Paul Keres

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
Paul McKeown
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Paul McKeown » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:39 pm

That the front of the 5 kroon banknote portrayed Paul Keres is well known amongst chess players outside of Estonia, however, the strong statement made by the back of the bank note escapes most.

The town of Narva, where Keres spent his earliest years, was illustrated, but not Narva as it has been since 1944, rather it showed Narva as it had been in the independent Estonian republic from 1920 to 1940, including the settlements on both banks of the River Narva. The impressive fortifications of Jaanilinn can be seen on the right bank of the river: in 1944 they were annexed to the Russian Federation, alongside significant territories on the south and west of Peipsi järv (centered on the town of Petseri/Pechory) and the former exclave between Latvia and Russia. The present Estonian republic entered into a border treaty with Russia in 2005 in which it noted, simply, in the cold language of government, that the border had "changed" from that provided in the Treaty of Tartu. The settlement on the right bank is no longer "Narva", but "Ivangorod".

A potted history of Keres can be found (German language) in this article. As should be expected from "Karl" it is well researched, factual and accurate.

I would suggest, though, that when the article states that Keres became subject three times in his life to Russian imperialism (1916-1920, 1940-1941, 1944-1975) that the article somewhat underestimates the matter, as Narva changed hands several times during the Estonian war of independence from 1918-1920 and was even the "capital" of the short-lived puppet Estonian Commune. In the process Narva was extensively damaged, particularly on one occasion when it was subjected to prolonged shelling by the Red Army.

I read somewhere once that Keres was actually born in Vaivara, in Ida Virumaa, rather than Narva itself. I don't know whether this is true or not. Vaivara, sadly, was to become the site of the largest of the concentration camps built on Estonian territory during the Nazi occupation.

The population of Narva, today, is overwhelmingly ethnic Russian, alongside that of the other major town of Ida Virumaa, Kohtla-Järve. There are significant Russian populations in the towns of western Estonia, including Tallinn, but largely they have managed to integrate. For Narva and Kohtla-Järve it has been a much greater problem.

The Estonian 5 kroon note portraying Paul Keres is no longer legal tender: Estonia seceded to the Euro in 2010 and the notes were removed from circulation at the start of this year. Reading the Daily Telegraph, one would occasionally gather the impression that the membership of the Euro has been a disaster for Estonia, as Estonia has recently had an inflation rate of 6% or so, whereas it was 2% or so heretofore. This is baloney, though, as the kroon was pegged at a fixed rate from 1992 to 1999 to the D Mark and from then at a fixed rate to the Euro, entering the EMS in 2004. Whatever the reason is for the recent peak in inflation, it can have little to do with the change of currency, as apart from what is portrayed, nothing actually changed.

Actually, Estonia is sometimes (ab)used in Britain as a sort of poster boy for right wing economic policies (in the way that Sweden, say, is sometimes - and equally foolishly - used to promote left wing economic policies), but the parallels drawn are a bit daft. It is true that Estonia has followed a sound money and low tax policy that would have cheered the heart of William Ewart Gladstone and it is equally true that Estonia has seen two decades of economic growth since independence. There may well be a linkage between those two facts, but what works for a country with a population of rather less than 1.5 million and the lowest population density in the EU, is unlikely to work at all well in a country with a population of 60 million with an incomparably dense and diverse society and economy. And of course what is never mentioned is that Estonia underwent two dramatic land and property reforms. First after independence in 1920, in which the property of the Baltic German aristocracy was given to the Estonian peasants who worked on it. Then after independence in 1991 the Estonian people themselves, rather than the notional Soviet workers class, came to own what they lived in and the land they worked and the businesses they ran. The Estonian people were provided with the capital to become a successful nation of capitalists. Perhaps those people writing silly pieces in the Telegraph should call for Prince Charles and the Duke of Westminster similarly to be dispossessed, in order to free the inner capitalist of the British people?

Keres is a hero to the Estonian people. In Tallinn, Pärnu, Narva, Tartu, the towns with which he was associated, you will find his statue or his bust, streets, chess clubs named after him, museums dedicated to him and his photo held in honour in tennis clubs, too. His elder brother, Harald, was also well known, a physicist. He died last year.

Puhka rahus, Paul Keres.

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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Geoff Chandler » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:38 pm

"The Estonian 5 kroon note portraying Paul Keres is no longer legal tender."

This is indeed glum news. I have one and was looking forward to going to Etsonia
to buy a house, two cars and a pretty wife with good teeth.

So now it's worthless. Why does this always happen to me?

Image

Now what?
I suppose I could use it as book marker in Keres 'Practical Chess Endings.'
Trouble is I would forget it's there as I never open the thing.

