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Friday, January 29, 2016

Geller vs. Euwe Zurich 1953

     Reader Paul Gottlieb mentioned this game as being a long time favorite, so I decided to take a look at it.  Euwe won first brilliancy prize for this game. Zurich crosstable and games.
    Euwe's 22...Rh8 is a fantastic move, but it was possible only because of a rather quiet move he made 11 moves earlier! Euwe had traded off his dark squared B and 11...Ne8 served to protect the dark squares around his K and eventually prevented his own K from getting mated.  But, what makes the game fascinating to me is how Euwe was counterattacking on the Q-side but then switched over to a K-side attack. 
    Like most classic masterpieces this game was subjected to analysis by many of the world's greatest Grandmasters of the past and the general opinion was that Geller did, indeed, miss the chance to draw. And, when these games are analyzed by modern engines flaws and improvements can be found, but it's precisely for that reason, the great complications, that games like this one can still be considered great. 
     The games in Najdorf's great book Zurich, 1953: 15 Contenders for the World Title (which I prefer to Bronstein's book) was subjected to analysis by Taylor Kingston in a paper called Analytical Notes, Corrections, and Enhancements using ChessBase with analysis by the Rybka 3 engine. He discovered that, on the whole, Najdorf’s judgment was upheld much more often than not, but engine's sometimes prove him wrong. Kingston also noted that the differences for his paper had to be significant: not minor half pawn differences, but rather cases where an important tactical shot was missed, where a resource that could have changed a loss to a draw or win was overlooked, where a good move was called bad (or vice versa), or where a position was incorrectly evaluated. Also in some cases where there was no real mistake, but an especially interesting variation, or a much stronger one, was not pointed out. Excellent criteria! 
     In some cases he also checked Najdorf and Rybka against Bronstein’s book on the same tournament as well as Euwe's Schach Elite im Kampf and it was not unusual for Rybka to have found something all three of these great players had missed. Naturally this game was no exception, but that doesn't matter. Any of us would be happy to possess the ability of any of these players or for that matter, just play a single game in our lives as great as this one.
     After Geller played 22.Bh6, Stockfish 7, after 30 minutes, evaluated the position at about three quarters of a P in black's favor. That said, sad to say that after Euwe's heretofore acclaimed brilliant 22...Rh8 the evaluation took a tumble to 0.00. According to Stockfish he could have maintained the advantage with with 22...Rc3! 

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