Sunday, 30 November 2008


Svetozar Gligoric was born on February 2, 1923 in Belgrade(in the old Yugoslav what is now Serbia). In 1938 he won the championship of the Belgrade Chess Club, one of the strongest clubs in Yugoslavia.
World War II put a stop to his rise in the chess world. In 1947 he won his first major international event at Warsaw, ahead of future World Champion Vasily Smyslov.
Gligoric became a Grandmaster in 1951.
He was Yugoslav champion 12 times 1947 (joint), 1948 (joint), 1949, 1950, 1956, 1957, 1958 (joint), 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965 and 1971.

He represented his country (Yugoslavia) with great success in 15 Chess Olympiads from 1950 to 1982 (13 times on first board), playing 223 games (+88 =109 -26).
In the first post-war Olympiad, on home soil at Dubrovnik 1950, Gligoric played on first board and led Yugoslavia to a historic result, the team gold medal. The Yugoslav team was usually second or third in the world during the 1950s.

His list of first-place finishes in international chess competitions is one of the longest and includes such events as Mar del Plata 1950, Stockholm 1954, Belgrade 1964, Manila 1968, Lone Pine 1972 and 1979, etc. He was a regular competitor in the series of great tournaments held at Hastings at the end of the year, with wins (or ties for first) in 1951–2, 1956–7, 1959–60, 1960–61, and 1962–3.
During the 1950s and 1960s he was one of the top ten players in the world,but his world championship record does not reflect this.
His Zonal wins in 1951, 1960 (joint), 1963, 1966, and 1969 (joint) and finishes at the Interzonals of 1952, 1958, and 1967 high enough to qualify him for the Candidates events the following year.
But he was not as successful in any of the Candidates events, with mixed results in the 1953 and 1959 Candidates Tournaments and a match loss to Mikhail Tal in the 1968 Candidates match series.
Gligorić had good scores against some of the world champions,Mikhail Botvinnik +2-2=5, Vasily Smyslov +5-7=21, Tigran Petrosian +7-10=10, Bobby Fischer +4-4=6.

He made enormous contributions to the theory of the King's Indian Defense, Ruy Lopez and Nimzo-Indian Defense, among others, and particularly with the King's Indian.
As a chess commentator, Gligorić was able to take advantage of his fluency in a number of languages and his training as a journalist, to produce lucid, interesting game annotations. He was a regular columnist for Chess Review and Chess Life magazines for many years, his "Game of the Month" column often amounting to a complete tutorial in the opening used in the feature game as well as a set of comprehensive game annotations. He wrote a number of chess books in several languages and has contributed regularly to the Chess Informant semi-annually (more recently, thrice-yearly) compilation of the world's most important chess games. Add to these accomplishments a successful career as organizer and arbiter of chess tournaments, and the picture that emerges is of one of the greatest chess figures of all time.
I give 4 games from this great player.

Would you have resigned in this position?
Although it was a mistake how many players made smyslov lay down their king in under 20 moves? Smyslov was world champion in 1958

How many club players would have agreed a draw in this position?

If 33………….Qxe8 34Rxe8+ Kf7 35 Rb8 Blacks Bishop and Knight are both attacked.

This game was by many considered to be Gligoric best game. It is from the 1970 "Tournament of Peace" held in Zagreb. Gligoric came second with Petrosian behind Fischer.

Friday, 21 November 2008


Eduard Gufeld was born in Kiev in 1936, where he became the junior champion of Ukraine at the age of 18. Called up for military service, he avoided the worst of army life by establishing himself as chess trainer to the armed forces, a role he was to enjoy for two decades. He became a Grandmaster in 1967, but never established himself in the first level of Soviet players.
By the late 1950s he was a very strong player. He defeated Tal, Spassky, Smyslov, Korchnoi, Bronstein, and just about every other strong Soviet player.In 1977 his Elo rating was 2570, and ranked 16th in the world.How times and elo ratings have changed!!!
2570 is how far down the rating list now.

As well as being an army trainer he moved to Tbilisi, the Republic of Georgia, and lived there for more than a decade, and coached Maia Chiburdanidze, who became the youngest women's world chess champion in 1978.
He one of the most prolific grandmasters from the old Soviet Union, and one of the greatest ambassadors for the game of chess. A player, trainer, chess propagandist, writer of over 80 books and, some said, a part-time KGB officer.

More often than not when a Soviet team traveled, Gufeld was part of the delegation as trainer or official journalist. Why him when there were so many stronger players longing for international travel? Since no Soviet delegation in that era was permitted to travel without someone monitoring their behaviour and reporting back, a persistent rumour grew that Gufeld was in the pay of the KGB.
Gufeld loved the Kings indian defence as black against 1.d4 or 1.c4,so much so that the Bg7 bishop became known as the Gufeld bishop.
He all so played Bg7 as black in the Sicilian defence Dragon variation.

"Eddie" (as he was called) Gufeld spread his infectious joy for the game wherever he went.After the collapse of the USSR, Gufeld travelled even wider afield, writing and playing more than ever.
He settled in California, where he opened a Chess Academy near Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
In September 2002, Gufeld a stroke and heart attack virtually simultaneously. Following a period of unconsciouness, he regained consciouness but was unable to speak or walk. He died two weeks later at the age of 66 in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

I give 4 of his games.
This game he considered his finest and called it his immortal game or mona lisa,from his book "The search for the mona lisa".

