Eduard Gufeld and his 'Mona Lisa' in chess

by ChessBase
8/16/2007 – The Ukrainian GM, a colorful and controversial figure, was one of the strongest players of his day, having beaten the likes of Tal, Spassky, Smyslov, Korchnoi and Bronstein. But Eduard Gufeld considered his 1973 victory over Vladimir Bagirov his greatest work. In his Thursday night lecture our Playchess trainer Dennis Monokroussos tells us why.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

The late grandmaster Eduard Gufeld who a colorful, controversial figure in the chess world, but we'll ignore the controversy and focus on his chess. An inveterate popularizer of the royal game, Gufeld's writings often celebrated the spectacular aspects of the game – especially (but not only) when he was the source of the spectacle.

This week, we'll take a look at his most famous game, the 1973 victory over Vladimir Bagirov he dubbed his "Mona Lisa". (Ironically, given Gufeld's penchant for publishing the game wherever possible, it's not in ChessBase's Mega database.) It's a real thriller, a King's Indian Saemisch played in the old style with opposite-side castling. In that interpretation of the Saemisch, White throws the kitchen sink at Black's king in the style of the Yugoslav Attack against the Dragon, while Black tries to hold off the attack while developing his queenside counterplay. That's just what we have in this game, which in the course of just 32 moves sees both players combining attack and defense with great imagination and a willingness to sacrifice material. (First Black sacs a piece, then White; Black sacs the exchange, then White offers a rook, which Black refuses by giving up another piece, etc.)

In short, it's an entertaining and well-played game, one I'm confident you'll all enjoy. So join me this Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET: the show is free and the 150th audience member will receive a prize!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 01:00h GMT, 02:00 Paris/Berlin, 11:00h Sydney (on Friday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

Dennis Monokroussos is 40, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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