“Youthfulness is about how you live… not when you were born.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
WINNING IN STYLE!
Mark Tseitlin (1943–?) and Efim Geller (1925–1998) have produced some of the most beautiful attacking games of modern times. So we shouldn’t be surprised that when they played together back in 1987 at a tournament in Potvino there were a lot of fireworks…I had not seen this game before, only today infact. I can not resist showing this gem to my readers. ENJOY!
Protvino 1987 gm Geller Efim– gm Tseitlin Mark D. Position after White’s 20th move (20.Nb3) On the Queenside White is building up pressure. Wrong for Black is 20…Nxb4 as 21.Na5! recovers the pawn with advantage after 21…Nc6 22.Qxb7. On the Kingside White’s King is well defended.
First impression is that White is doing well, and I have no doubt that Geller must have felt satisfied with his game. But sometimes first impressions are misleading…and do not take into account the (often hidden) dynamism of the pieces.
This strong move must have come as an unpleasant surprise to Geller! Clearly White should not take the Knight as his Bishop on e3 would be immediately lost. But what to do about Black’s plan to take the Bishop on f1 and then sacrifice a Bishop on h3? It is too late for passive defence: 21.Nb-d2 NxB 22.RxN (22.NxB would be answered the same way) 22…Bxh3! 23.PxB Qxh3 with Re6 soon coming into play with decisive consequences for White.
The experienced Geller (who has beaten every world champion he ever played) realized that it was necessary to press forward…
Instead 21.b5 would change very little after 21…PxP 22.Bxb5 Bxh3!
21… Nxf1 22. Kxf1!?
There is a good analysis of what would have happened had White played 22.RxN HERE.
I am certain that Geller must have been surprised by how quickly his nice looking position had become so critical. But what to do? Sometimes chess can be cruel…
Case in point is that if now the obvious 23. gxh3 Qxh3 24. Ke2 (see diagram below)
and White can resign! Both 25.PxR Qg2+ and 25.KxR Re8+ 26.Kd2 Bf4+ are immediately decisive.
Getting back to the game, Geller therefore played:
Black is now threateing Bxg2+ and Qg4, and once more taking the Bishop on h3 would lead to lines exactly as in the previous variation.
As good as any! When in doubt, push onward…
24… Bxe5 25. dxe5
It is remarkable how Black’s attack is unstoppable!
26. Kxg2 Rg6+ 27. Kf1
Precise to the end! If now 29.Qe2 Rg1+!
That is it! Geller could resign now, but probably he was in his usual time trouble and could not be bothered…