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Mikhail Tal vs Paul Keres
EST-LAT (1954), Tallinn EST, rd 1, Jan-29
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Gligoric-Taimanov System (E92)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: In final position black King will escape from checks of white Queen, for example 44.Qh8+ Ke7 45.Qg7+ Kd8 46.Qh8+ Kc7 47.Qg7+ Kc8 48.Qg8+ Kb7 49.Qg7+ (49.Rb1+ Nb6 50.Qg7+ Ka6 ) 49...Nc7 50.Rb1+ Ka6 with mate or 50.Rxf2 Qxf2 51.Qxg6 Qxh4+
Jun-23-07  DrGridlock: 28 Qh2 seems to be a curious move from Tal. The Queen gets shoved into a corner, and White's c and f pawns fall within 5 moves.

Fritz prefers Qb2 for White on move 28, with Re3 and Nd4 following leaving an even position.

Any conjectures on what about Qh2 might have appealed to Tal?

Sep-15-08  whiteshark: Tal spielte das "dritte Damenbrett". :D
Sep-15-08  zev22407: Kres wrote in his book that Tal played Q-h2 to allow 29)N-g3 and now if Rxf3 30)Rxf3 Qxf3 31)R-e1and white has consolidate his position.
Jun-12-15  ToTheDeath: First meeting bw these two heavyweights, and it does not disappoint. Keres was in some ways a better attacker than Tal, a pity he never took the title as he more than deserved it.
Oct-04-21  RookFile: Keres was a great player, no doubt. Trying to figure out when he deserved the title. Does he beat Alekhine in a Keres vs. Alekhine match? Anything is possible, but I would think Alekhine would be the favorite. Don't get me started about the 1948 tournament, when Botvinnik put up a ridiculous plus against Keres. Was it 1953, when Smyslov won all his games against Keres?

In short, when did Keres "deserve" the title?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <RookFile>, I think a strong case could be made for Keres instead of Tal in 1960, though of course Tal earned his Championship fair and square.

Tal and Keres both outdistanced the rest of the field in the '59 Bled/Zagreb Candidates by a large margin - and Keres beat Tal in their mini-match - but interestingly it was Fischer's crumbling against Tal that would seem to be the deciding factor, as the rest of the field put up more similar resistance to the two front-runners.
Oct-04-21  Petrosianic: Keres might easily have earned a title match that year, but he never did particularly well against Botvinnik, even not counting the 1948 Tournament that so many people think is fishy.

That's not to say he COULDN'T have won it. Maybe he would. But I wouldn't consider him the favorite. And his reputation wouldn't be as good now if he had played and lost in 1960.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <Petrosianic> Good points.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: Probably the best pathway for Keres to the world title would have required 1) Denying Botvinnik the rematch with Tal, then 2) Keres fighting Petrosian in Curacao 1962 rather than agreeing to draws, leading to Tal-Keres 1963, which would have been a real popcorn-popper.
Oct-04-21  Petrosianic: That's assuming that Botvinnik didn't win or didn't play at Curacao (he would have been seeded).
Oct-04-21  RookFile: Keres would be a good opponent for Tal in a world championship match (bluffs don't work with Keres) but the stars would have to align perfectly for this to happen. They didn't.

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