Eduard Gufeld 1936-2002
Eduard Yefimovich Gufeld was born 19th March 1936 in the
Ukraine and died 23rd September 2002 at the age of 66 in the Cedars-Sinai
Medical Center in Los Angeles. He had a massive stroke two weeks before before
which left him in a coma.
Gufeld had a long career as a professional player becoming
an IM in 1964 and a GM in 1967 although these dates are slightly misleading. In
those days Soviet players often didn't international titles at all and Gufeld's
career best result of 7th in the Soviet Championships occurred in 1963 and was
worth a whole lot more than most GM norms by modern standards.
Gufeld played the early part of his career at a time when
Soviet Chess was at its most dominant. This was due not only to the famous
names who went on to take the World Title or become Candidates but also due to
the incredible strength in depth they had of which Gufeld was a part. He played
in the Soviet Championships 8 times qualifying 6 times between 1959 and 1966
when it was a real achievement to do so. Looking at his record it seems his
best achievements were behind him by the time he became an International
Master. His wins against Tal, Spassky and Korchnoi took place in the period
1958-60. Unlike his Ukrainian rival Leonid Stein his results never really did
kick on as he might have liked.
Instead Gufeld's career settled into that of a good
professional Grandmaster. He moved to Georgia and became trainer to amongst
others Maya Chiburdanidze. He represented the Soviet Union in some team events
and had a steady diet of invitationals. With the fall of the Berlin Wall he
used the extra freedom he had to travel the World playing chess and turned up
in opens everywhere. He finally settled in the United States in his final years
where he had some very respectable results.
To get a feel of his chess career I looked ChessBase
Megabase for his results against various players. The figures won't be totally
correct because of missing games but indicate the kind of results he got. For
instance he played 15 serious games against Tal +1 =9 -5; Petrosian =2 -5;
Spassky +1 -4; Smyslov +1 =5 -3; Keres =3; a very young Kasparov =1 -1;
Korchnoi +1 =7 -4; Karpov =1. Anotoshin =4; Averbakh +1 =5 -1; Bagirov +3 =7
-2; Bronstein +6 =7 -3; Furman +1 =5 -6; Geller =8 -3; Gipslis +2 =6 -4; Gulko
=2 -4; Gurgenidze +2 =5 -4; Ivkov =3 -1 Kholmov +2 =7 -2; Klovans +2 =5 -1;
Krogius +1 =3 -1; Nei +1 =4 -1; Osnos +3 =6; Polugaevsky +4 =7 -5; Savon +1 =7
-2; Stein =9 -2; Suetin +4 =2 -2; Taimanov +3 =9 -2; Tukmakov +2 =4; Vasiukov
+6 =4 -6.
He was a prolific author of books of distinctly variable
quality. You can read John Watson's review of "The Search for the Mona Lisa"
which is probably the best available book of his writings. I still shudder at
the thought of his long out of print Batsford book on the Benko in the 1980s
which was certainly the poorest opening book I've ever bought.
Opinions of him as a person are sharply divided depending
on how you took to his extremely loud and boisterous behaviour. There isn't any
doubt about his continued enthusiasm for the game throughout his life.
I have included a small selection of games including ones
that he highlighted as being amongst his best including the one that gives the
"Mona Lisa" title to his book a 32 move win against Bagirov at the Kirovabad
tournament in 1973 (I got the wrong game first time round).
A selection of Gufeld's results [Source ChessBase Megabase]
1958 Soviet Championships Semi-Finals Tashkent 4th 10/15.
1959 26th Soviet Championships 12th-13th with Bronstein 9/19
1959 Ukrainian Championships 11th 11/21.
1960 Soviet Championships Semi-Finals Vilnius 1st-3rd 12/17.
1960 27th Soviet Championships Leningrad 14th 7.5/19
1961 Moscow ZCC 5.5/11 8th-9th with Pachman.
1961 28th Soviet Championships Moscow 8/19 14th place.
1961 World Team Championships Under-26 a huge 10.5/12.
1961 Soviet Championships Semi-Finals Novosibirsk 3rd 10.5/15.
1962 Soviet Team Championships 5/7.
1963 31st Soviet Championships 7th 11/19.
1963 Soviet Team Championships 2.5/4.
1964 Sarajevo 8th-9th 7.5/15.
1965 33rd Soviet Championships Tallinn 8/19 15th-17th.
1966 34th Soviet Championships Tblisi 13th 9.5/20
1966 Soviet Teams 9/11
1967 October Revolution 5th 10/16
1968 Gori 4th-5th 6/10
1968 Toth Memorial Kecskemet 2nd 9.5/15
1968 Kislovodsk 4th 8.5/14.
1969 Tallinn 4th 8/13.
1969 37th Soviet Championships Moscow 20th 9/22.
1970 Moscow 6th-7th 7.5/13.
1971 Skopje Solidarnost 4th 8.5/15.
1972 Sukhumi Cat X 11th-12th 6.5/15.
1972 40th Soviet Championships Baku Cat XI 17th-20th 9/21.
1973 Soviet Championships Semi-Finals Tblisi Cat IX 11th 8/17.
1974 Capablanca Memorial A Camaguey 2nd 11/15.
1974 Goglidze Memorial Tiblisi 1st=
1975 Vilnius Zonal Cat 12 5th-6th 8.5/15.
1978 Jurmala Cat 8 2nd-3rd 9/15 behind Bronstein.
1980 Baku Cat X 3rd-5th 8.5/15 behind Kasparov and Beliavsky.
1980 Tiblsi 1st 11/15.
1980 DSV-Turnir Leipzig Cat IX 2nd-3rd 8.5/13.
1981 Tallinn Cat IX 4th-5th 8.5/15.
1981 Soviet FL49 Volgodonsk Cat X 16th 7/17.
1982 Vinkovci Cat VIII 3rd-4th 8/13.
1983 Dortmund Cat IX 9th 5/11.
1983 Tblisi Cat VIII 5th-9th 8/15/
1984 New Delhi Cat VII 5th-6th 6/11.
1986-7 Hastings Premier Cat X 7th-8th 7/13.
1988 Wellington Cat 8 1st-3rd 7.5/10.
1988 Tblisi Cat 11 10th 3/10.
1989 New York Open 6/9.
1989 GMA Baleares Open
1992 Podolsk Cat 11 11th 3.5/11.
1994 Kuala Lumpa Cat 10 6th and last 2.5/10.
1994 Lloyds Bank London 6.5/10.
1996 Tan Cup Beijing Cat 10 3rd 5.5/9.
His career continued on with visits to such disparate
places as Helsinki, Calcutta, Oviedo, Biel, USA (World Open, National Open and
weekend events) Alushta, etc followed in the next 6 years. He beat Victors
Pupols in the final round of the National Open on 10th March 2002 in his final