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Paul Keres
Number of games in database: 2,039
Years covered: 1929 to 1975

Overall record: +1018 -204 =807 (70.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 10 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (192) 
    B20 B50 B36 B43 B62
 Ruy Lopez (184) 
    C86 C78 C97 C83 C87
 French Defense (94) 
    C02 C07 C05 C10 C15
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (88) 
    C86 C97 C87 C88 C93
 Caro-Kann (62) 
    B10 B14 B18 B11 B13
 English (45) 
    A15 A14 A16 A13 A10
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (228) 
    C72 C92 C99 C79 C77
 Nimzo Indian (125) 
    E32 E43 E41 E45 E20
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (107) 
    C92 C99 C97 C96 C84
 Queen's Pawn Game (82) 
    A46 E00 D02 E10 A40
 Queen's Indian (65) 
    E15 E19 E12 E17 E14
 English, 1 c4 e5 (41) 
    A23 A28 A29 A22 A25
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Keres vs Szabo, 1955 1-0
   Euwe vs Keres, 1940 0-1
   Keres vs Verbac, 1933 1-0
   Keres vs Geller, 1962 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
   Hort vs Keres, 1961 0-1
   Keres vs E Arlamowski, 1950 1-0

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

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

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Keres! by amadeus
   Keres' Whirligigs Compiled by chocobonbon by fredthebear
   Keres' Whirligigs by chocobonbon
   Challenger of 48 Keres_125 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
   Paul Keres by Legend
   Chess in the USSR 1945 - 72, Part 2 (Leach) by Chessdreamer
   Quest for Perfection (Keres) by Qindarka
   Chess in the USSR 1945 - 72, Part 1 (Leach) by Chessdreamer
   Road to the Top (Keres) by Qindarka
   K Players by fredthebear

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 Keres was born in Narva, 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). Keres 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, finishing joint third. This would turn out to be the only opportunity Keres would ever have to play for the world title--he finished second ex aequo or outright four times in the five Candidates' tournaments, from 1950 to 1962 inclusive, but never won.

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

Keres is the player who has defeated the largest number of world champions, no fewer than nine: 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

Last updated: 2017-09-10 14:57:50

 page 1 of 82; games 1-25 of 2,040  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Keres vs I Raud 0-1401929Parnu, Parnu-ViljandiC54 Giuoco Piano
2. I Raud vs Keres  ½-½541929Parnu, Parnu-ViljandiE10 Queen's Pawn Game
3. A Karu vs Keres 0-1271931corrD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
4. Keres vs Molder 1-0241931Tartu, Est jr chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Keres vs R Pruun 1-0431931ChJB12 Caro-Kann Defense
6. L Norvid vs Keres 0-1251931Tartu, Est jr chC12 French, McCutcheon
7. Keres vs I Raud 1-0291931Tartu, Est jr chB34 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
8. R Pruun vs Keres 0-1241931Tartu, Est jr chE60 King's Indian Defense
9. Keres vs G Menke 1-0621932corresp.C33 King's Gambit Accepted
10. Keres vs E Verbak 1-0171932corrC00 French Defense
11. Keres vs Faltweber 1-0181932corrA06 Reti Opening
12. Von Feilitzsch vs Keres 0-1321932corr ,/33C22 Center Game
13. Keres vs M Villemson  ½-½471932Deutsche Schz 133/A corrD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Keres vs J Vilkins ½-½241932corrC25 Vienna
15. Keres vs Beskov 1-0431932corrC50 Giuoco Piano
16. E Kiiver vs Keres 0-1581932Tartu, Est jr chE20 Nimzo-Indian
17. A Remmelgas vs Keres  0-1551932Tartu, Est jr chA46 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Keres vs L Peterson 1-0291932Tartu, Est jr chB01 Scandinavian
19. Keres vs Tuul 1-0331932Tartu, Est jr chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Keres vs A Peet 1-0191932Moisakula Moisak-ParnuC25 Vienna
21. A Peet vs Keres 0-1291932Moisakula Moisak-ParnuD02 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Keres vs J Siitam 1-0211932Parnu, Est jr chC25 Vienna
23. A Holm vs Keres 0-1431932Parnu, Est jr chC00 French Defense
24. R Pruun vs Keres 0-1331932Parnu, Est jr chD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
25. Keres vs A Abel 1-0611932Parnu, Est jr chB01 Scandinavian
 page 1 of 82; games 1-25 of 2,040  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 43 OF 43 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-07-17  Kamagong42: happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gars: This is from <tamar> on Jan-13-2016: Spassky held Keres in the highest regard and felt he was superior to Botvinnik. from the Kingpin Interview

<Boris Vassilievich, whom could you single out as a personality among chess players?

Undoubtedly, Paul Keres. He was the greatest treasure of the chess world. Being a man of great modesty and tact, he possessed the highest chess and general culture. His tragic destiny reminds of the end of Alekhine’s life. And if we remember that for some time there was chess rivalry between Alekhine and Botvinnik, I’d rather resort to some literary comparison. Keres was the Gulliver among the Lilliputians, he was a real giant. Botvinnik, I believe, was the leader of the Lilliputians. And that is the crux of the matter. As simple as that.

You always expressed sympathy towards Keres openly, even in the most ‘silent’ times.

