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Efim Geller vs Lajos Portisch
Moscow (1967), Moscow URS, rd 4, May-25
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Smyslov Defense (C93)  ·  1-0



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Given 43 times; par: 22 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: It's a very intrigue position & not so easy to spot the right move at once as there are a few moves first to be checked e.g. 18.Ng6, 18.Nf5 & 18.Bxh6 but none seems to be forceful. Hence, with little more thought, I could found the Black's "Achilles Heels' f7. Therefore,18.Bg5! works since Black cannot grab it either with the Queen or with the h-pawn both leads to mate or heavy loss of material. Black has to guard his f7 so 18...Qd7 19.Rad1 Bd6 20.Bxh6 [ to rip open the fortress ] ...gxh6 21.Qg6+ Kf8 [ if ...Kh8 then 22.Bxf7 ] 22.Qf6! Nxb3? 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.Qh8# [ if ...Kg8 then 23.Re3 ]
Sep-29-07  GoldenKnight: I saw all the major themes of the puzzle, but did not see 18.Bg5. This was really beautiful. I didn't look any further after a cursory glance convinced me that 18.Bxh6 would work also, but not as neatly (I generally spend very little time on these puzzles).
Sep-29-07  Madman99X: Can Black salvage anything with 20... Nxb3 ?
Sep-29-07  Marmot PFL: Clearly sac on h6 fails to black's Nxb3. Nf5 & Ng6 both met by Qf6 and again Nxb3. Getting late so just gave up before considering Bg5 carefully enough. Once you see it can't be captured becuse of mate in 2 the win is fairly obvious as white develops all his pieces with tempo on the black queen then Bh6 rips open the kingside.
Sep-30-07  Calli: a snappy game. Black could survive with 20.Bxh6 Nxb3 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Nf5+ Qxf5?! 23.exf5 Nc5 but with a poor position and threatening kingside pawns for White,
Feb-21-08  ughaibu: Calli: From that position, 24.Qg5 Kf8 25.f6 Re6 26.Qg7 Ke8 27.Rd6 cd6 28.Qg8 Kd7 29.Qf7 Kc6 30.b4 looks pretty much finished.
Mar-30-09  Akdeniz07: 13.Qd7?!
Feb-19-10  falso contacto: Kasparov took some pages of this book?!
Feb-23-11  Dr. J: <ughaibu: Calli: From that position, <20.Bxh6 Nxb3 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Nf5+ Qxf5?! 23.exf5 Nc5> 24.Qg5 Kf8 25.f6 Re6 26.Qg7 Ke8 27.Rd6 cd6 28.Qg8 Kd7 29.Qf7 Kc6 30.b4 looks pretty much finished.>

Good call. That is A Blees vs J R Markus, 1991 which finished 30...Nd3 31.Qxe6 1-0 (because 31...Nxe1 32.f7 will win the other rook).

Nov-28-19  areknames: 20.Bxh6 and everything quickly falls apart. This has been a POTD starting a few moves earlier and 18.Bg5! was definitely much harder to spot. Brilliant stuff.
Nov-28-19  areknames: 18.Bg5 and 19.Rad1 were necessary to force Black to play 19...Bd6, so now 20...Nxb3 can be met by 21.Bxg7 and Black is helpless.
Nov-28-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: The general idea was easy to see, but as is so often the case, I made a miscalculation along the way.
Premium Chessgames Member

Black threatens hxg5 and Nxb3.

White has four pieces to attack the black king. This suggests 20.Bxh6:

A) 20... gxh6 21.Qg6+

A.1) 21... Kf8 22.Qf6 Kg8 (22... Reb8 23.Ng6+ Ke8 -23... Kg8 24.Qh8#- 24.Qh8+ Bf8 25.Qxf8#) 23.Nf5 Bf8 24.Rxd7 wins.

A.2) 21... Kh8 22.Bxf6 wins decisive material (22... Bf8 23.Qg8#).

B) 20... Nxb3 21.Bxg7

B.1) 21... Kxg7 22.Nf5+ Qxf5 (22... Kf6 23.Qh6#; 22... Kf8 23.Qh6+ Kg8 24.Qg7#; 22... Kg8 23.Qg5+ and 24.Qg7#) 23.Qxf5 (23.exf5 Nc5 24.Qg5+ Kf8 25.f6 Re6 puts up some resistance) 23... Nc5 24.b4 Na4 (24... Bc8+ 25.Qg5+ and 26.bxc5) 25.Rd3 and White has the queen and two pawns for three pieces and keeps the attack.

B.2) 21... f5 22.Nxf5

B.2.a) 22... Nc5 23.Qg6 Qxf5 (due to Nh6#) 24.exf5 wins decisive material.

B.2.b) 22... Qe6 23.axb3 wins three pawns.

B.2.c) 22... Qxg7 23.Nxg7 Kg7 24.axb3 wins decisive material.

B.3) 21... f6 22.Nf5 looks similar to B.1.

C) 20... Bxe4 21.Rxe4

C.1) 21... gxh6 22.Qxh6 wins.

