Keres Memorial in Tallinn – what happened?

1/9/2006 – It is a yearly event to remember Estonia's greatest sporting hero, Paul Keres, whom you may or most likely may not recognise from the wax figure in his museum. The top group was won by Ivanchuk, Karpov and Kasimduzhanov, but marked by a record-breaking negative performance by Alexei Shirov, who scored a single draw in nine games. A mystery.

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The Keres Memorial Rapid chess tournament took place in Tallinn, Estonia, from January 6th-9th January 2006. It consisted of a number of parallel tournaments: Men's A and B, Women's A and B, Open and Seniors. The official web site (link at the bottom of the page) gives all results and a certain number of games. We have so far received no pictures and no explanation for Alexei Shirov's incredible breakdown. We will supply these when they arrive.

Paul Keres, 1916 – 1975

Paul Keres was born in Narva on 7 January 1916. At the University of Tartu, he studied mathematics from 1938 to 1941. In 1935, he became Estonian chess champion for the first time. Paul Keres first appeared in the international chess arena in the mid-1930s, and remained a prominent figure there for years. By the end of 1950s, he was one of the strongest chess players in the world.

In 1975, the great Estonian grandmaster Paul Keres died suddenly at the age of 59.


A life-sized wax figure of Paul Keres was unveiled in the Museum of the Paul Keres Chess House.


Like with so many such figures, one wonders if anyone who knew the Keres would spontaneously recognize him in the sculpted wax image.


A poster with the Athelete of the Century

Final standings

Round by round results

Round one

Kosyrev, Vladimir

½-½

Karpov, Anatoly

Jemelin, Vassili

0-1

Kasimdzhanov, R.

Ivanchuk, Vassily

1-0

Liiva, Riho

Vitiugov, Nikita

1-0

Shirov, Alexei

Berg, Emanuel

1-0

Agrest, Evgeni

Round two

Kosyrev, Vladimir

½-½

Jemelin, Vassili

Kasimdzhanov, R.

½-½

Ivanchuk, Vassily

Liiva, Riho

½-½

Vitiugov, Nikita

Shirov, Alexei

0-1

Berg, Emanuel

Karpov, Anatoly

1-0

Agrest, Evgeni

Round three

Ivanchuk, Vassily

1-0

Kosyrev, Vladimir

Jemelin, Vassili

0-1

Karpov, Anatoly

Vitiugov, Nikita

0-1

Kasimdzhanov, R.

Berg, Emanuel

½-½

Liiva, Riho

Agrest, Evgeni

½-½

Shirov, Alexei

Round four

Kosyrev, Vladimir

½-½

Vitiugov, Nikita

Jemelin, Vassili

0-1

Ivanchuk, Vassily

Kasimdzhanov, R.

½-½

Berg, Emanuel

Liiva, Riho

1-0

Agrest, Evgeni

Karpov, Anatoly

1-0

Shirov, Alexei

Round five

Berg, Emanuel

½-½

Kosyrev, Vladimir

Vitiugov, Nikita

½-½

Jemelin, Vassili

Ivanchuk, Vassily

½-½

Karpov, Anatoly

Agrest, Evgeni

0-1

Kasimdzhanov, R.

Shirov, Alexei

0-1

Liiva, Riho

 
Round six

Kosyrev, Vladimir

½-½

Agrest, Evgeni

Jemelin, Vassili

0-1

Berg, Emanuel

Ivanchuk, Vassily

1-0

Vitiugov, Nikita

Kasimdzhanov, R.

1-0

Shirov, Alexei

Karpov, Anatoly

1-0

Liiva, Riho

Round seven

Shirov, Alexei

0-1

Kosyrev, Vladimir

Agrest, Evgeni

0-1

Jemelin, Vassili

Berg, Emanuel

½-½

Ivanchuk, Vassily

Vitiugov, Nikita

½-½

Karpov, Anatoly

Liiva, Riho

0-1

Kasimdzhanov, R.

Round eight

Kosyrev, Vladimir

½-½

Liiva, Riho

Jemelin, Vassili

1-0

Shirov, Alexei

Ivanchuk, Vassily

½-½

Agrest, Evgeni

Vitiugov, Nikita

½-½

Berg, Emanuel

Karpov, Anatoly

½-½

Kasimdzhanov, R.

