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Paul Keres vs John L Watson
Vancouver (1975), Vancouver CAN, rd 5, May-20
Indian Game: Spielmann-Indian (A46)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-22-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: I did not know (until now) that Watson played Keres.
Jun-22-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Yes, it was a memorable 75th of May (see game caption). I believe Keres died while returning home from this tournament.
Jun-22-06  RookFile: Keres won his last tournament.
Jan-07-09  AnalyzeThis: May 20, 1975.
Sep-03-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher....I believe Keres died while returning home from this tournament.>

Yes, in Helsinki.

Nov-22-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Is there an error in the score sheet? Why doesn't black just win a piece with 7...BxB?
Dec-27-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Black could, of course, have transposed to an Exchange Slav with 3....cxd4 4.cxd4 d5, though it is hardly in the style of someone willing to enter a Benoni.

The middlegame pawn structure is that of a Classical French in which Black has relieved the tension by playing ....cxd4, thereby allowing his opponent to attack on the kingside. Retribution was not long in coming at the hands of the old attacking master.

Jan-12-16  visayanbraindoctor: Excerpts of a discussion in Jose Raul Capablanca. Because of Watson's claim that <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today> it might be more appropriately placed here.

<Jonathan Sarfati: Players with long careers can help us make comparisons across generations. Lasker, Botvinnik, Keres, and Korchnoi qualify. E.g. Botvinnik was already a top player when he was out-analysed, by his own admission, by the past-his-best hypertensive Capablanca, yet Botvinnik beat Spassky when Botvinnik was in his 50s and Spassky was first challenging for the world title. Later, Spassky still managed a level score with Kasparov. I think if Botvinnik were alive today, he would laugh uproariously at Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.>

I agree. 'Transitivity' does not always work. But then again 'transitivity' does not always fail to work. It's not an absolute proposition. Your post reads quite reasonable.

<Watson's claim in "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" that the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today.>

Keres vs J L Watson, 1975

Here is an old Keres crushing upstart Watson in a typical Keresian attack, just before Keres died of a heart attack.

Watson's statement in my honest opinion is ridiculous. Even an aged about to die Keres was much better than him.

Dec-27-15 Jonathan Sarfati: <visayanbraindoctor>, that game is most amusing. Keres played an unpretentious opening but showed his great strength in the middlegame. That's what Capa did and what Carlsen does now.

Yes, transitivity counts as a cumulative case, when there are top players who have played both the pre-WW2 world champs as well as Fischer and his generation. Even when these bridging players were past their best, they could still give a good account of themselves (Botvinnik, Keres, Reshevsky, Najdorf).

Dec-27-15 visayanbraindoctor: <Jonathan Sarfati> There is an issue revolving around the term 'modern'. Watson and many kibitzer followers of his conjure this word out of thin air, claim that today's players are modern, and from there conclude that <the best players of old were weaker and more dogmatic than the best players today>. The logic is so illogical that I find it hard to believe that many chess fans ascribe truth to it.

First let's agree to define what 'modern' is. According to Merriam-Webster, it is an adjective

<of or relating to the present time or the recent past : happening, existing, or developing at a time near the present time>

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dict...

So what is the common modern manner of playing chess among top masters nowadays?

You just described it above:

<that game is most amusing. Keres played an unpretentious opening but showed his great strength in the middlegame. That's what Capa did and what Carlsen does now.>

Note that many of the sharp double edged opening variations that were so readily seen in top master play during the Kasparov era had been replaced by <unpretentious openings>. The present World Champion Carlsen seems to be spearheading this trend, which I find quite ironical because most of those who ascribe to Watson's false speculation in this site seem to be his fans. This is not to say that most of his fans are like that, I believe that many of Carlsen's fans find there is something wrong with what Watson is saying.

If we follow the strict definition of modern, then the modern way of playing top level chess nowadays is to employ an unpretentious opening in order to get into a playable middlegame, and from there let chessplaying skills rule further play.

Surprise! This is precisely the way the archaic Keres in Keres vs J L Watson, 1975 beat the 'modern' Watson. Yes Botvinnik would have laughed.

It is also precisely the way that Capablanca played most of his games. An unpretentious but sound opening that can get him into a playable middlegame, and then he outplayed his opponent with super accurate play. If that's not modern I don't know what is.

May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <visayan....If we follow the strict definition of modern, then the modern way of playing top level chess nowadays is to employ an unpretentious opening in order to get into a playable middlegame, and from there let chessplaying skills rule further play....

It is also precisely the way that Capablanca played most of his games. An unpretentious but sound opening that can get him into a playable middlegame, and then he outplayed his opponent with super accurate play. If that's not modern I don't know what is.>

What is new is very often actually old; of all people, chess players should comprehend this, but it is apparent that more than a few do not.

We all have our blind spots, though.

May-13-16  Rookiepawn: <What is new is very often actually old>

True, and viceversa. The old is often recycled as new.

May-14-16  Boomie: Though Watson's claim is eternally debatable, this game has no bearing on the debate. One of the all time greats beat a young master. No more meaning can be wrung from this one game.

Considering how well they played endgames, I would suspect that Lasker, Rubinstein, and Capablance would have success today. I would include Morphy if he had played more endgames. But his strength was such that he rarely needed the endgame. I believe that mastery of the endgame virtually guarantees entry into the upper echelon.

Sep-26-19  seneca16: I've played over several of Keres games against the local masters at this tournament and what strikes me even more than Keres' mastery of attacking play is how quickly he gains control of the center and posts his pieces on great squares, almost as in a lesson for beginners.
Sep-27-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: This was Keres last tournament.

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