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Boris Spassky vs Efim Geller
"Get Him to the Greek Gift" (game of the day Feb-15-2011)
Spassky - Geller Candidates Semifinal (1965), Riga URS, rd 6, Jun-04
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Keres Defense (C92)  ·  1-0



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Given 17 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-11-03  ughaibu: More vintage Spassky, this combination comes as quite a surprise.
Aug-05-03  ughaibu: Patzer2: Nice line, thanks for putting it up.
Aug-06-03  patzer2: <ughaibu> I made a few corrections and then reposted. Sorry if this is confusing. Appreciate the kind comment above, and apologize again for transposing our posts.

The sacrifice with 20. Bxh7+! initiates an amazing winning combintation by Spassky. Batsford Enclyclopedia of Middle Games, 1980, includes it as example number 1592, "Demolition of Pawn Structure" via "Sacrifice at h7 (h2)" and gives the following winning variations: 20. Bxh7+! Kh7 21. g6! Kg8 [21...Kg6 22. Qd3+-] 22. Ng5 fg6 23. Qf3! Qg5 [23...Qe7 24. Qh3+-; 23...Be7 24. Qf7 Kh8 25. Ne6+-] 24. Bg5 de5 25. Rac1+-

However, the winning variation with 20. Bxh7+! Kh7 21. g6! is not so obvious after 21...Kg6. The winning variation is amazing and by my calculation is 13 moves deep. My analysis (not yet computer checked) is as follows, after 21...Kg6 in this amazing 13-move sequence:

20. Bxh7+! Kh7 21. g6! Kg6 22. Qd3+ f5 [22...Kh5 23. Qh7+ Kg4 24. Qh3#] 23. e5-f6xf5+ Kf7 24.Ng5+ Kxf6 25. Qf3+ Kg6 26. Qf7+ Kh6 27. Qf5!! [27. Ne6+ Kh7 28. NxQ(d8) RxR(e1)+ 29. Kh2 RxN(d8) = ; 27. Ne6+ Kh7 28. Qh5+ Kg8 29. Ng5 RxR(e1)+ 30. Kh2 QxN(g5)+ 31. BxQ(g5) RxR(a1)-+] 27...RxR (e1)+ 28. Kh2 g6 [28...RxB(c1) 29. Nf7#; 28...QxN(g5) 29. BxQ(g5)+ Kh5 g4#] 29. Qh3+ Kg7 30. Qh7+ Kf6 31. Qf7+ Ke5 32. f4#

Note that the quiet strength of 27 Qf5!! (threatening four different mates while offering up two more white pieces for black to take) alone makes this variation worth playing through. I suspect most players would have struggled to avoid playing the seemingly obvious but inferior 27. Nf6+ winning the queen, possibly drawing or losing.

I wonder if Spassky had really seen this deep when he made the sacrifice? If so, I am truly astounded at his tactical ability and depth of calculation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 27.Rxe8 (Instead of 27.Qf5 in patzer2's line) was also sufficient. If 27...Qxe8, then 28.Ne4+ Kh7 29.Nf6+ Kh8 30.Qg8#. Another winning possibility seems to be 27.Re6+.
Aug-06-03  patzer2: <Honza Cervenka> Appreciate the two alternative solutions you provided to my 27. Qf5 in the line of analysis above.

You are correct that 27. Re6+ RxR(e6) 28. QxR(e6)+ Qf6 29. Qh3+ Kg6 30. Qh7# is one of three wins in this line, in addition to 27. Qf5 and 27. Rxe8.

Aug-07-03  patzer2: <Honza Cervenka> Not to try and complicate this position any further, but I noticed that in your 27. Re6+ variation above, that there is not one but four different mates depending on black's response.

(1) Line 1 is given above.

(2) Line 2 is 27. Re6+ RxR(e6) 28. QxR(e6)+ Kh5 29. g5+Kh4 30. Nf3+ Kh3 31. g5# (a pretty mate-in-five).

(3) Line 3 is 27. Re6+ RxR(e6) 28. QxR(e6)+ g6 29. Qh3+ Kg7 30. Qh7+ Kf6 31. Qf7+ Ke5 32. f4# (with the same six-move mate theme as in my line with 27. Qf5)

(4) Line 4 is 27. Re6+ Qf6 28. Rxf6+ gxf6 29. Qh7# (rather obvious three-move mate, but it is a fourth mating line in this sequence).

I am impressed that Spassky saw through these complications 11 to 13 moves deep to see the mirad possibilities to mate or win decisive material with the bishop sacrifice on h7. I wonder if there wasn't a little home analysis that went on before Spassky played this Ruy Lopez variation?

