Who is the world's oldest Grandmaster?

Yuri Averbach, the oldest Grandmaster in the world, turned 99 years old today.

Yuri Averbach in a simultaneous match against Garry Kasparov
1974 - Averbach against a very young Garry Kasparov.

Yuri Averbach, the oldest Grandmaster in the world, has turned 99 years old today and, as it could not be less, from Yottachess we want to wish you a happy birthday by making a small journey through his professional career.

Averbach (or Averbaj) was born in 1922 in the Russian city of Kaluga. Therefore, World War II (1939-1945) caught him well on his way to adulthood and it was precisely this that allowed him not to have to take up arms to face the army of the Axis powers. The Soviet Union drafted all 18-year-olds and he was still 17.

Thanks to this, he was able to focus on his engineering studies and his chess career. Already in 1951 he obtained the title of International Master and, only a year later, that of Grandmaster. Even in 1953 he participated in the Candidates Tournament in Zurich (Switzerland), one of the best tournaments in history, as Bronstein recounted in his book "Tournament Chess". There he coincided with players of the stature of Smyslov (who won the tournament), Keres, Bronstein, Petrosian, Najdorf or Euwe.

Averbach has written several books recommended for the study of chess for any player who wants to improve his technique in the game, especially in endgames. I would like to recommend his books titled Comprehensive chess endings. Vol.5 - Rook endings (Averbach & Kopayev), Bishop's and Knight's endgame y Journey to the Chess Kingdom.

But, although he has always been characterized as an excellent player in endgame technique, we cannot overlook his contributions to the field of openings, as he gives his name to one of the most common variants of King's Indian.: 1. d4 Nf6. 2. c4, g6. 3. Nc3, Bg7. 4. e4, d6. 5. Be2, 0-0. 6. Bg5.

Chess game with Averbach position

The YottaChess database has 20.256 games with this position, the last played game stored in YottaChess is by Fide Master - Charles Gauche and can be seen in the following link.

Averbach is not only known as a chess player, as he was also Botvinnik's assistant in a couple of world championships and is one of the best ever chess problems compositor. He is also an International Arbiter (1969), Honorary Member of FIDE and International Judge of Chess Compositions. He was also president of the Soviet Chess Federation (1972-1977).

To celebrate the birthday of one of the emblems of modern chess, we leave you with one of his chess compositions

Position of the chess study of Averbach's bishop problems

They play white and make the only winning move. Are you able to find the solution? Comment on our social networks with the solution!

The world's oldest grandmaster against the world's youngest player

2017 match Yuri Averbach vs. Osipov photo.

Averbach recently come more popular after Misha Osipov match in 2017, a match with more than 90 years apart. The veteran, despite his extensive experience and retaining a good head, was unable to prevail over the young up-and-comer.

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