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Boris Gulko
Photo courtesy of
Number of games in database: 1,772
Years covered: 1963 to 2013
Last FIDE rating: 2537
Highest rating achieved in database: 2643

Overall record: +567 -272 =883 (58.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 50 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (87) 
    E21 E49 E20 E32 E43
 English (74) 
    A13 A10 A16 A15 A17
 Queen's Pawn Game (69) 
    E00 A45 D02 A41 A40
 English, 1 c4 e5 (69) 
    A29 A20 A27 A21 A25
 King's Indian (63) 
    E60 E90 E73 E61 E81
 Queen's Gambit Declined (44) 
    D35 D31 D37 D30 D36
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (134) 
    C07 C09 C16 C02 C03
 Sicilian (119) 
    B30 B60 B57 B40 B63
 Queen's Pawn Game (73) 
    A41 E00 A46 A40 A45
 Grunfeld (68) 
    D86 D85 D91 D97 D82
 French Tarrasch (64) 
    C07 C09 C03 C08 C05
 Queen's Indian (53) 
    E12 E17 E19 E15 E14
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   B Chesney vs Gulko, 1986 0-1
   Bronstein vs Gulko, 1968 0-1
   Gulko vs K Grigorian, 1971 1-0
   Lenderman vs Gulko, 2007 0-1
   Gulko vs Chiburdanidze, 1985 1-0
   Gulko vs Savon, 1978 1-0
   G Kitts vs Gulko, 1986 0-1
   D Barua vs Gulko, 1993 0-1
   Kasparov vs Gulko, 1982 0-1
   Taimanov vs Gulko, 1976 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Pan Pacific International (1995)
   Snowdrops and Old-hands (2011)
   US Championship (1991)
   Casino de Barcelona (2008)
   US Championships 2003 (2003)
   Horgen (1995)
   US Championship (2008)
   US Championship (2009)
   USSR Championship (1976)
   XV Carlos Torre (2002)
   Torneo Continental Americano (2003)
   USSR Championship (1974)
   Biel Interzonal (1976)
   Manila Interzonal (1990)
   American Continental Championship (2005)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Lessons_Gulko_2 by stevehrop
   Lessons _ Gulko 3 by stevehrop
   Lessons with a Grandmaster 1 by stevehrop
   USSR Championship 1977 by Phony Benoni
   USSR Championship 1975 by Phony Benoni
   Reggio Emilia 1990/91 II by suenteus po 147
   Linares 1990 by suenteus po 147
   Pan Pacific International, San Francisco, 1995 by Phony Benoni

   🏆 Snowdrops - Oldhands
   N Ziaziulkina vs Gulko (Dec-06-13) 1/2-1/2
   Gulko vs M Muzychuk (Dec-05-13) 1/2-1/2
   Gulko vs V Cmilyte (Dec-03-13) 1/2-1/2
   A Kashlinskaya vs Gulko (Dec-02-13) 1/2-1/2
   Gulko vs N Ziaziulkina (Dec-01-13) 1/2-1/2

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Boris Gulko
Search Google for Boris Gulko
FIDE player card for Boris Gulko

(born Feb-09-1947, 70 years old) Russia (federation/nationality United States of America)
[what is this?]
Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer Boris Frantsevich Gulko was born in Erfurt, East Germany. He went to the Soviet Union and became a Grandmaster in 1976, and at the 45th USSR Championship in 1977 he was co-champion with Iossif Davidovich Dorfman. After much trial and turmoil Gulko emigrated to the United States in 1986, where his achievements include winning the United States Championship in 1994 and 1999.** Gulko is the only player to have won the chess championship of both the Soviet Union and United States.

