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Paul Keres
Number of games in database: 2,065
Years covered: 1929 to 1975
Overall record: +1034 -208 =816 (70.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      7 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (193) 
    B20 B50 B36 B62 B43
 Ruy Lopez (184) 
    C86 C78 C97 C83 C87
 French Defense (97) 
    C02 C07 C05 C10 C03
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (88) 
    C86 C97 C87 C88 C93
 Caro-Kann (63) 
    B10 B14 B18 B11 B13
 English (47) 
    A14 A15 A16 A13 A10
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (232) 
    C72 C92 C79 C99 C73
 Nimzo Indian (126) 
    E32 E43 E41 E45 E20
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (108) 
    C92 C99 C97 C96 C84
 Queen's Pawn Game (87) 
    A46 E00 D02 E10 A40
 Queen's Indian (66) 
    E15 E19 E12 E17 E14
 English, 1 c4 e5 (42) 
    A23 A28 A29 A22 A20
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Keres vs Szabo, 1955 1-0
   Euwe vs Keres, 1940 0-1
   Keres vs Geller, 1962 1-0
   Keres vs Verbac, 1933 1-0
   Keres vs W Winter, 1935 1-0
   Keres vs Alekhine, 1937 1-0
   A Karu vs Keres, 1931 0-1
   Keres vs Spassky, 1955 1-0
   Fine vs Keres, 1938 0-1
   Hort vs Keres, 1961 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1947)
   USSR Championship (1950)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   Hastings 1957/58 (1957)
   Budapest (1952)
   Buenos Aires (1939)
   Gothenburg Interzonal (1955)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   USSR Championship (1940)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   Kemeri (1937)
   Bled (1961)
   USSR Championship (1949)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Keres! by amadeus
   Keres' Whirligigs by chocobonbon
   challenger of 48 Keres by Gottschalk
   The Road to the Top & The Quest for Perfection by Bidibulle
   Veliki majstori saha 20 KERES (1916-1975) by Chessdreamer
   Paul Keres "Valitud Partiid" by Legend
   Keres vs World & Almost Champions Decisive Games by visayanbraindoctor
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Paul Keres by Legend
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   A few Keres games by Catfriend
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by suenteus po 147
   WCC Index [Candidates Tournament 1959] by Resignation Trap
   WCC Index [Curacao 1962] by Hesam7

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Paul Keres
Search Google for Paul Keres

(born Jan-07-1916, died Jun-05-1975, 59 years old) Estonia
[what is this?]
Paul Petrovich Keres (pronounced CARE-ess) was born in Estonia, where he would reside his entire life. He was very active in correspondence chess throughout his youth, and soon began to make a name for himself at over-the-board play as well with a series of tournament victories culminating with a tie for first at AVRO (1938). He was thrice Soviet Champion, in 1947 [rusbase-1], 1950 [rusbase-2], and 1951 [rusbase-3]. In 1948, Keres participated in the World Championship tournament to determine a successor to Alexander Alekhine. He finished joint third. This turned out to be the only opportunity he would ever have to play for the world title--he finished second five times in the Candidates' tournaments over the next fifteen years, but was never able to win one.

He scored 13½/14 at the 11th Olympiad in 1954 (1) and in 1963 he won at Los Angeles (sharing the first place with Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian). He suffered a fatal heart attack on the way home from a tournament in Vancouver in 1975, at the age of fifty-nine.

Keres was the player who have defeated the largest number of world champions, no less than 9: Capablanca ( Alekhine Euwe Botvinnik Smyslov Tal Petrosian Spassky and Fischer

With his five second-place finishes in Candidates events and his results against world champions, Keres was often known as "Paul, the Second" and "The Uncrowned King".

