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Paul Keres vs Mikhail Tal
"The Baltic Shelf" (game of the day Oct-21-2014)
Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959), Bled, Zagreb & Belgrade YUG, rd 17, Oct-06
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-10-05  Pretzel Logic: Wow, I'm the first in! (Ooooh, making love for the very first time...)

Well, it was somewhere on Chess base, something about Keres, how in this tournament, his score would have won any other candidates Tournament ever played.

They said,in this game, that Keres missed a win. Didn't see it. The two pieces for a rook look nice, but they're bogged down, no way to open up the position, apparently. Does anyone see a win for White?

Jun-10-05  Shams: hmm, I don't. 17.Rfd1 looks like it could be improved upon, although I couldn't find much of an edge with 17.Be3 instead.
Feb-10-06  Hesam7: Apparently 19. Bg5 was a blunder. After 18... Qxd8,

click for larger view

Fruit gives:

19. g4 Qe7 20. g5 Nd7 21. h4 Rd6 22. b4 Ba7 23. b5 a5 24. Rb1 Bb6 25. Ng4 Qe6 26. bxc6 Rxc6 27. Be3 Rc3 28. Rb5 Bxe3 29. Nxe3 (eval: -0.14)

Depth: 19
7375M nodes
775K nodes/sec

Oct-28-08  PeterB: According to Bouwmeester, Tal's 24..Kf8 was the real killer, as White then has to take on f6 with the pawn, killing his own attack!
Feb-02-11  talisman: game of the day.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This was Tal's only win to set against three losses in his mini-match with Keres from this event, despite his decisive victory overall.
Oct-23-13  gandalf3000: Yes, Keres could have won by playing 37. Qc4 instead of 37. Qd1. It came after Tal's mistake 35....Qd6 (correct was 35....Qc5 with a winning position for black). At that moment, both players only had seconds on the clock.
Oct-23-13  DrGridlock: <gandalf> As Lee Corso might say, "Not so fast, my friend."

It is true that 37 Qc4 is better than 37 Qd1, but it is not winning. Komodo gives:

click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit:

1. (-2.98): 37.Qc4 Ke8 38.Kf2 Qb8 39.Qd5 b3 40.Nxf7 Qa7+ 41.Kf1 Kxf7 42.Qxb3 Qd7 43.Qc3 h5 44.Kg1 Qd8 45.Kf1 a5 46.Qb3 Qd7 47.Qc3 a4 48.Qb4 Qc6 49.Qd4

2. (-5.27): 37.Bd2 Qd4+ 38.Kh1 Qxh4+ 39.Kg1 Qd4+ 40.Kh2 a5 41.Kh3 Rxf6 42.Qb1 Qd7+ 43.Kg3 Qd6+ 44.Kh3 Qe6+ 45.Kh2 g5 46.Nxf7 Kxf7 47.Qxd3 Qe5+ 48.Kg1 Kg7 49.Qd7+ Rf7 50.Qd3 Re7 51.Kh1 h6 52.Qc4 Rf7

3. (-7.27): 37.h5 d2 38.Bxd2 Qxd2 39.Qc4 Qd1+ 40.Kh2 Qxh5+ 41.Kg3 Qxh6 42.Qxb4+ Kg8 43.Qb8+ Qf8 44.Qf4 Qd8 45.Kh3 Rxf6 46.Qe4 Re6 47.Qf3 Re1 48.g3 Qc8+ 49.Kg2 Qc4 50.Qa8+ Kg7 51.Qf3

What path do you see to a win for White after 37 Qc4?

Oct-23-13  RookFile: It sure looked like Keres had a dangerous attack and was going to be 4-0 over Tal, but Tal got the point he needed.
Oct-23-13  gandalf3000: My bad. Just got a bit too nostalgic I guess and rushed with the post - the game really brought some old, childhood memories. I read the comments here, someone said something about Keres missing a chance to win somewhere, and I tried to remember...

Actually, 37. Qc4 only was a great drawing chance for White, and not a winning move - as I wrongly said (the other remark, on Black's 35. ... Qd6? stands I hope). But it was a great chance, both players were in huge time trouble, and who knows, after 37 Qc4 Tal could have played 37.... d2? overlooking 38. Bd2 (38....Qd2 39. Qc8 Re8 40 Qc5).

I am impressed with the variations you quoted, and you have to be right of course, but it's hard to imagine anyone calculating all that with just a couple of seconds on the clock. On the other hand, it was Tal - so who knows? - with his intuition, and the luck he had in this tournament (never mind brilliance).

By the way, the score would have been 3-0 if Keres won this game, it was played in the third phase (and you are right, Keres later won the fourth game - in great style, but perhaps too late). But this game was a decisive moment of the whole competition, that's for sure (after that, Tal went 2.5 points ahead, with some 10 or 11 rounds remaining if I'm not wrong).

Nov-20-13  zydeco: I'd blame 18.Rxd8. White can play 18.Bg5 and continue contesting the d-file. Probably Keres missed Tal's trick with 19.....Qd4: after 20.c3 black has 20.....Qxf2+ 21.Qxf2 Bxf2+ 22.Kxf2 Nxe4+
Oct-21-14  Ediciones3jaques: I wonder which indicates the theory starts to favor white, or where white was wrong ... I did not convince all the previous comments.
Oct-22-14  Yopo: 26 Qf4 Qc5 27 Qb8+ Re8 28 Qxb7 Qd5 29 Qxa6 d3 30 f3 d2 31 Bxd2 Dxd2 32 Ng4 is very intersting.
Nov-29-15  Mehem: <PeterB: White then has to take on f6 with the pawn>. White doesn't have to and it was the decisive blunder: 25.Bxf6! Qc1+ 26.Kh2 Qxh6 27.Bg5 Qg7 (27... Qh5?? 28.g4 ) 28.Bf6

click for larger view

Queen is under the "perpetual check" and Black must give back the exchange 28... Rxf6 (28... Qg8?? 29.Qb3 ) 29.exf6 Qh6 30.Qg4!

click for larger view

30... Kg8□ 31.Qxd4=

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