The Death Of A Centenarian

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Phoo Credit: FIDE. GM Yuri Averbakh

Just three months after the world celebrated the oldest grandmaster, YURI Avarbakh, at 100year, the only existing player from the 1953 Zurich tournament exited the playing hall of life. The death of the great chess composer, arbiter, Endgame legend, composer, and great coach came as a rude shock to the chess world as many were surprised to hear his death after celebrating his life not long ago.


The Russian grandmaster was born on the 8th of February, exactly a century ago, in Kaluga to a German father and a Russian mother. He is survived by a daughter, Jane, who got married to Taimanov for a decade. He became a Grandmaster in the year 1952 at the age of 30 and had a peak fide rating of 2550, as of May 2022 his FIDE rating is 2445.The grandmaster had major tournament wins, notably the 1954 USSR championship where he dusted grandmasters like; Viktor Korchnoi, Mark Taimanov, Salo Flohr, Tigran Petrosian, and Efim Geller, to claim the trophy.

He would have duplicated the same result two years later, where he had a joint first position with his son-in-law Taimanov and Boris Spassky, but for a play-off that got him the second position. He still plays tournaments till his demise. Although Yuri could not beat some players on the chessboard, he, however, outlived most of his opponents on the board of life. Though he could not be a world champion his plays were phenomenal, solid, and quite instructive. He is an endgame theorist with notable contributions he was during his active days and lifetime, a contributor to many chess magazines in Russia, and also an editor of some.

He got the FIDE title of International Judge of chess composition given by FIDE in the year 1956 and thirteen years later, he was given the title of International Arbiter. He has variations of king’s Indian to his name, Averbakh, and semi-Averbakh with the 6th move differentiating the two and a modern defense’s Averbakh variation.


King’s Indian Defence ( Averbakh variation ) 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5

King’s Indian Defence ( semi-Averbakh system )1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Be3

Modern Defense ( Averbakh variation ) 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4.

Yuri may be dead, but his legacies live after him. If they play chess life after here, he surely will be a grandmaster in a few days.

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