A list of books about Keres can be found at

References: (1) Wikipedia article: World records in chess , (2) Wikipedia article: Paul Keres

 page 1 of 83; games 1-25 of 2,065  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. I Raud vs Keres  ½-½54 1929 Parnu, Parnu-ViljandiE10 Queen's Pawn Game
2. Keres vs I Raud 0-140 1929 Parnu, Parnu-ViljandiC54 Giuoco Piano
3. Keres vs R Pruun 1-043 1931 Tartu, Est jr chB12 Caro-Kann Defense
4. L Norvid vs Keres 0-125 1931 Tartu, Est jr chC12 French, McCutcheon
5. Keres vs Molder 1-024 1931 Tartu, Est jr chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. R Pruun vs Keres 0-124 1931 Tartu, Est jr chE60 King's Indian Defense
7. A Karu vs Keres 0-127 1931 corrD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
8. Keres vs I Raud 1-029 1931 Tartu, Est jr chB34 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
9. Keres vs M Villemson  ½-½47 1932 Deutsche Schz 133/A corrD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Keres vs A Peet 1-019 1932 Moisakula Moisak-ParnuC25 Vienna
11. E Kiiver vs Keres 0-158 1932 Tartu, Est jr chE20 Nimzo-Indian
12. Keres vs J Vilkins ½-½24 1932 corrC25 Vienna
13. Keres vs A Abel 1-061 1932 Parnu, Est jr chB01 Scandinavian
14. Keres vs E Verbak  1-017 1932 corrC00 French Defense
15. A Peet vs Keres  0-129 1932 Moisakula Moisak-ParnuD02 Queen's Pawn Game
16. Keres vs Tuul 1-033 1932 Tartu, Est jr chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
17. Keres vs Faltweber 1-018 1932 corrA06 Reti Opening
18. R Pruun vs Keres 0-133 1932 Parnu, Est jr chD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
19. Keres vs G Menke 1-062 1932 corresp.C33 King's Gambit Accepted
20. A Jurgens vs Keres 0-153 1932 Parnu, Est jr chD00 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Von Feilitzsch vs Keres 0-132 1932 corr ,/33C22 Center Game
22. Keres vs J Siitam 1-021 1932 Parnu, Est jr chC25 Vienna
23. Keres vs L Peterson 1-029 1932 Tartu, Est jr chB01 Scandinavian
24. Keres vs A Remmelgas  ½-½43 1932 Parnu, Est jr chD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. A Holm vs Keres 0-143 1932 Parnu, Est jr chC00 French Defense
 page 1 of 83; games 1-25 of 2,065  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Keres wins | Keres loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 35 OF 35 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-13-14  Rookiepawn: <sigh> it is funny how this:

<According to Valter Heuer ("The Troubled Years of Paul Keres, the Great Silent One”) "His 1942 Nazi newspaper interview was used for anti-Soviet propaganda". Please notice: that is not the same as saying he was a nazi, or even he made any propaganda. He took part of tournaments under the nazis and gave some interviews as he probably had no choice. Nobody can be condemned for not being a hero.>

becomes this:

<It's relevant to the fact that you claim the Nazis made use of some interviews given by Keres.>

I use a source, someone who is reliable because he has no need to lie regarding this matter.

It feels funny to explain to a self-declared "genius" the basic fact that you don't need to actually "see" something to give it credit. This lowers the debate level to some kind of retarded child drool: "You didn't see it, so you lie! Game over, 1-0! I am a genius!"

Leave apart the fact that I am clearly not blaming Keres, a point you get too late and repeat as your own.


Premium Chessgames Member
  docbenway: HeMateMe:Losing "1/4th of your country's population to death and deportation is a pretty awful thing. This makes the internment of Japanese Americans in California a bit more tame, by comparison, don't you think? They weren't deported, killed, or made to do slave labor. They had to live in isolated villages for a few years.

Disgraceful behavior by the USA, and unwarranted, but please don't compare it to the mass murders committed by Stalin."

