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John Saunders


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Event: Paul Keres Simul Tour • Venue: Various • Date: 25 November - 3 December 1962 • 17 games and part-games
Download PGN • last edited: Monday May 1, 2023 3:09 PM

Paul Keres Simul Tour, UK and Ireland, 25 November - 3 December 1962

[BCM, January 1963, p130] Under the joint sponsorship of the 8.C.F. and the British Soviet Friendship Society, grandmaster Paul Keres recently paid a visit to this country to give a series of simultaneous exhibitions. Owing to a prior engagement to tour Sweden, Keres had to cut his stay to ten days, thereby omitting most unfortunately a projected tour of Scotland and several displays in England.

The tour was organized by R. G. Wade, who kindly supplied us with the following detailed results—

November 25th: London (S.C.C.U. Juniors) +14, —10 (P. N. Lee, G. M. Sheldrick, G. W. Wheeler, P. O’Brien, A. P. Logsdon, M. J. Basman, D. Floyer, R. E. Sage, D. N. L. Levy, and K. B. Harman), =6 (I. C. Smart, R. M. Dunnett, A. Whiteley, P. J. Collins, R. C. Vaughan, and W. Hartston) in 5 hours.

November 26th: London (University and Home Counties) +17, —6 (W. Wolfensberger, K. M. Oliff, J. R. Cooke, J. G. Hudson, T. M. Wheatcroft, and D. le Surf), =2 (A. Poutrous and H. Dowsett) in 4 hours.

November 27th: Nottingham (County) +19, —1 (K. Whyld), =5 (I. W. Sharpe, G. Allcock, H. Brookes, B. Ewart, and J. Shipton) in 3 hours.

November 28th: York (Coventry) +17, —3 (A. P. Borwell, S. Wilkinson, A. Toothill), =5 (J. W. Atkinson, M. G. Binks, R. J. Still, R. Thomas, and J. L. Seppings) in 4 hours.

November 29th: Sunderland (Northumberland and Durham) +23, —1 (K. B. Richardson), =2 (H. Teetsov and G. I. Rhodes) in 2¼ hours.

November 30th: Oxford (County) +17, —3 (P. N. Lee, J. B. Sykes, and N. J. Young), =5 (B. C. Wyatt, A. R. A. Baker, L. Harrison, R. W. Morgan, and J. M. Tayler) in 3¼ hours.

December 1st: Chester (Cheshire Juniors) +24, —1 (D. Crook), =0 in 2¼ hours, followed by a talk.

December 2nd: Dublin +22, —1 (T. Dennehy), =2 (E. Keogh and F. McMahon) in 3¼ hours.

December 3rd: Cardiff +22, —1, =2 in 3¼ hours.

Some of the participants in the display on November 25th, at St. Pancras Town Hall, London, W.C.1

1962, Paul Keres simul at St Pancras Town Hall, 25 November

Back row: A. Whiteley, D. Floyer, P. J. Collins, P. J. Adams, R. C. Vaughan, K. B. Harman, D. Parr, D. N. L. Levy.
Front row: M. V. Lambshire, A. E. Hopkins (who selected the team), Paul Keres, Miss D. Dobson, R. E. Hartley, B. C. Gillman, W. Hartston, P. N. Lee.

Photo: A.M. Reilly

Though limited the tour was a very great success as to be expected with such an outstanding and charming player as Paul Keres. In Dublin, in particular, his visit aroused great excitement; Mr. W. Lewis, Hon. Treasurer of the Irish C.U., writes as follows: “No sooner had Keres arrived at the house he was staying than cameras and crew turned up from Irish Television to interview him. Several hundred spectators were awaiting him at Trinity College and the display was delayed by many reporters and photographers. The following morning all three national newspapers gave the event a photograph and a long report, and finally at Dublin airport before he left Radio Eireann was waiting to interview him for a sound programme. In the fifty years of the Irish Chess Union’s existence it is doubtful if any event sponsored by them gained so much publicity.”

[CHESS, Vol.28 No.422, 20 December 1962] Juniors maul Paul - by Leonard Barden - Paul Keres had a rough passage against an under-21 team of juniors and university students in the first engagement of his simultaneous tour on November 25th. Before the display, the British team organiser, A. E. Hopkins, promised to give a donation to the Southern Counties Chess Union if Keres won under half the games and to the British Soviet Friendship Society (who arranged the display) if he won over half.

Before the display, Mr. Hopkins was probably the only person who expected the juniors to succeed; elsewhere among the spectators, scores of between 75% and 90% were being forecast. The result was almost a sensation: 14 wins for Keres, six draws, and ten defeats! Time taken: five hours.

