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The first game in Paul Keres' book "The Complete Games of Paul Keres" is a correspondence game against "A. Karu" who is otherwise unidentified. I could find no entry for him in Chess Personalia by Jeremy Gaige.

Who was he?

  • 1
    First name is Aivi, it seems. – Dag Oskar Madsen Mar 18 '17 at 22:20
  • Or maybe not. Aivi seems to be a feminine name, so it would be strange to refer to the person as "him". – Dag Oskar Madsen Mar 18 '17 at 22:36
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    In those days, correspondence chess had a certain level of anonymity (similar to that of the internet today). Also, Keres played hundreds of correspondence games, many of them against ordinary Joes. – user1108 Mar 19 '17 at 9:08
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The best sources I can find reference a Aivi Karu, who Keres played in correspondence chess.

Take note (from Wikipedia):

[Keres] played about 500 correspondence games, and at one stage had 150 correspondence games going simultaneously.

It is likely this was a person he played in correspondence, but we may never know who he/she actually was.

Also worthy of note, Keres was only fifteen years old when he played this game!

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According to 365chess.com, Aivi Karu was a female player from Estonia.

She has 12 games logged, including those with Keres, and scored 20.83%. In fairness, she played against highly rated players (elo's above 2000), so my guess is that she was an amateur player who played some correspondence, training games and open tournaments where she was inevitably mismatched.

  • 1
    This seems to be two different persons. In the book by Keres, "A. Karu" is referred to as him. This also makes sense when you consider which years the person(s) were active. – Dag Oskar Madsen Apr 19 '17 at 14:48
  • @DagOskarMadsen: I would caution regarding the term 'him' in Keres' book. I'm guessing the original book was in Estonian, and was subsequently translated. Also, Keres may not have known the gender of A. Karu (because the game was via correspondence), or he may have made a typo/stylistic decision to his writing (similar to how Seirwan calls chessplayers him in his 'winning...' series) – user1108 Apr 19 '17 at 14:58
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    Even if all of that was true, it is still hard to believe Aivi would make a comeback in the Estonian championship 62 years later. – Dag Oskar Madsen Apr 19 '17 at 15:03
  • @DagOskarMadsen: With a sample size of 12 games and her not being a famous player (she doesn't have interviews saying why she made any of the decisions she did regarding chess that I know of), then it's hard to say why she went back into chess later in life. Maybe she did it to try to clean up her reputation after a well published loss against Keres? – user1108 Apr 19 '17 at 15:08
  • Given the dates, I suspect it's two different players, possibly, but not necessarily, related. The 365chess.com link shows that she played in the Estonian Women's Championship. A search on the name returns results for a female basketball player from Estonia who would have been a young woman, as opposed to someone, who had they played Keres, would likely have been well over 80, at the time of that tournament. – Herb Wolfe Apr 30 '17 at 0:22

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