One of the truisms of our time is that you should never explain yourself on the Internet – specifically social media. Over the weekend I was urged by one of our writers to engage with an individual who was slamming The Nemesis for being plagiarism. While the guy was not listening and repeating falsehoods, I thought there was general interest in the questions posed. And for this reason I am repeating the facts here, relating to the overlap between The Nemesis and Application of Chess Theory. (I know the link says out of print, but I think they have a newer version. Still this is what Google gave me).

First of all, The Nemesis is a new translation of a new compilation of Geller’s writings, published by Russian Chess House. We got the rights from them. In Application of Chess Theory there were 100 games grouped according to openings. I am not sure if this was Geller’s idea originally or if it was done by someone else.

It is also unclear to me if Application of Chess Theory is based on the sale of rights to Pergamon and if Geller was rewarded for this. I do not think anyone knows and doubt there is a way to work that out. As I see it, both books are legal.

Our friend was concerned that some of the translations ended up with similar meanings. I refer to a dictionary if someone does not know what translation means. 86 of the games are the same games. The Nemesis has added notes from Max Notkin in many places.

In Application of Chess Theory there are 14 games not in The Nemesis . The Nemesis has 49 games that are not in ACT. About 200 pages worth. Our original discussion

before the translation began was if we should make a small book of unpublished material or a large book with everything. We were torn. In the end my view, that it would be unfair to the readers to omit material, in order to save costs on printing, translation and transport, and that this was against the way we normally do things. This settled it.

I do not believe for a second that anyone believed that Geller, dead for almost 25 years, had reannotated the games already found in Application of Chess Theory. In other words, the idea that we are misleading even a single reader is probably fictitious. However, if it is not and you felt mislead or disappointed, get in touch and we will sort it out.

For those who want to compare the two books, the following overview is useful (all game numbers referring to Application of Chess Theory ). Hopefully this will inform any potential reader of either book and help them make the best choice for themselves.

Not in The Nemesis: Games 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 38, 44, 47, 48, 64

