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Paul Keres
Number of games in database: 2,040
Years covered: 1929 to 1975

Overall record: +1018 -204 =807 (70.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 11 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (184) 
    C86 C78 C83 C97 C88
 Sicilian (181) 
    B20 B50 B36 B43 B62
 French Defense (94) 
    C07 C02 C05 C10 C15
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (88) 
    C86 C97 C88 C87 C93
 Caro-Kann (61) 
    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 E41 E43 E45 E20
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (107) 
    C92 C99 C97 C96 C84
 Queen's Pawn Game (82) 
    A46 E00 D02 E10 A45
 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
   Keres vs E Arlamowski, 1950 1-0
   Keres vs Vladimir Petrov, 1940 1-0

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1947)
   USSR Championship (1950)
   Budapest (1952)
   Hastings 1957/58 (1957)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   Gothenburg Interzonal (1955)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   USSR Championship (1940)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   Bled (1961)
   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
   Chess in the USSR 1945 - 72, Part 1 (Leach) by Chessdreamer
   Quest for Perfection (Keres) by Qindarka
   Road to the Top (Keres) by Qindarka
   Move by Move - Keres (Franco) by Qindarka

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 13Ĺ/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. M Villemson vs Keres 0-1511931Deutsche Schachzeitung 133-A corrA15 English
5. Keres vs Molder 1-0241931Tartu, Est jr chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Keres vs R Pruun 1-0431931ChJB12 Caro-Kann Defense
7. L Norvid vs Keres 0-1251931Tartu, Est jr chC12 French, McCutcheon
8. Keres vs I Raud 1-0291931Tartu, Est jr chB25 Sicilian, Closed
9. R Pruun vs Keres 0-1241931Tartu, Est jr chE60 King's Indian Defense
10. Keres vs E Verbak 1-0171932corrC00 French Defense
11. Keres vs Faltweber 1-0181932corrA06 Reti Opening
12. Keres vs M Villemson ½-½471932Deutsche Schz 133/A corrD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Von Feilitzsch vs Keres 0-1321932corrC22 Center Game
14. Keres vs G Menke 1-0621932corrC33 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Keres vs J Vilkins ½-½241932corrC25 Vienna
16. Keres vs Beskov 1-0431932corrC50 Giuoco Piano
17. E Kiiver vs Keres 0-1581932Tartu, Est jr chE20 Nimzo-Indian
18. A Remmelgas vs Keres  0-1551932Tartu, Est jr chD02 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Keres vs L Peterson 1-0291932Tartu, Est jr chB01 Scandinavian
20. Keres vs Tuul 1-0331932Tartu, Est jr chC33 King's Gambit Accepted
21. Keres vs A Peet 1-0191932Moisakula Moisak-ParnuC25 Vienna
22. A Peet vs Keres 0-1291932Moisakula Moisak-ParnuD02 Queen's Pawn Game
23. A Holm vs Keres 0-1431932Parnu, Est jr chC00 French Defense
24. Keres vs J Siitam 1-0211932Parnu, Est jr chC25 Vienna
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 44 OF 45 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-21-18  zanzibar: Old school - where real men play blitz with one hand on the clock, the other on the board:

(Thanks to O.G. Urcan for digging out that footage)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: Keres' record of defeating nine world champions in individual encounters was duplicated by Viktor Korchnoi.
Jan-07-19  gars: Happy Birthday, Grandmaster Keres! We shall never forget you.
Jan-07-19  Violin sonata: Happy birthday to the uncrowned king Paul Keres, his overall record was outstanding. I'm mostly learned chess from his book "Paul keres: the road to the top", and I think his analysis might be similar to John Nunn's analysis style.

<nimh:That photo of Keres above is actually outdated by now. The open spot where the statue once was has been liquidated and a residential building is now being erected there.> I think the picture above is in the tournament that is the same as the profile picture of Boris Spassky. Is that right?

Jan-07-19  nimh: <Violin sonata>

It is 100% certain that it's the same room in the picture, but that doesn't guarantee they were taken in the same tournament. I don't know where and what year they were taken.

Jan-07-19  Nosnibor: <nimh> I think the photo was taken at the IBM,Amsterdam Tournament of 1971.Spassky did not play in that event. Keres finished second equal with 9/15 one point behind Smyslov who could well be the figure in the background.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Apparently he just chased Nona Gaprindashvili away:

Jan-07-19  Nosnibor: <Stonehenge> It would appear that the photo was taken in 1965 and not 1971 and Keres tie provides the clue ! With regard to books of games played by Keres no mention is made by Winter of the trilogy written by Keres and translated by Golembek. These were published between 1964 and 1969 and are probably the best record with regard to both annotation and biographical content.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: The photo was made in December 1964 at Hastings.


Jan-08-19  Nosnibor: <Stonehenge> Thanks for that. I should have remembered this because in early 1965 Keres was due to come to Leicester to give a simultaneous display but had to withdraw owing to ill health. I was part of the team due to play him.
Jan-08-19  JimNorCal: Sep 7, 2018 <nimh >: Is the Keres statue in Tallinn gone now? If so, a pity.
Jan-09-19  nimh: <JimNorCal>

It is that way for the time being, fortunately. I'll let you know once it has been re-erected.

