Mon. Sep 26th, 2022


The world’s oldest dwelling Grandmaster GM Yuri Averbakh turns 100 right this moment. After recovering from Covid final summer time, he’s in form once more and says he nonetheless analyzes the endgame to maintain his thoughts sharp.

Born on February 8, 1922 in Kaluga, 180 km southwest of Moscow, Averbakh is now the primary chess grandmaster to turn out to be a centenarian. Earlier than him, the oldest surviving Grandmaster was GM Andor Lilienthal, who died in 2010, three days after the age of 99.

On the event of his one centesimal birthday, Chess.com contacted Averbakh and realized that he was superb in each well being and spirit.

“The Russian Chess Federation provided me a month’s remedy at a restoration middle after I used to be launched from the hospital,” he mentioned of the interval after contracting Covid in June 2021. “I am doing superb now. Contemplating how removed from my youth, I can say that I am doing properly.”

how far I’m from my youth, I can say that I’m doing properly.

Averbakh remains to be concerned in chess, however solely to a lesser extent. “Sadly, my imaginative and prescient and listening to have decreased so much in recent times, so I can now not work on a pc like I used to,” he advised Chess.com. “Generally I meet with my colleagues and share with them the concepts that come to my thoughts. Generally I analyze endgame positions. I perceive that within the pc age these analyzes haven’t any sensible worth However this exercise helps me hold my thoughts sharp.”

Yuri Averbakh in 2017. Photograph: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Generally I analyze endgame positions. I perceive that these analyzes haven’t any sensible worth within the pc age, however this exercise helps me hold my thoughts sharp.

It has been tough for a 100-year-old GM to observe high chess lately, however there’s one participant he significantly likes. “Sadly, I can not observe the latest video games for the explanations said above. Amongst fashionable gamers, I’ve all the time had nice sympathy for GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. I used to be very completely satisfied when he turned a candidate for the world championship. This It’s a pity that he didn’t have sufficient stamina within the second half of the World Championship match. Nevertheless, I’m positive that his expertise will lead him to extra spectacular victories.”

Ian Nepomniachchi
Averbakh expects extra outcomes from Ian Nepomniachtchi. Photograph: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

In his lengthy life, Averbakh has not solely been a chess participant and grandmaster; He has additionally been an acclaimed coach, worldwide arbiter, chess composer, endgame theorist, writer and chess historian. However what does he take into account his biggest achievement?

“Thanks! It is true that I devoted all my life to chess and was capable of settle for myself in numerous features of this nice sport. For the time being I believe my greatest achievement is my final e book on the historical past of chess. Me Glad I’ve managed to finish this activity. I have been accumulating materials for this e book all my life.”

We additionally requested if he most likely had a favourite sport. “I’ve lately calculated that I’ve performed greater than 2,500 event video games in my life,” Averbakh mentioned. “It is rather tough to decide on my favourite, but when I nonetheless have to decide on only one, I’ll select the sport vs. Sergei Belavenets, which was gained by me in 1940 (if I’m not mistaken). That is my first time in opposition to me. There was victory. A significant mentor and good friend who performed an vital function in my life. He was the one who instilled in my thoughts a style for Endgame and an understanding of the secrets and techniques of its technique.”

(Sadly, even with the assistance of chess historians, we didn’t dig up the strikes of this specific sport, which was performed on October 12, 1941 with the Nazi military in an unfinished Moscow event only some kilometers away. The sport is Not within the database. If any of our readers right here may help, tell us.)

Averbakh apparently met many individuals throughout his life. was probably the most memorable for him GM Vasily Smyslov: ,I met plenty of fascinating individuals. Maybe I can single out Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov, who was notable for his philosophical thoughts and skill to “perceive the core”. [Averbakh likely cited from Boris Pasternak’s poem here. – PD] And there was additionally the aforementioned Sergei Vsevolodovich Belavenets, an amazing man with excessive ethical rules. He foresaw that he wouldn’t return from the struggle and this unhappy prophecy got here true.”

Smyslov was notable for his philosophical thoughts and skill to “perceive the core”.

Vasily Smyslovy
Vasily Smislov. Photograph: Harry Pot/Enefo, Dutch Nationwide Archives.

Averbakh was fairly profitable as a participant. In 1944, he was awarded the title of USSR Grasp of Sports activities and have become Grandmaster in 1952, taking the whole variety of Grandmasters on the earth to 35 at the moment.

aVerbach is the final surviving participant of the well-known 1953 Candidates Event in Zurich, one of many strongest tournaments in historical past, about which David Bronstein and Miguel Najdorf have written books which might be thought-about the very best in chess literature.

The event, a 15-player double round-robin, ran between August 30 and October 23, 1953, and was gained by Smyslov, who would problem GM Mikhail Botvinnik for the world title the next yr. Averbakh completed tenth with Isaac Boleslavski with a rating of 13.5/30.

Averbakh on board.  ,  Photo: Russian Chess Federation.
Averbakh on board. Photograph: Russian Chess Federation.

A yr after the candidates, Averbakh gained the Soviet Championship with 14.5/19, 1.5 factors greater than GM Mark Taimanov and GM Viktor Korchnoi, with GM Tigran Petrosyan, GM Efim Geller and GM Salo Flohr additionally within the fray.

On the 1958 Interzonal Event in Portoroz, he got here down half a degree to qualify for one more Candidates Event. GM Mikhail Tal, Svetozar Gligoric, Petrosyan, Pal Benko, Fridrik Olafsson and Bobby Fischer certified. On this World Championships cycle, Tal will win the crown in 1960 versus Botvinnik.

Averbakh turned thinking about chess journalism from an early age. He was a commentator in the course of the Smyslov–Botvinnik 1954 World Championships. Beginning in 1962, on the age of 40, he stop as an expert participant and commenced to concentrate on journalism and training. He was the editor of a number of chess magazines.

Yuri Averbakh in September 2017
Yuri Averbakh in September 2017. , Photograph: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Averbakh additionally served as chief arbiter of the primary Karpov–Kasparov match in 1984 and Kasparov–Quick, London, 1993 and Kasparov–Kramnik, London, 2000.

He has beforehand mentioned in an interview that “Working onerous” was the key to his longevity. Nevertheless, by the age of 87, Averbakh went swimming nearly every single day in order to not get harm.

On behalf of the chess group, Chess.com needs Averbakh continued well being and happiness in his unbelievable life.



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