2016 named year of Paul Keres in honour of Estonian chess legend
The world chess federation FIDE has named 2016 Year of Paul Keres in honour of the Estonian chess legend whose birth centenary is marked on January 7.
In cooperation with the Estonian Chess Federation, the 100th birth anniversary of Keres will be marked with exhibitions, international tournaments, a two-euro commemorative coin and a themed postage stamp.
"Paul Keres is a legend of chess who brought Estonia honour and fame in the years when we were little known in the world. Keres has been elected by the people Estonia's greatest sporting figure in the 20th century and all of us are certainly delighted by the FIDE decision to declare 2016 as Year of Paul Keres," Minister of Culture Indrek Saar said.
The Estonian Chess Federation together with the Ministry of Culture, the Estonian Olympic Committee and other organizations kicked off the Paul Keres 100 memorial festival already in December with the 7th international youth tournament "Chess Stars of the Baltic Sea Region" in Keres' birth town Narva.
The international youth tournament Tallinn 2016 is scheduled to begin at the Paul Keres Chess House on Monday and the 25th international rapid chess tournament "Remembering Paul Keres" will be opened on Friday. Among participants will be Pavel Elyanov, currently ranked 13th in the world, and Evgeny Sveshnikov and Yuri Balashov both of whom have played against Keres himself.
In 1938 Keres earned the right to play a world championship match against Alexander Alekhine after winning the AVRO tournament in Holland, but the match never took place due to the outbreak of World War II. Keres remained one of the principal contenders for the world title until 1963 when he once again finished the candidates' tournament in Curacao in second place. The fact that he almost always came only second earned him the nickname "The Eternal Second."
Keres won the gold at seven chess olympiads in 1952-1964 as a member of the Soviet team. He was known as a gentleman and considered a symbol of fair play in the chess world. He is the only chess player whose portrait has been on a banknote of his country. Keres died unexpectedly of a heart attack on his way home from a tournament in Canada in 1975.
Baltic News Service
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