Paul Keres

In Vol2 of “Paul Keres’ best games” by Varnusz, a lot of games are won by smoother, better development in the opening than his opponent. I’d say most of them involve marvelous sacs, but I am going to show one that doesn’t, that illustrates the idea of better development more simply.

Grob vs Keres 1936

By move 15, Black is down two pawns and probably already has a winning advantage based on superior development. By move 20, White has played the final blunder by playing 20.Nxe4?? (allowing Black to capture a developed piece) instead of 20.Nf1 (allowing for further piece development by freeing up d2 for another piece).

The thing to note here is the question “How many Class A players would think they have a winning position here as Black while two pawns down?” There were many other possible continuations during this game where this same sort of advantage had to be measured as well, development vs. material. It seems if the queen is running around to grab pawns while Black develops, then -+ or =+ is frequently the result. How many class players can make this type of assessment? Very few, and the few that can probably have weak endgame skills or they wouldn’t still be Class players.

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3 thoughts on “Paul Keres

  1. Indeed an interesting game. Somehow I must say that white didn’t play that good. A move like 10. c3 (for playing eventually b4) doesn’t look like a good defence to me. Also casteling short looks suspicious.

    Nevertheless black did play it perfectly and gave a good showing of how to bring pieces into play the active way. Thanks for showing this game, I hope that one day I can play like Keres did in this game.

  2. Hey LinuxGuy!

    I have just started reading through Keres’ own 2nd volume of his own games. (the version edited by Nunn)

    Great games and great annotations!

    Have you ever checked out Leonid Stein?

    He was a cool player that died young. He may have been a good foil for Fischer.

  3. No, I think Fischer would have done well against Leonid Stein. Truth was everything to Fischer, and Stein liked to sac and gamble a bit. Karpov and Kasparov would have been the real test against Fischer.

    TommyG, I think it would be great to read some of Keres’ own annotations! He is a great player to follow. I thought, even back many many years ago, over 10, when I read M60MG, that Keres was the stronger player, but Fischer had more willpower and could focus really well at the end of the game, after 60+ moves when most would make a mistake. I sort of think that all of those Soviet players were better than Fischer, but that Fischer had incredible endurance and focus, he could analyze correctly and see problems on move 65 or so still. The great players like Spassky also had this ability, this stamina. Keres had it too, but that is why Fischer was so hard to beat, hardly ever a letdown moment late in the game.

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