CHESS

The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - GAMES - By Leonard Bar­den

Paul Keres v Hil­lar Karner, Parnu 1971. Men­tion of Keres, rated one of the best play­ers never to be­come world cham­pion, prompts the thought that a ship cap­tain changed chess his­tory. The great Es­to­nian was aged 25 and in his prime in 1941 when the Ger­mans over­ran his coun­try. He con­tin­ued to play pro­fes­sional chess, com­pet­ing in wartime Nazi-run tour­na­ments where the then ti­tle holder Alexan­der Alekhine, him­self an ex­ile from Rus­sia, warned him not to go back to the Soviet Union be­cause “they will chop your head off”. The prob­lem for Keres was his fam­ily, still res­i­dent in Tallinn. So in 1944 he moved to Swe­den, hop­ing to take ad­van­tage of the con­fu­sion, as the Ger­man army left, to col­lect his wife and chil­dren. His hired boat took him across the Baltic safely, but the Keres clan waited in vain for the re­turn ship. Re­sult-:he was ar­rested, threat­ened with ex­e­cu­tion, saved by his sta­tus as an Es­to­nian sports hero, but prob­a­bly co­erced into a prom­ise to avoid chal­leng­ing the Rus­sian Mikhail Botvin­nik’s suc­cess­ful cam­paign for the world ti­tle. Keres was a stylist, who could de­mol­ish op­po­nents with a sin­gle wellplanned coup. Here as White (to move) he is a pawn down, though the black king is in ob­vi­ous dan­ger. What was White’s win­ner?

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