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Alexander Alekhine vs Paul Keres
"Keres t'Fallen" (game of the day Jan-28-2017)
Munich (1942), Munich GER, rd 4, Sep-18
Queen's Indian Defense: Euwe Variation (E17)  ·  1-0



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Given 21 times; par: 48 [what's this?]

Annotations by Alexander Alekhine.      [77 more games annotated by Alekhine]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-27-13  jerseybob: <chancho: Anybody who thinks Keres was really feeling nice and comfy playing Alekhine in this game,(while his country was being occupied by the Nazis)> Let's add a little to that: Technically yes, at that moment Keres' country Estonia was occupied by the Nazi thugs. But earlier, in 1940, it was occupied by the Soviet thugs, who would re-occupy in 1944. Since 1940 Keres, like it or not, was a "Soviet" player, whereas up till 1939 he'd been playing for his own free country. Even though his career from 1940 to 1975 was filled with sparkling accomplishments, in my opinion he was never quite the same player as a "Soviet" as he'd been as a free man.
Jan-28-17  Ilkka Salonen: It's really sharp. I wonder, if Alekhine's ideals of Aryan chess played a part in that. I mean, players might be bit afraid to play unsharply in those conditions. Even if Spiellmann had, but only for money. (I'm sorry, the later part just is kind of funny example to me of what utter nonsense Alekhine related articles, I guess most here know which I mean, are)
Jan-28-17  aliejin: Every time appears a game of chess
Of that time, especially if it is from Alekhine, Falls into anachronisms.

Being anti-Semitic in those years
It was the most common thing in the world

Bareimbon says that a German
, Since the second half of the 19th century,
must Be anti-Semitic, if he wanted to be good German

The Jews were a minority, that little
mattered to the common European

And being Nazi was as valid a position as any other. The whole Vatican, and the Catholic world, was Nazi sympathizing because it fought against atheist bolcheviques (The real threat to the most)

In occupied Europe there were millions of people Of ultra right that sympathized with the Nazis
And helped them.

Nobody had, of course, the perspective,
And the knowledge, even remotely, that we have

Jan-28-17  morfishine: <aliejin> Well put. I don't believe Alekhine was anti-semitic. He had too many Jewish friends and a jewish wife; and besides, the evidence just doesn't add up, something's definitely fishy there


Jan-28-17  ColeTrane: I wonder if Trump is anti Semitic, or if he just has enmity towards Latinos, Muslims, African Americans, the disabled, and women....?
Jan-28-17  ChessHigherCat: <chancho: I did not mean Alekhine was literally poor as in needing money> That's the sort of Tower-of-Babel misinterpretation you find all the time in the German news rag "Der Spiegel". I remember when they mistranslated "The State Department said it was not to free to disclose that information" into the German equivalent of "It said it could not disclose that information free of charge" (implying that it was asking for a bribe in the middle of a White-House press conference!) <Morfishine I don't believe Alekhine was anti-semitic. He had too many Jewish friends and a jewish wife;> Well Fischer had a Jewish mother and definitely fit the Nazi definition of Jewish himself, does that mean he wasn't antisemitic? There's no accounting for the logic of madness. <ColeTrane> All those people are okay so long as they're fellow multi-billionaires.
Jan-28-17  zanzibar: It's funny how the thread, sitting idle for so many years (literally), suddenly lights up again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <acirce: <Playing in a tournament in a country does not necessarily indicate sympathy for its politics.>

What about playing in a tournament on occupied territory, as Keres did? And in the middle of WW2 at that? How would it look if a top player today played in a tournament organized by Israel for propaganda value on the West Bank?>

Better to play chess than to be sent to fight in Stalingrad!

Jan-28-17  morfishine: <Cole Trane> You forgot sanctuary cities and gangs. I'd love to see Trump "send in the tanks" in Chicago and put those gangs in their place.

Castro ran the mob out of Cuba with those tactics and held onto power til he died. Not that I support Castro and/or communism, but the show of force and resolve was impressive.


Jan-28-17  Jack Kerouac: Paul was quite good, but his temperament allowed him to be dominated by the elite masters. Alternate fact #14...
Jan-28-17  RandomVisitor: 14...Nxe5 15.dxc5 Bxd5 16.Bxe5 Rxc5 17.Bxd5 or 17.Bxf6 =.
Apr-25-17  visayanbraindoctor: <Jack Kerouac: Paul was quite good, but his temperament allowed him to be dominated by the elite masters.>

If I may disagree, Paul Keres was never dominated by any leading master, except for Botvinnik (and only in the 1940s upward, as he probably played stronger chess than Botvinnik in the 1930s,) and Alekhine (he could score only one win against AAA in all their meetings in the late 30s and early 40s despite the fact that Keres was in his early peak).

On the other hand, Keres played the other World Champions to about par, and he dominated both Tal and Korchnoi.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Excellent exploitation of the structural problems by Alekhine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Why did Keres not play, and Alekhine not comment on 14...Nxe5 as suggested by <RandomVisitor> above?

Maybe both players were looking at an exchange sac with 14...Nxe5 15. d6?! Bxg2 16. dxe5 Bxd6 <17. exf6> Bxf1 18. Rxf1 g6 19. f4 with a kingside attack, but will White get enough compensation? Computer evals don't show it.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <beatgiant> 17.exd6, rather than exf6. Then 17...Bxf1 18.Rxf1 Rd7 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Qg4+ Kh8 21.Ne4 f5 22.Qh4 fxe4 23.Qf6+ is just a draw, it seems.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Retireborn>
Yes of course I also saw the draw with 14...Nxe5 15. d6 Bxg2 16. dxe5 Bxd6 <17. exd6> as you suggested, but 17. exf6 is a winning attempt.

