Junge Klaus (01.01.1924 – 27.04.1945)

Junge-KlausGerman player born in Concepcion (Chile) to German parents, who moved to Hamburg in the 1930s.  Junge was the most promising German player for many generations.

After some local successes, he tied for first place in the German Championship 1941 (with Paul Schmidt) at the age of seventeen.  The same year he came fourth to Alexander Alekhine, Paul Schmidt and Efim Bogoljubov in the second of the tournaments held in Krakow.

In Salzburg 1942 he tied for third place with Schmidt, behind Alekhine and Paul Keres, but ahead of Efim Bogoljubow and Gosta Stoltz, he came second to Alekhine in the third of the Polish tournaments and finally tied for first with the then World Champion in Prague 1942.  Only Mikhail Botvinnik and Laszlo Szabo had previously shown such playing strength at the age of 18, but this was Junge’s last tournament.

As a lieutenant in the German army, Junge was killed in action in the battle of Welle (Germany) on April 17th 1945, just three weeks before the fighting in Europe ended. According to Dr. Robert Hübner, Klaus Junge was the greatest German chess talent in 20th century. In 1995, Helmut Riedel published a book about his life: Das Leben und Schaffen von Klaus Junge 1924 -1945