Jurij Averbach


May 28, 2022

Yuri Averbach (Russian Ю́рий Льво́вич Аверба́х; February 8, 1922, Kaluga - May 7, 2022, Moscow) was a Russian and Soviet chess player and chess writer. In 2022, he was the oldest living chess grandmaster and became the first grandmaster to live to be one hundred years old. From 1972 to 1977 he was chairman of the Soviet Chess Federation.

Life and career

Averbach's father was a German Jew and his ancestors came from Germany (named Auerbach). Averbach's mother was of Russian nationality.


Averbach's first major success was first place at the Moscow Championships in 1949, when he finished ahead of players such as Andor Lilienthal, Yakov Estrin and Vladimir Simagin. In 1952 he became international grandmaster. In 1954, he won the USSR Chess Championship, ahead of players such as Mark Tajmanov, Viktor Korchnoi, Tigran Petrosyan, Yefim Geller and Salo Flohr. In 1956, he placed first at this championship, along with Tajmanov and Boris Spassky. He then finished second in the playoffs. Averbach's daughter Jana later married Tajman. Other major tournaments Averbach won included the tournament in Vienna in 1961 and in 1962 in Moscow. He qualified for the 1953 candidate tournament (the winner of this tournament won the right to challenge the world chess champion) and finished tenth out of fifteen participants. He also qualified for the interband tournament in Portorož in 1958, when he finished fourth at the 1958 USSR Championships in Riga. In Portorož, he finished in seventh to eleventh place, which did not advance by half a point to the tournament of candidates.

Playing style

Averbach's style of play was very difficult for many genuine attackers. Averbach wrote: "... when Nezmetdinov attacked, he could defeat everyone, including Tal. But my score against him was about 8½ - ½, because I didn't give him any chance to play actively. He then started looking for complications that could make my game more difficult, thus worsening his position. ”He had a positive score against world champions Maxi Euwe and Tigran Petrosjan.


Averbach is considered one of the main theorists of chess endings. He has published more than 100 studies, many of which have made significant contributions to the development of end theory. In 1956 FIDE received the title of international referee of chess studies, in 1969 he became an international referee. Averbach was also a chess journalist and author. He edited the Soviet chess magazines Chess in the USSR and Chess Bulletin.

Contribution to initiation theory

Several variants of initiation are named after him. Averbach's variant of the royal Indian defense Semi-Averbach variant of the Royal Indian Defense (E73) Averbach's variant of modern defense



This article uses material from the English Wikipedia article Yuri Averbakh.

External links

Pictures, sounds or videos about Yuri Lvovich Averbach at Wikimedia Commons ChessGames - Yuri Averbach (games) (English) Interview part 1 Interview part 2