Against a fellow amateur at the chess club, I would totally play it, because my diagram above shows a position where it's very easy to find strong moves for White, and much less obvious what Black is supposed to do about it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <beatgiant> I take your point; 17.exf6 may be a good practical chance. These lines wouldn't appeal to Keres, if he looked at them. It's noteworthy that when he had the same position as White his opponent didn't choose 14...Nxe5 either.

Keres vs Ragozin, 1948

Mar-05-21  tympsa: Athmosfere on these tournaments was not relaxed and happy at all .Organizers demanded that Keres would play under Nazi Germany flag because Estonia was occupied by Germany at the time . Keres refused and demanded Estonia flag : blue-black-white . Compromise was reached : no flag at all on Keresès side of the table , just paper sign Paul Keres, Grossmeister . Keres also had some private conversations with Alechine about situation during the war . He asked : what do you think Russians would do to us if they catch us ? Alechine replied : they would cut my head off for sure and yours is not safe either if you fall into their hands . In 1944 Keres tried to flee into Sweden like 80 000 other Estonians did when Red Army reached Estonia again, but his boat did not come in time and he was forced to stay .

Rumor is Botvinnik saved his life explaining to Stalin that Keres could be very useful for him as training partner since he was the best player to help Botvinnik in possible W Ch match against Alechine. Stalin respected Botvinnik very much and wanted him to win World Champion title, so Keres`es life was saved and he could play already in 1946 in USSR-USA chess match( beat Reuben Fine again ) and in 1947 in USSR championships . Latvian chess master Petrov was not so lucky , he was killed / died in GULAG.

Oct-31-21  Margetic D: " Well put. I don't believe Alekhine was anti-semitic. He had too many Jewish friends and a jewish wife; and besides, the evidence just doesn't add up, something's definitely fishy there" <morfishine> i agree with you. My grand parent relatives knew the family Alekhine actually, Aljehin) to well, and Alexander was never a pro-nazi , but all the time he tried his best to survive the extremly terrible , dangerious situation. Alekhine was playing for France in the Buenos Aries Olympiad of 1939 when war was declared and as captain he refused to allow his team to play against Germany. On returning to Europe he joined the French army as an interpreter. At the fall of France he fled to Lisbon, where displaced European exiles took up residence during the war. In 1941, however, he fell under Nazi influence. Not only did the aforementioned regrettable articles appear in print, perhaps losing him the chance of a visa to the US, he also played in tournaments in Germany (to survive as he mentioned later in 1946 to a Belgian violin player) and occupied countries, but other did the same (like Keres, just for example ). Alekhine never agreed to become German citizen. He stayed Russian as well as French. After the war, the actions to play in Germany, were later construed as collaboration and in 1946 he was refused an invitation to the London tournament. He was also suffering from the effects of years (in the war) of hard drinking. Alekhine was, of course, still World Champion – the opportunity for matches having been severely limited by the constraints of World War Two (a fact about which Alekhine was extremly sad). However, the young challenger Mikhail Botvinnik was eager for a match to take place. This was arranged in March 1946 under the auspices of the British Chess Federation, but the day after the news was dispatched by telegram, Alekhine was found death in his hotel room, died by official version from a heart attack... But, i would rather turn to chess, i have the Grande Alekhine rather in his unique, never reached chess memories :) Today 31.October, it is Alekhine s Birthday :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Alekhine wrote vicious anti-Semitic articles and bragged about it, when he thought there would be no cause to regret them. But no, he couldn?t possibly be anti-Semitic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: < Alekhine wrote vicious anti-Semitic articles>

I wouldn't call them vicious; my word is 'ironic.' The only thing that strikes me as borderline nasty is his take on Rubinstein - "when I came to Berlin after four years' experience of the Soviets, I found there a Rubinstein who was only half a grand-master and a quarter of a human being." But even that one could be deemed fair comment regarding Rubinstein's mental decline.

Oct-31-21  aliejin: We will never know but
the natural thing is to think, as the Nazi propaganda did, that those articles were written by ardent Nazis with chess knowledge

Besides, what could Alekhine do? go to the SS to complain?

Oct-31-21  thebully99: Weren't Alekhine's notebooks supposed to be released to the public 5 years ago?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Every year since, I think, 2006. Frankly, I doubt such material still exists, if it ever did. Some notebooks did come into the public domain a few years back, but they were ones gifted by Alekhine during the war, so were unlikely to have any incriminating evidence.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < aliejin: We will never know but the natural thing is to think, as the Nazi propaganda did, that those articles were written by ardent Nazis with chess knowledge Besides, what could Alekhine do? go to the SS to complain?>

I can tell you what he did not have to do: go to Spain and brag about the articles. But that is what he did.

I've never understood the compulsion to think well of someone just because he's a terrific chessplayer. This compulsion takes curious forms. <aliejin> Four years ago, you <explained> that being anti-Semitic back then was as natural as breathing and that to be a Nazi was <was as valid a position as any other> (Alekhine vs Keres, 1942 (kibitz #43)), morfishine responded "Well put" and went on to say that he didn't think Alekhine was anti-Semitic at all! The point, apparently, is not to make sense; the point is to say something, anything, nice about AAA.

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