The US and England are accomplices in Stalin's post WW2 mass murder campaign by shipping White Russians (Cossacks)back to Russia by the boat load for mass execution. This story has been suppressed into the 1970s. It's been told in a few books. It slowed down when Eisenhower and Montgomery finally refused to go along with it any more. I read about this yesterday in the NY Times, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Wikipedia after seeing Foley's War-The Russian house and wanting to know more.

Sep-17-14  Olavi: <docbenway>
In fact, of the thousands of Cossacks, who the British mainly captured in Austria, only a minority had ever been Soviet citizens. Many of them had fought in the Civil War of 1918-22, but they had not committed treason or anything like that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: So, was Keres the strongest player of his time never to be World Champion? He gets my vote for that title.

Perhaps followed by Rubinstein?

What about Schlechter? Bronstein?, Geller?, or L.Stein? There are other candidates, I'm sure.

Problem is, there are too many ways to measure chess greatness: Peak rating, average rating, tournament record, match record, percentage of losses, percentage of wins, records against top players of the time, etc.

Sep-17-14  Petrosianic: Keres is a strong contender, but not the lead pipe cinch people think. His main claims to fame were a) one first place tie in a supertournament, and b) the sympathy factor of finishing 2nd in four Candidates Tournaments. Anybody that close to the top for that long obviously could have been world champion.

Is there any feeling that he OUGHT to have been world champion, though? Nobody seems to know when that would have been. Unlike someone like Reshevsky, Keres was never #1 on the Chessmetrics List (although he was #2 for an eye-popping 52 months). So, when was his dominant period, exactly, when he stood out from the pack? No one's quite sure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <SteinitzLives> I put this question to the masses elsewhere a few years ago:

Sep-17-14  Petrosianic: Rubinstein did have the Sweet Spot. Say around 1908-1912, when he was super hot, and might very well have been the best in the world. Bronstein and Korchnoi I both feel should have won their respective matches, but I'm not sure they were really the best in the world (Botvinnik was 3 years out of practice, and Karpov was way ahead until he tired).

Here's a question. Where would Korchnoi's reputation be today if he had won in 1978, and then lost a rematch in 1979? He'd have been a world champion, and that's good. But would people look at him the same, or would they start to look down on him for "only" being champion a year?

Sep-18-14  Olavi: Keres did win four consecutive tournaments in 1950-52, including twice USSR ch, in what were the strongest tournaments of the time. (The order of the tournaments on the Chessmetrics site is incorrect.) And that run put him on the first board for the 1952 Olympiad. Perhaps he wasn't dominant, but undoubtedly nr. one.
Sep-18-14  Petrosianic: Okay, but then he didn't win the Candidates Tournament. That was the one time he didn't even finish second. So he did have his chance, unlike, say Rubinstein.
Sep-18-14  Olavi: Agree completely. He had his chance seven times, in fact. 1948-65: first time there was no playing Botvinnik, -50 off form, -53 -56 -59 -62 always second best to the player who would become World Champion, averiging much better than Smyslov; and 1965, there was Spassky. Yes, I am partial.
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: Can't believe I left off Korchnoi, he could challenge for top player never to be world champion for sure. Perhaps I just wanted to block out Karpov's dominance and the Soviet government's treatment of Korchnoi during that period, which in hindsight teaches a great deal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: I would vote for Keres as the first among Almost World Champions.

Budapest Candidates (1950)

1 Bronstein ** ½½ 01 ½1 11 1½ 01 ½½ 1½ ½1 12.0/18
2 Boleslavsky ½½ ** 1½ ½½ ½½ 1½ ½½ ½1 ½1 11 12.0/18
3 Smyslov 10 0½ ** ½½ 1½ ½1 01 ½1 ½½ ½½ 10.0/18
4 Keres ½0 ½½ ½½ ** ½½ 10 1½ ½½ ½1 ½½ 9.5/18
5 Najdorf 00 ½½ 0½ ½½ ** ½½ ½½ 11 ½1 ½½ 9.0/18
6 Kotov 0½ 0½ ½0 01 ½½ ** ½1 10 10 1½ 8.5/18
7 Stahlberg 10 ½½ 10 0½ ½½ ½0 ** ½½ ½½ ½½ 8.0/18
8 Lilienthal ½½ ½0 ½0 ½½ 00 01 ½½ ** 10 ½½ 7.0/18
9 Szabo 0½ ½0 ½½ ½0 ½0 01 ½½ 01 ** 10 7.0/18
10 Flohr ½0 00 ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ ½½ ½½ 01 ** 7.0/18

