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Erik Karklins
E Karklins 
Photo courtesy of The Chess Drum.  
Number of games in database: 45
Years covered: 1968 to 2010
Overall record: +27 -9 =9 (70.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
D20 Queen's Gambit Accepted (3 games)
B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation (2 games)
D39 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin, Vienna Variation (2 games)
C01 French, Exchange (2 games)
C45 Scotch Game (2 games)
A00 Uncommon Opening (2 games)
C15 French, Winawer (2 games)
B01 Scandinavian (2 games)

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(born Mar-25-1915, died Apr-15-2017, 102 years old) Latvia (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

Erik Karklins was born in Riga, Latvia. In his youth, he played in a simultaneous exhibition given by Emanuel Lasker, which prior to his death made him one of the very few living people to have played Lasker. (Melvin Chernev, the son of Irving Chernev, is another.) He shared first prize with August Rankis in the 1947 Latvian-English Zone Championship in Germany. In 1951, Karklins and his family (including his son, future FIDE Master Andrew Karklins) immigrated to the United States, ultimately settling in Chicago.

Family and professional life (he was an architect) never allowed the elder Karklins to play chess as more than a hobby. He tied for 2nd-3rd place in the 1963 Illinois State Championship. Karklins attained the National Master title in 1984, at the unusually advanced age of 68. His peak rating was 2305. At age 95, he was by far the oldest player on the United States Chess Federation's August 2010 list of the top 100 players age 65 and up. At age 97, he tied for third in the Expert Section of the 2012 Midwest Class Championships. In July 2013, he got an even score (+1 =3 -1) in the Expert Section of the Chicago Class tournament. His last tournament was at age 99.

Last updated: 2017-06-03 16:00:35

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. G Leighton vs E Karklins 0-1241968Greater Chicago OpenA45 Queen's Pawn Game
2. P Tautvaisas vs E Karklins  1-0361969Chicago OpenC27 Vienna Game
3. W Martz vs E Karklins  1-0261969Chicago opA00 Uncommon Opening
4. E Karklins vs P Tautvaisas 0-1191969Chicago OpenC70 Ruy Lopez
5. A C Chow vs E Karklins 0-17197980th US OpenA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
6. A Sandrin vs E Karklins  0-13419821st Midwest Masters InvitationalC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
7. E Karklins vs A C Chow 1-03019821st Midwest Masters InvitationalC89 Ruy Lopez, Marshall
8. E Karklins vs M Dandridge  ½-½391984Midwest MastersB15 Caro-Kann
9. E Frumkin vs E Karklins  ½-½511985Midwest MastersC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
10. E Karklins vs B Holliman  1-0181985Midwest MastersB01 Scandinavian
11. G Small vs E Karklins  0-146198614th World OpenC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
12. D Bungo vs E Karklins  0-1301987Midwest Masters OpenC77 Ruy Lopez
13. J Ginsburg vs E Karklins  0-1691987Midwest Masters OpenB10 Caro-Kann
14. M Sefcheck vs E Karklins  0-1171989Master ChallengeD20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
15. E Karklins vs K Burger 0-13919897th Midwest Masters InvitationalB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
16. E Karklins vs B Leverett ½-½91198990th US OpenC41 Philidor Defense
17. Popovych vs E Karklins 1-016198990th US OpenC34 King's Gambit Accepted
18. E Karklins vs D Mackenzie  ½-½441990USA MastersC61 Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense
19. E Karklins vs J Cerminaro  1-0501992Chicago OpenB01 Scandinavian
20. F Inumerable vs E Karklins  0-1361992Chicago InternationalD20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
21. E Karklins vs R Rius  1-0481993Illinois OpenC42 Petrov Defense
22. A C Chow vs E Karklins  ½-½251993Midwest ClassD39 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin, Vienna Variation
23. E Karklins vs B Smythe  1-0271993Midwest ClassC15 French, Winawer
24. E Karklins vs J Doss  1-0201993Midwest ClassB56 Sicilian
25. E Karklins vs Sherzer 0-1271993Chicago opC67 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Karklins wins | Karklins loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-28-13  Llawdogg: Keep going, oldtimer!
Aug-21-13  YoungEd: I'm not sure I want to live to be 97--but if I do, I would sure love to play at Expert level (hell, I'd love that now)! Well done, Mr. Karklins!
Aug-21-13  TheFocus: Talked to him once on the telephone.

Such a gentleman!