Jan-09-19  paavoh: Hi <nimh>, yes, please post the new location of his statue. Would be great to see it again. Thanks!
Jan-10-19  nimh: Hi <paavoh>, you've already been to Tallinn, and visited his statue?
Jan-11-19  paavoh: Yes <nihm>, a few years back in the summer with my family. We were strolling along, sightseeing, and happened to walk by. Of course, I recognized the statue right away but it was a lucky find, not by searching for it.

Best wishes from Finland!

Premium Chessgames Member
I am watching <First a Girl>, a 1935 film that I am sure you have all seen.

It is a British remake of <Viktor Kortschnoi Und Viktoria Kortschnoi>, the German play where a female chess impersonator impersonates a male chess impersonator and marries a Tigran Petrosian impersonator by mistake.

The male lead is Griffith Jones, who is like two of the old peas in the old pod for Paul Keres. Have a look: .

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Man, his needs some bio work. Maybe I'll do something with it.
Mar-19-19  woldsmandriffield: Wins against nine world champions, didnít lose to Karpov, convincing plus scores against Korchnoi and Larsen. Hard to argue against the proposition that Keres is the strongest player never to become world champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <woldsmandriffield: Wins against nine world champions, didnít lose to Karpov, convincing plus scores against Korchnoi and Larsen. Hard to argue against the proposition that Keres is the strongest player never to become world champion.>

Gruesome scores against contemporary WCs Alekhine and Botvinnik; two games against young Karpov with White and produced only grandmaster draws; failed to qualify for a world championship match despite six chances (Budapest 1950, Zurich 1953, Amsterdam 1956, Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade 1959, Curacao 1962, Riga match with Spassky 1965). Korchnoi qualified twice and came within a single game of dethroning Karpov; Schlechter and Bronstein drew title matches; Rubinstein never even got a chance to play one.

Piece of cake, really.

Mar-20-19  woldsmandriffield: Although a Korchnoi fan, I dispute his claim is stronger than Keresí. VK failed in no fewer than eight candidate cycles, including 2 world championship matches (3 if you include 1974). Three other players actually tied title matches (Bronstein, Schlechter, Leko). Against Anand and Kramnik, VK had a 0-12 score if we go by poor results against two particular champions. And there is the 1-4 record against Keres plus analysis of their encounters to consider. The two great players are similar in terms of their persistence and longevity though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Although a Korchnoi fan, I dispute his claim is stronger than Keresí. >


Well, that is a bit softer than your prior post. :-) I think I would give Korchnoi the nod over Keres (and give either of them the nod over Rubinstein or Schlechter) but I really don't know. You make good points, except for (IMO) this one: <Against Anand and Kramnik, VK had a 0-12 score if we go by poor results against two particular champions.>

That's just holding Korchnoi's longevity against him. It would be more fair to see how Korchnoi did against world champions in his own prime: Botvinnik (well), Smyslov (OK), Tal (extremely well), Petrosian (well, with the help of later games), Spassky (ditto), Fischer (OK), and Karpov (not bad).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***


Hi woldsmandriffield,

I'm not sure the claim is that Korchnoi was stronger than Keres.

Two great players with spectacular C.V's. Players of this stature are neither stronger or weaker than each other, they are on the same plateau along with a dozen or so other great players the game has produced.

The debate is who deserves to be called the uncrowned World Champion. For that head to head results and non World Championship games and qualifiers need to be left out.

Korchnoi battled his way into two W.C. title matches something Keres never quite achieved. (1974 could be used here but it was not an official World Title match - see below.)

Another claim is that Keres came 2nd in 5 candidates tournaments.

Korchnoi played in 6 candidate finals, (here we now count 1974) he lost 3 (to Spassky, Karpov and Kasparov) he won the other 3. If he had lost all 6 he would have bettered Kere's five 2nd places.

Keres holding the record for beating 9 world champions is an impressive statistic but should it be taken in consideration when talking about qualifying for or playing in World Finals?

But if we do include it.

Korchnoi has also beaten 9 world champions. (he never got to play Alekhine, Capablanca or Euwe - Keres never played Kasparov or Carlsen and never beat Karpov) Korchnoi has, at one time or other beaten the same other six as Keres.

Petrosian, Spassky, Karpov, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal and Fischer,

BTW, if some think the Paul Keres Bio is too short then look at Viktor Korchnoi



Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: From ten years ago, my own views on the matter:

Mar-20-19  fabelhaft: <Korchnoi has also beaten 9 world champions>

He came close to reach 10 last year, since he has beaten Caruana. But thereís still time for Caruana to make it ten for Korchnoi.

Mar-20-19  fabelhaft: If one wouldnít count Topalov as World Champion, he might have a case too. #1 longer than Anand and Kramnik, higher peak live rating than them, and bigger distance to #2 at his peak. Not bad for a non-World Champion if one would count him as that.
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