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Efim Geller vs Robert James Fischer
Havana (1965), Havana CUB, rd 17, Sep-19
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-15-13  parisattack: <TheFocus: I will have to decide which would come first, Geller or Breyer?>

<TheFocus> You have two hands so what's the issue here!? :)

<parisattack> I will be sending you an advance copy by the end of the year.>

AWESOME! Grazie!!

Oct-16-15  Mating Net: The double zwichenschach, wow. It's plenty hard to spot one good in between move, but to do it on consecutive moves is mighty good, but that's what you have to do to beat Fischer.
Aug-20-16  maseras: 37...Bh6?
A crappy move.
Aug-20-16  RookFile: Great game by Geller. The play was way over my head, that's for sure. Bobby played some tough defense, other players would have cracked a lot sooner.
Aug-20-16  ughaibu: "Bobby played some tough defense, other players would have cracked a lot sooner"

Do you never suspect, even after reading all the first person testimony, that it was nothing more than the fact that Fischer's life was so empty that he had nothing better to do than drag out games that anybody else would resign?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <ughaibu>--Having a fighting temperament does not necessarily mean that a player has an empty life. Emmanuel Lasker, who led about as full a life an any World Champion, was also known for his fighting qualities and his tendency to play on in hopelessly lost positions.

Do you never suspect, in your contrarian zeal to upend the Fischer-worshipers on this site, that you go too far in trying to portray Fischer's few positive attributes in as negative a manner as possible?

Aug-20-16  ughaibu: <Having a fighting temperament does not necessarily mean that a player has an empty life.>

That's true.

<your contrarian zeal to upend the Fischer-worshipers on this site>

Consider this; by referring to Fischer as "Bobby", these posters show a lack of respect for him.

Aug-20-16  RookFile: When should Fischer have resigned this?
Aug-20-16  ughaibu: RookFile: if my playing strength were that of Fischer's, then you could trust my answer. You're out of luck, any answer I offer will be unreliable.
Aug-25-16  RookFile: I'm pretty sure the last thing in the world Fischer would want to do is sit there and watch Geller gloat over yet another winning position if he didn't feel he had at least a shot of getting a draw.

But then I remembered that Fischer and Geller would have been hundreds of miles apart. This was a tournament Fischer played remotely. The games took hours longer than they normally did. Maybe he hoped Geller would get tired and make a mistake.

Nov-06-16  clement41: Nice simplification starting 54 Qe5+! then it is all linear and white must play the killer blow 57 f4! to stop ...g5, when the king march is a piece of cake. If instead 57 Kh3?? g5 this is a draw
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <RookFile....This was a tournament Fischer played remotely. The games took hours longer than they normally did....>

Levy, in his work <How Fischer Plays Chess>, noted that the typical five-hour session became roughly seven hours long--lot of extra strain for even the young man Fischer was then.

While Levy was often rather less than objective in his book, he noted that Fischer would likely have won the event by a fair margin had he been present. At all events, we should probably not have seen the Alekhine's make its debut in his praxis in V Ciocaltea vs Fischer, 1965.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here's a dumb question: why did teletype take so long? I'm sorry to say I have no idea how fast a signal would travel by electric wire -- can anyone tell me?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher> No idea, either.

I have wondered why Fischer was not allowed to travel to Havana for this event, but the American side were permitted to make the trip the next year for the Olympiad.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <perfidious> A lot can happen in a year, just witness recent changes in US – Cuba relationships, but I don't really know what might have happened in that time frame. Plus, in 1966 the team represented the United States and in 1965 Fischer represented only himself. Maybe that made a difference but, again, I don't know.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <perfidious> I forgot that I had a copy of "Bobby Fischer – Profile of a Prodigy" by Frank Brady. In it he states that Larry Evans did not have any trouble going to Cuba to participate in the 1964 Capablanca Memorial, but this was after it was disclosed that he was to cover the tournament journalistically. Apparently the US State Department often permitted newsmen and correspondents to Cuba at that time while it denied entrance to ordinary citizens.