Just how much English junior chess is advancing can be gauged by comparing Keres’s result with a display by Bondarevsky in 1947. Playing 20-25 top juniors, Bondarevsky lost only to Jonathan Penrose, A. F. Truscott, and N. Hammond He drew a couple more games, and won the rest, though his opponents included players like O. Penrose, J. A. Fuller, A. H. Trott, and myself. Keres is probably a worse simul. player than Bondarevsky (an exhibition brings out all the love of combination and sacrifice which he showed in his youth, and he frequently plays risky openings like the Danish, King’s, and Wing Gambits), but even so, the future of British chess should be bright after such a result.

The first decisive result of the display set the pattern: David Levy, who has already beaten Penrose and myself in displays, notched a bigger scalp: [score of Levy game]

Generally, during the first couple of hours of the exhibition, Keres was on top in most of the games. After losing to Levy and drawing with R. M. Dunnett, the grandmaster won the next four to finish. He was in impressive form against D. Parr, son of British Championship contender Frank Parr: [score of Parr game]

After a draw with R. C. Vaughan, Keres increased his ‘lead’ to 6-2 when he won another good game from B. C. Gillman of Southall: [score of Gillman game]

It was at this stage of the display that the juniors started to fight back. Keres began to look tired: as he told controller Bob Wade during the display, he was finding the light in the hall dull and had to adjust his eyes to sets of various sizes. Harking back to this afterwards, he told the story of how Flohr, giving an exhibition in Czechoslovakia before the war, was confronted in one town by an old gentleman who produced a five inch travelling set, with little noticeable difference in size between the kings and pawns and with both black and white pieces a uniform and well-worn shade of grey. “I can’t possibly play with that!”, recoiled Flohr in horror. “Why not!” replied his aggrieved opponent. “Grandmaster Reti played with this very set, and he was blindfolded!”

The next result was the best game won against Keres: [score of Sheldrick game]

Another Cambridge University player actually won a piece against the grandmaster in the opening: [score of Smart part-game]

Does the position seem familiar? If so, you read the November CHESS as thoroughly as Chris Smart did before the game. The trap into which Keres fell is exactly the same as was played in Padevsky-Portisch in the international team tournament (CHESS, page 19). Keres, though playing in the event, had forgotten all about it!

There, is, though, something to be said for being a grand master, even if you forget some of the latest analysis Keres ‘wriggled’ so ingeniously that he managed to salvage a draw.

Keres brought off a nice finish from a King’s Gambit: [score of Lambshire part-game]

With fourteen games completed, Keres was well ahead (W8, D4, L2) but several of those still in progress were going badly for him. Here’s his biggest blunder of the event—the kind of mistake which all players in simuis dream of hopefully: [score of Floyer part-game]

British boy champion Peter Lee caught Keres in a trap in the early middle game: [score of Lee part-game - n.b. I have tried to reconstruct the complete game - JS]

Not all Keres’s combinations worked... [score of Logsdon part-game]

The next combination was more successful: [score of Havard part-game]

Keres could still have won 50% of the games with a win in the last game to finish: but he was hopelessly behind in material to Richard Sage of Colfe’s Grammar School. Sage had made virtually sure of success in the opening: [score of Sage part-game]

The final tally of winners: P. N. Lee, G. M. Sheldrick, G. W. Wheeler, P. O'Brien, A. P. Logsdon, M. J. Basman, D. Floyer, R. E. Sage, D. N. L. Levy, K. B. Harman. Watch out for those names: there may be a future Penrose among them.


Paul Keres did better in his subsequent engagements.

Among his opponents in Sunderland was H. Teetsov, who was born in Keres’s home town Tallinn, Esthonia and once belonged to Keres’s own chess club there but has lived in England since 1947. He drew. K. B. Richardson, the British under-21 champion, was the solitary recipient of a guinea offered by the Sunderland Echo who, with the Y.M.C.A., sponsored the display, to anybody who beat the grandmaster.

Peter Lee, who is an undergraduate at Exeter College, Oxford, followed Keres there and beat him again. N. J. Young, another undergraduate and J. B. Sykes, an atomic energy scientist from Harwell, also won at Oxford.

At Dublin, Keres played in a hall at Trinity College where Capablanca, Lilienthal and Alekhine had given displays before him. He lost only to Arthur [actually Tony - JS] Dennehy (in 21 moves from a Reti Opening); drew with E. Keogh and F. McMahon.

At Cardiff, A. O. Jones Corseinon was the one winner; R. Taylor Cardiff and G. Cadden Monmouth drew.

Within ten days, Paul Keres not only played 233 opponents but covered some 3500 miles by plane, ship, train and motorcar—not such a terrible distance, we suppose, when you are used to versts.

Delayed by fog in his train from Cardiff, he had a mad dash to Gatwick airport to catch his plane to Stockholm, where he started play in an international tournament next day!


Sunday 25 Nov. in London against Southern County Juniors: Won 14, Lost 10, Drew 6 in five hours’ play.

Monday 26 Nov. in London against University and Home Counties players: W 17, L6, D 2 in four hours.

Tuesday 27 Nov. in Nottingham against a County team: W 20, L 1, D 4 in three hours.