* [rusbase-1] ** and

Wikipedia article: Boris Gulko

 page 1 of 71; games 1-25 of 1,772  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Makarov vs Gulko 1-0161963MoscowB40 Sicilian
2. Chistiakov vs Gulko 1-0351964URSA09 Reti Opening
3. Gulko vs V Sherbakov  1-0321964URSA71 Benoni, Classical, 8.Bg5
4. Gulko vs Chistiakov  1-0391964URSE08 Catalan, Closed
5. Volovich vs Gulko  0-1541965MoscowA06 Reti Opening
6. Romanov vs Gulko  ½-½331965MoscowC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
7. Razuvaev vs Gulko 0-1331966URS-chTC00 French Defense
8. Gulko vs A Bykhovsky  1-0441966URS-chTC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
9. Gulko vs Vladimir Lepeshkin  1-0261966URSD74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
10. Gulko vs Geller  1-0391966URS-chTD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
11. Hankipohja vs Gulko  0-1231966Orebro Stud olm prelim1B06 Robatsch
12. Gulko vs M Despotovic  1-0441966URS-YUGA71 Benoni, Classical, 8.Bg5
13. Gulko vs S Cvetkovic  ½-½561966URS-YUGA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
14. Gulko vs Kolbak 1-0441966Orebro Stud olm fAD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
15. I Gat vs Gulko  ½-½371966Orebro Stud olm fAA25 English
16. Gulko vs J Aijala  1-0341966Orebro Stud olm fAA44 Old Benoni Defense
17. B Nagy vs Gulko  0-1381966Orebro Stud olm fAE12 Queen's Indian
18. M Schoeneberg vs Gulko  1-0411966Orebro Stud olm fAB06 Robatsch
19. Gulko vs W E Poutrus 1-0311966Orebro Stud olm fAE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
20. Gulko vs L Spassov  ½-½261966Orebro Stud olm fAC67 Ruy Lopez
21. Gulko vs M Schoeneberg  ½-½171967HarrachovE17 Queen's Indian
22. Ivanov vs Gulko  0-1391967LeningradA10 English
23. M Pavlov vs Gulko  0-1551967Bucuresti 3/212C07 French, Tarrasch
24. Gulko vs V Vorotnikov  1-0471967LeningradB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
25. W Martz vs Gulko  1-0391967World Student tt CE20 Nimzo-Indian
 page 1 of 71; games 1-25 of 1,772  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gulko wins | Gulko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: How about Lubomir Kavalek

<He's been Czech Champion in 1962 and 1968, was joint US Champion in 1973 and West German Champion in 1981.> !!!

* And according to the wiki-page also sole US champion in 1978.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Walter Browne, Australian Champion in 1969 as well as being Mr. Six-Time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: so kavalek has ruled 4 countries? He's a regular dictator, he is. Thanks for the info. The USA is lucky to have him, I think he has played for the US in Olympiad play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Gulko is a major part of the new book "The KGB Plays Chess."

"Boris Gulko, Vladimir Popov, Yuri Felshtinsky and Viktor Kortschnoi [sic], The KGB Plays Chess: The Soviet Secret Police and the Fight for the World Chess Crown (Russell Enterprises, 2010). 176 pp. $19.95.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. –Thoreau

Get busy living, or get busy dying. –The Shawshank Redemption

The KGB Plays Chess is a fascinating volume, focused primarily on the seven years GM Boris Gulko and his wife, WGM Anna Akhsharumova, spent as “Refuseniks” in the USSR. Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov both feature in the story in an integral way, and many other chess players show up in cameo roles. It’s really the Gulko story that’s at the heart of the book, however, so for those who weren’t around when all of this was going on, I’ll offer a brief recap.

Gulko was an extremely strong GM in the late 1970s, twice winning the Soviet Championship, and his wife was one of the strongest women in the country as well. In 1979 they, along with many other Soviet Jews, applied for permission to emigrate to Israel, and they were refused (thus “Refuseniks”). There may have been any number of reasons for the refusal, but among them was the fear that Gulko might help the defector Korchnoi to beat Karpov in a subsequent world championship match.

Korchnoi, who defected in 1976, was persona non grata to the Soviet establishment, while Karpov was the communist government’s golden boy. Karpov’s power and prestige were such that legendary players like Mikhail Tal, Lev Polugaevsky and Efim Geller had to work in his employ to ensure their good standing in the USSR. Worse yet, Korchnoi’s son was basically held hostage in the USSR, and Gulko was trapped as well. Korchnoi himself stated in the Western press that Gulko would help train him, and this worrisome prospect only helped keep Gulko stuck in the USSR. (In fact, Gulko seems to think Korchnoi harmed his family by omission as well as commission. Korchnoi's failure to include the Gulkos' release as one a precondition for making up the Candidates match with Kasparov "prolonged our stay in the USSR for two and a half years".)"

I remember following this story when it was happening. Chess Life wrote about it. Joel Benjamin gave a simul at yale, as a benefit for Gulko's new expenses, upon arrival in the USA. Boris G. quickly regained his old form, and was a threat to win the US Championship.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <HeHateMe>Gulko was an extremely strong GM in the late 1970s, twice winning the Soviet Championship, and his wife was one of the strongest women in the country as well. In 1979 they, along with many other Soviet Jews, applied for permission to emigrate to Israel, and they were refused (thus “Refuseniks”). There may have been any number of reasons for the refusal, but among them was the fear that Gulko might help the defector Korchnoi to beat Karpov in a subsequent world championship match.

Gulko gave an excellent interview in the 'New York Magazine', dated December 17, 1984, in which he discusses in detail the "Refusenik" years. In 1980, Gulko and his wife went on a hunger strike to protest their non-participation in tournaments. Gulko was allowed to compete in the 1980 Moscow City Championship, which he won.

