Jaan Ehlvest

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Jaan Ehlvest
Ehlvest Jaan.jpg
CountrySoviet Union
Estonia (1992–2006)
United States
Born (1962-10-14) 14 October 1962 (age 58)
Tallinn, Estonia
TitleGrandmaster (1987)
FIDE rating2517 (June 2021)
Peak rating2660 (January 1996)[1]
Peak rankingNo. 5 (January 1991)

Jaan Ehlvest (born 14 October 1962) is an Estonian-American chess player. He was awarded the title Grandmaster by FIDE in 1987. Ehlvest was Estonian champion in 1986. Since 2006, he has represented the United States.

He was named Estonian Athlete of the Year in 1987 and 1989. From July 1990 to July 1991, he was among the top 10 on the FIDE world rankings, peaking at number 5 in the list of January 1991.[1]


Ehlvest's tournament victories include the 1980 USSR Junior Chess Championship,[2] the 1983 European Junior Championship, the 1986 Estonian Championship, the 1994 New York Open, and the 2003 World Open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When SK Rockaden won the 2001 Swedish championship they fielded Ehlvest.[3]

In 2006, unsatisfied with the lack of support from the Estonian Chess Federation, Ehlvest decided to move to the United States; since then, he has been a member of the USCF and competed internationally for the US.[4]

In March 2007, Ehlvest accepted an invitation to play an eight-game match against the chess program Rybka, one of the strongest chess programs in existence. He was playing Black in all games, but was given pawn odds (Rybka was playing each game a pawn down; a different white pawn was removed in each game). He lost the match by 2½:5½ (+1−4=3). In a following rematch, the pawn odds were removed, Ehlvest was given White in every game, twice the time on the clock, and significant computational handicaps were placed on the machine. Ehlvest lost decisively, 1½:4½.

In 2008 he won the Pan American-Continental Championship, which took place in Boca Raton, Florida.[5][6]

He was a member of the gold medal-winning Soviet Union team at the 28th Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki 1988[7] and played for Estonia in the Chess Olympiads of 1992–2004.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Ehlvest's younger brother, Jüri Ehlvest, was a well-known writer in Estonia.

Ehlvest studied psychology at Tartu State University (now, University of Tartu). In 2004, Ehlvest published his autobiography, The Story of a Chess Player.


  1. ^ a b Jaan Ehlvest FIDE rating history, 1981–2001 at Olimpbase.org
  2. ^ "29th USSR Junior Chess Championship Dushanbe 5–18.1.1980". RusBase. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  3. ^ "Rockaden win Swedish league" Archived 2007-06-10 at the Wayback Machine, Mind Sports Worldwide, 25 March 2001
  4. ^ "Jaan Ehlvest: pidanuksin Eestist varem lahkuma" (in Estonian). Postimees. 2006-04-07. Archived from the original on 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  5. ^ Crowther, Mark (2008-11-10). "TWIC 731: Pan American". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  6. ^ Kavalek, Lubomir (2008-11-10). "CHESS". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  7. ^ "28th Chess Olympiad, Thessaloniki 1988, Soviet Union". OlimpBase. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  8. ^ Jaan Ehlvest team chess record at Olimpbase.org

Further reading[edit]

  • Ehlvest, Jaan (2004). The Story of a Chess Player. Arbiter Publishing. ISBN 0-9763891-0-X.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Heino Puuste
Estonian Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Allar Levandi
Preceded by
Allar Levandi
Estonian Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Jüri Jaanson