Shirov wins Keres memorial rapid

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Shirov wins Keres 95 rapidAlexei Shirov yesterday won a rapid tournament that was part of a three-day Paul Keres memorial event in Tallinn, Estonia. GMs Anatoly Karpov, Lajos Portisch and Genna Sosonko also participated in the festivities dedicated to the 95th birthday of Estonia's greatest chess player.

Jaan Ehlvest and Alexei Shirov in the last round of the 'Keres 95' memorial rapid tournament on Sunday

Over the weekend a chess festival took place in Tallinn in remembrance of Estonia's greatest chess player, Paul Keres, who was born on January 7th, 1916. Keres was among the absolute world top between the 1930s and 1960s and is considered to be one of the best players (if not the best) never to become world champion.

Paul Keres

Paul Keres (1916-1975)



Keres passed away way too young, at 59, in Helsinki in 1975. He was on his way back from a tournament in Vancouver which he had won. In Estonia Keres is a national hero. He is one of the few people who received a state funeral, and the five kroons (5 krooni) Estonian banknote bears his portrait.

The importance of Paul Keres in Estonia was emphasized once more when President Toomas Hendrik Ilves joined the festivities over the weekend. He met with grandmasters Anatoly Karpov, Lajos Portisch, Genna Sosonko and former head of the Russian Chess Federation Alexander Bakh. Among other things, the gentlemen spoke about plans for bigger festivities in 2016.

There was a book presentation, at which Karpov and Sosonko spoke about Keres (video in Russian here) and Karpov also gave a simul. Against 16 opponents he drew one game and lost one game, according to Postimees.ru. If you understand Russian you can also listen to a radio program with Korchnoi and Sosonko.

And, of course, there was chess. On Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th it started with a preliminary tournament, which was played over seven rounds. On Sunday the four best players would then be joined by GMs Alexei Shirov (Spain), Jaan Ehlvest (USA), GM Elshan Moradiabadi (Iran) and IM Aleksandr Volodin (Estonia) for a final, 8-player round-robin tournament.

The numbers 1-4 of the first tournament were Artem Smirnov (Russia), Denis Kovaljov (Estonia), Normunds Miezis (Latvia) and Aleksei Lugovoi (Russia). However, number 5 FM Ilja Vovk from Estonia was also allowed to participate on Sunday when it became clear that GM Moradiabadi could not arrive on time after finishing the Iranian Championship (where he finished second behind GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami).

In the final tournament on Sunday Alexei Shirov was clearly the strongest. With one round to go he was leading by a point, followed by Ehlvest and Miezis in shared second place. Unfortunately in the last round Ehlvest wasn't up for a real fight and offered a draw with White at move nine. Shirov had no reason to decline.

Keres Memorial 2011 | Rapid | Final standings
Keres Memorial 2011 | Rapid | Final standings


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