This game against smyslov along with mona lisa were his best chess games, they made it into John Nunn's collection of the hundred greatest games of all time.

This game is a win against Tal a year before he was World champion.

A game using the famous gufeld bishop

Sunday, 16 November 2008


David Ionovich Bronstein,(born Feb-19-1924, died Dec-05-2006) in the Ukraine was one of the strongest and most imaginative players to emerge from the talent-rich post war Soviet Union.
Bronstein, who has died aged 82, was a creative innovator in opening strategy. Though he frequently represented the Soviet Union in international tournaments, in 1976 he clashed with the Moscow chess authorities after refusing to sign an official letter denouncing Viktor Korchnoi, who had defected to Holland, as a traitor. After that, Bronstein did not compete in the west for another 10 years.

He wrote many fine books but he was most highly regarded for his authorship of Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 (English translation 1979). This book was an enormous seller in the USSR, going through many reprints.

Bronstein was also a six times winner of the Moscow Championships, and represented the USSR in 4 Olympiads 1952, 1954, 1956 and 1958, winning board prizes at each of them, and unbelievablly only losing one of his 49 games in those olympiads.
In those 4 olympiads he won four team gold medals.

He made many contributions to theory in openings such as the Ruy Lopez, King's Indian, and Caro-Kann.
In the Caro-Kann Defence, the Bronstein-Larsen Variation goes 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6. In the Scandinavian Defence, the Bronstein Variation goes 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6.

He shared first place in 2 Soviet Chess Championships 1948 ( with Alexander Kotov) and 1949 ( with Smyslov).
He also tied for second place at the Soviet Championships of 1957 and 1964-65.
His major tournament victories outside the USSR were Hastings 1953-4, Belgrade 1954, Gotha 1957, Moscow 1959, Szombathely 1966, East Berlin 1968, Dnepropetrovsk 1970, Sarajevo 1971, Sandomierz 1976, Iwonicz Zdrój 1976, Budapest 1977, and Jūrmala 1978.

While chess computers were still developing, Bronstein was the lead grandmaster in an annual Man v Machine series in The Hague.
I give a Bronstein game against a early computer program.

Although Bronstein sometimes got into time trouble he was an early advocate of speeding up competitive chess, and wanted to introduce a digital chess clock which adds a small time increment for each move made, a variant of which has become very popular in recent years.

In this game Bronstein sacrifice three pawns to open queenside lines into Aloni's King position.

This next game is one of his wins from the drawn 1950 world championship against botvinnik.After this one shot at the tittle he remained one of the worlds best players, but he never again got another chance. Was that chess fate?

In this game he destroys Efim Geller a very strong Grandmaster in 21 moves.
Geller was for years the only grandmaster to regularly beat bobby Fischer.

Finally a game played when many had thought Bronstein had pasted his best.

Monday, 3 November 2008


Paul Keres (January 7, 1916 – June 5, 1975), was an Estonian chess grandmaster.
Known as the "The Crown Prince of chess". The five kroons Estonian banknote bears his image.
Keres won the USSR Chess Championship three times, but more importantly finished runner-up in the the first 4 Candidates tournaments.

He won the 1938 AVRO tournament, which led to negotiations for a World Championship match against Alexander Alekhine, but the match never took place due to World War.
Many people believe him to be the strongest modern player to never have made it to a World Championship match.

One school of thought as to why this was, is pressuse may have been applied against him in the old soviet days, because during world war 2 he took part in German run tournaments. Perhaps the Russians could tolerate him as a very strong grandmaster, helping to keep western players from the world championship.
But never allow him that chance.

He was a three-time Estonian schoolboy champion, in 1930, 1932, and 1933. Also he won the adult title many times.His playing matured after playing correspondence chess extensively while in high school.
He represent Estonia with success in pre-war Olympiads.
Warsaw 1935, Estonia board 1, 12.5/19 (+11 =3 -5);
Munich 1936, Estonia board 1, 15.5/20 (+12 =7 -1), board gold medal;
Stockholm 1937, Estonia board 1, 11/15 (+9 =4 -2), board silver medal;
Buenos Aires 1939, Estonia board 1, 14.5/19 (+12 =5 -2), team bronze medal.
He also represented the ussr after the war in olympiads
Helsinki 1952, USSR board 1, 6.5/12, team gold;
Amsterdam 1954, USSR board 4, 13.5/14 (+13 =1 -0), team gold, board gold, best overall score;
Moscow 1956, USSR board 3, 9.5/12 (+7 =5 -0), team gold, board gold;
Munich 1958, USSR board 3, 9.5/12 (+7 =5 -0), team gold, board gold;
Leipzig 1960, USSR board 3, 10.5/13 (+8 =5 -0), team gold, board gold;
Varna 1962, USSR board 4, 9.5/13 (+6 =7 -0), team gold, board bronze;
Tel Aviv 1964, USSR board 4, 10/12 (+9 =2 -1), team gold, board gold.

I give 3 of his games in one of them he has the great Alekhine laying down his king in 23 moves!

Keres was an endgame expert and wrote the famous book Practical Chess Endings.