Janis Klovans (1935-2010): Latvian Grandmaster

Janis Klovans (1935-2010): Latvian Grandmaster‎

NM GreenLaser
10 | Chess Players

Janis Klovans was born April 9, 1935 and died October 5, 2010. He was Latvia’s champion nine times from 1954 to 1986. He competed in the Soviet Championship a number of times. In 1997, 1999, and 2001 he won the World Senior Championship. In 1976, he gained the title of International Master. After winning the World Senior Championship in 1997 he became Grandmaster Klovans. It seems that he was hardly able to play outside of the USSR in his best years and earn the title earlier.

Eduard Gufeld was born March 19, 1936 and died September 23, 2002. He began playing chess in 1953 and in 1954 was Ukraine’s junior champion. He became an IM in 1964 and a GM in 1967. Gufeld, who was born in Kiev, moved to Tbilisi, Georgia, which was also in the USSR. There he coached Maia Chiburdanidze, who was to be the youngest winner of the Women’s World Championship in 1978. Gufeld stayed in Georgia for over ten years. After the USSR ended, he moved to the United States. He is also known as the writer of many chess books with sales in the millions of copies.

Both of these players scored wins against top players. The game presented is one of their meetings in the Soviet Championship in 1963, when they were both under 30 years old. Gufeld scored 11/19 which put him in a tie with Polugaevsky in seventh place, just one point behind the three winners (Kholmov, Spassky, and Stein). (Gufeld had better tie breaks, if they were used.) Klovans scored 7.5/19 and was in 16th place.

The opening is the Modern Defense, but transposes to the Pirc Defense. This happened when Black played Nf6, which is held back or not played in the Modern. In the Modern, White has more opportunity to play c4 as long as a knight on f6 is not attacking the pawn on e4. The line in this game, with 9.Nh3, is not played much. Several illustrative games are shown. I suggest that readers stop advancing to the next move after Black’s 31...Qf6 and use the position at that point as a tactics test.

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