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Max Euwe vs Paul Keres
FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948), The Hague NED, rd 1, Mar-02
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C75)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: 28. ... Rxe4! it's not very often you get to see the 'fork trick' in the middlegame :)
Jan-30-04  Catfriend: And don't forget all that comes after this! A legendary game!
Jul-16-04  Geronimo: Czech GM Jansa refers to Keres' contribution to the Modern Steinitz - and this game shows off what he's talking about. But stuff the opening, the tactical play in this is pretty awe-inspiring: Lots of fireworks from both sides.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Euwe lost on time in the final position, but was lost in any case. Keres missed the quick win 39...Nf3+! (both rook and g-pawn are pinned)
Jun-06-05  babakova: Euwes problems begin when he plays 27.Qd3, which overlooks the fork some moves down the line. However it IS possible to recapture with the pawn instead of the queen eventhough it might look antipositional and weak strategically.

After 32...Rd3! white is truly busted, all the black pieces come into the game with great power. 33.Qxe4?? is obviously easily refuted with Qe2 which wins a piece. Fritz thinks Euwe is stupid for playing 34.Qxe4+, but the game is already lost even if he would play 34.Qc2 Rc3 35.Qb2 Rh3! (the key move) 36.Qc2 f5 37.g3 Nf3+ and resignation is in order.

Whats funny about this game is how many quick wins Keres misses, notably 39...Nf3+ that just crashes through and also preferring the weird looking 55...h5 before 55...Ne3+ (patzer sees check, patzer makes check) which actually mates some moves later.

Nov-18-06  amuralid: <babakova>, I too got 39...Nf3+. Its surprising Keres missed that. But I guess GMs know how to win as long as they have a small winning advantage.
Aug-15-07  waddayaplay: The position after 55..h5 is probably simpler to assess than 55..Ne3+. It is clear that after Qf4 Ne3+ Kh2 h4, white will lose. I had to ask my computer to find the mate after 55..Ne3+ (which is ♔h2 ♕f2 ♕c6 ♘f1+ ♔h1 ♘g3+ ♔h2 ♘e2 etc)
Mar-07-08  Knight13: Keres knew how to pull out a win in what seemed a very safe game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: 39...Nf3+ 40.Kf2 Rxf1+ 41.Ke3 Qh4
Aug-13-09  xombie: Pure genius. The best thing about Keres's games are that they are so accessible. But boy, if I could think with such imagination I'd be a happy man! For example, 33. Rd3! and now if Qxe3 then Qe2 (very elegant) and the bishop is pinned.

He deliberately allows Qxe4+ to divert it off e5 by f5. The queen must stay on the long diagonal or its mate. Another beauty was c6!, followed by Rxc3! with the same theme (I think every move there deserves a !! but obviously, the concept was simple).

Wonderful wonderful game. Is this there in the Quest for perfection? I am reading Road to the top now.

Aug-13-09  xombie: Also interesting is that Keres plays in this trappy way and gets so many GMs (for example, Keres-Fine). Here Qc4 was probably a mistake. Instead maybe Qa7 on view of the Qe2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 28.Qxc4 and 33.Bc1 paved the way to disaster for white. 28.bxc4 was a lesser evil and instead of 33.Bc1 white should have played 33.h3 Qg3 34.Bf2 Qxf4 35.Be1 with advantage of black but practical chances on draw for white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 35...c6 is pretty but 35...Rc3 with idea 36.Bb2 c6 was by far more precise. 37...Rc5?! instead of much better 37...Rc2! 38.Bd2 Rc5! was quite serious inaccuracy, which could complicate a bit black's win, if Euwe would have found better 39.Qf2 instead of 39.h3??, which could have been followed by immediate coup de grace 39...Nf3+! The fact, that Keres missed it may suggest that he was not in his best shape in the 1948 WCh tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: 35... ? Would be a good Thursday/Friday puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "... both opponents were in <time trouble>, meaning they were forced to play extremely fast, as their allotted thinking time (two-and-a-half hours for 40 moves) was running out. Although Keres only had seconds left, he managed to spot the opportunity to win a piece."

< 38... Rxc1 39. h3>

Black now replied 39...Qg3 in a flash, and went on to win on the 56th move. Had it not been for the time trouble, < 39...Nf3+! > would not have escaped his attention

-- Maizelis, The Soviet Chess Primer

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Wow, as many people have pointed out, 39...Nf3+...

click for larger view a cracker of a move! I'll bet that Keres kicked himself for not seeing it. Or perhaps he did see it but in time trouble thought it was safer to play any non-losing move to be certain of reaching the time-control.

I feel sorry for Euwe in this tournament. He went into it with very high hopes, and, paradoxically, he played very well! But he was up against some very strong, professional, determined and ambitious Grandmasters who were totally ruthless against laissez-faire play, and Dr Euwe was totally overrun.

Jun-30-18  mifralu: Photo:

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