Sep-03-04  Knight13: Bxh7 check! Good move.
Sep-04-04  iron maiden: <Knight13> Did you ever read my post in the Kibitzer's Cafe that tells you how you can identify games you've seen before without kibitzing on them?
Sep-05-04  Giancarlo: here we go again...
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <iron maiden: <Knight13> Did you ever read my post in the Kibitzer's Cafe that tells you how you can identify games you've seen before without kibitzing on them?> I didn't. What was it?
Sep-05-04  iron maiden: <offramp> The links to those games turn from blue to purple. Another way for Knight13 to remember which games he has viewed is the game collection feature, which someone else suggested earlier.
Sep-22-04  aw1988: <Giancarlo: here we go again...> sigh.
May-08-10  Dravus: Bore is Spassky, if I'm Geller.
Feb-15-11  newzild: A hard game to follow, because of the mind-boggling complications. Too much for my noggin on a Tuesday afternoon.

Definitely worthy of GOTD, though.

Boris was probably the best player in the world in the mid-60s and I think it's a little unjust that he is mostly remembered in the West for losing his crown to Fischer.

Feb-15-11  David2009: Spassky vs Geller, 1965 White 20?

click for larger view

Crafty End Game Trainer link:

Starting from move 20 the EGT follows the game line (with a transposition) until move 20, when it defends with 25...Bg4 instead of 25...Ra7. You are white, drag and drop the move you want to make. Enjoy finding a win! - the EGT will put up a tough resistance.

<Patzer2> analyses 21...Kxg6 22. Qd3+ f5 23. exf6+ Kf7 to reach

click for larger view

Crafty EGT link: Enjoy exploring the various alternative wins posted by <Patzer2> and <Honza Cervenka>.

Feb-15-11  Marmot PFL: I wonder why Geller rejected 18...Be5. If 19 Nxd4 Rc8 (threatening Bxd4) 20 Nf5 Qc7 with Nac4 to follow and black seems to be in the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Spassky wins with his brilliant play,ironically devoid in the fateful title defense vs Fischer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Cute pun, great way to force a Queen loss. It almost seemed as though Geller had created a fortresses of pieces, near the end of the game, with few pawns left on the board.
Feb-15-11  theodor: 44..;Kg6! than what?!!
Feb-15-11  TheRavenPK: <theodor> I think that 45.Qe4+ Kf7 46.Qh7 and no way to avoid 47.Qh5, after which there just HAS to be checkmate somewhere.. but I am really tired, and this "first-view-analysis" took me for about 2 minutes, so I can be wrong..
Feb-21-11  theodor: I dont see it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: If 44...Kg6 then 45.Qc8 Kf7 (45...Rc6 46.Qe8+ Nf7 47.Qe4+ Kh6 48.Rh2#) 46.Qf8+ Kg6 47.Qg8 Re7 (47...Rc6 48.Qe8+) 48.Bxe7 Bxe7 49.Qe6+ .
Mar-23-11  theodor: <<Sastre>: If 44...Kg6 then 45.Qc8 Kf7 (45...Rc6 46.Qe8+ Nf7 47.Qe4+ Kh6 48.Rh2#) 46.Qf8+ Kg6 47.Qg8 Re7 (47...Rc6 48.Qe8+) 48.Bxe7 Bxe7 49.Qe6+ .> 49. ..; Bf6! than what?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <theodor: <<Sastre>: If 44...Kg6 then 45.Qc8 Kf7 (45...Rc6 46.Qe8+ Nf7 47.Qe4+ Kh6 48.Rh2#) 46.Qf8+ Kg6 47.Qg8 Re7 (47...Rc6 48.Qe8+) 48.Bxe7 Bxe7 49.Qe6+ .> 49. ..; Bf6! than what?> 50.Qe8+ Nf7 51.Qe4+ Kh6 52.Rh2#.
Mar-25-11  theodor: <<Sastre: <theodor: <<Sastre>>: If 44...Kg6 then 45.Qc8 Kf7 (45...Rc6 46.Qe8+ Nf7 47.Qe4+ Kh6 48.Rh2#) 46.Qf8+ Kg6 47.Qg8 Re7 (47...Rc6 48.Qe8+) 48.Bxe7 Bxe7 49.Qe6+ .> 49. ..; Bf6! than what?> 50.Qe8+ Nf7 51.Qe4+ Kh6 52.Rh2#.>> you're right, dear Sastre! will you win ''il giro''?
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