Paul Keres was born 105 years ago

Paul Keres was born 105 years ago

Paul Keres (Narva, 1916. január 7. – Helsinki, 1975. június 5.) észt sakknagymester, Észtország négyszeres, a Szovjetunió háromszoros bajnoka, csapatban hétszeres, egyéniben hatszoros olimpiai aranyérmes, csapatban és egyéniben háromszoros Európa-bajnok, sakkszakíró, teoretikus, a sakkfeladványszerzés mestere.

The greatest Estonian chess player, one of the world’s first Grandmasters, Paul Keres (1916-1975) was born 105 years ago today, on January 7, 1916.

[Event “EU-chT (Men) 02nd”] [Site “Oberhausen”] [Date “1961.06.23”] [Round “3.3”] [White “Hort, Vlastimil”] [Black “Keres, Paul”] [Result “0-1”] [ECO “C71”] [Annotator “Keres, Paul”] [PlyCount “106”] [EventDate “1961.06.20”] [EventType “team”] [EventRounds “10”] [EventCountry “GER”] [SourceTitle “EU-chT”] [Source “ChessBase”] [SourceDate “1999.07.01”] [SourceVersion “2”] [SourceVersionDate “1999.07.01”] [SourceQuality “1”] [WhiteTeam “Czechoslovakia”] [BlackTeam “Soviet Union”] [WhiteTeamCountry “CSR”] [BlackTeamCountry “URS”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. d4 ({If White does not intend to
play a gambit with the text-move, the continuations} 5. c3 {or}) (5. Bxc6+ bxc6
6. d4 {are more promising.}) 5… b5 6. Bb3 Nxd4 7. Nxd4 exd4 8. Bd5 ({It is
interesting to observe that this tame continuation is employed time and again,
despite the fact that with it White can only hope for equality. Given that
White wishes to handle the opening in modest style and is merely aiming at an
eventual draw, then here} 8. c3 {is much more to the point. If Black replies}
dxc3 {then White can make sure of a draw by repetition of moves with} 9. Qd5
Be6 10. Qc6+ Bd7 11. Qd5 Be6 {; of course, it is also possible to sacrifice a
pawn after 8…dxc3.}) 8… Rb8 9. Bc6+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Qxd7 11. Qxd4 Nf6 12. O-O
Be7 13. Nc3 O-O 14. a4 ({This position has already occurred many time in
tournament practice and it has been demonstrated that Black has an excellent
game. Usually White develops the c1-bishop here, but he must avoid some snags
in so doing. Thus, for example, after} 14. Bg5 b4 {he would be forced to make
the ignominious retreat 15.Nd1 since} 15. Nd5 $2 {would lead to the loss of a
piece after} Nxd5 16. Qxd5 Rb5) ({After} 14. Bd2 {Black obtained uncomfortably
strong pressure in the game Stoltz-Alekhine, Bled 1931, by} Rfe8 15. Qd3 b4 16.
Ne2 Qc6 {The text-move attempts to instil fresh life in the variation, but it
is not crowned with success.}) 14… Rfe8 15. Qd3 {A preceding exchange on b5
would be of no help to White since the open a-file can easily fall into
Black’s hands. In addition, the object of attack on a6 would disappear.} b4 16.
Nd5 a5 17. b3 ({An inaccuracy that weakens the long diagonal and soon allows
Black to seize the initiative. The natural development of a piece by} 17. Bf4 {
was much better, although then} Nxd5 18. Qxd5 Bf6 {might perhaps have a rather
disturbing effect.}) (17. Nxe7+ Qxe7 18. Re1 {also came into consideration.})
17… Nxd5 18. exd5 Bf6 19. Rb1 c5 $1 {Here this move is very good since after
20.dxc6 Qxc6 White’s weakness on c2 turns out to be much more of a handicap
than his opponent’s on d6. 19…c6 was also possible, so as to force the
opening of the c-file.} 20. Bf4 Be5 21. Be3 ({White conducts the middlegame
with a certain lack of logic. It is clear that his bishop will play an
unimportant role hereafter, and therefore} 21. Bxe5 {was in order. True, Black
would also stand a little better after} Rxe5 22. Rfe1 Rbe8 {on account of his
control of the e-file, but any particular danger for White would not exist.})
21… Rbc8 $1 {Threatening 22… c4 23. bxc4 Qxa4; in order to prevent this
White must allow the enemy queen to get to f5.} 22. Qc4 Qf5 23. Qb5 $2 {
White, having got into some difficulties, now loses his head. The desperate
counter-attack begun with the text-move is hopeless and should lead to a
speedy catastrophe. 23. Rbd1 should have been tried, so as to consolidate the
position by an eventual Rd3.} Qxc2 24. Qxa5 f5 $1 {This move is enormously
strong, since White has no satisfactory defence against the threat of 25…f4.