Fischer was a regular contributor to Chess Life and had been an editor of the American Chess Quarterly, and he had made arrangements to do an article on this tournament for the Saturday Review, a widely distributed US magazine published between 1920 and 1982. So Fischer's credentials as a chess journalist would have seemed to be solid. But the US State Department refused to recognize him as a legitimate journalist and therefore denied him the opportunity to travel to Havana in 1965. And, no, Hillary Clinton was not part of the US State Department in 1965!

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <keypusher> I don't know the answer either but the signal transmission speed was probably not an issue. In 1965 the state of the art teletype was the ASR-33 which, if memory serves me right (I used one at the beginning of my software career) was electromechanical and could transmit 10 characters per second. It used a 7-bit ASCII code to which were added a start bit and a stop bit. But that would still not explain the long time that it took to transmit the moves.

In "Bobby Fischer – Profile of a Prodigy" Frank Brady describes the move transmission process as follows:

Fischer sat in a playing room with the board, a chess clock, a referee (a different referee was used for each round, and Frank Brady was the referee for the second round), and a bust of Philidor, perched on top of a display case of chess sets. I personally don't think that the bust of Philidor gave Fischer any advice, but again I don't know. :-)

There was a separate sending room where the teletype was located (the ASR-33 is a noisy beast and I doubt that Fischer would have tolerated its noise). After Fischer had made his move, a courier would deliver it from the playing room to the sending room (no indication of how far apart the two rooms were) to be punched out by the teletype operator using words like the following:


Needless to say, this would take longer than transmitting "1.P-K4"! Brady does not describe what form the confirmation took but presumably it would be something similar; e.g. "HELLO AMERICA, THIS IS HAVANA CALLING. CONFIRMING WHITE'S FIRST MOVE PAWN TO KING FOUR AND TIME THREE THIRTY." Of course, America's transmission most likely would first have to translated to Spanish and the likely Spanish-speaking teletype operator would then transmit the confirmation, in Spanish, to the US. Then a Spanish to English translation would have to be made so that the US referee would know that the move was correctly received. If there was a hiccup along the way, then the process would have to be repeated. And after the confirmation was made, a courier would presumably have to go to the tournament game room and inform a proxy of the move which the proxy would make on Fischer's opponent's board.

All this assumes no equipment breakdowns and the availability of dedicated teletypes on both sides. But while enough teletypes would likely have been available in the US to dedicate one to a chess tournament, this might not have been the case in Cuba where teletypes might have been in short supply and might need to have been shared between multiple users. If that was the case, then the US side might have had to wait for the Cuban side to indicate that it was ready to receive Fischer's move which might have been made a half-hour or more earlier. This would all then take even more time. But that is just conjecture on my part.

Nov-07-16  Everett: <While Levy was often rather less than objective in his book, he noted that Fischer would likely have won the event by a fair margin had he been present.>

Ah, yes, the whole "showing up" thing. At least this one was not the American's fault.

Nov-07-16  Petrosianic: <Everett>: <Ah, yes, the whole "showing up" thing. At least this one was not the American's fault.>

Not his fault, to be sure, not really an excuse for not finishing first either, as it affected both players equally.

Thanks to the fanboys, Fischer's woulda-coulda-shoulda victories outnumber his actual ones. Riverbeast once told me that Fischer was the best player in the world from 1962-1981, basically multiplying his 22 month title reign by more than a factor of 10. At one point, Rookfile seemed to be working on a master list of excuses for all Fischer defeats in the database.

When you point that stuff out, they imagine you're knocking Fischer. They can't conceive of themselves as the target.

Nov-08-16  Howard: Fischer was the best in the world in 1962?! That's just plain ridiculous, and I'm not basing that assumption Curacao 1962.
Nov-08-16  Petrosianic: <Howard: Fischer was the best in the world in 1962?! That's just plain ridiculous, and I'm not basing that assumption Curacao 1962.>

Well, Riverbeast was extremely weaselly on the question (and indeed on most questions). If absolutely pushed to the wall with the facts about Fischer's play and results at that time, he would admit that he failed in 1962 because he wasn't the best yet. But then the moment he thought your back was turned, he'd turn around and start saying the exact opposite. It got so confusing that I don't think he could keep his own stories straight (He told me that 1962-1981 business only about a week or so after admitting the exact opposite).

