It is exactly 75 years since one of the most significant events in chess history – the 1948 Match-Tournament for the World Chess Championship – took place in The Hague and Moscow. To mark this anniversary, my colleagues at Chess Informant have agreed to publish a new English translation of Paul Keres’ book on the tournament.
The original work has been extended to include historical context to the event – in this case, excerpts from the contemporary Soviet chess press and from the memoirs of Mikhail Botvinnik. Keres’ book on the event was first published in his native Estonian language in 1949. A year later it appeared in Russian translation and it came to be regarded as one of the best books on chess ever written. For instance, the likes of Garry Kasparov and Boris Gelfand are both on record as listing it among their favorites.
In this book, Keres’ annotations to the games have been faithfully reproduced. They have not been corrected by computer analysis; instead, they have been supplemented in some cases by the analysis of other masters – generally with that of the other players. In addition, historical context has occasionally been added in those cases where Keres’ assessments of certain openings have been overturned, or at least challenged, by many decades of tournament practice. It has been a considerable pleasure to work on this project. Keres, as well as being an outstanding grandmaster, was also a superb analyst and annotator. His notes to the games represent a fine blend of general considerations and concrete variations; unlike in many books published today, the latter are never allowed to dominate. It is my sincere hope that the combination of these notes with the additional historical context will succeed in bringing Keres’ work to a new audience, and that this book will be a valuable addition to the libraries of chess enthusiasts of all abilities