There's a fair few stories about Gheorghiu, so much so that it's a surprise to come across a new one (where "new" means "one that I had not heard before"). But the other day I was discussing chess with my friend Sean Terry who, in the course of this discussion, sent me a link that contained just such a anecdote. Related by former Irish international Nick Patterson and involving the 1970 Olympiad, it:
involved my game with Gheorghiu. He got a winning endgame but misplayed it in time pressure and on adjournment I thought I was drawing. Gheorghiu then leaned across the board:Ho ho: a shame Hartston didn't, apparently, know this one either, as it might have made a good companion piece to the story (mentioned in our earlier piece) of the English player conned into agreeing a draw.
Gheorghiu: You should resign!
Patterson: (No reply.)
Gheorghiu: I am a strong grandmaster, I move my pawns up the board and what can you do?
Patterson: (No reply.)
On analysing during the adjournment I realised that I could force an easily drawn R+P v R ending and so it proved on resumption. I think Gheorghiu knew very well the adjournment was a draw and figured that he would try and bluff before the Irish weakie figured the position out!
So I thought I'd reproduce the story here, complete with the game. But when I looked it up, on the Chessbase online database - no such game appeared to exist. There was a game Patterson-Gheorghiu all right, and that game ended in a draw. But it only lasted fourteen moves and ended in the early middlegame. Like so:
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nge2 d5 6.a3 Be7 7.Nf4 dxc4 8.Bxc4 e5 9.Nfe2 exd4 10.exd4 a6 11.0-0 0-0 12.Qd3 Bd6 13.f3 b5 14.Bb3 Ne5I checked for other online sources, notably Olimpbase but they had the same game, or rather the same gamescore (click on 1/2-1/2). Which seemed to make a nonsense of the anecdote. Or at least, created a small mystery.
Knowing that there was a book written on the Siegen Olympiad (moreover, one part-authored by Ray Keene and therefore of unsurpassable authority) but being stranded many hundreds of miles away - one imagines - from the nearest accessible copy, I asked on the English Chess Forum whether anybody had the book and could see if it contained the gamescore. It doesn't.
Nil desperandum: John Saunders, editor of the British Chess Magazine, turns out to have all the bulletins of that Olympiad including the Patterson-Gheorghiu game which precisely fitted the description Nick Patterson had given it. And so we provide it, for your enjoyment, below. Only a draw, but then again it was Nick's Ireland teammate, Wolfgang Heidenfeld, who wrote the much-admired Draw!
The smallest of mysteries, perhaps. Nevertheless it's nice to be able to correct the historical record where it is wrong. Apparently StarBase does have the correct score: so maybe those sources which currently have it wrong will be able to put that right.
Thanks to the people who offered assistance including Mark Orr, Richard James and John Upham and indeed Nick Patterson: and thanks again to John. The mystery is solved - but in its resolution, a new one is created. How did the fourteen-move game become associated with Patterson-Gheorghiu in the first place? And given that it wasn't played between Patterson and Gheorghiu - who, if anybody, played it?