Bernadskiy and Kuzubov win Keres Memorial in Tallinn

by Klaus Besenthal
1/9/2023 – From Friday, 6 January, to Sunday, 8 January, the 32nd Keres Memorial was held in the Estonian capital Tallinn and featured a blitz and a rapid tournament. GM Vitaliy Bernadskiy from Ukraine won the blitz, GM Yuriy Kuzubov (also from Ukraine) won the rapid event.

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32. Keres Memorial in Tallinn

Due to political circumstances the Estonian Grandmaster Paul Keres (1916-1975) spent a large part of his chess career as a Soviet citizen, because the Soviet Union annexed Estonia, which had become independent in 1918, from 1940 to 1941 and again in 1944 at the end of  World War II. But from 1941 to 1944 Estonia had been occupied by Germany and in that time Keres played tournaments in the German Reich, which brought him in danger when the Soviets took over.

This perhaps also explains why he was not considered to be a suitable World Champion in politically controlled Soviet chess and was hindered accordingly - at least that is how the rumour goes.

However, Keres was probably one of the strongest players who never played a match for the World Championship though he was runner-up in no less than four Candidates Tournaments.

In Estonia Keres is a national hero, and when he died in 1975 100,000 people came to his funeral! The Keres Memorial continues to pay tribute to this fantastic chess player and this year the 32. edition was played.

Estonia is the northernmost of the three Baltic republics; the capital Tallinn lies about 80 km south of Helsinki on the Gulf of Finland. At the eastern end of this Baltic Sea bay is St. Petersburg. Much of the border with Russia runs through Lake Peipus, but there is also a stretch of land border. Narva, the border town with Russia, is the birthplace of Paul Keres.

Due to Estonia's geographical location, it is not surprising that the participants in the Keres Memorial often come from countries such as Latvia and Lithuania, Finland and Sweden. In the past, Russian chess players also also liked to come but after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Estonia has drastically restricted the issuing of visas for Russians and this year the Keres Memorial did not have a single participant from Russia.

But the field was still strong. Top seed in the 11-round 15+5 rapid tournament was German Grandmaster Daniel Fridman, who was born in Riga, the capital of Latvia, barely a year after Keres' death. Fridman, however, had to settle for 10th while the Ukrainian Yuriy Kuzubov finished sole first with 9.0/11. In round 9 Kuzubov won a crucial game against Sipila from Finland:

 

The excellent organisation would certainly have pleased Keres  | Photo Estonian Sports Federation

Final standings of the rapid tournament

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Kuzubov Yuriy 9 75
2 Laurusas Tomas 8,5 73,5
3 Kulaots Kaido 8 72
4 Sipila Vilka 8 71,5
5 Bernadskiy Vitaliy 8 71
6 Pultinevicius Paulius 8 68,5
7 Nyback Tomi 7,5 74,5
8 Meshkovs Nikita 7,5 72
9 Novik Maxim 7,5 71
10 Fridman Daniel 7,5 71
11 Ehlvest Jaan 7,5 70,5
12 Chukavin Kirill 7,5 64,5
13 Mierins Emils Janis 7,5 64,5
14 Krivenko Dion 7,5 64
15 Grigoriants Sergey 7 72,5
16 Haitin Ilja 7 69
17 Palchuk Andrii 7 64,5
18 Sinitsina Anastassia 7 61,5
19 Pedoson Georg Aleksander 7 61
20 Volodin Aleksandr 6,5 72,5
21 Golubovskis Maksims 6,5 71
22 Shishkov Andrei 6,5 69,5
23 Seeman Tarvo 6,5 67,5
24 Golubenko Valeriy 6,5 66,5
25 Rychagov Nikita 6,5 65
26 Nestor Kaarel 6,5 64,5
27 Narva Jaan 6,5 63
28 Abozenko Georg 6,5 61,5
29 Dubrovin Robert 6,5 60,5
30 Medar Marti 6,5 59
  Obolonin Filipp 6,5 59
32 Kuhn Ulf 6,5 57,5
33 Zigailov Sergei 6,5 55,5
34 Muutnik Valdo 6 65
35 Schults Olev 6 64
36 Agafonov Yuri Dr 6 64
37 Mikko Rondo 6 63
38 Kull Tormi 6 61,5
39 Haavamae Henrik 6 57,5
40 Golubenko Valentina 6 54
  Telliskivi Sven 6 54
42 Stangl Anita Dr. 6 52

...> 90 participants

Blitz tournament

The Keres Memorial began on Friday with a nine-round blitz tournament, which the Ukrainian Grandmaster Vitaliy Bernadskiy won with 8.0/9. Fridman also finished with 8.0/9 but became second on tiebreak.

The winners of the blitz tournament: Paulius Pultinevicius, Jaan Ehlvest, Daniel Fridman, Vitaliy Bernadskiy (from left to right)

Final standings of the blitz tournament

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Bernadskiy Vitaliy 8 50
2 Fridman Daniel 8 48,5
3 Pultinevicius Paulius 7 52,5
4 Ehlvest Jaan 7 48,5
5 Palchuk Andrii 7 46,5
6 Nyback Tomi 6,5 49
7 Kukk Sander 6,5 46,5
8 Meshkovs Nikita 6,5 46
9 Golubovskis Maksims 6,5 43
10 Shishkov Andrei 6,5 42,5
11 Chukavin Kirill 6 48
12 Nestor Kaarel 6 46,5
13 Laurusas Tomas 6 46
14 Sinitsina Anastassia 6 46
15 Pedoson Georg Aleksander 6 45
16 Volodin Aleksandr 6 44
17 Sipila Vilka 6 43,5
18 Kuzubov Yuriy 6 43,5
19 Kunitson Nikolai 6 41
20 Ter-Avetisjana Agnesa Stepania 6 37,5
21 Obolonin Filipp 5,5 46,5
22 Novik Maxim 5,5 44,5
23 Schults Olev 5,5 42
  Mierins Emils Janis 5,5 42
25 Tanav Tiit 5,5 42
26 Valner Uku 5,5 39
27 Stangl Anita Dr. 5,5 32

...> 90 participants

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Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.
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