Chess Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld has died

Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld died yesterday afternoon, Monday, September 23, 2002 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

He had suffered a massive stroke two weeks earlier and had been in a coma since. He had been at Midway Hospital but then had been transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on September 22.
Eduard Gufeld
Eduard Gufeld
Photo by Larry Tamarkin

Eduard Gufeld was born in the Ukraine on 19 March 1936. By the late 1950s, he had established himself as one of the strongest players in the world. He defeated Tal, Spassky, Smyslov, Korchnoi, Bronstein and just about every other strong Soviet player. In an era where most strong players adopted a slow positional style, Gufeld went in for tactics and mixed it up with the strongest players in the world.

Gufeld later became much better known as a writer, journalist and world traveler. He wrote more than 50 chess books. There is debate as to whether he wrote the most chess books of anybody, but he was certainly in the top two or three. He moved to the Republic of Georgia and lived there for more than a decade, where he became the trainer of Woman's World Chess Champion Maya Chiburdanidze. He trained several other of the top woman chess players in Georgia, but he never became a fluent speaker of the Georgian language. One of his most popular short stories was about how he had fallen in love with a woman chess player, but she had left the country and he had traveled the world searching for her ever since.

This, however, was the great mystery about Eduard Gufeld. In an era of dour, tight lipped Soviet Grandmasters, Gufeld was always available for a comment or a quote about any subject. He seemed to be able to travel the world freely. He went to Japan and many other countries where other Soviet chess players almost never went. In an era where it was almost impossible to get out of the Soviet Union and where Soviets who traveled abroad were accompanied by a KGB Agent, Gufeld seemed to be able to come and go anywhere he wanted without escort.

Yet, Gufeld denied to his dying day that he had been a KGB Agent. If he was, his secret died with him.

Whatever connection he had, it enabled him to become the world's most flamboyant chess grandmaster. I first met him at the 1986 World Chess Olympiad in Dubai, where he was giving daily free lectures to large audiences on the most interesting games of the round. I remember telling him during a break in his lecture that Kasparov had a lost position in his game against Seirawan. The game was still going and Gufeld did not believe me, but I was right and Kasparov resigned later, after the game had been adjourned.

Gufeld was such a superstar that after the breakup of the Soviet Union, he went to Hollywood, where he continued to write books, travel, teach, lecture and play in chess tournaments. Even though he was no longer a world class player, he won many tournaments, including the US Senior Championship.

He often asked me to co-author a book with him. His idea was that the book would be about Woman Chess Players of the East vs. Woman Chess Players of the West. He would write in his half of the book about Maya Chiburdanidze and Nona Gaprindashvili and I would write about in my half of the book about the Polgar Sisters. He would say that his were best and I would say that mine were best.

Unfortunately, I never had time to work on this project and now the book will never be written.

Here are some of Gufeld's games. Please note the sharp attacking, combative style and the originality of his ideas.

Sam Sloan

[Event "URS-ch26"]
[Site "Tbilisi"]
[Date "1959.??.??"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Gufeld,Eduard"]
[Black "Tal,Mihail"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C77"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.d3 Nd7 7.Nbd2
Be7 8.Nc4 Bf6 9.Qe2 c5 10.Bd2 O-O 11.g4 b5 12.Ne3 g6 13.h4 Nb8
14.O-O-O Nc6 15.Rdg1 Be6 16.Kb1 Nb4 17.Bxb4 cxb4 18.g5 Bg7 19.Ng4
f5 20.gxf6 Bxg4 21.Rxg4 Qxf6 22.Rh3 a5 23.h5 Ra6 24.hxg6 hxg6
25.Rg2 b3 26.axb3 a4 27.Nh4 axb3 28.Rxg6 Rfa8 29.cxb3 Qf7
30.Rxg7+ Kxg7 31.Nf5+ Kg8 32.Qg4+ Rg6 33.Ne7+ Kg7 34.Nxg6 Qxb3
35.Nxe5+ Kf6 36.Qg6+ Kxe5 37.d4+ 1-0

[Event "URS-ch27"]
[Site "Leningrad"]
[Date "1960.??.??"]
[Round "13"]
[White "Gufeld,Eduard"]
[Black "Spassky,Boris"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C11"]

1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Nfd7 4.d4 e6 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Nc6 7.Bf4
Bxc5 8.Bd3 h6 9.Bg3 a6 10.O-O b5 11.Re1 O-O 12.Ne2 b4 13.c3 bxc3
14.bxc3 a5 15.Nf4 Ba6 16.Bc2 Rc8 17.Qd2 Re8 18.Nh5 Bf8 19.Rac1
Ne7 20.Nd4 Nc5 21.Bh4 Qd7 22.Bxe7 Qxe7 23.Re3 Red8 24.Rg3 Kh8
25.Qf4 Nd7 26.Ba4 Nxe5 27.Qxe5 Qc7 28.Qe3 e5 29.Nf3 e4 30.Qd4
exf3 31.Rxg7 Qc5 32.Qg4 Rd6 33.Rg8+ Kh7 34.Bc2+ 1-0