Zurich Candidates (1953)

1 Vasily Smyslov ** ½½ ½1 11 ½½ ½½ 11 ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ 11 1½ 18.0 2 David Bronstein ½½ ** 11 1½ ½½ ½½ ½0 ½½ 1½ ½½ ½½ 01 1½ ½½ ½½ 16.0 3 Samuel Reshevsky ½0 00 ** ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 10 ½½ ½1 ½1 1½ ½1 11 1½ 16.0 4 Paul Keres 00 0½ ½½ ** ½1 ½½ ½1 ½½ ½½ 0½ 11 1½ ½1 ½½ 11 16.0 5 Tigran Petrosian ½½ ½½ ½½ ½0 ** 0½ ½½ ½½ 00 ½½ ½½ 11 ½1 1½ 11 15.0 6 Miguel Najdorf ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ ** 00 1½ 1½ ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ 11 14.5 7 Efim Geller 00 ½1 ½½ ½0 ½½ 11 ** ½0 01 ½½ 01 1½ ½1 01 ½½ 14.5 8 Alexander Kotov ½1 ½½ 01 ½½ ½½ 0½ ½1 ** 10 1½ 00 10 1½ 0½ 01 14.0 9 Mark Taimanov ½½ 0½ ½½ ½½ 11 0½ 10 01 ** 10 ½½ ½½ ½0 0½ 11 14.0 10 Yuri Averbakh ½½ ½½ ½0 1½ ½½ ½1 ½½ 0½ 01 ** ½½ ½½ 0½ 11 00 13.5 11 Isaac Boleslavsky ½½ ½½ ½0 00 ½½ ½½ 10 11 ½½ ½½ ** ½0 ½½ ½1 ½½ 13.5 12 Laszlo Szabo ½½ 10 0½ 0½ 00 ½½ 0½ 01 ½½ ½½ ½1 ** 1½ ½½ 1½ 13.0 13 Svetozar Gligoric 0½ 0½ ½0 ½0 ½0 ½½ ½0 0½ ½1 1½ ½½ 0½ ** ½1 11 12.5 14 Max Euwe 00 ½½ 00 ½½ 0½ 1½ 10 1½ 1½ 00 ½0 ½½ ½0 ** 1½ 11.5 15 Gideon Stahlberg 0½ ½½ 0½ 00 00 00 ½½ 10 00 11 ½½ 0½ 00 0½ ** 8.0

Amsterdam Candidates (1956)

1 Smyslov ** ½½ ½½ 0½ ½½ ½1 11 ½1 1½ ½1 11½ 5000 2 Keres ½½ ** ½½ ½½ ½½ ½1 ½½ ½0 1½ 1½ 10 3500 =3 Szabó ½½ ½½ ** 1½ ½½ ½½ ½1 0½ ½½ 01 9½ 1310 =3 Spassky 1½ ½½ 0½ ** ½½ ½1 0½ ½½ ½½ ½1 9½ 1310 =3 Petrosian ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ ** 0½ 01 1½ ½½ 1½ 9½ 1310 =3 Bronstein ½0 ½0 ½½ ½0 1½ ** ½1 1½ ½½ ½1 9½ 1310 =3 Geller 00 ½½ ½0 1½ 10 ½0 ** 11 ½1 1½ 9½ 1310 =8 Filip ½0 ½1 1½ ½½ 0½ 0½ 00 ** 10 ½1 8 650 =8 Panno 0½ 0½ ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ ½0 01 ** 1½ 8 650 10 Pilnik ½0 0½ 10 ½0 0½ ½0 0½ 0½ 0½ ** 5 500

Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)

1.Tal XXXX 0010 ==== 01=1 1111 1=11 111= 111= 20 2.Keres 1101 XXXX 0=== 1==0 0101 ==11 1110 1111 18.5 3.Petrosian ==== 1=== XXXX ==0= 11== 0==1 100= =11= 15.5 4.Smyslov 10=0 0==1 ==1= XXXX ==10 0=10 =1=1 =011 15 5.Fischer 0000 1010 00== ==01 XXXX 10=1 ==10 =1=1 12.5 6.Gligoric 0=00 ==00 1==0 1=01 01== XXXX ==10 =1== 12.5 7.Olafsson 000= 0001 011= =0=0 10=0 ==01 XXXX 00=1 10 8.Benko 000= 0000 =00= =100 =0=0 =0== 11=0 XXXX 8

Curacao Candidates (1962)

1.Petrosian XXXX ==== ==== =1== ==11 ==1= 11=* =11= 17.5 2.Keres ==== XXXX ==== 0=1= ==1= 1110 1=1* =11= 17 3.Geller ==== ==== XXXX 11=0 ==1= ===1 =11* =11= 17 4.Fischer =0== 1=0= 00=1 XXXX 010= 01=1 =1=* 1=1= 14 5.Korchnoi ==00 ==0= ==0= 101= XXXX ===0 10=* 1111 13.5 6.Benko ==0= 0001 ===0 10=0 ===1 XXXX 10=* 011= 12 7.Tal 00=* 0=0* =00* =0=* 01=* 01=* XXXX 10=* 7 8.Filip =00= =00= =00= 0=0= 0000 100= 01=* XXXX 7

These original Candidates tournaments IMO were not only just as strong as today's recent ones, but were significantly longer, and more grueling physically and mentally. Keres not only is the only one to qualify and play in all of them, he takes second place 4 out of 5 times!

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: I think that Keres' best chance to become World Champion was in the 1962-63 cycle. He was edged out by Petrosian by only half a point in the Candidates. A little luck, winning a drawn game and drawing a lost one, might have propelled him to a title shot. I believe he probably would have beaten a declining Botvinnik in 1963. By then Keres would have been 47 but Botvinnik would have been even older at 52.

In the 1948 World Championship Tournament, Botvinnik was just too strong. But the Botvinnik that lost to Smyslov in 1957, Tal in 1960, and Petrosian in 1963 IMO would have more than even chances of losing to Keres too.

Had Euwe chosne Keres as his Challenger in 1937, I believe that Keres would also have won. In fact Keres did beat Euwe in a match just a couple of years later in 1939. Now if Euwe had never played Alekhine in a match in 1937, and his 1939 match with Keres happened to be the World Championship match, Keres would now be known as the 6th World Champion in chess history.

Interesting speculation but a pre WW2 Keres as World Champion would probably have been supported by the Soviet Union even after the war. As World Champion he would still have his choice of Soviet seconds and trainers, notwithstanding his participation in German organized tournaments in WW2.

As it is, the above probably resulted in mediocre to no support or even hostility by the Soviet chess establishment post WW2. It must have affected his performance in the 1948 WC Tournament. But if he were already the sitting World Champion, the Soviets most probably would have chosen the practical path and 'rehabilitated' and supported him fully.

Who knows how Botvinnik would have fared against this Keres in a World Championship match. Perhaps Botvinnik would never have ended up being World Champion at all.

Oct-02-14  Petrosianic: Mathematically, 1962 is certainly the closest Keres ever came to winning the Candidates. I happen to think his chances might have been a little better in 1959, though. He's closer to his prime then, and was really on fire in that tournament.

