Shirov wins Paul Keres Memorial

by ChessBase
1/25/2005 – The International Chess Tournament in Tallinn, Estonia, has a tradition that goes back to 1969. In the past it was won by Leonid Stein, Mikhail Tal (five times!) and Paul Keres, who has given it the present-day name. This year Alexei Shirov triumphed (over Anatoly Karpov and Boris Gelfand) and won it for the second year in succession. Illustrated report.

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Our own Paul Petrovich

The traditional International Chess Tournament in Tallinn has its roots in the first one, staged in the distant past of 1969. Among winners of the tournament you’ll find Leonid Stein (1969), the eighth World Champion Mikhail Tal (1971, 1973, 1977, 1981, 1983), and Paul Keres in propria persona (1971 and 1975).

In 1975 the great Estonian grandmaster passed away at the age of 59. For a remarkably long period of thirty years from 1936 to 1965 Paul Keres was among the top ten players in the world. Since 1977 the traditional tournament in Tallinn has been named after him. It is the Paul Keres Memorial.

From 1991 the tournament was changed to a rapid chess event and held on a yearly basis, and from 1999 on it acquired a women’s section. Last year the winners were Alexei Shirov and Maia Chiburdanidze.

Left: the monument to Paul Keres in Tallinn. Photo: ESS Kalev


The tournament is timed to coincide with the birthday of Paul Keres – January 7. It is astonishing that every year, despite the quite restricted prize fund, a lot of very famous grandmasters get together in Tallinn to remember Paul Keres. This year Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Pia Cramling, Anatoly Karpov, Alexei Shirov and Boris Gelfand were personally invited to the main finals.

Left: Iivo Nei and Anatoly Karpov speak about Paul Keres’ role in the history of world’s chess in his Birthday, January 7th, 2005. Photo: ESS Kalev

At the opening ceremony the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov said: “Paul Petrovich is embedded forever in my recollection as very calm, intelligent, and polite man. But on the chessboard he was really reborn, surprising his opponents with sharp lunges and hard-nosed battles.”

A word from the twelfth World Champion Anatoly Karpov at the opening ceremony. Next to him is Israeli GM Boris Gelfand

Estonian writer Jüri Tuulik thanked Anatoly Karpov for his visit and informed the public that Anatoly Karpov is the tenth World Champion who has visited Estonia. Jüri Tuulik clarified that Alexander Alekhine, Robert Fischer, Garry Kasparov, and Vladimir Kramnik have never been to Estonia. In addition Tuulik provided us with an interesting bit of information: in 1974, before the final candidate match Karpov-Korchnoi, Paul Keres has offered the latter his help. But Korchnoi has refused and thus lost a chance to win the chess crown.

Alexei Shirov said in turn that the main book which he had used to learn chess was “100 Games” by Paul Keres. “In comparison with my native town Riga, where tournaments in memory of Mikhail Tal are not widespread, Memorials of Paul Keres are world famous”.

Boris Gelfand emphasized that those who love chess to any extent know and esteem the contribution of Paul Keres to the game and its progress. “That’s why many chess players go to Tallinn to play in this tournament”, GM Gelfand said.

Left: Alexei Shirov.
Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Bicycle racer Erika Salumäe, two times Olympic Champion in Seoul (in the USSR team) and in Barcelona (in the Estonian team)

The tournament was organized by the All Estonian Sports Society Kalev, of which Paul Keres was a member in his time. Okay, famous players met there to remembering Paul the Great, and to deliver solemn speeches. But how about the quality of the games?

Shirov,A (2726) - Brodsky,M (2533) [B60]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (2), 08.01.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Qb6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Nb3 a6 10.0-0-0 Bd7 11.f4 0-0-0 12.Be2 h5 13.Rhf1 Be7 14.Rf3 Rdg8 15.Bf1 Kb8 16.Rd3 Qc7 17.Qf2 Rc8 18.Kb1 Be8 19.Na4 Nb4 20.Rc3 Qd8 21.Nac5 Rc7 22.a3 Nc6 23.f5 Qc8 24.Nd3 Ne5 25.Rxc7 Qxc7 26.Nf4 Bd7 27.Nd4 Qc8 28.Qg3 Rg8 29.Qb3 exf5 30.Nxf5 Bxf5 31.exf5 Ka7 32.Nxh5 Qxf5 33.Qe3+ Ka8 34.Nf4 Rc8 35.Bd3 Qg5 36.Be4 f5 37.Bd5 Bd8 38.g3 Qe7 39.Qb3 Qc7 40.Rf1 Ka7 41.Ne2 Qd7 42.Rxf5 Bb6 43.Rf4 Rc7 44.h4 Bc5 45.Ka2 Qe8 46.Nc3 Be3 47.Rb4 Qd7 48.Nb5+ axb5 49.Qxe3+ Rc5 50.Bb3 Kb8 51.Rf4 Nc4 52.Qd4 Ne5 53.h5 Qe7 54.h6 Rc8 55.Qe4 Qg5 56.h7 Rh8 57.Bxf7 Qg7 58.Bg8 Rxg8 59.hxg8Q+ Qxg8+ 60.b3 Qxg3 61.Qb4 Kc7 62.Qa5+ Kc6 63.Rb4 Qg2 64.Qxb5+ Kc7 65.Kb2 1-0. [Click here to replay this game in a separate window]

Legendary Estonian master Hillar Kärner (right) had a good chance to qualify for the main final

The unique personality: International Arbiter Lembit Vahesaar has been judging all the traditional Tallinn tournaments since their beginning in 1969! In the area of arbiting Vahesaar was even stronger than Paul Keres, who got the IA title five years after him, in 1974. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Unbelievable! In several seconds Anatoly Karpov will move 16.f3??

...and the obvious result after 16...Qh4+. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Karpov,Ana (2682) - Shirov,A (2726) [D11]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (7), 09.01.2005
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Nbd2 b5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Ne5 Nbd7 8.a4 b4 9.Nb3 e6 10.Nxd7 Bxd7 11.Bd3 a5 12.Qe2 Bd6 13.Bb5 0-0 14.Bd2 Bxb5 15.Qxb5 Ne4 16.f3 Qh4+ 17.Ke2 Qf2+ 18.Kd3 Rfb8 19.Qd7 Qxg2 20.fxe4 dxe4+ 21.Kc2 Rc8+ 22.Kb1 Qxh1+ 23.Ka2 Qxh2 24.Qb7 Qh5 25.Rc1 Rd8 26.Qxe4 Qd5 27.Qd3 f5 28.Re1 Qc6 29.e4 fxe4 30.Rxe4 Qxa4+ 31.Kb1 Qd7 32.Rh4 g6 33.Qh3 Qf7 0-1. [Click here to replay]

Anatoly Karpov: what came over me, did I do?! Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Gelfand,B (2693) - Malaniuk,V (2513) [C76]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (7), 09.01.2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.c3 a6 5.Ba4 d6 6.d4 Bd7 7.0-0 Bg7 8.d5 Nce7 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.c4 h6 11.Nc3 f5 12.Ne1 Nf6 13.f3 0-0 14.Nd3 c6 15.Be3 cxd5 16.cxd5 Rf7 17.Qb3 Raf8 18.Nf2 Kh7 19.Rac1 f4 20.Bb6 g5 21.Na4 Rc8 22.Ba5 Rxc1 23.Rxc1 b5 24.Nb6 Qb7 25.Qc2 Ne8 26.Nc8 h5 27.Nxe7 Qxe7 28.Qc8 g4 29.fxg4 f3 30.Qe6 Bh6 31.Rc8 Be3 32.Rxe8 Bxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Qh4+ 34.Kg1 1-0. [Click here to replay]

Boris Gelfand, top Israeli GM, preparing to do battle...

