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Efim Geller vs Anatoly Karpov
"Efimeral Advantage" (game of the day May-29-2005)
USSR Championship (1976), Moscow URS, rd 3, Nov-29
French Defense: Winawer. Petrosian Variation (C16)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-09-18  capafischer1: Geller was Karpovs second at that time, So he knew his openings. Karpov tried to surprise him, but it backfired. Incredible attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It was a shrewd blow by Geller to opt for 3.Nc3 in the face of his redoubtable opponent's choice of the French, rather than plump for his favourite Tarrasch.
Jan-15-19  Saniyat24: long-lasting pun...evergreen game...two knights jumping and piling on!
Mar-08-19  stridergene: Nice queen sac
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: How could karpov get into such a butt ugly position?
Nov-16-19  cunctatorg: The strongest Grand Master Efim Geller had his own way against the very Kings of the Royal Game; this victory of his over Anatoly Karpov isn't a big surprise given his victories against Bobby Fischer...

Hence <how could RJF also get into such a butt ugly positions?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If 'Geller had his own way against the very Kings of the Royal Game....', how did he not win the supreme title?

This is a simple question which none of those who tout Geller as a figure of mythic proportions, due to his excellent record against titleholders overall, can answer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Perfidious,

Geller could not get through the candidates matches, losing all three by the score 5˝ - 2˝

Spassky - Geller Candidates Semifinal (1965)

Spassky - Geller Candidates Quarterfinal (1968)

Korchnoi - Geller Candidates Quarterfinal (1971)

John Shaw (!) writes in the intro to: 'The Nemesis, Geller’s Greatest Games by Efim Geller.'

"When the topic of ‘the best player never to be World Champion’ is raised, Korchnoi and Keres are often mentioned, but Geller deserves to be on the shortlist. Among his many achievements, he won two Soviet Championships, seven Olympiad team gold medals and three Olympiad...

...Geller had abundant tournament successes but fewer match victories. Perhaps Geller’s emotive nature failed him when under the greatest pressure."

The introduction to this threads game is:

"This game began with an interesting psychological duel before we even sat down at the board.

The point is that not long before, I had been Anatoly Karpov’s second in his World Championship Candidates final match with Korchnoi, and had taken part in his preparation for the match with Fischer that never was – so naturally I knew the World Champion’s opening repertoire.

It was evidently for that reason that in our game Karpov decided to depart from his accustomed schemes. He expected me to play 3.¤d2, which is the move I most often choose. I understood his reasoning...

Moreover at that time Karpov had no experience of the variation that occurred, whereas to me the position was familiar, as the reader will see."


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Geoff>, the historical facts are plain, but none of those who have mooted Geller as being the equal of all the titleholders have managed to muster a cogent argument beyond his scores against them. Matter of fact, I do not agree with Shaw that the record supports Geller's inclusion amongst the very greatest players never to have won the world title.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Perfidious,

I agree, it's often Korchnoi, Keres, Bronstein and Stein from the USSR before Geller gets a look in.

Geller played some wonderful games...I have his 'Application of Chess Theory' and the notes are the same, or very similar to the translated notes in 'The Nemesis' but there are more games in 'The Nemesis' I might get it as a Christmas present from Santa though I have my eye on another book (I'm only allowed one new chess book a year.)


Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Sally Simpson> But do you have a limit on how many used chess books you're allowed in one year?
Nov-18-19  schnarre: ...Never pictured Karpov as a French Defense I see why.
Premium Chessgames Member
  areknames: Reflecting on the pun after all these years one has to conclude that Geller's advantage was hardly ephemeral but really substantial, it seems, for most of the game, starting with 14.c4!. So, not ephemeral but indeed efimeral: QED.
Nov-18-19  Caissas Clown: <schnarre>: I'm embarrassed to admit that until today , I did not know he'd ever played it. But there it is in the database : 5 wins,12 draws, 2 losses. Two of the wins,he was 10/11 years old,two were in the Melody Amber Rapid,one in a simul.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi AylerKupp,

No problem with 2nd books, I can get as many as I want per year just as long I pick up any back issues of 'Guns and Ammo' for her.

Think I'll ask Santa to bring me the Levenfish book;


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: After this game, Karpov was scoring +0 =2 -1 in the 1976 USSR championship. But he proceeded to rebound and win it, as if telling the world "see why I am the world champion"?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: What devil has advised Karpov to apply the French defense against Geller? Apparently 8...Nb8?! and 9...Be7?! were the cause of black's troubles. Of course, Geller's play was superb.

An interesting possibility was also 24.Nxe6+ fxe6 25.Qxe6 Qe8 26.Qxd5 with five Pawns for Rook and huge advantage of white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: So, after reading <Honza>'s comment, I had to look it up

Using the French Defence, Karpov won 5 lost 1 (this game) and drew the rest. But notice, in the database, the gaps of years that he did not use the French. (Or the games are not in database)

'62-'73 and then '80-'92. In'r'esting

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <WannaBe> Karpov did not use the French Defense in a serious game since he was an 11 years old kid before this game. The game with Hecht from 1973 was not the French Defense but Sicilian Alapin, which transposed into a line of French Advanced. Well, as a player who was then using 1.e4 as white, he was familiar with French, and maybe he could use something from his home preparation for the match with Korchnoi, who was regular user of French with black pieces but the game shows quite clearly that he was not at home on the black side of the French Defense. And after this one occasion it took many years before Karpov has repeated this opening experiment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Honza> I definitely would <NOT> play the French if Korchnoi opens 1. e4 =))

Now I wonder, what is Fischer's record as white against Sicilian... Another research project.

I know a long time ago, I looked up Najorf's record as white facing his own opening. Now if I can remember what the results are.

Jun-10-20  carpovius: <Honza Cervenka: What devil has advised Karpov to apply the French defense against Geller?> Korchnoi I believe)
Jun-10-20  carpovius: Great pun btw
Jun-21-20  Saul Goodman: Geller was a great player, no doubt, but he was 50 years old when he played this game and had peaked as a player at least ten years earlier. The idea that he should have been champion in 1972 rather than Fischer is ridiculous. According to Chessmetrics, Fischer was 180 elo points stronger than Geller after defeating Larsen 6-0 in 1971.

Geller, like Keres and later Stein, got caught up in the numbers game of coming along in the same era that produced Botvinnik, Smyslov, Bronstein, Tal, Petrosian and Spassky. He wasn’t able to break through against that cohort, and there is no shame in that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Saul Goodman....The idea that (Geller) should have been champion in 1972 rather than Fischer is ridiculous....>

Of course that is risible, but we have seen all sorts of arguments mooted in Geller's favour across the years.

<.....Geller, like Keres and later Stein, got caught up in the numbers game of coming along in the same era that produced Botvinnik, Smyslov, Bronstein, Tal, Petrosian and Spassky. He wasn’t able to break through against that cohort, and there is no shame in that.>

Remarkable that Geller (who, as you say, was an outstanding player and theorist) got as far as he did so often, but he was just short of being in that group of challengers for the title. No shame in that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: FIX !

lol lol

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