Nemesis – Geller WhiteApp CT
Game 102 Yuri Anikaev, Minsk 1979, Sicilian Defence 38526
Game 130 Vladimir Antoshin, Moscow 1970, Ruy Lopez 4562
Game 13 Gedeon Barcza, Stockholm 1952, Sicilian Defence 58
Game 129 Milko Bobotsov, Moscow 1968, Nimzo-Indian Defence 45358
Game 114 Uwe Boensch, Sochi 1984, Sicilian Defence 414
Game 82 David Bronstein, Petropolis 1973, Alekhine’s Defence 31639
Game 122 Alexey Dreev, New York 1990, French Defence 431
Game 110 Semen Dvoirys, Sochi 1982, Sicilian Defence 405
Game 24 Miroslav Filip, Amsterdam 1956, Ruy Lopez 94
Game 37 Miroslav Filip, Curacao 1962, Sicilian Defence 14624
Game 71 Andrzej Filipowicz, Budapest 1970, Sicilian Defence 273
Game 33 Robert Fischer, Curacao 1962, Sicilian Defence 12995
Game 50 Robert Fischer, Havana 1965, King’s Indian Defence 19597
Game 21 Andrija Fuderer, Gothenburg 1955, Queen’s Gambit Accepted 8440
Game 131 Svetozar Gligoric, Belgrade (1) 1970, Ruy Lopez 4597
Game 108 Roman Hernandez, Las Palmas 1980, Ruy Lopez 399
Game 65 Vlastimil Hort, Skopje 1968, Caro-Kann Defence 25437
Game 86 Werner Hug, Petropolis 1973, King’s Indian Defence 332
Game 107 Bozidar Ivanovic, Lone Pine 1980, Sicilian Defence 397
Game 44 Borislav Ivkov, Beverwijk 1965, Queen’s Gambit 17343
Game 80 Borislav Ivkov, Hilversum 1973, Sicilian Defence 31015
Game 79 Albert Kapengut, Leningrad 1971, Grünfeld Defence 308
Game 95 Anatoly Karpov, Moscow 1976, French Defence 364100
Game 99 Garry Kasparov, Tbilisi 1978, Caro-Kann Defence 377
Game 15 Paul Keres, Moscow 1952, Nimzo-Indian Defence 6259
Game 28 Paul Keres, Tbilisi 1959, Nimzo-Indian Defence 11060
Game 83 Paul Keres, Petropolis 1973, Slav Defence 32142
Game 89 Paul Keres, Moscow 1973, Ruy Lopez 34210
Game 26 Ratmir Kholmov, Vilnius 1957, Sicilian Defence 10121
Game 97 Nino Kirov, Moscow 1977, Sicilian Defence 372
Game 1 Efim Kogan, Odessa 1946, Sicilian Defence 2111
Game 78 Viktor Korchnoi, Moscow (8) 1971, Sicilian Defence 302
Game 51 Bent Larsen, Copenhagen (2) 1966, Sicilian Defence 20020
Game 101 Konstantin Lerner, Minsk 1979, Pirc Defence 383
Game 135 Heinz Liebert, Kapfenberg 1970 471
Game 87 Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Petropolis 1973, King’s Indian Defence 33549
Game 113 Peter Lukacs, Sochi 1984, Ruy Lopez 412
Game 52 Aleksandar Matanovic, Sukhumi 1966, Nimzo-Indian Defence 203
Game 72 Henrique Mecking, Palma de Mallorca 1970, Ruy Lopez 2751
Game 67 Zurab Mikadze, Gori 1968, English Opening 26063
Game 16 Miguel Najdorf, Zurich 1953, Sicilian Defence 6614
Game 53 Aleksander Nikitin, Kislovodsk 1966, Nimzo-Indian Defence 206
Game 39 Yuri Nikolaevsky, Ukraine 1962, Sicilian Defence 15319
Game 20 Oscar Panno, Gothenburg 1955, Sicilian Defence 8118
Game 106 Oscar Panno, Lone Pine 1980, Sicilian Defence 394
Game 23 Tigran Petrosian, Amsterdam 1956, Nimzo-Indian Defence 9086
Game 40 Tigran Petrosian, Moscow 1963, French Defence 15688
Game 115 Arshak Petrosian, Riga 1985, Sicilian Defence 417
Game 9 Herman Pilnik, Stockholm 1952, Slav Defence 49
Game 118 Susan Polgar, Baden-Baden 1985, Sicilian Defence 422
Game 30 Lev Polugaevsky, Moscow 1961, Sicilian Defence 11617
Game 88 Lev Polugaevsky, Portoroz 1973, Sicilian Defence 33923
Game 61 Lajos Portisch, Moscow 1967, Ruy Lopez 2356
Game 112 Josef Pribyl, Sochi 1984, Pirc Defence 410
Game 117 Miguel Quinteros, Baden-Baden 1985, Sicilian Defence 420
Game 76 Samuel Reshevsky, Palma de Mallorca 1970, Sicilian Defence 29222
Game 64 Leonid Shamkovich, Riga 1968, Ruy Lopez 251
Game 133 Vladimir Simagin, Moscow 1961 467
Game 43 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow 1964, Caro-Kann Defence 16973
Game 46 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow (1) 1965, Nimzo-Indian Defence 18074
Game 47 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow (3) 1965, Nimzo-Indian Defence 18475
Game 48 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow (5) 1965, Grünfeld Defence 18876
Game 75 Vasily Smyslov, Palma de Mallorca 1970, Ruy Lopez 28777
Game 128 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow 1961, Nimzo-Indian Defence 45071
Game 124 Alexey Sokolsky, Moscow 1950, French Defence 43733
Game 60 Boris Spassky, Moscow 1967, Queen’s Gambit 23192
