The Application of Chess Theory – what a strange title for a chess book? It was the first time that I came across this book at one of the street vendors in our bustling capital city.
My initial reaction was ‘what a title?’ by a well-known player like Yefim Geller. I am a chess book aficionado, and there was just no way I was going to leave this book behind! Just like in the trenches of World War I – no men left behind! Cost of purchase KES 400 (USD 4).
Cadogan Chess are the publishers of the book. In 1998 Cadogan Chess changed its name to Everyman Chess and is one of the top chess publishers in the world.
It is interesting to note that Everyman Chess now only publishes electronic books.
Part 1 & Part 2
The book has 100 games against some of the top players in his generation. Part 1 has sixty-four games grouped according to the openings.
Part 2 has 36 games against former World Champions from Max Euwe to Anatoly Karpov.
The book is not crammed with endless variations and in my opinion, suitable for all levels of players. The games are delightful with fascinating play by the talented Geller.
My favourite games are listed below.
Game 62 – Queens offered as presents
In this game, Geller is the first to offer his Queen to his opponent Nikolayevsky during the 24th USSR Championship in Tbilisi held in 1966.
Game 67 – The blockade of a flank
In this game, Geller demolishes the mighty Mikhail Botvinnik using the King’s Indian.
Game 76 – The untouchable Queen
Geller offers his Queen as a sacrifice not once but four times against former World Champion Smyslov. This was during the 5th game of Candidates Quarter Final Match held in Moscow, 1965.
Game 82 – March of the White King
In this game, Geller takes on Mikhail Tal in the 1975 Alekhine Memorial Tournament in Moscow. Geller bravely marches his King to f7 to help in a mating attack against the ‘Magician from Riga’.
Game 95 – Breaking the blockade
In this instructive game, Geller with the White pieces conducts a powerful and successful attack on the queenside against Bobby Fischer.
Game 100 – Knights on the attack
Geller defeats Anatoly Karpov who tried out the French Defense.
The sad thing about this book is that it does not have any autobiography on Geller and not a single photo.
I would however give The Application of Chess Theory a big thumbs up for chess patzers like myself. All the games in this book can be found in one page with a re-playable board Game 1 to 100.
Efim Petrovich Geller was a well-known chess player who was born to a Jewish family on 8th March 1925 in the city of Odessa, now Ukraine.
Geller’s father was a fairly strong chess player and a student of the first Soviet grandmaster Boris Verlinsky. Efim only took up chess during WW2 when he started reading chess literature during his spare time.
He was also a fine basketball player and earned his doctorate in physical education before specialising in chess.
Soviet & Ukrainian Championship
He won the Soviet Championship in 1955 at the age of 30 years. What is even more interesting is that he won the 1979 edition as well at the age of 54 years, making him the oldest Soviet Champion!
Geller has also played 23 times in the Soviet Championship a record equalled by Mark Taimanov.
He was also the holder of 4 Ukrainian Championship titles (1950, 1957, 1958, and 1959). In 1992 he won the World Senior’s Chess Championship.
Candidates & Olympiads
His illustrious career included six appearances in the Candidates for the World Championshipon six occasions (1953, 1956, 1962, 1965, 1968, and 1971).
Geller represented the USSR seven times in the Chess Olympiad, over 28 years from 1952 to 1980, and contributed each time to the team gold medal victories. He won three gold medals and three silver on his board.