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Stahlberg-Keres: A Crush Course in the English

  • NM GreenLaser
  • | May 7, 2011
  • | 4330 views
  • | 13 comments

Paul Keres (1916-1975) was a great player from Estonia. He was one of the world’s leading players from the 1930s to the 1960s. Keres won the AVRO tournament in 1938 and became the leading challenger to World Champion Alexander Alekhine, but a match never took place. Later, Keres came in second in four straight Candidates’ Tournaments. In four consecutive Olympiads, Keres won the individual gold medal. Keres won the Estonian Championship and the USSR Championship three times each. He was an important chess writer and contributor to opening theory, including the variation in the game shown. He remains the leading contender for the “strongest player who was not a world champion.”

Gideon Stahlberg (1908-1967) was a great Swedish player in the years when Keres first dsiplayed his talent. They played a match in 1938. After eight games the match was a draw with each player winning two games. This experience helped to prepare Keres for his match with Max Euwe, the former world champion, in 1939-40. Keres won that 14 game match by one point. Stahlberg had match practice with wins against Rudof Spielmann in 1933 and Aron Nimzowitsch in 1934. In the early 1950s, Stahlberg played in two Candidates’ Tournaments. He wrote more than ten chess books.

The selected game is from the Stockholm Jubilee in 1966-67. There were ten players in a nine round round robin. Keres was the clear winner with 7/9 a point and a half ahead of the field. Stahlberg came in eighth place with 4/9. The opening was the English, which begins with 1.c4. Keres played an early e5, which Stahlberg answered with g3 in order to fianchetto his bishop. Keres played c6 to block the long diagonal that White’s bishop would be placed on. That setup is the Keres Variation. Stahlberg permitted Keres to play the cramping d4 and later get control of f3. The result was a dynamic crush by Keres. It may be presumed that Stahlberg was no longer near his earlier strength. Perhaps, he was also not feeling well or even was ill. I have no information on his condition, but he died nearly five months later. Keres died at the same age eight years after Stahlberg.

 

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    sollevy10

    yes of course NM Greenlaser. It's just that I haven't seen that game yet which I am trying to retrieve now and write a blog about it.

  • 3 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    sollevy10, thanks. I believe that Keres first tried the Keres Attack against Bogoljubow and won.

  • 3 years ago

    sollevy10

    nice game and player profile. thanks for sharing. i also like the keres attack after seeing judit polgar's game using it.

  • 4 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    TwoMove, thanks. You are right. The three books by Keres on his games were put into one volume with the word "Complete" in the title. That was misleading if taken to mean all of his games. It was just the games of the three volumes. All of his games (or 1,944 found) are in Paul Keres Photographs and Games published in Estonia in 1995.There are only ten games with notes by Keres. Among other books on Keres, there are two volumes by Varnusz organized by opening.

  • 4 years ago

    TwoMove

    I agree the Reinfeld book mentioned very good, his earlier books were not bad at all. There is also the best games collection by Keres himself. Orginally three hardback books. There was latter a paperback all combined. Later still Batsford did a new edition with some small corrections by John Nunn.

  • 4 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    cookie3, anything on Keres or by Keres is worth looking at. I always liked Keres' Best Games of Chess 1931-1948 by Fred Reinfeld. Keres and Kotov wrote The Art of the Middle Game, which was interesting in 1964. Keres wrote Practical Chess Endings (1984).

  • 4 years ago

    cookie3

    Yes, sir, exactly what I meant!  So from that point, it would be an equal trade w/ no advantage gained?  At least, thats how i see it!Smile

    This is what I love about this site:  ask a decent chess question, and you get good answers.  Thank you for your time, it is greatly appreciated!

    Is there any work from GM Keres that you would reccomend for a person at my level?  I like the way he writes, easy to follow!  I also like the old way of annotating(rook to queen bishop1; i.e.).  I dont know if just me, but it sounds more artistic!Tongue out

  • 4 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    cookie3, if you mean after  ( 20. f4 d3 21. exd3 Nxd3 22. Bxd3 cxd3 23. Qxd3 Qc5+ 24. Rf2 f6 25. Bh4 then g5, White has 26.Qg6.

  • 4 years ago

    cookie3

    Sorry....I meant is 25)....g5  still bad?  My bad!Laughing

  • 4 years ago

    cookie3

    ty for the good answer!  Maybe Stahlberg was sick or something as you stated; not trying to sound bad against him.  I am not a good player(though i hope to be!), but i have to agree that  21)....Bf3 is in no way equal.  I've been looking at this game since you posted it, and i dont see how it could be equal.  Maybe GM Stahlberg was just being stubborn and didn't want to admit a bad move...not like we all havn't done that once or twice!Tongue out  in the 20) f4 variation you listed; is 25)...also bad?  I see that two moves later and it is not good; so will it be same result later?

    Thank you again, this is very enjoyable!

  • 4 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    cookie3, after 21...Bf3 white is lost. For example, 22.Kf1 Qh3+ 23.Ke1 Bxe4 24.dxe4 Nf3+ and the fork winning the bishop reappears, but it is even worse because of 25.Ke2 Nd4+ winning the queen or 25.Kd1 Qf1 mate. That is why I looked at alternatives to 20.Rfc1 (as well as earlier deviations) avoid the exact line played by Keres. The purpose of 20.Bf4 or 20.f4 attacking the knight was to avoid d3 and Bf3 with the threat of Qh3. If White has to play Nf3, instead of Bf3, things improve for White. I believe that Stahlberg claimed that 20.Bf4 was equal, but I have not seen any more comments beyond that.

  • 4 years ago

    kyldyl

    :)

  • 4 years ago

    cookie3

    Love the game!  Keres was a great player, and i have only read his work in "The Art of the Middle Game", but it has greatly helped me and many others.

    How did Stahlberg not see the fork coming on move 21?  Also, does 21)....Nf3+ work in this case?  I'm not clear on it, but am leaning toward no.  And, did Stahlberg have to take the bishop move 22?

    Thank you!

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