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Boris Spassky vs Efim Geller
"Efim' Hell!" (game of the day May-27-2022)
USSR Championship (1959), Tbilisi URS, rd 13, Jan-31
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Wormald Attack (C77)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-16-10  Petrosianic: After such a glowing endorsement (great in a non-specific way), how could they refuse?
Dec-07-10  bastiaan0740: I believe white has an uneasy but guaranteed win here. For fun, I ran it crafty20 vs. crafty20; 10 sec/move. White won at move 179.
Dec-26-12  The Last Straw: 54.♗h7! wins, e.g. 54...♔d7 55.♗f5+ ♔e8 56.♖c8+ ♔f7 57.♖f8#, 54...♕a4 55.♘f4+ ♔e5 56.♖e1+ ♔f6 57.♖e6+ ♔f7 58.♗g6+ ♔g8 59.♖e8#, or 54...♔f6 55.♖c6+ ♔f7 56.♗g6+ ♔g8 ♖c8#.
Oct-25-16  zydeco: One of the most exciting chess games I've ever seen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Amazing game. I think Gellar should have played on a bit and hoped for a blunder by white.
Oct-25-16  ewan14: Incredible !

Not unusual for Boris though

Feb-08-21  dejandjakovic: This hasn't been GOTD yet?

Young Spassky - what a player!

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I lean toward a loss on time. It seems to me to be an easier proposition to find best moves with a Queen than with 3 pieces. I sure don't find Black's position hopeless at the end. Here's what the SF run somebody ran says for the next 9 plies:

75...Kf8 76.Nd3 Qg8 77.Nb4 Qf7 78.Nd5 Qb7 79.Ka4 Qa7+ ± +2.35 (47 ply)

click for larger view

Besides the strange choice not to take the b Pawn, the most interesting point is White really does nothing. I don't know in this case, but engines can totally overvalue endgame positions, and generate do nothing lines like this. Anyway, in human terms, resigning this would surprise me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: In playing through this game, between two exciting open players, I said to myself ‘This play is so Spassky! Stylistically’. He was a monster at his best.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Aminda: SF gives a 2.5 advantage to white which is significant but certainly not a clear win in the next 10-20 moves. Lots of grinding to do. Even after the obvious loss of the black pawn, the Queen can be a pest against the three minor pieces. And white pawn cannot easily advance without weakening the pawn structure. In other words, not so easily won it seems to me.
May-27-22  spingo: This is superb game all the way the through.

The fair result is that the game was a draw. Black can safely give up the b-pawn, that is irrelevant.

If White played really well he could get a nearly winning position:

click for larger view

But in a position like that it would still be a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Good golly, what a game! It seems like a Tal game (Tal vs Panno, 1958, specifically) except this time it's Black who winds up with the queen.

Amazing creativity and grit by both. Black's 29th move is wild!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Aminda: In the position you give Spigo, white could play Ne6, and it seems the g7 pawn would fall. Then you have an open black king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I wonder what relations between Spassky and Geller were like - I doubt they were particularly warm based on my (admittedly sketchy) perception of their characters - Spassky, romantic and anti-Soviet; Geller, dour and pro-Soviet. It seemed a strange choice that Geller was Spassky's main second (I believe) in Reykjavik.
May-27-22  spingo:

click for larger view

54. Bh7! (with the idea of 55. Bg8+) would have been a surprising winner. The queen is trapped.

May-27-22  spingo: <Aminda: In the position you give Spigo, white could play Ne6, and it seems the g7 pawn would fall. Then you have an open black king.>

click for larger view

I see your point, that White is winning a pawn, but I think that position is a draw:
77. Ne6 Qc8 78. Bd5 Qc2+ 79. Be4 Qc8=.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Aminda: Hi Spingo,
Following on your analysis:
If 77…Qc8, 78. Bxg7, simply get the g7 pawn.
May-27-22  Damenlaeuferbauer: This game shows, how incredible strong Boris Spassky was at the end of the 1950's and in the 1960's. Maybe from 1964 until 1970 he was the strongest player in the world - despite Robert James Fischer. It would be a big mistake to judge Boris Spassky's playing strength just because of his performance against Bobby Fischer in their Reykjavik match in 1972. According to Garry Kasparov, he was the first player in the history of chess, who had an "universal" style, which is common today, but not half a century ago.
May-27-22  goodevans: A hugely interesting game but with a sadly unsatisfying (for me) ending.

Both players missed opportunities to win this earlier. From an entertainment perspective, I'm glad Geller missed his but had Spassky taken one of his then I'd be adding this to my 'more favourites' collection. 54.Bh7! would have been a nice shot.

May-27-22  whiteshark: <goodevans:...a sadly unsatisfying (for me) ending> Well, there's not always a happy ending, neither in chess nor in real life....
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Unusually, no queried the meaning of the pun.
Premium Chessgames Member


<Unusually, no queried the meaning of the pun.>?

Not an English sentence. Ironically, neither is "Not an English sentence."

Looks like we both failed our A-levels at Eton.

Never mind then...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: By far not perfect but perfectly entertaining game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 28.Ne4 is objectively unsound but it would by harsh to criticize such a nice idea, which led in the end to the win of game by white. But 29...Ke7!! 30.Nc5 Be6 31.Bg5+! Kf7! 32.Rxe6 Qxe6 33.Nxe6 Rxh8 34.Bd2 Kxe6 35.Bxb4 Bxd4+ gives black an Exchange and Pawn with easily won game.
Sep-18-22  Saniyat24: Адский огонь горячий...!
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