Wednesday 28 Nov. in York against a County team: W 18, L 3, D 4 in four hours.

Thursday 29 Nov at Sunderland against a North-East England team: W 23, L 1, D 2 in 2½ hours.

Friday 30 Nov. at Oxford against a County team: W 19, L 3, D 5 in 3¼ hours.

Saturday 1 Dec. at Chester against Cheshire Juniors: W 24, L 1, D 0 in 2¼ hours; then gave a talk.

Sunday 2 Dec. at Dublin: W 22, L I, D 2 in 3¼ hours.

Monday 3 Dec. at Cardiff, against a South Wales and Monmouthshire team: W 22, L 1, D 2 in 3¼ hours.

TOTALS: Played 233, won 179, lost 27, drew 27.

[Manchester Guardian, 26 Nov 1962, p2] SCHOOLBOYS BEAT GRAND MASTER - Chess exhibition at St Pancras - By our Chess Correspondent - A team of school and student chess players scored a fine success yesterday acainst the Soviet grand master Paul Keres, runner-up in the recent world title tournament. In a simultaneous exhibition at St Pancras Town Hall Keres won 14 games, drew 6, and lost 10. A master usually expects to score between 80 and 90 per cent in a display, and it is practically unknown for the performer to win under half the games anywhere outside the Soviet Union.

The result highlights the advance in British junior chess in recent years. By contrast, a Soviet grand master giving a similar display in London in 1947 scored 90 per cent against opposition including several future internationals.

There were few signs of the surprises to come when Keres began his exhibition. Many of his opponents had evidently prepared for the occasion. Judging by the chess textbooks at the side of several boards. The Russian, with one hand permanently in his
trouser pocket, strolled quickly round the inside of the circle of chessboards, rapidly bringing his pieces into action, After an hour’s play, he had the advantage almost everywhere.

Fighting back

Then the earnestly concentrating youngsters began to fight back. The first result, after two hours’ play, was a win for David Levy, of East Barnet School, Herts. About this time, several other games swung against the tiring Keres. The last game ended after five hours’ play, when the Russian resigned to Richard Sage, of Colfe’s School. Lewisham.

Keres’s exhibition, arranged by the British Soviet Friendship Society, was the first of a series he is giving in various British towns during the next week. The next of his remaining displays, which are all arranged by the British Chess Federation, will be at the London School of Economics tonight at 6.30, when senior players from the Home Counties will try to emulate the feat of the juniors.

[Manchester Guardian, 28 Nov 1962, p5] Soviet grand master in better form - Keres improved on his earlier performance against junior British chess players when he met 25 senior county players from the London area in a simultaneous exhibition [on 26 Nov 1962]. The Russian grandmaster won 17 games, drew two, and lost six.

[Manchester Guardian, 6 Dec 1962, p7] Keres loses 27 of 231 games - By our Chess Correspondent - Paul Keres, the Soviet grandmaster, recovered from his poor opening results in London to score an over-all 82 per cent in his British chess tour. He lost only 27 out of 231 games in his exhibition play, and only at York (3) and Oxford (3) did his opponents outside London score more than a single win against him.

[Manchester Guardian, 6 Dec 1962, p12 - Leonard Barden column] Exhibition styles - An interesting feature of last week's simultaneous tour by Paul Keres was the contrast with the style chosen by Botvinnik earlier In the year. The world champion played in his most sober positional vein, patiently increasing his control of the board for hour after hour. Keres preferred the dashing attacks of his youth: King's, Danish, and Wing Gambits abounded in his games. The choice gave his opponents belter chances than Botvinnlk’s, but provided more entertainment. This week’s games are all from Keres’s two displays in London. [complete scores of Footner, Wolfensberger, D.Parr and Sheldrick games]

[Liverpool Echo, 3 December 1962] BEAT THE MASTER - Wallasey Boy's Success At Chess Match - A sixteen-year-old Wallasey Grammar School boy beat Russian Grand Master Paul Keres in a demonstation chess match at Chester Y.M.C.A. on Saturday.
David Crook, of 4 Dawpool Drive, Moreton, was among twenty-five junior chess enthusiasts from Cheshire who were taken on simultaneously by the Russian expert and was the only one to succeed. He is a member of Wallasey Chess Club. Elated by his victory he said: "You don't beat a grand master every day.” The unusual match began at 3 p.m. and the last player resigned at 6.30. David forced the master into submission shortly after 5 o'clock. In the early stages. Mr Keres was taking no more than five minutes to pass around the twenty-five boards. He is on a tour of Western countries and yesterday was on his way to Ireland.

File Updated

Date Notes
10 April 2019 First uploaded here with 16 games and text.
1 May 2023 Added one game: P.Keres 0-1 A.Toothill, York Simul, 28.11.1962. Sourced from a Yorkshire Evening Post press cutting, posted by Ingrid Ives on the English Chess Forum, 28 April 2023. Many thanks to Ingrid.
All material © 2019-2023 John Saunders