When being presented with the trophy at the Central Chess Club, Gulko made a speech stating that Viktor Korchnoi's wife and son be allowed to emigrate from the USSR.

In 1982, the Gulkos demonstrated outside the Interzonal, and were thrown in jail. When Gulko returned to the tournament as a spectator, he was assaulted, and thrown in jail again - "The crowd got to see a more interesting show than inside the hall - a former champion of the Soviet Union being kicked on the street".

The interview is part of a large article by Fred Waitzkin, and is well worth reading in full.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: 1997 North American Open in Las Vegas:

Before 5th round game, Jerry Hanken saw IM Igor Ivanov examining the pairings and asked him, "Why the long face?" "Bad news. I have black against Gulko. My record is one draw and nine losses with him." Ivanov replied. Their game eventually ended in a draw…

though i couldn't find the game here..

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Boris G--the only man to win both the championship of the old USSR and the USA.

I remember there was some controvery when he first emigrated here. Seems he was directly seeded into zonal play, without having to compete in the USA championship. The USA closed championship was a zonal tournament, top three finishers advance. Not 100% sure, but I think that is what happened. If in top form, Gulko was probably the best player in the USA at that time. I think the Benjamin-Seriwan-Christiansen group was our best at the time, and there was some anger about Gulko getting a quick lift into zonal play. The USCF probably was desperate to get a USA player into the Candidates matches, thats the way it goes.

Feb-09-11  talisman: happy birthday Boris!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: Would it not be proper justice, at some point in life, to be able to give birthdays BACK? For example, When we hit the big 60, after that it should go 59...58...57.

Happy Birthday, Boris! According to the new formula that would make you 56!!!

May-02-11  myschkin: . . .

<<Jan-12-11 <GrahamClayton> > Gulko gave an excellent interview in the 'New York Magazine', dated December 17, 1984,..>

Pawns in the Game

".. Gulko is a distinguished-looking grayhaired man of medium height, with a small, pursed mouth ans a very gentle face. He appears to be about 55 or 60. I [author] was shocked to learn that he was 37. Gulko smiled. "If you don't eat for 42 days, you too, will look like are 60," he said. .."

(from NY Magazin, 1984, by Fred Waitzkin)


Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <Gulko is the only player to have won the chess championship of both the Soviet Union and United States.>

Happy Birthday GM Gulko!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < Gulko is the only player to have won the chess championship of both the Soviet Union and United States. >

Stunning. Fischer makes the US champ hard, while the Soviet won is like winning the world champ.

Happy Birthday!

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Anna Akhsharumova, the wife of Boris Gulko, was the Women's Soviet Chess Championship in 1976 and 1984. She won the 1987 U.S. Women's Chess Championship, with a perfect score.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <TheFocus> Thank You for this info. So, here we have a perfect chess husband-wife team.
Feb-09-15  NBAFan: Gulko maintains an impressive 3-1 record against Kasparov, including a victory as black. Kasparov vs Gulko, 1982
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <When a good position begins to collapse, it normally collapses not into equality, but into ruins> - Boris Gulko.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, GM Boris Gulko.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: So Boris turned 70! although he looked 70 since he was 55. Bet he can still play the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Boris Gulko.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: A droll bit I posted elsewhere a time ago:

<....(I)n 1991, I took a train to Penn Station in Manhattan, on my way to play in the annual US Amateur Team East, spotted Boris Gulko amidst the masses of humanity and introduced myself. Did he ever look stunned-he likely figured I was KGB or some such thing, lol.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: There was a tournament where Gulko argued that he could play on the Shabbat but could not write the moves (and maybe also press the clock? I don't remember). He argued that playing the game was not work, but writing the moves was. Hence, he requested to have an assistant to write the moves.

I don't remember if the request was granted, but I do remember he was criticized, I believe by GM Short, on the grounds that this was a self-serving interpretation of Jewish rules just to annoy his opponents (or something like that). Maybe it was GM Short on one of his "Short Stories" columns in New In Chess?

Does anyone remember this better than I do? Can someone post a link to the article in question or more information on this? Thank you!

Aug-10-17  Retireborn: <Fusili> This sounds more like Leonid Yudasin to me. I don't think Gulko is that religious, although I could be wrong of course.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Retireborn> I thought it was Gulko. If we go by attire, Yudasin looks the part of an Orthodox Jew better than Gulko, but Gulko might very well be observant too.

Either way, I'd appreciate a link to information on this, whether it is Gulko or Yudasin. Thanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Follow up to my own question--I found a reference to the issue here:

and here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Fusilli> One of the posters on your second site said this:

<It's a peculiar God that forbids you to work [on the Sabbath], but says it's OK to have someone else work for you.>

Funny, that's what I thought the creation was all about!

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