Today is Paul Keres’ Birthday

Happy birthday to Paul Keres, who was born on January 7, 1916. From 1935, when he debuted as a sensational nineteen-year-old at the Sixth World Chess Olympiad in Warsaw, Paul Keres was one of the top five players in the world before his untimely death from a heart attack on an international airplane flight from Vancouver to Helsinki in 1975. Perhaps his greatest achievement came at the age of 22, when he won one of the most powerful tournaments ever held: AVRO 1938, a double round-robin tournament to decide Alexander Alekhine challenger for the World Championship. The result granted Keres the right to play a World Chess Championship match with Alekhine, a match that I believe Keres would have won, but World War II intervened and the match was never played. For a few years after the war, Keres was arguably the strongest chess player alive but unfortunately, he was never granted another opportunity to play for the title of World Champion.

Here is a famous position that occurred in 1955 during round 4 of the Gothenburg Interzonal in which Paul Keres was paired against Boris Spassky. Spassky, who had the black pieces, had just played 29… N6d7. Can you spot Keres’ knockout punch?

White to move and win (Keres – Spassky, Gothenburg 1955).

Watch today’s Daily Chess Musing to see an explanation of the answer to this chess problem.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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