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <TheFocus> Indeed he is. A very nice man.
Feb-20-15  Oliveira: Father and son:
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Happy 100th birthday, Erik!
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Happy 100th Birthday!
Mar-25-15  Karposian: Wow, 100 years today. Congratulations!
Mar-25-15  waustad: Bravo!
Mar-25-15  swordfish: Talk about ageless! From what I understand, he has actually improved his game in the last 15 years. I still see him at tournaments occasionally (I only participate occasionally) around the Chicago area. Happy 100th birthday, and many happy returns!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: The emergence into the next century starts today...
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: Daudz laimes dzimšanas dienā, Erik!
Mar-25-15  hemy: Congratulations on this amazing milestone.
Happy 100th Birthday.

His chess skills significantly improved since 1942.
From Latvian newspaper Ventas Balss, (Ventspils Voice) Nr.23 (20.03.1942):

Ventspils trade unions chess tournament.
... 30 participants, including 11 in primary tournament... 9th, 10th, 11th vith 3 points divided Odiņš G., V.Amats and E. Kārkliņš (order by Berger system) ...

... E, Kārkliņš limping badly with the theory in early stage of the game ...

Mar-25-15  asianwarrior: I wosh i reach that ahe too, and still playing. Happy birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Happy birthday! Play on!
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Happy 100th birthday to Mr. Karklins! That's incredible that he's 100 & still playing in tourneys! Keep playing & enjoying this great game of ours! I saw his son FM Andrew @ a tourney in Denver (link to tourney results on my profile page).
Mar-25-15  Skakalec: What to say?! Congratulations and wish I could do the same :-)
Mar-25-15  NBAFan: Happy 100th Birthday Mr Karklins! Best wishes for the new century!
Mar-25-15  gars: Happy Birthday, Mr. Karklins! An keep going! You are a very good example for all of us! And I solemnly suggest March 25 to be called Erik Karlins' Day forever.
Mar-26-15  Petrosianic: I trust that as soon as he plays some games as a centenarian, they'll make it into the database. The last ones here are five years old, and the bio says he's played more recently than that.
Nov-13-17  tjipa: Oh, I just learned this legendary man has passed away 7 months ago. Here is a nice obituary:
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <In his youth, he played in a simultaneous exhibition given by Emanuel Lasker, which prior to his death made him one of the very few living people to have played Lasker.>

<In 1928 or 1930 Erik played in a 40 to 50 board simultaneous exhibition given by Emanuel Lasker in Riga. After 80 years, Erik is uncertain as to the date and as to the number of games, but he recalls the experience itself. “Lasker was about 60 years of age. He looked older, and rather worn out. After I lost he gave me an angry look, apparently because he thought I was making too much noise putting my pieces into their box.”>

Whyld (1998) has no record of such a simul; in 1928, Lasker, who was in semi-retirement, played just three simuls in America, and in 1930 he played no recorded chess at all. One can't, of course, rule out the possibility that Whyld's information is incomplete, but the obvious alternative is a 20-board simul (+8 -4 =8) Lasker gave in November 1932 in Riga. Could that be confused for a 40-50 board affair, or may there have been another simul on the same visit? Lasker's next recorded appearance in Riga wasn't until 1937, so I think that can be ruled out.

Nov-13-17  posoo: now WHAT - WAT!? on earh is dis man DRINKING? ? LOOK at dat CUP!
Nov-14-17  offramp: <posoo: now WHAT - WAT!? on earh is dis man DRINKING? ? LOOK at dat CUP!>

He was Latvian so that was tea. Tea-drinkers live much longer than coffee-drinkers.

This man's wonderful longevity reminds me of this Ribli's Believe-It-Or-Not story:

<The Chess-playing Duc de Fénantes.>

He was born in Nantes gaol in 1692 while his parents were imprisoned for debt. He was taught chess by a jailer and took part in the Nantes prison chess tournament of 1699. He thus became Nantes prison chess champion at the age of 7!

His mother and father both died in 1720 and the Duc was apprenticed to the prison carpenter. That carpenter died in 1755 but his business left many debts with local timber-merchants! As owner of the business the Duc was sentenced to work off that debt.

Despite failing eyesight he played in every Nantes prison championship. He won his last one in 1802.

He died in the cell he was born in at the age of 111, having spent the entirety of his life, over three separate centuries, in gaol!

He had been Nantes Prison Chess Champion for 103 consecutive years.

<Believe it or not>!

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