Austrian chess legend Andreas Dückstein turns 90

by Martin Stichlberger
8/2/2017 – Andreas Dückstein is living proof that chess keeps you young. In his long career he played against the world's best and won against Euwe, Botvinnik and Spassky. Today he turned 90 and still loves to play chess. And he is still strong!

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The photo shows Andreas Dückstein in July 2017. In his hands he holds the tournament book of legendary tournament in Zürich 1959 where Dückstein played against Tal, Fischer, Larsen, Keres, Gligoric etc. | Photo: Martin Stichlberger 

Still going strong

Dr. Dückstein celebrates 90th birthday

Andreas Dückstein played in nine Chess Olympiads and in more than 100 international competitions for Austria and won the Austrian Championship three times. He played against generations of top players (for seven decades!), among them no less than seven World Champions. He managed to score wins against three: Botvinnik, Euwe, Spassky. Particularly famous is his win against the reigning World Champion Botvinnik at the Chess Olympiad in Munich 1958. It was Botvinnik's only loss in Munich and the only game the Soviet team lost in the Olympiad.

A. Dückstein vs M. Botvinnik


Beating the Sicilian: Grandmaster Bologan's Repertoire Vol.1

Out of the dozens and dozens of openings played nowadays the Sicilian Defence remains the most fascinating, entertaining and complex opening. Here White understands that Black will not be a patient lamb but will try to get at him at the very first opportunity. This series includes the Sveshnikov/Cheliabinsk Variation, the Rauzer Attack, the Maroczy Bind and a few other minor sidelines. The approach is typical for Bologan’s videos, as he tries to describe, in a compact format, plans and reactions from White’s point of view. Forget about fears concerning the tons of theory in the Open Sicilian and can get straight into the real fight!

With his results in the preliminaries of the Olympiad, Dückstein was certain to get the Grandmaster title — had he decided to sit out the finals (Austria had qualified for the A-finals), but that was not his style:

"Such a thing is no option at all," he later said.

In Austria, Dückstein became well-known when he commented the World Championship match between Spassky and Fischer in Reykjavik 1972 with live-introduction on TV.
Dückstein was born 1927, in Budapest, where he lived for 22 years. After finishing school he first trained to become a sports teacher and then started to study law, which he finished with a PhD. After World War II he fled to Vienna where he used his PhD in law and his chess knowledge to settle down. He is married and has a son.
Dückstein has always liked sports and at the age of 90 he is still fit enough to sit down at the board to show good chess.
In the 2016/17 season he played a couple of games in the highest league of Vienna and had no trouble to draw against Austrian IM Georg Fröwis, who is about 60 years his junior.

Dückstein with Carmina Handrich, European Championship Under-10 participant | Photo: Martin Stichlberger 

And a few days ago he gave a simul at the "Schachimedes" Holiday Camp against 20 juniors. The biggest age gap: 80 years! His bright eyes belie his age — they make it hard to believe that he 90, and not 60 years of age. It seems as if chess is Dückstein's biggest present to himself!

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

Dr. Martin Stichlbergerist is practicing law but he is also a chess teacher, chess journalist, tournament player (with a peak-Elo of 2298) and chess coach.


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