The Search For Mona Lisa

Is chess an art, science or sport? Or something else? I tend to take the position that we should aim first and foremost for better results as this generally means better quality of play. It’s also too easy for people to proclaim themselves to be artists when another unsound sacrifice or dubious gambit goes wrong.

Having said that there is an element of art in chess and there are very strong players for whom this overshadows results. One such player was Eduard Gufeld.

Back in the 1990s, during my brief period as the Batsford Chess Editor, I got to know Gufeld because he was constantly phoning me up with book proposals. He had a number of co-authors in the former Soviet Union with whom he’d collaborate on various books, and then sell the manuscripts to publishers in the West. I had to reject many of his ideas but still enjoy many of his writings.

Sadly Gufeld died in 2002 but left behind a rich legacy in games. The book on his own games, The Search For Mona Lisa, was also a classic that many people may have overlooked because he was never one of the World’s top players.

Here’s Gufeld showing one of his games, and a very nice effort it was too:

Nigel Davies


Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: