19 August 2007

Geller and the World Championship

Kasparov's chapter -- it's really a book in itself -- on Smyslov has a long section on Geller (Predeccessors II, p.295). The 33 pages include nine games and a brief discussion of opening innovations. Kasparov introduces the section on Geller with these words:

Now is the time to break off and remember Efim Petrovich Geller (1925-1998), another chess legend, known for his academic opening erudition and bold attacking style of play. He played six times(!) in the Candidates events, but alas, he did not in fact get through to a main match for the crown. However, he had a positive or equal score against nearly all the World Champions!

The nine games are all examples of Geller's play against World Champions. Kasparov's introduction mentions two little known facts, which I checked.


First, here's an excerpt from my World Championship page, Index of players (A-G), covering Geller.

Geller E1952-54 Izt
1952-54 Cnd
1955-57 Izt
1955-57 Cnd
1961-63 Izt
1961-63 Cnd
1964-66 Cnd
1967-69 Izt
1967-69 Cnd
1970-72 Izt
1970-72 Cnd
1973-75 Izt
1976-78 Izt
1982-84 Izt

'He played six times(!) in the Candidates events' : Check!


Second, here's Geller's record against the World Champion as given by Chessgames.com. Their Geller page...

Efim Geller

... lists his earliest game as 1946 Odessa, so it's sufficient to start checking with Botvinnik.

Chessgames.com always warns that the stats are 'Based on games present in our database; may not be complete'. Whether or not it's complete, he certainly 'had a positive or equal score against nearly all the World Champions'. Spassky was his most dangerous opponent among the World Champions.

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