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The Titan of the 20th Century

  • GM Gserper
  • | Aug 26, 2012

With the death of the legendary Grandmaster Svetozar Gligorić (1923-2012), the Chess World has lost one of the biggest chess Giants of the last century. I never had an opportunity to meet or even see GM Gligorić but my generation of chess players grew up learning from his games (especially if you played one of his favorite openings, like the King's Indian, the Ruy Lopez or the Nimzo Indian Defense). I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that he was one of those rare people who had no enemies and the title of his famous book "I Play Against Pieces" underlines that, with the following quotation: "I never played against my opponents, I played against their pieces."

During his Candidates match for the World Championship Title against Mikhail Tal this perfect gentleman offered a draw in a promising position only because he knew that Tal really wanted to attend a soccer match that was going to start shortly. It is difficult for me to imagine today's elite Grandmasters acting this way. Nevertheless, on the chessboard GM Svetozar Gligorić was a real killer who had a very nice collection of wins over World Champions. Today I offer you an opportunity to compare your tactical skills to the legendary Gligorić.

So, try to beat a World Champion the way Svetozar Gligorić did:

Black's King is surrounded by White's heavy pieces. Is there any way to avoid the defeat, especially against Mikhail "the Magician" Tal?

It looks like White is slightly better and Vassily Smyslov is about to show his famous positional skills, but...

The opening went horribly wrong for the ex-World Champion...

Finish the attack!

White has the far advanced 'h7' pawn. Can he promote it?

to be continued...


  • 3 years ago


    great article!

  • 3 years ago


    Brilliant article, thank you.

  • 3 years ago


    A gentleman in the truest sense of the definition. If he had any "enemies" it was because of them...not him.

  • 3 years ago


    I really enjoyed going through these puzzles.  Turning a seemingly bad situation into an advantageous one is a great example of this GM's ability.  Thanks for the great write up and posting the puzzles!

  • 3 years ago


    clearly very safe and very clever to demolished the opposition defense

  • 3 years ago


    Read it on your honeymoon?  What?!?!

  • 3 years ago


    gligoric is a great  chess player and a genius

    . He was in my short list of favorite gms. he is brilliant. he would have been a world champion,too.

  • 3 years ago


    He played RIGHT CHESS-permanent activity...

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for the awesome games... and reminding of such a legend.. enjoied the article...

  • 3 years ago


    Excellent games, and great tactics to learn from.

    Just one point I'd like to address. The Game against Bobby Fischer was in 1959 (he was 16 years old!). Since he didn't become World Champion until 1972, perhaps it's a stretch to say that Mr Gligoric had a nice collection of wins over world champions and include this game in this context. To that end, Fischer would have lost even more games when he was 14yo, but to claim you beat a world champion before he was even one.....??

  • 3 years ago


    Počivaj u miru.

  • 3 years ago


    He was one of those GMs i've grown up with their games, R.I.P.

  • 3 years ago


    I knew Gligoric from his book on the Spassky/Fischer match. I read it studied it on my honeymoon!?

  • 3 years ago


    Počivaj u miru legendo.

  • 3 years ago


    EltonJ, this "guy" was one of the greatest living chess Grandmasters in the world. There are not many of them left anymore. Hats of for him and the few remaining ones for having been men of iron will and nerves.

  • 3 years ago


    Pokoj mu duši.

  • 3 years ago


    May he RIP.  

  • 3 years ago


    I liked Garry Kasparov, but I never heard of this guy until today.  Rest in peace, Svetozar Gligorić. 

  • 3 years ago


    impressived combinations to force wins

  • 3 years ago


    Thank you that you share this nice puzzles:)

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