I have just finished up Keres Machine Gunner for #10 in the Chess Gangs of New York and London.
Like all such books I draw from my library and online sources. This time I was "entranced" by the huge entry on Keres in Wikipedia but I shouldn't have been surprised (and wasn't). To Estonians Paul Keres is THE MAN, loved throughout and a true Estonian Romantic National Hero.
And there has always been this "back story" about Keres being "forced" to lose to Botvinnik in 1948. Apparently he wasn't given such "orders" but there is always that subtle (and not so subtle) pressure of a psychological nature. With Korchnoi it was even more overt when he was playing against Karpov and his son was in jail. This kind of treatment is so LOW RENT. I know that sounds funny but to those "officials" (official what? official village idiots?) winning was everything. OK, let's go with that, but how about winning by having the best person as the winner, after all the guy (Keres) was born in Narvu which was part of the Russian empire in 1916. What's so bad about having Keres as the Big Kahuna? I would have guessed that Smyslov would still have aced out Keres but like all guesses, not provable. From what I read one of Smyslov's weaknesses was stamina (don't kid yourself, Smyslov was a very strong player) and apparently Keres had more of it in 1953 than did Smyslov. But, as so often happens, Keres overpressed (instead of allowing a draw) and lost.
This time I allowed two pages on the lead character rather than the usual one (an exception was the first book on Lasker). The main reason is that Keres just had so much fascinating stuff to retell.
Spassky thought Keres should be the Pope of chess! People like Spassky too.
Often finishing ahead of other greats such as Capablanca, Fine, Alekhine and others, this edition contains mostly his "quick" wins (under 25 moves). At the end I added 3 games annotated by Purdy and one more game, his scintillating win over Capablanca in 1938 at AVRO which some have called it the strongest tournament of all time and yet not much has ever been written about it except for the recent compilation by Dale Brandreth.
It should go to the printer in a couple days and will retail at $12.95 plus $3.50 for S&H. You will get one FREE if your orders with The Chess Butler exceeded $100 for the months of May-June-July.
For the months August-September-October it will be #11. Can you guess who it might be? The first three correct guesses will get a copy for FREE (those who have helped me research will be ineligible). Clues: Hard drinking, ass-kicking (we've already done Blackburne). Writer, seldom photographed. I'm giving you ONE week to get your entries in. I want to see who reads this "rant" I put out. That's what ONE person said.
Also, I have tracked down the solution to solving a problem which has kept me postponing the PizzaPak and expect to finish that soon too!
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