Therefore the game is already decided from the strategic point of view, but in
practice there are still some interesting developments to come.} 25. f3 Bb2 $5
({Here Black has a choice of favourable continuations and eventually decides
upon complications that are not by any means clear. He could have won a pawn
with a good position by} 25… Bxh2+ 26. Kxh2 Rxe3 {or he could have forced
White to allow him an all-important passed pawn in the centre by}) (25… f4
26. Bf2 Bd4 27. Bxd4 cxd4) ({However, simplest was} 25… Qd3 $1 {followed by
26…Qxd5, when Black would have pocketed a pawn with a good position, without
conceding the slightest counter-chance to his opponent.}) 26. Qa6 $1 {Very
well played. Hort had got into an absolutely lost position after playing the
first part of the game indifferently, but from now on he takes excellent
advantage of his counter-chances and in consequence the game follows a very
interesting course.} Qxb3 27. Bf2 c4 {In order to meet 28.Qxd6 with 28 … c3.
Had Black devoted more attention to the complications that now ensue, then he
would scarcely have opened up a path for the enemy bishop. 27… Qc2 was
better, followed eventually by …b3.} 28. Qb7 $1 Rb8 ({Now White even
threatens to win after} 28… c3 $2 29. Bd4 $1) ({White has suddenly obtained
counterplay, and, affected by shortage of time, Black does not find the right
method of strengthening his position. The simplest way of doing this was
probably by} 28… Qa3 $1 {threatening 29…b3 followed by 30…Bf6. If then}
29. Rfd1 {simply} Qxa4 {follows.}) 29. Qa7 Ra8 $2 ({Black falls victim to a
hallucination. He believes that} 29… Qc2 $1 {fails to} 30. Rxb2 Qxb2 31. Bd4
{but overlooks the winning parry} Rb7 $1) 30. Qb7 Reb8 {It was still not too
late to get back into the variation mentioned above by 30…Rab8. Now, however,
White obtains genuine counterplay.} 31. Qd7 Qc2 32. Qxd6 b3 33. Qe6+ Kh8 34. d6
Bf6 {In his strong passed d-pawn White has suddenly obtained a dangerous asset
that requires the most careful attention. Black cannot well play 34…Ba3 or
34…c3, since in both cases 35.Bd4 would leave White’s bishop in a very
active position and create dangerous threats on the g7-square. With both sides
in time-trouble, Black now embarks on an interesting combination that renders
the game highly complicated.} 35. Rfc1 {White had set his hopes on this move.
Is Black now really forced to surrender one of his proud passed pawns?} Qxc1+
$1 {A shocking surprise in time pressure. One must pay great and due credit to
Hort for the fact that, despite the unexpected nature of this sacrifice, he
does not lose his head and defends himself in the best fashion possible.} 36.
Rxc1 b2 37. Rb1 c3 38. Qe2 $1 {The only move. After 38.Qxf5 Rxa4 White no
longer would have an adequate defence against the threat of 39…Ra1.} Rxa4 39.
d7 h6 $2 {Under great time pressure Black misses the best continuation. The
threat of 40.Qe8+ should have been parried by 39…Rg8!, after which White
would have no good defence against the threat of 40…Ra1. An immediate
39…Raa8 was also better than the text-move, so as to give his king a safety
valve and only then to continue with …Ta1.} 40. Qe8+ Kh7 {The time pressure
over, White now had to seal his move. Owing to the threats of 41…c2 and
41…Ra1, his alternatives are limited to two continuations, viz. 41.Qxb8 and
41.d8Q. In practice it is not at all easy to find the right defence,
especially when one considers that both players had fought out a tough and
tense battle for five hours.} 41. d8=Q $2 ({Surprisingly enough, this natural
move, which not only attacks the rook on a4 but also threatens at least
perpetual check by 42.Qg8+, is the decisive mistake. Hort defended himself
well and resourcefully when in time-trouble, and now, when he once again has
sufficient time for thought, he commits a fatal error after long reflection.