I know he finished farther back, but quite a lot of things could easily have been different. If Tal hadn't won that lost game against Fischer in the penultimate round, things might have gone differently in the last one. Meanwhile, Keres' second loss to Fischer was a really odd game that could easily have gone differently. Tal played great, but had several games that could have gone differently (he got a win and a draw from two lost games against Smyslov). I know that's Tal's style, to create opportunities in crazy positions, and it often worked for him, but things could always have gone differently.

Honestly, I don't think Keres was quite ready for Euwe in 1937. Chessmetrics for December 1937 has Keres at #8, Euwe at #2 (which is not conclusive, of course, but two years of development time is a lot at that age.) 1939/40 was very different than 1937. Even in the 1939/40 match, Keres' play was shaky, and he lost so many games to Euwe in his winning effort that it may have hurt his reputation a bit. He came nowhere near laying the smack on Euwe that Alekhine had.

Oct-02-14  Petrosianic: Another factor is that I feel that Botvinnik was playing better in the 1963 match than he was in 1960. So, if Keres could have qualified for 1960, his chances of becoming champion might have been better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Petrosianic: I happen to think his chances might have been a little better in 1959, though. He's closer to his prime then, and was really on fire in that tournament... Tal played great, but had several games that could have gone differently (he got a win and a draw from two lost games against Smyslov). I know that's Tal's style, to create opportunities in crazy positions, and it often worked for him, but things could always have gone differently.>

I know it's part of the game, but if Tal happened to be playing many Keres-like masters, who did not get intimidated by his objectively dubious attacks, Tal may have never won the tournament at all. In truth, Karpov's and Kasparov's run at the Interzonals and Candidates decades later impresses me more than Tal's did; their games were IMO objectively sounder. So yes, Keres also had good chances in this cycle.

<Honestly, I don't think Keres was quite ready for Euwe in 1937. Chessmetrics for December 1937 has Keres at #8, Euwe at #2 (which is not conclusive, of course, but two years of development time is a lot at that age.) 1939/40 was very different than 1937.>

According to the bio above, Keres was born in 1916, which would make him 21 in 1937. So you're right; Keres was probably too raw to beat a veteran Euwe in a match.

On the other hand, my assumption was that Euwe vs AAA 1937 did not push through. Who knows, they could have had a personal altercation (as what often happened between past World Champions), or Euwe suddenly decided he needed more money than was offered, or Euwe just decided to be selfish and keep and enjoy the Title safely for a few more years rather than face one of the all time greats of chess once again. After all is said and done, in this era, the Champion has the final say as to who his Challenger is. If this had happened (and Alekhine should really thank Euwe for allowing such a rematch in short order), I believe that Euwe would have waited until after AVRO 1938 (or a similar proto-Candidates tournament) to choose his Challenger. By then Keres would have matured. If Euwe had chosen him and their 1939 match had turned out to be a World Championship match, Keres probably would have made it. Euwe pre-WW2 was a much stronger player than post-WW2 (and I believe that the close score of the actual 1939 match showed this), but Keres would have better chances of winning the Title. In 1939, Keres was 23 years old, in the age bracket of Lasker, Karpov, Kasparov, and Carlsen when they were mowing down everyone in their path to the Title, a talented young master peaking to his inherent chess potential.

<He came nowhere near laying the smack on Euwe that Alekhine had.> One of my points is that with Euwe as World Champion, Keres had the opportunity to bypass Alekhine. This was quite realistic in that era when the Champion chose his Challenger. I don't think Keres could have beaten AAA at all even at his peak. I have replayed all their games, and AAA was mostly just outplaying Keres. IMO they had a similar style in that they both aimed for the initiative over positional and material considerations; but AAA had a more creative vision for chess combinations, was tactically stronger, and could calculate deeper. But then again, if Keres had been awarded a Title shot by Euwe, and Keres won it, he would not have to worry about a WC match with AAA until after WW2, and by then AAA would be a dying man. He would probably have to face Botvinnik in a post WW2 WC match, but this time Keres as the sitting Champion would probably have the full support of the Soviet chess establishment.

