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Spassky - Keres Candidates Quarterfinal Match

Boris Spassky6/10(+4 -2 =4)[games]
Paul Keres4/10(+2 -4 =4)[games] Chess Event Description
Spassky - Keres Candidates Quarterfinal (1965)

For this match, Keres had qualified from the Curacao Candidates (1962), whereas Spassky had qualified from the Amsterdam Interzonal (1964). The three other quarterfinal matches were: Geller - Smyslov Candidates Quarterfinal (1965), Tal - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1965) and Larsen - Ivkov Candidates Quarterfinal (1965). These eight players were the quarterfinalists after Mikhail Botvinnik (qualified as former World Champion) had chosen to withdraw. (1)

Riga, Soviet Union (Latvia), 7-23 April 1965

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 GM Spassky 0 ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 6 2 GM Keres 1 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 4

Until 1965 Spassky had never before played in a match. In an interview with Leonard William Barden, Spassky reported that he regarded the 1st game, a loss, as the most satisfying of the match: "I made a very good sacrifice, but made a mistake and was crushed. Instead of (23.Ra-a3, 23.d4-d5) would have been strong." (2) Spassky recovered from this loss to lead 3.5 - 1.5 after five games, but Keres fought back to trail by just a point with one game to go. Spassky said he was "surprised to find ... that he was already tired after ... eight games." Despite this fatigue, he managed to win the final game "in a maze of complications." (2)

Spassky advanced to the Spassky - Geller Candidates Semifinal (1965), then to the Spassky - Tal Candidates Final (1965), and finally to the Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966).

(1) Wikipedia article: Candidates Tournament; Tidskrift för Schack, March 1965, p. 69:
(2) Leonard Barden, "Forward", in Bernard Cafferty, Spassky's 100 Best Games - The Rise of Boris Spassky 1949-1971 (Hardinge Simpole 2002) (originally Batsford 1972), p. 24.

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Spassky-Keres 1965) by User: Hesam7; Introduction written and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Keres 0-1331965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalE12 Queen's Indian
2. Keres vs Spassky ½-½621965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
3. Spassky vs Keres 1-0501965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalE31 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad, Main line
4. Keres vs Spassky 0-1391965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
5. Spassky vs Keres 1-0441965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
6. Keres vs Spassky ½-½291965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalA21 English
7. Spassky vs Keres ½-½401965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalE12 Queen's Indian
8. Keres vs Spassky 1-0251965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
9. Spassky vs Keres ½-½411965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
10. Keres vs Spassky 0-1351965Spassky - Keres Candidates QuarterfinalE77 King's Indian
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-10-14  nimh: This is the match where Keres' status as a candidate for the World Championship ended, which had lasted for 27 since the win at AVRO 1938.

We have an interesting parallel.

Lasker, arguably the greatest chessplayer ever was a WC for 27 years;

Keres, arguably the greatest chessplayer ever not to play a title match was a candidate for WC for 27 years.

Jul-10-14  Petrosianic: Except that AVRO wasn't a candidates tournament, so the 27 number doesn't really work. FIDE's "official" challenger, even after AVRO was still Salo Flohr.
Jul-10-14  nimh: I did not mean it in such a way that Keres was the official Fide candidate the whole time. AVRO was the strongest tournament possible at that time, and by winning it, Keres showed that he was of world championship calibre. And unquestionably remained so during the war years up to sixties.

In Estonia it's commonly known that Keres was a candidate for 27 years. But a know-it-all from says "it doesn't really work"...

Jul-10-14  Petrosianic: If you think that disagreeing with The Great Nimh on a purely factual question is tantamount to claiming to be a genius, you might be just a teensy, eensy, weensy bit full of yourself. (Oh, let's be honest, you've got an ego as big as all outdoors).

I honestly find the comparison between Lasker and Keres to be a bit strained. The idea that it must be true because Estonians think so is foolish (common wisdom isn't always right, and Estonians are not the world's most objective people about Keres, as you would quickly realize if you put your vanity in check).

In America it's commonly known that Columbus proved the world was round. Doesn't mean it's true, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Salo Flohr, who served as the floor at AVRO; though it should be noted his personal circumstances were likely not in order at the time.