Paul McKeown
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Paul McKeown » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:43 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:"The Estonian 5 kroon note portraying Paul Keres is no longer legal tender."

This is indeed glum news. I have one and was looking forward to going to Etsonia
to buy a house, two cars and a pretty wife with good teeth.

So now it's worthless. Why does this always happen to me?
You can still exchange it at a bank in Estonia for its equivalent in Euro, just as you could exchange an old BoE pound note for its equivalent pound coin at Threadneedle Street.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Geoff Chandler » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:53 pm

Yabba Dabba Doo!

It's called a 'Kroon' and Kroon has two 'oo' so it must be worth at least 500K

A house and a wife with good teeth here I come.

Cheers Paul. I'll name my first Estonian child after you and Keres.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:22 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote:Yabba Dabba Doo!

It's called a 'Kroon' and Kroon has two 'oo' so it must be worth at least 500K

A house and a wife with good teeth here I come.

Cheers Paul. I'll name my first Estonian child after you and Keres.
Keres McKeown Chandler? Poor kid.

PS. Nice post, Paul. The bit about his brother was nice - born 4 years before him, outlived him by 35 years.

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John Clarke
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by John Clarke » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:01 pm

Thanks for that post, Paul. Much of what you say there was new to me.

And how I agree with that comment about how politico-economic policies that might work for one particular country can be (and often are) a total nonsense for another. For about ten years a generation ago, my own adopted country was subjected to an unrestrained blast of Friedmanite "reform" that shattered one of the most egalitarian societies you could hope to see under the western model. We're still living with the results. (And although adoption of a new electoral system eventually helped to mitigate some of the worst effects, those same unreconstructed ideologues are now busy trying to make us re-adopt the old first-past-the-post system that facilitated their elected dictatorships.)
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:02 pm

New Zealand, I presume??
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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John Clarke
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by John Clarke » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:57 am

Got it in one, Matt.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Richard Thursby
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Richard Thursby » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:06 pm

Gavin Strachan wrote:A (Scottish) pound. Never really accepted in England even though it is legal.
What do you mean by "legal"? It certainly isn't legal tender, even in Scotland. If I tried to pay my council tax with Bank of Scotland notes the council could refuse to accept and sue me for non-payment. If I tried to pay with Bank of England notes and it refused, it couldn't sue me. If I go to my local corner shop and try to buy five lottery tickets with a Bank of England £5 note then they are not obliged to take it if they don't want to do business with me because the law of legal tender does not apply (there is no debt involved).

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Gavin Strachan
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Gavin Strachan » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:10 pm

Obligation to accept and legal tender are two separate things; as most people need money these days they feel more obliged to accept said note in full knowledge that the bank will merrily take them an not reissue. Ironically i had one the other day and managed to get rid of it quick. I would like to see them in court when you explain that you did attempt to pay and they declined even though you offered perfectly legit dosh, the judge might be a little cross with the council. Anyhow, the joke is an adianoeta.

Is calling the note a Kroon a reflective comment about the face on it? Keres was good at chess but rubbish at Krooning. Maybe he was a great singer...

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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:34 pm


AustinElliott
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by AustinElliott » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:41 pm

I had always understood that the leading crooner (krooner?) amongst the great chess players of yesteryear was the late Vassily Vasilyevich Smyslov.

'Zdorovye!

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Re: Paul Keres

Post by David Robertson » Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:02 pm

Chapeau @ Paul McKeown for that exegesis on Estonian history. Remarkable what some guys know :shock:

Applause @ Geoff Chandler for that Seven-Quid Note. Inspired. :lol:

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:22 am

Hi

Just discovered that the Estonian Shipping Company named one of their
ships after Paul Keres. We can add that to the list of honours.

Any other chess players have a ship named after them?
Surely some seafaring Cuban is sailing about in a boat called 'Capablanca.'
Here is the link. Actually some of the names look familiar anyone spot another chess player.

http://www.edsdiesel.com/clients/ships.html

It's number 72 on the list.

(amazing what you find in old BCM's - issue No. 115 (1993) page 324.)

Edit: Found a ship called 'Tal' currently in service on this website.

http://shipindex.org/ships/tal

You can have loads of merry fun entering names to see if a ship
exists in your name. There is a Chandler out there somwhere.
No doubt lost and listing heavily to port.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Paul Keres

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:35 pm

Geoff Chandler wrote: Any other chess players have a ship named after them?
Dunno. Pop quiz question, though:

"Which chess player has a crater on the Moon, a crater on Mars, and a feature on Mercury, named after him?"

Geoff isn't allowed to answer because I told him the answer!

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