Oct-03-14  Petrosianic: <if Tal happened to be playing many Keres-like masters, who did not get intimidated by his objectively dubious attacks, Tal may have never won the tournament at all>

Likewise, if they'd had Candidates Matches back then, I'm not sure he'd have made it through. Keres did beat him 3-1 in the Candidates. I've also got doubts about whether he'd have gotten past Smyslov and maybe Petrosian (who he didn't even try to beat in the Candidates). I have the feeling that if it had come down to a Tal-Keres Candidates Match, Keres would have won.

<If this had happened (and Alekhine should really thank Euwe for allowing such a rematch in short order), I believe that Euwe would have waited until after AVRO 1938 (or a similar proto-Candidates tournament) to choose his Challenger.>

That's quite possible. AVRO was played in, what? November 1938? I don't know when it was first on the drawing boards. But if there had been a delay, or an argument, there might have been a push for Euwe to play the AVRO winner. Around that time, FIDE's "Official" Challenger was Flohr. Euwe was supportive of FIDE, and planned to turn selection of his next challenger over to them if he beat Alekhine again, so who knows?

If it had been me, I'd have played Capablanca first. But Euwe seems to have been very protective of Alekhine, maybe out of gratitude for getting a title shot in the first place.

<I don't think Keres could have beaten AAA at all even at his peak. I have replayed all their games, and AAA was mostly just outplaying Keres.>

I haven't played them all, but that was my feeling too. Alekhine seems to be equal or better in all of their games that I've seen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Petrosianic> I am curious- why was Flohr FIDE's pick at that time?

Surely not because of Flohr's performance against the World Champion. Alekhine was placing ahead of Flohr in almost every tournament they played in together and was beating the tar out of him in their individual games.

Oct-07-14  Petrosianic: I've heard this before, but would have to look it up again to be sure of the details. I think Flohr had a really good run around 1933. At some point FIDE voted to name someone their "Official Challenger" (even though it didn't mean much, since their challenger wouldn't have qualified, and Alekhine wouldn't feel any obligation to play him, so I don't know why they did it at all).

I think there was some surprise that Flohr was named, rather than Capablanca. I'm not sure why. Backstage politics, probably. But not because of any objective factors, like how well they did against Alekhine.

Wait a minute, I think I read an Ed Winter column about this years back. Let me do a bit of googling....

Yeah, here it is.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Petrosianic: I think I read an Ed Winter column about this years back.> That was totally fascinating. So it seems that divisive internal bickering and a strong lobby from Czechoslovakia was the cause of Flohr's FIDE candidacy.

As I suspected, chess politics was as stridently strife-filled then as now. The way Winter began his article could have described the situation in 1937 as well as that of 2002 when he wrote the article.

<A tall, apparently unassuming world chess champion. Numerous rivals, each with his own claims and pretensions. In particular, an active former champion liable to be relegated to the sidelines yet widely seen as deserving a chance to regain his crown. Interminable arguments about how the challenger should be selected. Fervid calls for the ‘dictator’ President of FIDE to be thrown out. A general sense of chaos and animosity.>

Delicious reading.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <....FIDE,....floundering like an inebriated elephant....>


Euwe was one figure in all this whose reputation was in now wise diminished by the brouhaha, coming off as a profoundly decent man with a great sense of fair play, who put the interests of the chess world ahead of any personal desires. The world shall not see his like again.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <-----world's worst typist.

< now wise....> should be in no wise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <perfidious: <....FIDE,....floundering like an inebriated elephant....>>

Amazing that this was written in 1937. Chess politics, like love, alcoholics, and elephants doesn't seem to change much.

Oct-21-14  The17thPawn: Have never figured why Keres faired so poorly against Botvinnik. He had a winning or drawn record against most all the major Soviet GM's of his day except Bronstein and Stein. I guess the Champ just had his number.
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