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Eduard Gufeld

Eduard Yefimovich Gufeld was born 19 March 1936 in Ukraine and died 23 September 2002 at the age of 66 in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He had suffered a massive stroke two weeks before which left him in a coma.

Gufeld was perhaps the most prolific author in all of chess and wrote more than one hundred chess books. Gufeld had a long career as a professional player becoming an International Master in 1964 and an International Grandmaster in 1967 although these dates are slightly misleading. In those days Soviet players often didn't receive international titles at all and Gufeld's career best result of 7th in the USSR Chess Championships occurred in 1963 and was worth a whole lot more than most GM norms by modern standards. He was often rumored to be a KGB agent, mainly because he was allowed to travel freely around the world at a time when it was nearly impossible for anyone else to get out of the Soviet Union.

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 Mikhail Tal, Boris Spassky, and Viktor Korchnoi took place in the period 19581960. 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.

The accomplishments of which he was most proud, however, were his wins against Bagirov and Smyslov. In fact, the first of these games made it into Nunn's collection of the hundred greatest games of all time.

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