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Oscar Panno vs Paul Keres
Amsterdam Candidates (1956), Amsterdam NED, rd 16, Apr-25
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Hedgehog Defense (A30)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-17-09  Dredge Rivers: Now, in this one Keres and Smyslov are tied for first place, with Bronstein and Geller 1/2 game back. With Smyslov facing Bronstein, you'd think this would be the time for Keres to come out agressive. (Panno was in next to last place at the time.) He didn't. After Smyslov prevailed in his game, Keres was suddenly behind the 8-ball.
Dec-05-15  zydeco: <Dredge Rivers> Agreed. For all their pugnacity within the games themselves, these Soviet stars could be weirdly laidback when it came to tournament strategy.

Three theories: 1.These long elite tournaments were so taxing that they took short draws almost out of mental health considerations -- knocking that they would crack later on if they didn't give themselves rest days. 2. They got completely carried away with point-counting. Here, for instance, Keres may have decided that he shouldn't waste his energy trying to beat Smyslov; or beating Panno with black, because he figured that he was certain to beat Filip with white. Which was almost a smart decision -- except that he lost a winning position to Filip. 3. They had a sportsman's attitude. Where Americans love the old college try even in desperate situations, these guys sort of felt that it was beneath their dignity to try and scratch out a win if they didn't have an advantage on the board.

In any event, the whole thought process turned out to be something of a miscalculation, since players like Fischer, Larsen, and Korchnoi began to post consistently better tournament results than the old Soviet stars -- in part because the younger generation played every game to win and didn't needlessly give away half-points.

All that being said, in this game there's actually very little for Keres to play for in the final position.

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