[Event "URS-ch sf"] [Site "Tashkent"] [Date "1958.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Korchnoi,Viktor"] [Black "Gufeld,Eduard"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D45"] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd2 O-O 8.O-O-O Qe7 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Kb1 a6 11.Bd3 e5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.Ne2 Bd7 15.Bc3 Rac8 16.Qb3 Bxc3 17.Nxc3 Be6 18.Qa4 Rc7 19.Qd4 Rfc8 20.Rc1 Qd6 21.h3 Nd7 22.Rhd1 Qh2 23.f4 f6 24.Rc2 Kh8 25.Rdc1 Nb8 26.Nxd5 Rxc2 27.Bxc2 Qxg2 28.Nxf6 Qxh3 29.Ne4 Nc6 30.Qb6 Bf5 31.Nd6 Bxc2+ 32.Ka1 Rb8 33.Qc5 Bg6 34.f5 Bh5 35.Nxb7 Bf3 36.Qd6 Re8 37.f6 Qe6 38.Rf1 Qc4 39.Rg1 Nb4 40.Qxb4 Qxb4 0-1 [Event "URS-ch28"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "1961.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Bronstein,David"] [Black "Gufeld,Eduard"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E85"] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 O-O 6.Be3 e5 7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.Qc2 c6 9.O-O-O Qe7 10.g4 a6 11.d5 cxd5 12.cxd5 b5 13.Ng3 Nc5 14.b4 Na4 15.Nxa4 bxa4 16.g5 Ne8 17.h4 Bd7 18.Kb2 Rc8 19.Qd2 Nc7 20.h5 Rb8 21.Ka3 Bb5 22.Bh3 Bd7 23.Bf1 Rb7 24.Rc1 Rfb8 25.Rxc7 Rxc7 26.Bxa6 Qe8 27.Rc1 Rxc1 28.Qxc1 Bb5 29.Bxb5 Qxb5 30.Bd2 Bf8 31.Qc6 Qd3+ 32.Qc3 Qa6 33.hxg6 hxg6 34.Qc6 Qa7 35.Ne2 Qf2 36.Qc4 Qxf3+ 37.Kxa4 Ra8+ 38.Kb5 Qf2 39.a4 Rb8+ 40.Kc6 Qb6+ 41.Kd7 Rd8# 0-1 [Event "URS-chT"] [Site "URS"] [Date "1967.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Smyslov,Vassily"] [Black "Gufeld,Eduard"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A15"] 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.b4 Bg7 4.Bb2 O-O 5.e3 b6 6.d4 c5 7.dxc5 bxc5 8.b5 a6 9.a4 Ne4 10.Bxg7 Kxg7 11.Qd5 Qa5+ 12.Ke2 Bb7 13.Qxb7 Nc6 14.Nfd2 Ra7 15.bxc6 Rxb7 16.cxb7 Qb4 17.Nxe4 Qb2+ 18.Nbd2 Qxa1 19.Nxc5 Rb8 20.g3 Qa3 21.Nxd7 Rxb7 22.Bh3 Qd6 23.c5 Qd5 24.f3 Rb2 25.Rd1 e6 26.c6 Qc4+ 27.Ke1 Qd3 28.Bf1 Qxe3+ 29.Be2 a5 30.f4 f6 31.c7 Rc2 32.Kf1 Rxc7 33.Nc4 Rxc4 34.Bxc4 Qf3+ 35.Ke1 Qc3+ 0-1 [Event "U.S. Open"] [Site "Reno, Nevada"] [Date "1999.08.17"] [Round "07"] [White "Gufeld,Eduard"] [Black "Fedorowicz,GM John"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B06"] [WhiteElo "2530"] [BlackElo "2634"] 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Bc4 c6 5.Bb3 Nf6 6.Qe2 e5 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Nbd2 Qe7 9.Nc4 Nbd7 10.O-O O-O 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 b5 13.Na5 Qc5 14.Qe3 Qxe3 15.fxe3 g5 16.Be1 c5 17.a4 c4 18.Ba2 a6 19.b3 cxb3 20.cxb3 Nxe4 21.Rc1 Ndf6 22.b4 Be6 23.Bxe6 fxe6 24.axb5 axb5 25.Nd2 Nxd2 26.Bxd2 Ne4 27.Rxf8+ Rxf8 28.Be1 Nd6 29.Rc6 Nf5 30.Bf2 Rd8 31.g4 Rd1+ 32.Kg2 Nd6 33.Bg3 Rd2+ 34.Kf1 Rd5 35.Ke2 Bf8 36.Nb3 Kf7 37.Nc5 Nc4 38.Be1 Be7 39.Rc7 Rd8 40.Rb7 Ra8 41.Rxb5 Ra3 42.e4 Re3+ 43.Kf2 Rh3 44.Kg2 Ra3 45.Bf2 Ra2 46.h3 Rb2 47.Rb7 Kf6 48.Nd7+ Kg6 49.Rc7 Nd6 50.Nxe5+ Kg7 51.Nd3 Rd2 52.Rxe7+ Kf6 53.Rd7 Nxe4 54.Kf3 Nxf2 55.Ke3 1-0 [Event "USSR Championship Semi-Finals"] [Site "USSR"] [Date "1973.??.??"] [White "Bagirov,V"] [Black "Gufeld,E"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A40"] 1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 Nf6 5.f3 O-O 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 Rb8 8.Qd2 a6 9.Bh6 b5 10.h4 e5 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.h5 Kh8 13.Nd5 bxc4 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Qh6 Nh5 16.g4 Rxb2 17.gxh5 g5 18.Rg1 g4 19.O-O-O Rxa2 20.Nef4 exf4 21.Nxf4 Rxf4 22.Qxf4 c3 23.Bc4 Ra3 24.fxg4 Nb4 25.Kb1 Be6 26.Bxe6 Nd3 27.Qf7 Qb8+ 28.Bb3 Rxb3+ 29.Kc2 Nb4+ 30.Kxb3 Nd5+ 31.Kc2 Qb2+ 32.Kd3 Qb5+ 0-1

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