The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Efim Geller

Efim Geller
Geller in 1965. Photo: Hugo van Gelderen/Dutch National Archives, CC.
Full name
Efim Geller
Mar 8, 1925 - Nov 17, 1998 (age 73)‎
Place of birth
Odessa, Ukraine (then USSR)


Efim Geller was a Soviet grandmaster, two-time Soviet Chess Champion, and six-time world championship candidate in a career spanning nearly five decades. His Soviet championships came 24 years apart, in 1955 and 1979, and his six Candidates tournaments came in a span of seven world championship cycles from 1953-71.

At the Candidates in Curaco in 1962, Geller nearly qualified to play for the title against GM Mikhail Botvinnik, but finished a half-point behind challenger and eventual champion GM Tigran Petrosian.

Geller continued to play chess into the 1990s, winning the 1992 World Senior Championship, before passing away in 1998. He was also notable for his strong score against GM Bobby Fischer (+5 -3 =2) in their games from 1961-70.

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