I eventually had to killfile him because although he was smart, I couldn't believe a word he said. He simply couldn't tell the truth even when caught. A good example. For a long time, his source for the idea of a drawing pact at Curacao was (you'll never believe this!)... Brad Darrach! Of course, that's funny because anything Darrach printed he got <from> Fischer, he wasn't an indepedent corroborator. But Riverbeast could never be bothered to quote exactly what Darrach said. So I looked it up myself. In fact, Darrach never said any such thing. He DID repeat Fischer's claim about Korchnoi throwing games, but didn't say anything about draws.

So that's it. He was proven wrong, right? Nope. Even when confronted with the proof that the quote in question didn't say what he claimed it did, RB continued to maintain that Darrach had said it... Somewhere or other, goodness knows where. And he felt no need to show where it was because it was all so obvious. How do you argue with a guy like that?

I got the feeling he was a guy used to BSing his way through face to face conversations with diversion and razzle-dazzle, and had never quite adapted to online conversations where it was harder to sidetrack people, and what you said stayed there as a permanent record.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: back to the blunder 37. ... B-h6? I think it is the kind of blunder only a genius could make. The rest of us, well, I should speak only for myself, would be so paranoid about the long black diagonal that I would probably not dare to abandon it even if I had mate in one!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: "Efim-No Static At All"
Jan-12-21  Gaito: Without the pressure of the clock ticking, and with the aid of strong engines like Komodo 14, LcZero and Stockfish 12, it is a pleasure to analyze this game and try to find improvements for both sides. It appears that one of the many critical positions is the one depicted in the following diagram, with White to move:

click for larger view

White played 31.Ne3? and Black quickly found the best reply 31...Ng4! with equality (Stockfish 12 evaluation: +0.39). Nevertheless, according to the engine, White missed a stronger move with a very high evaluation, namely 31.Qa7! (evaluation: +2.65). A sample variation would be something like this: 31.Qa7! Rc8 32.fxe5 Be6 33.Rd3 Bxe5 34.Ne1 Qh2+ 35.Kf2 Qh4+ 36.g3 Qg5 37.Ng2 h5 38.Qb7 Bf6 39.Kg1, when White has a winning advantage (evaluation: +2.97) (see diagram)

click for larger view

From this position, the engine gives 39...Rxc5 as the best move for Black, with an evaluation of +2.86. In the above variation, instead of 33.Rd3, White might also try 33.Qb7!? Bxe5 34.Rxe5 Qxe5 35.Qe7 Qe4 36.Ne3 Qf4 37.Ba6 Ra8 38.b5 h5 39.Qb7 Rc8 40.Qb6, and here too, White has a winning advantage according to the engine (evaluation: +3.17) (see diagram)

click for larger view

Jan-12-21  Gaito: Although other kibitzers have already pointed out this, in the following diagram Black blundered with 37...Bh6??, probably pressed by the clock:

click for larger view

It was a pity, since Fischer had played very well throughout. The machines give either 37...Be4 or 37....Bd7 with equality, very likely a draw. After 37...Bh6?? 38.Qf6!, Geller obtained again a winning position (Evaluation: +3.63). On 38....Bg7 39.Qxf7 Qd1 40.Qc4 (40.b5!) h4 41.Qe2 (41.b5) Qa1 42.Kh2 (42.b5) Bd4 43.Bf2, the following critical position was reached:

click for larger view

Although White has a clear advantage (evaluation +2.82 by Stockfish 12), the ending is not easy at all. The machines give now 43...h3! as Black's best defense. Instead, he played 43...Bxf2? 44.Qxf2 with a very clear advantage. Black could have resigned, but played 44...Kg7 45.b5 Be4 46.b6?! (46.Qxh4!, evaluation +12.57) Bb7 (46...h3), and White won the ending. In conclusion, Bobby Fischer emerged from the opening with an equal position. He could have easily drawn with 27...Be5, but instead he tried too hard to win, and overreached himself with the flashy (but dubious) 27...Bxh3?! after which all his trouble began. Maybe he was very eager to win against Geller in order to avenge some previous defeats.

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