position against Fischer in the last several rounds, he might have edged out Petrosian.

May-07-15  A.T PhoneHome: I guess I am wrong. I based my "higher chances" argument on the premise that Spassky wasn't at his best (yet) etc.

Of course that means possibly facing Petrosian who played with high spirit as he still wasn't the World Champion. Yeah, I'm heeding to your words of wisdom on this one!

May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <A.T PhoneHome: My take is that in the 60's Geller's obstacle was Spassky who, at that point, had developed into a very deep player. Geller was strong at tournaments, but not as strong in matches. Before those Spassky matches the Candidates system had required one to win the Candidates Tournament as there were no Candidates Matches (introduced after 1962 Curacao Candidates). Geller was very close to the title bout in '62 (tied for 2nd behind Petrosian).

So one could argue that had the Candidates Matches taken place before 1965, Geller's chances would've been even higher.>

I don't think the evidence supports the thesis that Geller was better in tournaments than in matches. In the 1953 and 1956 candidates tournaments Geller finished in the middle of the pack, at +1. In 1959 he didn't qualify. Only in 1962 did he come close to first, in a tournament marred by (i) Tal and Fischer collapsing (ii) whatever Keres, Geller, and Petrosian were doing that resulted in all their games being drawn in short order. His score in 1962 wouldn't have even put him in competition for first in 1959.

Interzonals, he was a regular qualifier but never came particularly close to winning. Stockholm 1952 he finished fourth, Gothenburg 1956 he finished tied for 5th-6th, Portoroz 1958 he wasn't there, Stockholm 1962 he was tied for 2-3 (2.5 behind Fischer), Amsterdam 1964 he wasn't there, Sousse 1967 tied for 2-4 (1.5 behind Larsen) Palma 1970 tied for 2-4 (3.5 behind Fischer). Admittedly he was only aiming to qualify, but if you want to show me you're a superior tournament player you need to give me some evidence.

Matches, he lost to Keres but clobbered Smyslov. He lost twice to Spassky (1965 and 1968), once to Larsen (1966) and once to Korchnoi (1971), but he was in his 40s by then.

I don't see evidence of him being a particularly strong tournament player outside the WC cycle. According to his bio he competed in 23 Soviet championships but won just two. Compare this with Stein or Korchnoi.

I think he was a great player in any format. He had some very good scores against super-strong opponents. See FSR's post here Efim Geller and ughaibu's collection. Game Collection: Geller beats the world champions and pretenders

But he was never quite the best.

May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Geller's record against world titleholders has received ream upon ream of press and he was a great player for a long period, but as stated by <keypusher>, not quite the man to scale Mt Olympus.
May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Perhaps some similarity to a "modern" player such as Ivanchuk who was talented enough to defeat anyone at any time with Black or White but was never consistent enough to be a legitimate title contender
May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Howard> Geller came quite close to winning Curacao, and if he hadn't lost a probably-won position against Fischer in the last several rounds, he might have edged out Petrosian.>

Are you suggesting that Geller threw his game against Fischer in order to allow Petrosian to win the tournament? Soviet collusion knew no bounds! ;-)

May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: There's no evidence of collusion. And surely if Geller were going to throw a game, Fischer is the last one he would throw it to. Throwing it to Petrosian himself would make the most sense. But the short draws show that the top 3 were afraid of each other and couldn't count on any gifts from them.
May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Compare this with Stein or Korchnoi.>

Stein: 3 championships in 8 attempts.

Korchnoi: 4 championships in 16 attempts.

May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Geller needs to take a number and wait behind Keres in line. Just in case there are any doubts on that score, remember that the two played a match and Keres won.
May-07-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Granted, Geller came quite close to winning Curacao, and if he hadn't lost a probably-won position against Fischer in the last several rounds, he might have edged out Petrosian.>

If the dog hadn't stopped to take a s***, he might have caught the rabbit.

The game to which this poster refers was played in round 23, the same round in which Korchnoi was annihilated by Petrosian.

We may also note that Geller fortuitously survived a lost ending in the next round vs Filip and won on time at the finish against Benko, the final position one in which he was by no means winning, mais certainement.

Geller vs Benko, 1962

Filip vs Geller, 1962

Room for a whole lotta what-ifs heah!

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