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Vasily Smyslov vs Efim Geller
USSR Championship (1973), Moscow URS, rd 13, Oct-20
Spanish Game: Exchange. Gligoric Variation (C69)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I would like to know where white lost the game. Geller's play since 25...Nd4! is stunning. After the 25th move of white I would have bet that white's attack on the queenside will carry a quick victory to Smyslov, but Geller demonstrated that the opposite was true. Very nice game.
Sep-30-03  suenteus po 147: In my very humble and often uniformed position (Honza, you have always known better than I) it seems to me that Smyslov lost because he gradually gave up control of the white squares over the course of the game, allowing Geller to put irresistable pressure on g2 with his bishop and Queen. So I vote for 19. Qb2 as the point when Smyslov handed the game over to Geller. Not that I blame Smyslov; how could he know Geller would play 25...Nd4! ?
Sep-30-03  drukenknight: what is his N doing on f3? Shouldnt he be hitting the Q w/ Nh4? It's not like that's the only N that can be used to block the diagonal.

Hey wait a minute why does he want to put anybody on the white diagonal? Doesnt he want to advance the pawns on his K side?

Sep-30-03  Calli: Extremely double-edged position. 24.Bc5 weakens d4, enabling 25...Nd4!. But what else can White do? At first I thought 24.Ra3 Nxe3 25.Raxe3 held but then 25...Rf4! leads to 26.b5 Bc5.

My suggestion is 24.Qb1. It appears defence is possible because the Queen exchange should Black move the knight. White also still has the b5 possibility. So <suenteus> maybe right that Qb2 is inaccurate, but White ,I think, can recover and save the game by moving the Q back to B1.

Sep-30-03  suenteus po 147: <drukenknight: Hey wait a minute why does he want to put anybody on the white diagonal? Doesnt he want to advance the pawns on his K side?>

I think Symslov was trying to avoid destabilizing his kingside. A friend of mine (who beats me regularly at chess) suggested 20. g4 after black's knight move, but that gives up defense of the h3 pawn and allows a possible inroad for the queen, after 20...Bxf3 21. Nxf3 Qe4 22. Kg2 Nd5 etc. True, mate isn't as imminent, but it's still not a great situation for white afterward. But who knows? Smyslov might have turned this line into a win.

Oct-01-03  Calli: 20.g4 h5 looks bad.
Aug-15-10  Xeroxx: My suggestion is 24.b5

For white.

Aug-29-16  NoraNora: 27. Qg4+ Qxg4 28. hxg4 Rc3 was better
Stokfish 6 - -0.80

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Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Black‚Äôs Bd5 was the star piece, simultaneously attacking and defending. For example, if White goes 19 b5 them 19..a5 holds everything.

Contrary to initial appearances, Geller found ways to improve his position while Smyslov proved unable to do the same.

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A nice variation is 29 Qb4 a5! 30 Qxa5 Qg4! 31 Qa8+ Kd7 32 Qxb7 Rh1+! 33 Kxh1 Qh3+ 34 Kg1 Qxg2 mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Even if the line cited by <NoraNora> is objectively strongest, the wily Smyslov of all players would have realised how damnably unpleasant it would have been to defend that ending and preferred death with honour.

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