April 16, 2024

Iivo Nei and Andreas Dueckstein awarded Honorary GM title

FIDE Council awarded the title of Honorary Grandmaster to Andreas Dueckstein (Austria) and Iivo Nei (Estonia) for their consistently strong results in the 1950s-70s. Currently, FIDE Historic Commission is working on unified criteria for awarding the title of Honorary Grandmaster.

Below are a few words about the awardees, summarizing their careers and achievements.

Ivo Nei


Photo: Ingmar Muusikus

Born on October 31 1931, in Tartu, Estonia, Iivo Nei started playing chess inspired by his great compatriot Paul Keres. At the beginning of his career, Nei made a name for himself, finishing 3rd in a very strong USSR Juniors Championship (Leningrad, 1947) and tying for first with Korchnoi in the same event a year later (Tallinn, 1948).

Eight-time Estonian champion (1951, 1952, 1956, 1960–1962, 1971, and 1974), Iivo won the Baltic Republics championships in 1961 in Palanga, in 1962 in Tartu, in 1963 in Estonia, and in 1964 in Pärnu.

His major break came in 1964 when he tied for first with Paul Keres in Beverwijk (Hoogovens tournament, later known Corus and then Tata Steel) ahead of Portisch, Ivkov, Larsen and Parma. He later achieved solid results in Beverwijk 1966 (5th), Zinnowitz 1966 (4th-6th) and Tallinn 1969 (2-3rd).

Still an active player, Iivo Nei productively worked with Nona Gaprindashvili and Maia Chiburdanidze as an assistant and was notably one of Boris Spassky’s seconds in the 1972 World Championship match. He later coached GM Lembit Oll.

For many years Iivo Nei served as FIDE representative in Zone 1.7 (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)

A popular author, he penned several books in Estonian and German.

Andreas Dückstein


Photo: kurier.at/

Born on August 2, 1927, in Budapest, Andreas Dueckstein moved to Austria at 22 and quickly became one of the country’s strongest players, winning the national championship thrice (1954, 1956, 1977). Andreas represented Austria in seven Chess Olympiads from 1956 to 1988, notably taking individual gold in Moscow (1956) and Nice (1974), both times playing on the second board. Following his strong performance in Moscow (1956), he was awarded the IM title.

Regarded as a dangerous attacking player in his prime, Dueckstein scored victories over formidable opponents such as Max Euwe, Mikhail Botvinnik (who was the reigning World Champion at that time), and Bent Larsen.

Over his long and successful chess career, Dueckstein built a good tournament record: 5th at Hastings (1958/59), shared 2nd at Zonal in Berg en Dal (1960), 4–6th at Vienna (1961), 3rd at Amsterdam IBM (1964), 4th at Palma de Mallorca (1965), 6-7th in Havre (1977).

Photos (top): Ron Kroon and  Wim van Rossem for Anefo (Dutch National Archives, The Hague)