C.2) 21... Nxb3 22.Rg4 g6 (22... f6 23.Rxg7+ Qxg7 24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.Nf5+ Kf8 26.Qh7 Re7 27.Nxe7 Bxe7 28.Qh8+ wins) 23.Nxg6 looks winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Actually, the subline 23.exf5 Nc5 24.Qg5+ Kf8 25.f6 Re6 in my line B.1 is far stronger than 23.Qxf5 since after 26.Qg7+ Ke8 27.Rxd6 cxd6 28.Qg8+ Kd7 29.Qxf7+ Kc6 30.b4 Black is totally crushed.
Nov-28-19  GlennOliver: The alternate defence, 22. ... Re6, falls to the Knight mate -

22. Qf6 Re6 23. Qh8+ Ke7 24. Nf5#

Nov-28-19  saturn2: There are too many enemies for the black king. I looked at 20. Bxh6 

20...gxh6 21. Qg6+ Kf8 22. Qxh6+ Ke7 23. Nf5+ Kd- 8 24. Nxd6 cxd6 25. Rxd6 material plus

20...Nxb3 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 (forced) 22. Nf5+ Qxf5 (Kf8 23. Qh8#) 23. exf5 Nc5 24. Qg5+ Kf8 25. f6

Nov-28-19  malt: Have 20.B:h6 N:b3
(20...gh6 21.Qg6+ Kf8 22.Qf6 Kg8 23.Nf5 )

21.B:g7! K:g7 22.Nf5+ wins

(22...Kf6 23.Qh6# )
(22...Kf8 23.Qh6+ and # )
(22...Kg8 23.Qg5+ and # )

22...Q:f5 23.ef5

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < I3illieJoe: 23.Nf5 would have been the best move, but oh well...who cares black is lost anyway >

yea.. it's mate in 7 with 23.Nf5 Qxf5 24.Bxf7+ Kf8 25.exf5 Be7 26.Qg6 Bh4 27.Rd7 Bxf2+ 28.Kxf2 Bd5 29.Qxh6+

or mate in 9 with 23. Re3 Bxe4 24. Rxd6 cxd6 25. Qxh6 Qg4 26. Rxe4 Qxe4 27. Ng6 Qh4 28. Nxh4 Re6 29. Ng6 Rxg6 30. Qxg6+ Kh8 31. Bxf7 Rg8 32. Qxg8# (or Qh6#)

but you're right, it really doesn't matter because black resigns after either first move! it's obvious heavy material loss and who would play it out?!

as for white's choice of Nf5 or Re3, it's usually either personal preference as to method, OR which he sees clearest.

I've played games in which after an opponent's blunder i instantly saw a mate in 5 and played it accordingly. then in post game analysis a mate in 4 was uncovered, and i never saw it. The point is.. once you see a forced and irresistible mate, who's gonna sit at the board for another 20 min looking for a shorter one? What's the point? It's game over! Time-wise, the shortest mate was in 5.

When an artist paints a picture, he selects the colors his imagination dictates. Chess is art, and beauty, and why we all love it so much!

a brilliant game by Geller

Nov-28-19  20MovesAhead: a super-super GM trounces a super- GM
Nov-28-19  parisattack: Their ratings and performances were very close. Geller had quite a few WC heads and his play might be considered more inspiring.

I interviewed GM Portisch in 1972 for the college newspaper. He gave a simul on the way to the Church's tournament. He was very nice, accommodating.

Clearly, this is not one of Portisch's secrets in the Ruy Lopez.

Nov-28-19  RandomVisitor: Maybe black should wait before playing 9...h6

click for larger view


<55/80 5:46:14 +0.13 9...Re8 10.Ng5 Rf8 11.d4 Bb7 12.Nf3 Re8 13.Nbd2 Bf8 14.Bc2 h6> 15.d5 Nb8 16.b3 c6 17.c4 Nbd7 18.Nf1 a5 19.Ne3 a4 20.Ba3 Qc7 21.Qd3 axb3 22.axb3 bxc4 23.bxc4 cxd5 24.cxd5 Ba6 25.Qd2 Rec8 26.Rec1 Nc5 27.Qd1 Bb5 28.Nd2 Nfd7 29.Bb3 g6 30.Bc4 Bxc4 31.Nexc4 Be7 32.Qf3 Bg5 33.Ne3 Nb6 34.Ndc4 Nxc4 35.Rxc4 Ra4 36.Rxa4 Nxa4 37.Bb4 Nc5 38.Bxc5

Nov-28-19  King.Arthur.Brazil: I quickly found the moves, however, I chose 23. ♘g6 as deadly as ♖e3. There's nothing to avoid ♕h8#.
Nov-28-19  sophiephilo: Figured this out but didn't see pinned pawn.

I have a question. Move 15. Why doesn't black's knight on F6x white s knight on H5?

Nov-29-19  SChesshevsky: <sophiephilo...Move 15. black knight on f6 x Nh5?> Looks like leaves Q on d7 unprotected. If black...Qxd1 first then white Nxf6+ seems to save the piece.
Sep-03-20  Gaito: 17....Na5?? was the losing move, ovelooking White's strong reply 18. Bg5! Maybe Black could have put up a sturdy defense by means of 17....Nd8 18. Ng6 Qf6.
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