Paul Keres ( January 7, 1916 – June 5, 1975) was an Estonian, and later Soviet, chess grandmaster and chess writer. He was among the world’s top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, and narrowly missed a chance at a world championship match on five occasions.
Keres won the 1938 AVRO tournament, which led to negotiations for a title match against champion Alexander Alekhine, but the match never took place due to World War II. After the USSR had occupied and annexed Estonia in 1944, Keres competed as a Soviet player. He was runner-up in the Candidates’ Tournament on four consecutive occasion between 1953 and 1962.
Due to these and other strong results, many chess historians consider Keres one of the greatest players in history, and the strongest player never to become world champion. Super grandmaster is an informal neologism to refer to the world’s elite players, usually players who are serious contenders for the World Championship and Keres fits this description. He was nicknamed “Paul the Second”, “The Eternal Second” and “The Crown Prince of Chess”.Keres, Viktor Korchnoi and Alexander Beliavsky defeated nine world champions—more than anyone else in history.