Paul Keres At Munich 1936. An Amazing Game Plus Some Bonus Ones!
Keres in 1941

Paul Keres At Munich 1936. An Amazing Game Plus Some Bonus Ones!


Quick and simple today - I have used up all my time looking at the games!

Replying to a comment last time round, I grabbed my copy of the Tournament Book of the unofficial Olympiad played in Munich in 1936.

There is one game from that tournament that always comes to mind when the subject of that tournament comes up.

I have always said that my first three chess teachers were Reti, Tartakower and Keres. My local library did not have many chess books, but it did have two volumes of his best games by Paul Keres.

I started with this one.

Because it had games where he beat Alekhine and Capablanca, who I knew about! 

What a book!!! Apart from the games themselves, Keres was a quite outstanding writer and annotator. I was just captivated by everything in it!

I went over every word in it two or three times, and every move - both in the games and the analysis was put on the board and studied until I thought I understood them.

Above all, his amazing honesty and capacity for self criticism stood out. Many players simply lie when talking about their games - Alekhine was notorious for it, and he is far from alone. Keres never did. If a move by his opponent surprised him when it was played, he said so! There was no false Staunton type praise for his opponents, just genuine respect and admiration. at times he almost sounds shocked that he was able to beat them. No Capablanca type ego. No Nimzovich style 'look at haw brilliant I am'. etc. Just a very humble and honest man. I admired him more for that than for the brilliance of his chess.

He was - as a player and as a man who happened to play chess - my first chess hero.

The writings of many players have made me a better player. I have learned so much from so many. The writings of Paul Keres made me not only a better player, but a more humble and honest one, and also, i think, a better human being. He was a great teacher for me in more ways than one, and I am eternally, and humbly grateful for the lessons.

O.K. Let's go look at some chess of the young Paul Keres. I will start with the aforementioned game, and then throw in some more that he played in that tournament for you to enjoy.

Kurt Richter was a fine player, and seems to have been a decent man. In his best games collection - on memory here because I have still not found the book! He gave two losses. The one against Engels that was in my last offering, and this one. 

There are too many writers, both of books and internet articles, who would have you believe that a great game is a sacrificial attack, where one player overwhelms the other with a hail of sacrifices. One such article appeared on this site today, recycling a well known brilliancy. ( And a magnificent game it is too! ) However, I personally think that such an approach is one-sided, and just wrong!

As Lasker observed, chess is a struggle. Often the opponent doesn't just roll over and get mated. I love my battles, and this game is a real battle, where the loser defended himself very well, and it took a monumental effort for Keres to win. Truly great chess. Enjoy!!

O.K. Have been looking at the games Keres played in that event all day. Will throw them in as I get to them, with the comments i made as i was going through them. It is in the nature of Olympiads that sometimes it is David vs. Goliath, and Keres swatting flies, but you will also learn a little of how Keres played before he became a World Class Grandmaster, which he was recognised as a year later, albeit when titles were somewhat more obscure than they were to later become!.

A game that inspired me as a novice, who had just been studying Morphy. Has Keres lived back then he would have been a giant!

Another one that reminds me of some 19th century games.

Some fly swatting. Pretty though!

In this next one, Keres gets nothing out of the opening, but his opponent takes him on in tactics, and Keres just sees more. Despite a touch of over confidence, he wins easily enough.

Another emerging player - Gideon Stahlberg - had White against Keres. Combining the simple with the naive, he gets into trouble and is outplayed.

Keres in 1941

Keres's opponent in the next game was strong and experienced. In an objectively drawn position, Keres keeps trying, and eventually his opponent cracks.

Another strong opponent, another flank opening, and another technical ending! Not perfect, I think, but an interesting game.

Saved this one until last so that I can close with a rather unusual finish!!

Thanks for joining me in the kind of thing I do when I have a few hours to spare, and I hope you enjoyed the chess.

Wiener Schachzeitung. 1937 Page 139.