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Paul Keres vs Pal Benko
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 20, Jun-09
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Resignation Trap: Pal Benko wrote: "In the hunt for first place [at Curacao 1962, Keres'] demise effectively began during our third game with him playing White against my Sicilian. I got the better game, but I spoiled my chances by incorrectly sacrificing a piece in horrible time pressure. This left me with nothing better than a perpetual check. With only seconds to spare, I made the move that forced the perpetual, but it was slightly off-square. He punched my clock and said, "Adjust the pieces!" Surprised, my clock ticked for a second or two before I realized what was going on. Then I desperately reached out to fix the position of the piece, glanced at the clock, and watched in horror as my flag fell and I was forfeited.

I didn't complain, but I was very angry and thought "I'm going to beat this guy when it's the most painful for him." Sure enough, our final game was critical to his whole career, since a draw would allow him to conduct a playoff against Petrosian to see who played Botvinnik for the World Championship, while a win would make him the outright challenger."

For the continuation of this story go to: Benko vs Keres, 1962 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: It is interesting to note that it was move 38 when Benko's flag fell.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: For what it's worth, a slightly different acount of the conclusion to this game from that related above by <Resignation Trap> is given in Jan Timman's book, Curacao 1962 (New in Chess 2005). (I obviously have no idea which version is more accurate.):

Per Timman's book (at pp. 149-150): ""Benko was so nervous when making this move [38. ... ♗c5+] that he knocked over a few pieces. Keres immediately pressed the clock again to force his opponent to put them back in his own time. He had no time to spare, however, because Black's flag fell. You won't find this story in the bulletin; Benko told it 40 years later during the yearly Open tournament on Curacao, adding that Keres's behaviour had so annoyed him that he swore to beat the Estonian in the last part of the tournament, which indeed he did."

During their first three encounters at Curacao 1962 (which was a quadruple round robin), Keres had a perfect 3-0 versus Benko (including this game), but Benko won their game in the penultimate (27th) round: Benko vs Keres, 1962, which denied Keres a chance for a World Championship match against Botvinnik. (Keres finished one-half point behind Petrosian in the final standings at Curacao.)

BTW, although I am not certain of the rule, I am more confident that Keres would have been within his rights starting Benko's clock if pieces had been knocked over than if the moved piece (Black's dark-square Bishop) merely needed adjustment to be centered on its square.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: This game has some relevance to yesterday's events.
Dec-27-13  avidfan: From the final position, how does Black win?
Premium Chessgames Member
  DrGridlock: <avidfan> Black cannot win in the final position. However, he may obtain a draw by continuining to give check with his queen and bishop.

39.Kh2 Bd6+ 40.Kg1 Bc5+

39.bxc5 Qxc5+ 40.Kf1 Qc4+ 41.Kg1 Qc5+

Dec-27-13  DrChopper: 31.Qe1+ seems fine for black. 32.Qf1 Bh2+ 33.Kg2 Re2+ 34.Bf2 Qd2 35.Rxb6 Be5 36.Rb4 and black have the advantage. Or 32.Kg2 Re2+ 33.Bf2 Qxf2+ 34.Qxf2 Bxf2 35.Kf3 Rxb2 and black have a huge advantage.
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