Game 91 Boris Spassky, Moscow 1974, Sicilian Defence 34993
Game 93 Boris Spassky, Moscow 1975, Sicilian Defence 35694
Game 127 Boris Spassky, Riga 1958, Ruy Lopez 44690
Game 12 Gideon Stahlberg, Stockholm 1952, French Defence 5534
Game 22 Gideon Stahlberg, Gothenburg 1955, French Defence 88
Game 14 Laszlo Szabo, Stockholm 1952, Blumenfeld Gambit 60
Game 94 Mikhail Tal, Moscow 1975, Pirc Defence 36082
Game 96 Mikhail Tal, Moscow 1976, Sicilian Defence 36883
Game 120 Mikhail Tal, Sochi 1986, Ruy Lopez 426
Game 7 Wolfgang Unzicker, Stockholm 1952, Slav Defence 4441
Game 121 Anatoly Vaisser, New Delhi 1987, French Defence 429
Game 4 Josif Vatnikov, Kiev 1950, Sicilian Defence 3112
Game 77 Dragoljub Velimirovic, Havana 1971, King’s Indian Defence 29650
Game 10 Robert Wade, Stockholm 1952, King’s Indian Defence 51
Game 119 Andronico Yap, Moscow 1986, Sicilian Defence 424
Nemesis – Geller Black
Game 66 Jan Adamski, Lugano 1968, King’s Indian Defence 25756
Game 103 Alexander Beliavsky, Minsk 1979, Queen’s Gambit 38746
Game 84 Peter Biyiasas, Petropolis 1973, Sicilian Defence 324
Game 5 Mikhail Botvinnik, Moscow 1951, Queen’s Pawn Opening 3566
Game 6 Mikhail Botvinnik, Budapest 1952, King’s Indian Defence 4067
Game 18 Mikhail Botvinnik, Moscow 1955, Queen’s Gambit 7468
Game 69 Mikhail Botvinnik, Belgrade 1969, King’s Indian Defence 26669
Game 17 Max Euwe, Zurich 1953, King’s Indian Defence 7065
Game 34 Robert Fischer, Curacao 1962, Sicilian Defence 13496
Game 38 Robert Fischer, Curacao 1962, Sicilian Defence 150
Game 58 Robert Fischer, Monte Carlo 1967, Sicilian Defence 22298
Game 62 Robert Fischer, Skopje 1967, Sicilian Defence 23799
Game 125 Erno Gereben, Budapest 1952, Sicilian Defence 44013
Game 59 Florin Gheorghiu, Moscow 1967, Sicilian Defence 228
Game 8 Harry Golombek, Stockholm 1952, King’s Indian Defence 47
Game 74 Robert Hübner, Palma de Mallorca 1970, Ruy Lopez 2829
Game 104 Shimon Kagan, Skara 1980, Sicilian Defence 390
Game 105 Nino Kirov, Skara 1980, Reti Opening 392
Game 36 Viktor Korchnoi, Curacao 1962, Grünfeld Defence 14257
Game 41 Viktor Korchnoi, Moscow 1963, King’s Indian Defence 15953
Game 2 Samuel Kotlerman, Odessa 1949, King’s Indian Defence 2551
Game 123 Alexander Kotov, Moscow 1949, King’s Indian Defence 43452
Game 68 Viktor Kupreichik, Moscow 1969, Ruy Lopez 2638
Game 45 Levente Lengyel, Beverwijk 1965, English Opening 17761
Game 134 William Lombardy, Siegen 1970 469
Game 85 Henrique Mecking, Petropolis 1973, Sicilian Defence 328
Game 57 Yuri Nikolaevsky, Tbilisi 1966/67, King’s Indian Defence 21762
Game 49 Bruno Parma, Havana 1965, Ruy Lopez 1925
Game 3 Tigran Petrosian, Moscow 1949, King’s Indian Defence 2985
Game 31 Tigran Petrosian, Moscow 1961, King’s Indian Defence 12087
Game 126 Herman Pilnik, Gothenburg 1955, Sicilian Defence 44316
Game 109 Lev Psakhis, Sochi 1982, Ruy Lopez 401
Game 132 Samuel Reshevsky, Zurich 1953 465
Game 111 Oleg Romanishin, Sochi 1983, Sicilian Defence 407
Game 11 Luis Sanchez, Stockholm 1952, King’s Indian Defence 53
Game 19 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow (7) 1955, King’s Indian Defence 7870
Game 32 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow 1961, London System 12572
Game 90 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow 1973, Ruy Lopez 34678
Game 92 Vasily Smyslov, Moscow 1974, Sicilian Defence 35379
Game 25 Boris Spassky, Amsterdam 1956, Queen’s Gambit 9689
Game 42 Boris Spassky, Moscow 1964, Ruy Lopez 16491
Game 63 Boris Spassky, Sukhumi (4) 1968, Sicilian Defence 244
Game 55 Leonid Stein, Kislovodsk 1966, Ruy Lopez 2113
Game 56 Leonid Stein, Moscow 1966, King’s Indian Defence 21454
Game 27 Mikhail Tal, Riga 1958, Ruy Lopez 106
Game 35 Mikhail Tal, Curacao 1962, Queen’s Pawn Opening 13980
Game 54 Mikhail Tal, Kislovodsk 1966, Ruy Lopez 20881
Game 98 Mikhail Tal, Leningrad 1977, Ruy Lopez 375
Game 100 Mikhail Tal, Tbilisi 1978, Queen’s Gambit 37984
Game 81 Jan Timman, Hilversum 1973, Queen’s Gambit 31345
Game 29 Wolfgang Uhlmann, Dresden 1959, King’s Indian Defence 113
Game 73 Wolfgang Uhlmann, Palma de Mallorca 1970, King’s Indian Defence 27855
Game 116 Rob Witt, Baden-Baden 1985, Queen’s Gambit 419
Game 70 Samuel Zhukhovitsky, Moscow 1970, Ruy Lopez 2694

