The Candidates Tournament of 1959 was one of the most dramatic and exciting of all tournaments, launching the flamboyant Grandmaster Mikhail Tal on his road to become the youngest-ever World Champion.
Keres played possibly the best chess of his career at this event, restraining his natural attacking flair in the service of a more universal style, able to turn out finely honed strategic campaigns and subtle endgames.
His three(!) victories over Tal in this tournament must have made him believe he could take the champion's crown, if he finished first...
It was also notable for the arrival on the world's stage of Bobby Fischer, already twice USA champion and World Championship Candidate at 15 years of age.
Several of his contests from this tournament appeared in his magisterialc ollection of 'Memorable Games', including an extraordinary game with four queens on the board against future Champion Petrosian, who was for once tempted out of his legendary caution into a rich and strange chess environment.
In fact, it can be said that Fischer's games decided the tournament, because of his lop-sided scores against the two top-finishing players, and his near-miss in the penultimate round against Tal.
Other players included the former Champion Smyslov, who brushed Tal aside in the very first game of the tournament; and Gligori, the Yugoslav Champion, fresh from his great result at the Interzonal, who handed Smyslov the shortest defeat of the Russian's career in front of an appreciative home crowd.
Benkö, the recent emigré, riding the wave of his fine performance in the qualifying tournament at Portoroz, and Ólafsson, the quiet Icelandic wizard, added to the drama with their frequent excursions into time trouble...
This collection of games is undoubtedly one of the finest of modern times, claims the author in his introduction from 1960. This claim still stands after nearly 50 years, and many of the games have been printed since in collections of brilliancies, best games and instructional books.
The book has been set in this enhanced digital edition by David Regis. Diagrams have been added before many critical points in the games, so that readers wishing to test their skills against the best in the world from that time can use this volume as a puzzle book.
Golombek's innovative index of middlegame and endgame themes makes this overlooked book a real manual of practical chessplay.