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Ratmir Kholmov vs Paul Keres
Moscow (1947), Moscow URS, rd 4, Dec-01
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation Spielmann Defense (A32)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  Honza Cervenka: Oops! It seems to be that playing 40.Re6 white missed that 40...Qf1+ 41.Kh4 Qxc4+ is a check. After 40.Rd2 white is probably okay.
Dec-01-03  Resignation Trap: This game is from the fourth round of the Tchigorin Memorial Chess Tournament, played on December 1, 1947 (Happy 56th birthday, game!).

According to GM Salo Flohr, Keres never equalized as Black, and his subsequent passive play led to a huge advantage for White after 27. Nc4!, threatening 28. Rd1.

Kholmov then started to fritter away his advantage starting with 36. f5? (36. e5+ Ng6 37. Rd7, when Black's position remains bad). Then 38. Qd5? was inferior to 38. Qf3!
Finally, 39. Qxf7? allowed Keres too much counterplay (39. Qd3 was right).

A little incident then occurred. After 39...Re8, Keres must have thought: "I have a perpetual check any time I want it, but now how does White stop the threat of 40...Qg4+ and 41...Re2+ ?".

Kholmov must have wondered about this too, for he thought for nearly two minutes...then he noticed that his flag was about to fall and he played 40. Re6 in an instant. But it was too late, his flag fell before he completed his move and his game was declared a loss.

40. Re6 loses at least an exchange: 40...Qg4+ 41. Kg2 Nxe6, and if then 42. Qxe8? Qe2+ 43. Kg1 Qe1+ 44. Kg2 Nf4+ wins White's Queen.

40. Rd2 was better, and Flohr said that Keres would have to take a draw by perpetual check.

GM David Bronstein saw things differently. After 40. Rd2 Qf1+ 41. Rg2 Qf3! White is in trouble: If 'A' 42. Rb2 Re4! and the threat of ...Rh4+! and ...Qg4 mate is decisive: 43. Ne3 Rxe3 44. Qxf8 Re4 45. Qc8 Qf1+ 46. Rg2 Qf5+ forces mate. If 'B' 42. Rf2 Qxf2 43. Qxh5+ [or 43. Nd6 Qf1+ 44. Kh4 Qf3 45. h3 Kh6! threatening ...R34+ or ...g7-g5+] 43...Kg8 44. Qxe8 Qf1+ 45. Kh4 Qxc4+, and with his extra Knight, White can still play for a win.

For another good game from this tournament, go here:

Pachman vs Kholmov, 1947

Sorry, Ratmir. Nothing personal!

Dec-01-03  Resignation Trap: Hmmm, the score is wrong, Black's last move was really 49...Re8.

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