In the year to follow, Flohr showed his true colours in another tough event: Leningrad/Moscow training (1939), as Keres finished minus.

Bottom rail on top.

Jul-10-14  parisattack: I've never studied these games, but considering Spassky was just entering his peak period Keres must have played some fine chess for his age.

Keres was also an awesome annotator and all of his books are top flight for both enjoyment and instruction. Power Chess, The Quest for Chess Perfection, The Road to the Top. The Arco paperback 'Collected Games' packs a wallop for $10-$15.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <parisattack> Keres' columns in Chess Life & Review were one of the features which made the magazine well worth reading many moons ago.
Jul-10-14  parisattack: <Perfidious> Yes, indeed! CL & R was worth reading in those days. I haven't purchased an issue in several years.

I *think* one of the above-mentioned books is actually a collection of those articles by Keres?

Jul-11-14  nimh: <Petrosianic>

A lot of insulting and ironic remarks... I didn't expect my post would offend you so much. And you misinterpreted and read into my post more than I wrote.

Okay, I try to explain to you.

Lasker and Keres comparison was based on coincidences in the number of years and both being the greatest in their respective categories, Keres albeit in a lower echelon, which doens't imply their legacy or greatness in chess is the same. But you probably had something other in mind?

You say Estonians aren't the most objective people in the world Keres and their opinion about the matter should not be taken as truth. As if I'd ever implied that. You are obviously right.

In response I'd say that there are objective reasons why Estonians and undoubtedly many others regard Keres as a Championship candidate since 1938. His good play in late 1930-ies that culminated with the win at AVRO that finally cemented his status as one of the top players worthy of playing for the title.

I called you a know-it-all because you had arguments that did not matter anything. But yet decided to use them to counter my post. To me you looked like someone who constantly needs to prove others wrong to demonstrate his own superiroity. It was completely unnecessary and it angered me. I admit now I should not have done so.

<on a purely factual question>

I'd like to know what factual basis do you have to claim that Keres actually was not a candidate for the title for 27 years.

Jul-11-14  Petrosianic: <nimh> <I didn't expect my post would offend you so much.>

Haven't you muddled this a bit in your mind? All I said, and you quoted it back to me, so I know you heard it, was "it doesn't really work". That ain't exactly hysteria. The hysteria was on your side with the fevered idea that I must think I know everything to disagree with <YOU>. I attributed your response, rightly, to your vanity, and asked you to put a lid on it.

The link between Lasker and Keres still seems very strained, and the fact that Estonians (well known as the most objective people about Keres) believe it, isn't very impressive. If this strikes you as deep personal offense on my part, then you are not being very honest with yourself.

Jul-11-14  nimh: lol, what are you talking about?

You can see very well what I actually wrote. I just pointed out it's incorrect to say "the number doesn't work".

Sep-25-15  A.T PhoneHome: Spassky was very lucky here in the sense he got to play his first-ever match against someone as humble as Paul Keres.

I mean, not only was Spassky's result here strong, but his opponent's personality must have also added something positive to the experience.

Sep-25-15  Howard: AT Phone Home....glad to know you're still out there !!
Dec-20-15  offramp: This was a great result for Spassky. The intro quotes him saying, <"I was surprised to find ... that I was already tired after ... eight games.">

This shows one of the major advantages of being a challenger. One gets accustomed to match-play. The Champion, after three years without serious matches, may well become tired earlier than his active opponent.

Dec-20-15  Howard: The posting that's three postings above this one, was A.T. PhoneHome's last post on this website.

If you're reading this, ATPhoneHome, where have you been ?!?

Dec-27-17  offramp: <Howard: The posting that's three postings above this one, was A.T. PhoneHome's last post on this website. If you're reading this, ATPhoneHome, where have you been ?!?>

He is back now, and a regular poster again.

Where did he go? Where has he been? What prompted his return?

We will never know.

Oct-11-20  Paint My Dragon: The arbiter of this event was G Fridstein (from the tournament book Candidates Matches 1965 - The Chess Player, 1966).

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