CHESS

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - GAMES - By Leonard Bar­den

Paul Keres v Giuseppe Stalda, postal game 1934. Es­to­nia's Keres was one of the finest play­ers never to be­come world cham­pion. His ca­reer was blighted when he com­peted in wartime Ger­man tour­na­ments. On his re­turn home Soviet author­i­ties, who favoured Keres's Rus­sian ri­val Mikhail Botvin­nik, co­erced him with threats to his fam­ily. Though no smok­ing gun has emerged, sus­pi­cions linger that Keres chose to play be­low form when he lost four straight games to Botvin­nik in the 1948 world ti­tle event. As a youth­ful tal­ent, Keres honed his game by postal chess, taking on 150 op­po­nents at once. When he died, thou­sands at­tended his funeral and he was hon­oured with his im­age on a stamp. Here Keres looks set for vic­tory with his Qg6 mate threat, while the queen also stops Qxe2+. It looks res­ignable for Stalda, but the Ital­ian pro­duced a sur­prise re­source. What hap­pened?

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