18 thoughts on “A comparison between THE NEMESIS and THE APPLICATION OF CHESS THEORY”

  1. I have Application of Chess Theory (the Cadogan edition) and also The Nemesis. No sane person could read these books and claim they are the same.

  2. I have them both too and agree with Morten. Nemesis is a great book with great games by a
    fierce attacking player, both a truthseeker and a true artist in one. A shame Jacob had to waste his time to confront this issue.

  3. I’m currently reviewing this book. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and will be warmly recommending it. It is obvious that there was no plagiarism from ACT, but this tabular comparison is nevertheless very helpful – thank you, Jacob. What puzzles me, though, given that handful of games in ACT that do not appear in Nemesis, plus Geller’s annotations for Chess Informant which are also omitted from Nemesis, is the claim (made in both prefaces, by John Shaw and Maxim Notkin) that the Quality Chess book provides Geller’s ‘complete works’. That would seem not to be the case – or am I overlooking something? The absence of a list of sources likewise strikes me as a pity – but maybe that could be added on the website in due course? I hasten to add for any potential readers that these are relatively minor quibbles about a superb book.

  4. @James Vigus

    Hi James, when we published The Nemesis we thought it contained every annotated game Geller ever did. And the Russian publisher thought the same. And yet, there are 14 games in “Application…” that are not in Nemesis.

    My best guess is that these 14 were never published in Russian, so the Russian publisher never had them. Some of the 14 seem to be similar to wordless Chess Informant analysis, except with words added. Others of the 14 are not from Chess Informant, so I don’t know where they came from.

    Summary: we thought we had Geller’s complete works, but seems we were wrong. Sorry about that. Correct would have been “almost complete and with some material never seen in English before”. At least, that’s what I believe now.

    Sources – what the Russian publisher said (and we quoted in the book) was:
    “The present edition incorporates Geller’s annotations to games that appeared in the books Grandmaster Geller and How to Beat the Champions, and others scattered among the pages of the periodical press from the 1970s to the 90s. It thus constitutes the “complete works” of this illustrious chessplayer.”

    We don’t have more detailed info (e.g. which periodicals?) of what game came from where. The book titles above are translations of Russian-language books.

  5. Hi John, thanks for explaining. Curious that an editor (Notkin) should make such a claim without explaining the omissions – especially when his analytical work appears so scrupulous.

  6. Hans-Georg Kleinhenz

    Hi Jacob, you ask whether it was Geller’s idea to group the games according to openings or done by someone else. It was Geller’s idea.

    On page vii of the first edition of ACT he writes:
    ‘The games are grouped in a rather unusual way – according to opening. This is not by accident. All my life I have been working on the problems of chess theory, and to a certain extent such a grouping enables the book to be regarded as a “report on the work carried out”. But the main thing is that, by playing through a whole group of games played, for example, with the Sicilian Defence, I think that simultaneously the reader will be able to master a whole series of stratagems, typical of the given opening.’

  7. I own ACT, but intend to purchase this book in any event (thank you to QC for compiling it). I’d like to know whether the pending paperback edition will include any updates and/or revisions associated with comments and questions raised here. If so, I would be inclined to wait. If not, well, I am fond of hardbacks and will order promptly.

  8. Useful post – I didn’t buy this recently because I thought it was largely a reprint of Application of Chess Theory, will be reconsidering now

  9. Hi Jacob,

    I was one of the original comments that asked regarding the topic of “duplication” with AOCT. I have it and its one of the best game collections out there.

    Generally speaking when you look at doing a book which retranslates, republishes, etc… whatever you want to call it. I look for the following attributes to see if I am interested purchasing it.
    1. Did the new author/publisher cover more new games than already exist in a book I already have from the author himself?
    2. If the answer to #1 is no, then did they (re)annotate all the games themselves from a new author?
    3. If the answer to #1 is no, then did they add to the original authors annotations with modern interpretations, ala the Keres books with John Nunn. Out of the 3, this is my preferred option.


  10. I bought Nemesis as Hardcover book and i saw original prequels in both – english and russian language.

    Core of book is in previous books, but there is new material too.
    Highly questionable are new comments, which often corrects wrong original analysis – its very hard to include them and dont damage original comments – i think, taht in Nemesis it is done quit good way, however time to time I have feeling, that choosen way of new comments (witg help of engines) is not optimal.

    Buth there is one thing, which annoy me – there is quite lot of errors in notation – i didnt count them exactly, but there must be at least 15 errors in notation.

    Last, but not least – at the beginnig of book there is part, which included Geller-Kortchnoi game from Candidates – 24.Bxh5 gh 26.Rf6 is draw, 24.Qe3 probably give white some advantaga, played 24.h3 is probably second best move in position but only in connection with 24…Bf8 25.Qe1! and the best is 24.Rd4!! with big advantage (paradoxicaly after 24..Nf8 is 25.h3! very strong now, probably 24..h4 is slightly better move)

    1. There will always be mistakes in books. Notation is a big problem with older books. We do what we can. I am happy to admit that we do not win this battle every time. We find a lot of mistakes, but I doubt we will ever get a situation where we find them all.

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