April 11, 2010
First chess mention refers to the end of the XIII century, the monk Mavrizy from Revel (now Tallinn) adduce allegories in his sermon connected with the game in 1270. In 1490 there was a book of chess allegories of Steffan– the rector of the cathedral school in Derpt, printed in Lubek, now Tartu. The chess game is mentioned in the documents of the guild of Revel in 1513. German traveler Adam Olearii (1603-71), the author of the book“ Description of the traveling to Moskovia” noted that in Revel, Derpt and Viljandi he met a lot of players, including few women players. The first data named a player referred to the XVIII century; the names of Amelung and Manteifel were known in Europe. Moreover Manteyfel was the co-author of the well-known “Codex of chess play” written with Koch in 1814.
The center of chess life in IXX century became Derpt, where famous chess players like Lionel Kizeritsky, Knorre, E. Smidt, Friedrich Amelung, Asharin began their chess career. In 1876 the “Yriev Chess Society” is established.
In 1883 the popular Estonian journalist A. Grentzstein (1849-1916) published the first chess text book (2000 copies). In 1884 the first Estonian tournament was held. Between 1889-1902, Amelung published the chess magazine “ Baltische Schachblatter” almanac. In 1895 there was a guide of openings –“Systematische Anordnung der Schachofferoffnungen” published by E. Smidt. In 1903 Chigorin chess club appeared in Revel, it organized few chess tournaments between 1905 and 1910 won by Feinstein, Abels, Khmelevsky…
After the World War I chess clubs renewed their activities, and in 1921 the 1st Tallinn Championship was won by Brashe. The following year Paul Rinne won the 1st Championship of Estonia. Among the international tournaments, let remember Tallinn 1930 won by Vladas Mikenas, Tallinn 1935 and Pärnu 1937, won by Paul Schmidt.
The Eesti Maletiit became member of FIDE in 1931 and the national team competed to the Olympiad since 1935 with their best achievement made in 1939 with the second place. After WWII, Estonia became under the Soviet control and the national team disappeared from the international scene. In 1971 an annual chess event was hold in Tallinn. Estonia came back as independent country to the Olympiads in 1992. The known players are Vladas Mikenas, Paul Keres, Paul Schmidt, Nei, Jaan Elhvest, Lembit Oll, Tõnu Õim and recently Kaido Külaots.
In 2008 Estonia was ranked 48th among the countries (2467) with 4 IGMs, 12 IMs and a total of 38 titled players.
The national champions were: 1923 Paul Rinne, 1925 Johannes Türn, 1930 Vladas Mikenas, 1932 Leho Laurine, 1932 Leho Laurine, 1934 Ilmar Raud, 1935 Paul Keres, 1936 Paul Keres, 1937 Paul Schmidt, 1939 Ilmar Raud, 1941 Johannes Türn, 1943 Paul Keres, 1944 Johannes Türn, 1945 Paul Keres, 1946 Raul Renter, 1947 Jüri Randviir, 1948 Aleksander Arulaid, 1949 Jüri Randviir, 1950 Jüri Randviir, 1951 Iivo Nei, 1952 Iivo Nei, 1953 Paul Keres, 1954 Jüri Randviir, 1955 Aleksander Arulaid, 1956 Iivo Nei, 1958 Gunnar Uusi, 1959 Gunnar Uusi, 1960 Iivo Nei, 1961 Iivo Nei, 1962 Iivo Nei, 1963 Gunnar Uusi, 1964 Aleksander Arulaid, 1966 Gunnar Uusi, 1967 Helmut Luik, 1968 Aarne Hermlin, 1969 Rein Etruk, 1970 Hillar Kärner, 1971 Iivo Nei, 1972 Andres Vooremaa, 1973 Rein Etruk, 1974 Iivo Nei, 1975 Hillar Kärner, 1976 Valter Heuer, 1977 Hillar Kärner, 1978 Boriss Rõtov,, 1979 Gunnar Uusi, 1980 Gunnar Uusi, 1981 Jaan Ludolf, 1982 Lembit Oll, 1983 Hillar Kärner, 1984 Hillar Kärner, 1985 Hillar Kärner, 1986 Jaan Ehlvest, 1987 Hillar Kärner, 1988 Kalle Kiik, 1989 Olav Sepp, 1990 Mati Nei, 1991 Olav Sepp, 1992 Olav Sepp, 1993 Olav Sepp, 1994 Olav Sepp, 1995 Olav Sepp, 1996 Sergei Zjukin, 1997 Roman Sergejev, 1998 Tarvo Seeman, 1999 Kaido Külaots, 2000 Mihhail Rõtšagov, 2001 Kaido Külaots, 2002 Kaido Külaots, 2003 Kaido Külaots, 2004 Meelis Kanep, 2005 Meelis Kanep, 2006 Tarvo Seeman, 2007 Meelis Kanep, 2008 Kaido Külaots, 2009 Kaido Külaots, 2010 Kaido Külaots.