Round nine

Kasimdzhanov, R.

½-½

Kosyrev, Vladimir

Liiva, Riho

0-1

Jemelin, Vassili

Shirov, Alexei

0-1

Ivanchuk, Vassily

Agrest, Evgeni

0-1

Vitiugov, Nikita

Berg, Emanuel

0-1

Karpov, Anatoly

Results and statistics of the Men's A tournament

Nr. Name  Nat.
Rating
Pts.
S/B
Perf.

1.

GM Ivanchuk, Vassily

UKR

2729

7

27.5

2801

2.

GM Karpov, Anatoly

RUS

2672

7

26.5

2808

3.

GM Kasimdzhanov, Rustam 

UZB

2670

7

26.0

2808

4.

GM Berg, Emanuel

SWE

2540

5.5

19.25

2682

5.

GM Kosyrev, Vladimir

RUS

2527

4.5

17.00

2604

6.

Vitiugov, Nikita

RUS

2573

4.5

14.25

2599

7.

GM Jemelin, Vassili

RUS

2523

4

10.00

2561

8.

IM Liva, Riho

EST

2425

3.5

9.25

2535

9.

GM Agrest, Evgeni

SWE

2591

1.5

6.00

2324

10.

GM Shirov, Alexei

ESP

2710

0.5

0.75

2139

We really have no idea what happened in Tallinn: one draw out of nine games for a world class player like Alexei Shirov? A performance of 2139?? We cannot recall a similar breakdown in modern times and have asked people who were present at the event to explain (if news comes in we will add it to this report). Playing through the games shows us that Shirov got into trouble in virtually every game, and sometimes committed blunders that are completely outside his rating slot. Here are three examples.

Shirov,A (2710) - Berg,E (2540) [C02]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (2), 07.01.2006

White has just played 33.Qc2-a4, not fearing the knight fork on b6 because of QxR+. But after 33...Ree7 the move 34.Bf1?? is an incredible blunder, since 34...Nb6 is now deadly. The game continued 35.Bf4 e5 36.dxe5 fxe5 37.Bxe5 Rxe5 38.Qf4 Nxc8 39.Nxe5 Nf7 40.Qf5 Qxe5 41.Qxc8+ Kg7 and with a rook for two pawns Black had no problems winning the game. 0-1.

Karpov,Ana (2672) - Shirov,A (2710) [D85]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (4), 07.01.2006

Karpov sacrificed a pawn to keep the black king in the center and get a big attack. But Shirov has been holding out well, until he now suddenly throws away the game with 29...Na5?? 30.Bb5 1-0. The threat is Bxd7#, and in case of 30...Nc6 31.Bxc6 Bxc6 White has 32.Rd8# (30...Bxb5 is of course mate in one: 31.Rd8#).

Shirov,A (2710) - Ivanchuk,V (2748) [B30]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (9), 08.01.2006

White has got himself into a bit of trouble and tries to get out of it with 31.Qxc5. The point is that Black cannot well take on e1 because of 32.Ne4 threatening Nf6#. But Black simply plays 31...Rc8 and all White's chances dissipate. The game ended 32.Qa5 Nxe1 33.Ne4 Qd4 34.Qxe1 d2 35.Qxd2 Qxe4 36.Qg5 Qb4 0-1.

Results and statistics of the Women's A tournament

Nr. Name  Nat.
Rating
Pts.
S/B
Perf.

1.

WIM Berzina, Ilse

LAT

2278

5.5

17

2564

2.

GM Cramling, Pia

SWE

2515

4.5

14

2402

3.

WFM Golubenko, Valentina

EST

2146

4.5

13

2455

4.

IM Cmilyte, Viktoria

LTU

2475

4

12.75

2356

5.

WGM Grabuzova, Tatjana

RUS

2355

3

8.5

2273

6.

WGM Ciuksyte, Dagne

LTU

2370

2.5

8

2219

7.

WIM Tsiganova, Monika

EST

2282

2

7.75

2176

8.

WIM Fomina, Tatjana

EST

2196

2

5

2188

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