In 1965 I was giving a lecture in Novosibirsk and I was asked why Keres had not become World Champion. This is what I answered: ‘Just imagine a young man who is only 24, who is already a strong grandmaster and who loves his Estonia, his small country which within a short period of time changes hands – passing to Stalin, a bit later to Hitler and again to Stalin. What does he feel when all this is happening?’ After the lecture some komsomol leaders asked me why I was so anti-Soviet. ‘Did I tell you a lie?’ I reiterated. But it was too late; my KGB file had already been opened.> What else can I say? Thanks, <tamar> and Happy Birthday, GM Keres!

Jan-07-17  Absentee: <‘Did I tell you a lie?’ I reiterated.>

No, you just didn't answer the question, Boris.

Jan-07-17  paavoh: My hat is off for Keres. Such a small country producing so much chessic talent. He will always be remembered, and it is a great gesture that Tallinn has erected a statue for him. Happy to have found it on my last visit to that charming city.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Falkirk Herald, February 1st, 1939, p.11:

<Mr Meek notes in London “Evening News”:—The remarkable development of chess in Russia may be judged by a recent simultaneous display given by Keres against thirty Leningrad schoolboys. They put up such astounding opposition that the famous master won only 11 games, lost 11, and drew 8.

Capablanca, Flohr and other front-rank masters have had poor results in simultaneous displays against Russian clubs in past years, but for schoolboys to put up such a performance as they did against Keres - the prospective challenger for the next world championship match - is simply marvellous.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <gars> thank you for such a nice post.

<Boris Vassilievich> might have been the most decent and admirable world champion ever.

His respect for Paul Keres shows not just in this interview, but in his (Spassky's) demeanor and conduct of himself as a chess professional.

Does anyone criticize Spassky?? Of course not! Spassky is beloved, and rightly!

Apr-14-17  Boomie: Having such an interesting history and one of the most impressive playing records in history, you would think the CG Biographers would try to produce a good biography. Instead we are presented with this totally inadequate one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Boomie> duly noted - maybe you should also drop a note in over at the Bistro.
May-22-17  Granny O Doul: I just learned that Keres is the fourth-most spoken language in New Mexico. I couldn't wait to share the good news here.
Sep-10-17  drnooo: these two fine posters, very knowledgeable as they are...and they are...oddly enough miss the point, as most of the best do about Keres. I've posted this before. KERES WOULD HAVE LEFT AND NEVER COME BACK, ESCAPED TO THE EAST AND THEN.....PROBABLY CHANGED CHESS HISTORY FOREVER. It is recorded even with a photograph of him and his wife during the turmoil of the second world war, they were poised to escape by boat and missed at the last moments and he was plunged back into the mess and never had a chance for another shot. The 48 championship was as rigged as the Clinton Sandars affair: he knew by 1945 it was hopeless, he barely escaped hanging as it was in 46 Look at his bloody stats. They very nearly rival Capas and Fischers. In their prime I would only put Capa ahead of him. Only Capa, nobody else. Bronstein 3rd. And only then Botvinnik...and Reshevsky after that. Had Keres fled to the west...Fischers claim to be being the best player in the west would have folded under Keres domination and record...he would have beaten everybody and it would have taken the KGB to take care of him with either poison or a bullet.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: From a 1946 simul:

Premium Chessgames Member
  ahmadov: Some years ago, I was playing chess online with a guy from Estonia. He asked me if I knew Keres. I said yes and he started speaking further about Keres and suggested sending me a book about Keres. Some days later I received the book and a banknote with Keres picture on it. Unfortunately, I lost that guy later. If he visits this page and remembers me, I would love to resume my contacts with him.
Premium Chessgames Member
Premium Chessgames Member
  ahmadov: <tpstar>, exactly, this is the banknote I received :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sularus: happy birthday! RIP
Premium Chessgames Member
  Magpye: Is there a good bio on Keres?
Premium Chessgames Member
  botvinnik64: Happy 102 Paul!
Party on!
Jan-07-18  transpose: I am surprised Keres never defeated Karpov, but then i only see two quick draws between the two. Too bad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sularus: <transpose>

just in case you haven't, consider their age difference, the age of keres and karpov when those games were played. imho, those draws were already quite an achievement for keres.

Jan-19-18  Absentee: <drnooo: The 48 championship was as rigged as the Clinton Sandars affair>


<Had Keres fled to the west...Fischers claim to be being the best player in the west would have folded under Keres domination and record...he would have beaten everybody and it would have taken the KGB to take care of him with either poison or a bullet.>

Counterfactuals aren't a very solid argument.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <drnoo> <<Had Keres fled to the west...Fischers claim to be being the best player in the west would have folded under Keres domination and record...he would have beaten everybody and it would have taken the KGB to take care of him with either poison or a bullet.>

Fischer won his first two games played between them, and won four of the first 7 games.

Overall: Fischer had 4 wins, 3 losses, and 3 draws.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Absentee: <drnooo: The 48 championship was as rigged as the Clinton Sandars affair>


<drnooo> means that it wasn't rigged at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Clinton Sandars affair> Brain bleach, stat!
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: Stonehenge: From a 1946 simul:

<Paul Keres holds a simultaneous game of chess on 40 boards with sailors of the Baltic fleet aboard the battleship "October Revolution", Tallinn, 1946.>

Feb-08-18  Senk: Great article series:
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