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Monday, February 11, 2019

Fischer-Geller At Bled, a Short Sharp Scuffle

     Geller had a plus record against all but one of the six world champions he played: Botvinnik, Fischer, Petrosian, Smyslov and Tal. Only Spassky had a plus score against him. 
     All of the games between Geller and Fischer were tension ridden, exciting games. One of Fischer’s wins against Geller came at Bled in 1961. The 18 year old Fischer made a remarkable showing by finishing second a point behind Tal.  While Tal won the tournament, it was a moral victory for Fischer who went undefeated and handed Tal his only loss. 
     Tal and Fischer were neck and neck through the 15th round, but in the final four rounds Fischer only won one game and drew three while Tal drew one and won three. 
     After 18 rounds Tal was leading by a half point so Fischer had a shot at tying for first if he could win and Tal only drew. But in the last round Tal defeated Najdorf and Fischer drew with Ivkov. 

1) Tal 14.5-4.5 
2) Fischer 13.5-5.5 
3-5) Petrosian, Keres and Gligoric 12.5-6.5 
6-7) Geller and Trifunovic 10.5-8.5 
8) Parma 10.0-9.0 
9-10) Bisguier and Matanovic 9.5-9.5 
11-13) Darga, Donner and Najdorf 9.0-10.0 
14) Olafsson 8.5-10.5 
15-16) Portisch and Ivkov 8.0-11.0 
17) Pachman 7.0-12.0 
18) Bertok 6.5-12.5 
19) Germek 55-13.5 
20) Udovcic 4.0-15.0 

     True to form, when Fischer and Geller met in round 6 Geller took a gamble with 7...Qf6 and looked happy. Fischer sacrificed a Pawn to open up the game, but Geller was unfazed and kept his happy face until Fischer’s 14th move. After half an hour’s thought Geller was forced to remove his happy face and exchange it for a frown when he realized he was in mortal danger. He resigned a few moves later. 
     

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