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Yuri Averbakh

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by John Bain

Yuri at chessboard looking over top of glasses at chess pieces

A Role Model

Yuri Averbakh is the world’s oldest living chess Grandmaster–also, the first and only Grandmaster ever to reach 100 years old!

Yuri was born on February 8, 1922 in Kaluga, Russia.


In His Prime

Young Yuri with big hair at chessboard seated in coat & tie behind the black pieces

Averbakh at the match USA vs. USSR, New York City, 1954

Yuri Lvovich Averbakh is a Russian chess Grandmaster and author.

In his prime, Yuri was one of the strongest players in the USSR and the world. In 1953 he rose to the top 15 players in the world, taking part in the legendary Candidates Tournament in Zurich, finishing in 10th place.


Growing UpYoung Yuri with big hair in dark coat & black jacket

Yuri Averbakh


He was born into a Jewish family. His father was an immigrant from Germany and his mother was a Russian from the Kaluga area, southwest of Moscow.

Yuri’s father worked as a forester at the time of his son’s birth, and had immigrated from Germany–the original family name was “Auerbach.”

When Yuri Averbakh was three years old, along with his younger sister, the family moved to Moscow and lived only a short walk from the Central Chess Club.

In Moscow in 1925, they lived in a municipal flat shared with three other families. The flat had no heating and no electricity!

The four families shared a common kitchen with a simple stove for cooking. In the mid-1930s, the flats in the multi-storied house received central heating.


Grandmaster!

Yuri hand on cane in tweed sports coat

Averbakh joined the Moscow Chess Club, which was located in the basement of the Ministry of Justice. Averbakh made steady progress and in 1938 won the Under-16 Soviet Championship. Then, in 1949, 1950 and 1962 Averbakh won the Moscow Championship

After finishing high school he started to study engineering, but in 1952 he gave up his studies to focus entirely on chess.

Also, in 1952 he earned the FIDE Grandmaster title, and qualified for the 1953 Candidates Tournament in Zurich.


Retirement

Yuri at chessboard moving a white Rook

In retirement, Yuri was chairman of the USSR Chess Federation from 1973 to 1978. He is the first FIDE Grandmaster to reach 100 years.

After his active career Averbakch worked as author, editor, theoretician, second and official.


100 Years Old!

On February 8, 2022, turned 100 years old, and he is still playing chess!

Yuri wearing glasses at chessboard with glass of wather

Despite his eyesight and hearing having worsened, at 100 years old, Yuri finds time to devote to chess-related activities.

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Yuri Averbakh Plays Chess!


The Path to Grandmaster Can Begin Here

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Chess Rules For Students is a workbook for students learning the game of chess and for beginning students returning to the game. No previous knowledge of chess is necessary. Parents unfamiliar with chess will find this booklet a valuable guide to their child’s new interest.

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Checkmate In One Prize
Chess Rules For Students Workbook
An instructional workbook designed for students learning the game of chess. Click here to learn more!
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Checkmate! Ideas For Students
An instructional workbook containing tactics in worksheet format used to checkmate--like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance, and Attacking Flight Squares!
Checkmate In Three Prize
Chess Tactics For Students
An instructional workbook containing 434 carefully selected problems presented in worksheet format.

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