Rytshagov,M (2442) – Gelfand,B (2693) [B82]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (6), 09.01.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f4 e5 8.fxe5 Ng4 9.Bg1 Ngxe5 10.Qd2 Be7 11.0-0-0 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 0-0 13.Nd5 Be6 14.Be3 Bxd5 15.Qxd5 Ng4 16.Bd4 Qc7 17.Bc4 Nf6 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Rhf1 Be5 20.Rf3 Rac8 21.Bb3 Kh8 22.Rdf1 f6 23.h4 Qb6 24.g4 a5 25.a4 Rc5 26.Qd1 Qb4 27.Qd3 b5 28.Qd2 Bxb2+ 29.Kd1 Qxd2+ 30.Kxd2 bxa4 31.Bxa4 Rc4 32.Bb3 Rxe4 33.Rf4 Re5 34.g5 Rc5 35.Rf5 Bc3+ 36.Kd3 Be5 37.h5

Black is winning and should simply play 35...h6. But Gelfand moves the wrong pawn and almost gives away half a point: 35...g6? 38.hxg6 hxg6 and White resigned, because after moving his rook out of the attack he is simply two pawns down. What Rytshagov (and Gelfand) overlooked was that after the simple 39.gxf6 Black cannot take the rook due to an annoying mate on the h-file (39...gxf5?? 40.Rh1+ Bh2 41.Rxh2#). 0-1. [Click here to replay]

A well-delivered hypnotic stare can win you points! Photos: Molodezh Estonii

Never-fading Russian grandmaster Yuri Balashov, who shared 2nd place with GM Vladimir Malaniuk. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Gelfand,B (2693) - Balashov,Y (2469) [E14]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (5), 09.01.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 b6 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 0-0 7.e3 Bb7 8.Be2 d6 9.b4 Nbd7 10.Bb2 Qe7 11.0-0 c5 12.Rfd1 Rfd8 13.bxc5 dxc5 14.Qc3 Rac8 15.Qb3 Nf8 16.a4 Ng6 17.a5 cxd4 18.Nxd4 Qc5 19.Qb5 Nd7 20.a6 Be4 21.Qxc5 Nxc5 22.f3 e5 23.Nb5 Rxd1+ 24.Rxd1 Bc2 25.Rd2 Ba4 26.Nxa7 Ra8 27.Nb5 Nxa6 28.Rd6 Bxb5 29.cxb5 Nc5 30.Bc4 Na4 31.Ba3 Nf8 32.Bd5 Rb8 33.Bb4 g6 34.Bb3 Ra8 35.Rc6 Ra7 36.Rc8 Nc5 37.Bd5 Ra1+ 38.Kf2 Nd3+ 0-1. [Click here to replay]

Veteran Swedish player Pia Cramling. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Cramling,P (2477) - Ciuksyte,D (2361) [E11]
Keres Mem Rapid w Tallinn EST (3), 08.01.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 0-0 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Bxd2 Ne4 7.Be3 d5 8.Qc2 Nd6 9.c5 Nf5 10.Bf4 Nc6 11.e3 a5 12.Bd3 h6 13.g4 Nh4 14.Nxh4 Qxh4 15.Bxc7 e5 16.dxe5 Bxg4 17.Be2 Rfe8 18.0-0-0 Rac8 19.Bd6 Bxe2 20.Qxe2 Nxe5 21.Rxd5 Nc4 22.Bg3 Qe4 23.Rhd1 Nb6 24.f3 Qe7 25.Bd6 Qxe3+ 26.Qxe3 Rxe3 27.R5d3 Re2 28.Rb3 Nc4 29.Kb1 Nd2+ 30.Rxd2 Rxd2 31.Rxb7 a4 32.Rb4 Rf2 33.Rxa4 Rxf3 34.Rc4 f5 35.c6 Kf7 36.c7 Ke6 37.Bg3 g5 38.Rc6+ Kd7 39.Rd6+ Ke7 40.Be5 Rxc7 41.Rxh6 Rf1+ 42.Ka2 Rc2 43.Bf6+ Kd7 44.h3 f4 45.Kb3 Re2 46.Bxg5 f3 47.Rf6 f2 48.Bh4 Rb1 49.Rf7+ Ke8 0-1. [Click here to replay]

