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Only two men in the history of chess deserved to win the world championship but were denied the opportunity to do so. The first was Akiba Rubinstein, who was too shy to issue a challenge to Lasker, Capablanca or Alekhine, and the second was the great Estonian Paul Keres. Had the war not broken out in 1939, Keres, who had outclassed the world's best in the Avro tournament the previous year, would surely have become champion. Here is one of his typical victories.

White: Paul Keres

Black: Reuben Fine

Ostende 1937

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 10.Qxd2 0-0 11.Bc4 Nd7 12.0-0 b6 13.Rad1!

Any other player would have moved his rook to the open c-file, but Keres assesses that his chances lie in a K-side attack combined with a push in the centre. On c1 the rooks will only be exchanged; on d1 and e1, they are ready to attack.

13...Bb7 14.Rfe1 Rc8 15.Bb3 Nf6

Black's logic is that an advance of the white d-pawn will only leave a pawn on d5, easily blockaded and readily attacked.

16.Qf4 Qc7 17.Qh4 Rfd8 18.Re3 b5 19.Rde1 a5 20.a4 b4 21.d5!! exd5 22.e5!

This is the idea White has been preparing for so long. 22...Ne4 is met by 23.Rxe4 dxe4 24.Ng5 with a withering attack.

22...Nd7 23.Ng5 Nf8 24.Nxh7!

Bravo! The horse kicks open the stable door to let the rook and queen through.

24...Nxh7 25.Rh3

Simple: the knight cannot move away without allowing Qh8 mate. But Black produces some threats of his own.

25...Qc1! 26.Qxh7+ Kf8 27.Re3

A neat step backwards to protect the other rook and increase the leverage behind the e-pawn.

27...d4 (see diagram) 28.Qh8+ Ke7 29.Qxg7! Rf8

29...dxe3 30.Qxf7 is mate.

30.Qf6+ Ke8 31.e6! resigns

31...dxe3 32.exf7+ Kd7 33.Qe6+ leaves the choice between 33...Kc7 34.Rxc1+ and 33...Kd8 34.Qd6 mate.