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Subject: Eduard Gufeld, Chess Grandmaster and Writer

Los Angeles
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Date Posted: September 27, 2002 1:41:26 EDT

Eduard Y. Gufeld, a chess grandmaster and prolific chess writer who coached many Russian players, including the former women's world champion Maya Chiburdanidze, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 66 and had lived in Los Angeles since 1995.

Mr. Gufeld's death, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, occurred two weeks after a stroke, said Dr. Anthony Saidy, an international master and a friend.

By the standards of the Soviet Union, Mr. Gufeld was only a moderately successful chess player. His best finish in the Soviet Championship was a tie for seventh place in 1963.

Still, Mr. Gufeld was among the few Soviet grandmasters allowed to travel freely outside the Soviet Union in the 1970's and 1980's, a privilege usually reserved for the best players.

There were rumors that Mr. Gufeld was permitted such freedom because he was working with or for the Soviet secret police, but friends and people who met him on his travels discounted that.

"He was the good-will ambassador for Russian chess," Dr. Saidy said.

A large man with an engaging personality, Mr. Gufeld had a childlike obsession with chess, friends said. When he lost, he often threw tantrums and even cried.

He wrote more than 80 books, including an autobiography, "My Life in Chess" (Inside Chess Enterprises, 1994).

Some reviewers said he sacrificed quality for quantity, reusing material from book to book.

Eduard Yefimovich Gufeld was born on March 19, 1936, in Kiev, Ukraine. He became a grandmaster in 1967. In the 70's and 80's, he trained the Soviet teams that dominated the Chess Olympiads.

He is survived by his mother, Eva Yulievna Novak, and his sister, Lydia Valdman, who moved to Los Angeles with him.

He was married to a Georgian woman and had a stepson. Dr. Saidy said that Mr. Gufeld had had no contact with his wife and stepson for many years and that he did not know whether Mr. Gufeld was still married.

Mr. Gufeld summed up his feelings about chess by saying: "For me, chess is life, and every game is like a new life. Every chess player gets to live many lives in one lifetime."

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