Chess Masterpieces: Keres vs. Szabo, 1955
Paul Keres shows his attacking chops in a short, sweet win.

Chess Masterpieces: Keres vs. Szabo, 1955

NM SamCopeland

Paul Keres is a fascinating player with a fascinating history. Winner of the star-studded 1938 AVRO tournament, he was a presumed challenger to Alexander Alekhine when WW II intervened. After the war, his native Estonia had been subsumed by the Soviet Union under the oppressive Stalinist regime.

It has been widely understood that Keres was under tremendous pressure not to trouble the Soviet favorite Mikhail Botvinnik in his search for the world championship. Whether that meant throwing games or a strategic lack of effort is hard to say, but doubtless his career in the Soviet world was fraught and stressful.

Keres chess accomplishments were many. An elite player from the 30's through the 60's he won many brilliant games and left behind excellent books about his games. GM John Nunn, one of the finest chess authors ever, comments that Keres was his favorite writer when he was young because of Keres honesty. He was open about what he did and did not see and willingly indicated improvements for both players in a frank and honest way.

In today's game against Szabo, Keres wins swiftly with direct and efficient attacking play. The game is a model illustration of many attacking ideas like rook lifts and removing the defender. I hope you enjoy it! It's one of my favorite miniatures.

I've annotated this game below in further depth. There are many instructive variations worth diving into!

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