Semyon Furman - Grandmaster, and Coach To The Stars

Grandmaster, and Coach To The Stars

Furman did not become a Grandmaster until 1966, at age 46, after his fine first place result at Harrachov. It was difficult in those years for all but the very top Soviet players to travel abroad to international tournaments, where titles could be earned, and Furman had few opportunities. He did play for the USSR in the 1961 European Team Championship at Oberhausen on board ten, scoring 4/7, and contributing to the overall gold medal team victory.

Bronstein faced Furman in the 1948 Soviet Championship, won the game, but was impressed with Furman's skill. Bronstein wrote, in his acclaimed book The Sorcerer's Apprentice (page 102): "Later, when I recognised the logical play of Furman, I invited him to be my assistant during preparation for the match in 1951. Also, I took him abroad as my second to the Interzonal Tournament in Gothenburg in 1955 and the Candidates' Tournament in Amsterdam 1956."

Furman had been one of the assistants to Botvinnik in his 1963 world title match against Tigran Petrosian, according to Anatoly Karpov, writing in his autobiography Karpov on Karpov. Botvinnik played many training games with Furman, to prepare for Botvinnik's 1960 and 1961 World Championship matches; these matches only became public many years afterwards, when Botvinnik published the games, which are now available on various databases, including chessgames.com. Furman and Botvinnik at that time were both members of the Trud (Trade Unions) Club. Later Furman switched to the Army Sports Club. Furman also assisted world-class players such as Viktor Korchnoi (according to both Bronstein and Karpov) and Efim Geller (according to Karpov).

The site www.chessmetrics.com, the chess site which endeavors to provide historical ratings for players while correcting for different methods of calculation, puts Furman's peak rating at 2708 in April, 1948, #11 in the world at that time. That is certain Grandmaster level, but, because of lack of international opportunities, Furman did not formally receive the title until eighteen years later. According to chessmetrics, his best tournament from a performance rating standpoint was Gorky 1954 (5½/6, for a 2755 performance).

Read more about this topic:  Semyon Furman

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