He could have retained excellent chances of saving the game here by the correct
} 41. Qxb8 $1 {Black would have to play} c2 (41… Ra1 {would not suffice on
account of} 42. Rf1 $1 c2 43. Qxb2 $1 {when the white pawn on d7 would save
the day.}) 42. Qxb2 $1 Bxb2 43. Rf1 {Practically forced. Now the only way for
Black to retain winning chances lies in} Ra8 $1 44. Bb6 Ra1 45. d8=Q Rxf1+ 46.
Kxf1 c1=Q+ {Then, after} 47. Kf2 {Black can, for example, embark on an attack
with} Bc3 $1 {and this would probably gain him a pawn with good practical
winning chances. Be this as it may, one thing is clear – White must seize the
chance of playing 41.Qxb8!. With the text-move he probably reckons only with
41…c2, which would have led to perpetual check after 42.Qg8+. But something
quite different occurs.}) 41… Rxd8 $1 42. Qxa4 Rd2 $1 {The position that has
now arisen is very odd and perhaps the most curious that I have ever had in
the whole course of my long chess career. Black has only two pawns for the
queen, but these pawns are so strong that nothing can be done against the
threat of 43…c2.} 43. Rxb2 ({In his adjournment analysis Hort could find
nothing better than immediately returning the rook. In actual fact, an attempt
to save the game by} 43. Qb5 {would not work on account of} c2 {though Black’s
case would have been more difficult in this case.} 44. Qf1 $1 {Now matters are
not so simple.} ({Naturally} 44. Qxf5+ $2 {would now lose at once because of}
g6) 44… Rd5 $1 ({The straightforward continuation} 44… cxb1=Q 45. Qxb1 Rd6
{would not be good on account of} 46. Be3 Ra6 47. Kf2 g6 48. Qc2 $1 Bg7 49. Bc1
Rb6 50. Qb1 $1 {so Black must be more exact in dealing with the problem.}) {
After 44…Rd5 Black threatens 45…Ra5 in some variations, for example after
45.g4. Three main defensive possibilities come into consideration for White: 1)
} 45. Be3 cxb1=Q 46. Qxb1 Ra5 47. Kf2 Kg8 $1 48. Qc2 Ra1 49. Qc8+ Kf7 {and
White cannot obtain perpetual check. 2) 45.g3 cxb1Q 46.Qxb1 g6! 47.Kg2 Bg7 and
one cannot see how White can prevent the threatened transference of the rook
to a1. 3) 45.g4 (45.Re1 Bc3) 45.Ra5! 46. Rxb2 Bxb2 47.Be3 Ra1 48.Qxa1 Bxa1 49.
Bc1 fxg4 50.fxg4 Bf6 followed by 51…Bg5 and Black wins. The immediate
capture on b2 lightens Black’s task quite considerably, since he now gains an
important tempo for the execution of his winning plan.}) 43… cxb2 44. Qb3 Rd8
$1 {Now Black threatens 45…Ra8 against which there is nothing to be done.}
45. Qc2 Rb8 46. Qb1 {After 46.Qxf5+ Black wins by 46…Kh8 47.Qb1 Ra8 followed
by 48…Ra1.} g6 {There is no defence against the threat of 47…Ra8. White is
lacking just one tempo to get his king away from the back rank.} 47. g4 Ra8 48.
Kg2 Ra1 49. Qc2 b1=Q 50. Qc7+ Bg7 51. Bd4 Qf1+ 52. Kg3 f4+ 53. Kxf4 Qc1+ {
The game is not flawless, but contains so many original and interesting
moments that its inclusion in this collection is well justified. (Paul Keres:
The Quest for Perfection, Batsford 1997, p.162-168)} 0-1