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


Rolling Pawns said...

Crazy games, fountains of sacrifices. Thanks!

CHESSX said...

Thanks, many of his games are full of sacrifices.
He beat some the best players in his time,he just could not do it consistently.
But his real talent lay with chess teaching/coaching.