Kindred’s Special: Come! My Web Awaits You.

Zurich 1953 has long been recognized as one of the truly great events in chess history. The following battle coming out of the Nimzo-Indian Defense features Efim Geller (white) knocking at the door of the 1935-7 World Champion Dr. Max Euwe who cleverly weaves a web, drawing the young attacking Soviet player to attack and sets up a sharp counterattack.

1.d4  Nf6  2.c4  e6  3.Nc3  Bb4  4.e3  c5  5.a3  Bxc3+ 6.bxc3  b6

Euwe avoids O-O wanting to exert Bishop pressure on the white squares and concentrates on developing his Q-side forces.

7.Bd3  Bb7  8.f3  Nc6  9.Ne2  O-O  10.O-O  Na5  11.e4  Ne8!

This move, introduced by Capablanca, avoids the very real strong threat of 12.Bg5, keeps a solid pawn defense on the K-side, and this backward move sets up a jump to d6 with added pressure on White’s c4; finally, it allows for a potential counterstrike at the center by a timely …f7-f5 which directly could meet 12.f4.

12.Ng3  cxd4  13.cxd4  Rc8

One might take this to be a square count selection using my theory.

14.f4  Nxc4  15.f5

The Rubinstein variation 5.e3 has evolved into the Samisch which is a delayed pawn gambit requiring of White to press for an all out attack on the King position using the central complex e/f files.

15…f6  16.Rf4

In the 1956 USSR Championship, the game Polgaevsky vs Averbakh decided upon a less direct approach playing 16.a4 e5, 17.Bxc4+ Rxc4 18.dxe5 fxe5 19.Qb3 giving White some initiative edge for the gambited pawn.


A cleverly disguised stroke on the Q-wing seemingly ignoring Geller’s Kingside action but the main point is to enable the Queen to sally to b6 where it will slow the deployment of White’s forces. This is a great example of proactive defense –frustrating the attack while furthering his own plan for an active counterattack. Now, either 17.Rh4 or 17.Qh5 is met by the same reply.

17.Rh4  Qb6  18.e5  Nxe5  19.fxe6  Nxd3  20.Qxd3  Qxe6

Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly!

21.Qxh7+ Kf7  22.Bh6  Rh8 

This zeal toward brilliance entices Euwe and who can blame him. David Bronstein suggests a more accurate play would have been 22…Rc4 giving Rh8 more potency.

23.Qxh8  Rc2  24.Rc1?

This blunder is probably the cause of timepressure. White can still put up resistence and try rescue some chances by 24.d5  Bxd5 25.Rd1 trying to find some resources by getting his forces into action in hope of salvaging dignity.

24…Rxg2+  25.Kf1  Qb3  26. Ke1  Qf3  (0-1).

This game is a good study for a number of reasons.

  1. 1. Opening systems frequently can be reached by different pathways. Black’s energetic play with pieces prior to castling enabled him to get his Q-side activity underway. White’s switch from the Rubinstein variation to the Samisch which initiates a delayed gambit for freedom of action and a strong pawn center requires alert attention by both sides.
  2. Perhaps a reason for weakness in the attack is the attempt to attack before bringing the QR into the action.
  3. A suggestion by Botvinnik at move 17.Bxc4 Rxc4 18.Rh4 Qc7 19.Be3  Rc2 he wagers as being unclear.  This idea seems contrary to White’s ambitions for a sharp attack. Three years later on 16.Rf4, 16.a4 was played.
  4. Interesting would be investigation for a possible Kh1 inorder to get the King more hidden from any check.  Possible? Not possible? This depends upon the exact moment and condition existing on the board.

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