“Eyes wide shut”. World vice-champion WGM Ekaterina Kovalevskaya vs GM Pia Cramling. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

15-year-old Valentina Golubenko, the youngest final participant in the tournament history. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Valentina said after the tournament she was so nervous that she even forgot how the chessmen moved. The first time on stage, back to back with such magnificent players as Karpov, Shirov, Gelfand, Kovalevskaya and Cramling... She played well in the preliminary tournament and took second place, ahead of WGM Dagne Ciuksyte and her sister Zivile Sarakauskiene. In any case in the last round of the women’s final she held a draw against Dagne Ciuksyte, not allowing her to share first place with Ekaterina Kovalevskaya. But in the first round she joined the good company of Karpov and Gelfand, blundering against WIM Tatjana Fomina.

Fomina,T (2207) - Golubenko,Valentina (2158) [A80]
Keres Mem Rapid w Tallinn EST (1), 08.01.2005
1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.e4 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Qd2 0-0 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Ne5 Be6 10.Bb5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Ng4 12.f4 d4 13.Ne4 Qd5 14.Bd3 Rae8 15.c4 Qc6 16.b4 Bxc4 17.Rc1 b5 18.Bxc4+ bxc4 19.Qxd4 h6 20.Rxc4 Qe6 21.h3 Nxe5 22.fxe5 Bxe5 23.Qd3 hxg5 24.Rf1 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Rf8+ 26.Kg1 Qb6+ 27.Nc5 Rf5 28.Re4 Bd6 29.Qc4+ Kh7 30.Kh1

Now Valentina could have won quickly with 31...Qxb4! and White cannot retake because of the mate on f1. Black will end up with a devastating attack. Unfortunately the young lady played 31...Rxc5? after which White was able to save half a point: 30... Rxc5 31.Qf7+ Kh6 32.Qf8+ Kh7 33.Rxe7+ Bxe7 34.Qxe7+ Kh6 35.bxc5 Qc6 36.Qe3 Qf6 37.Kh2 Kh7 38.Kg3 a6 39.a4 Kg7 40.a5 Kh7 41.Kh2 Kg7 42.Qg3 Qe7 43.Qc3+ Kh7 44.Qd4 Qe6 45.Kg3 Qf5 46.c6 Qxa5 47.Qd7+ Kg8 48.Qe8+ Kg7 49.Qe7+ Kg8 ½-½. [Click here to replay]

Alexei Shirov demonstrated the big difference in class vs his opponents:

Dobrov,V (2487) - Shirov,A (2726) [D45]
Keres Mem Rapid Tallinn EST (5), 09.01.2005
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4 dxc4 8.Bxc4 e5 9.g5 Nd5 10.Ne4 Bc7 11.Bd2 exd4 12.Nxd4 Ne5 13.Be2 0-0 14.0-0-0 Ba5 15.Rdg1 Bxd2+ 16.Qxd2 Qe7 17.Ng3 Rd8 18.Kb1 c5 19.Ndf5 Bxf5+ 20.Nxf5 Qe6 0-1. [Click here to replay]

Autograph from the winner. Alexei Shirov won again the men’s tournament. Photo: Molodezh Estonii

Final standings

Women's section

The author

Dr Valery Golubenko was born in 1961. In 1978 proposed his own definition of the unit of imaginary numbers in higher mathematics, and in 1991 he completed a PhD in mathematics and database search. Valery has worked with the Chess Informant since 1985. he was the Champion of Estonia in rapid chess from 1993 – 1995. and three times winner on board one in Estonian Team Championships, in 1986 (ahead of Jaan Ehlvest and Lembit Oll), 2003, and 2004. He is married and has two daughters, aged 14 and 2.

Valery Golubenko runs the Chess Club Diagonaal, Kohtla-Järve, Estonia

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