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Boris Gulko
Photo courtesy of
Number of games in database: 1,801
Years covered: 1963 to 2013
Last FIDE rating: 2542 (2507 rapid)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2643

Overall record: +578 -274 =894 (58.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 55 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (90) 
    E21 E49 E20 E32 E43
 English (74) 
    A13 A10 A16 A17 A14
 Queen's Pawn Game (70) 
    E00 A45 D02 A41 A40
 English, 1 c4 e5 (70) 
    A29 A20 A27 A21 A25
 King's Indian (65) 
    E60 E90 E61 E73 E80
 Queen's Gambit Declined (50) 
    D31 D35 D37 D30 D36
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (134) 
    C07 C09 C16 C02 C03
 Sicilian (116) 
    B30 B60 B57 B64 B62
 Queen's Pawn Game (79) 
    A41 E00 A46 A40 D02
 Grunfeld (65) 
    D86 D85 D91 D82 D97
 French Tarrasch (63) 
    C07 C09 C03 C08 C05
 Queen's Indian (53) 
    E12 E17 E19 E15 E14
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Gulko vs K Grigorian, 1971 1-0
   Bronstein vs Gulko, 1968 0-1
   B Chesney vs Gulko, 1986 0-1
   J Friedman vs Gulko, 1993 0-1
   G Kitts vs Gulko, 1986 0-1
   Lenderman vs Gulko, 2007 0-1
   Gulko vs Chiburdanidze, 1985 1-0
   Gulko vs Kasparov, 1990 1-0
   Gulko vs Savon, 1978 1-0
   Taimanov vs Gulko, 1976 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2000)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Niksic (1978)
   URS-ch sf Barnaul (1984)
   Biel (1987)
   United States Championship (1994)
   Politiken Cup (1996)
   United States Championship (1996)
   43rd USSR Championship (1975)
   Vilnius (1978)
   United States Championship (1992)
   Pan Pacific International (1995)
   Keres Memorial (1977)
   Carlos Torre Memorial Open (2002)
   USSR Championship (1976)
   Torneo Continental Americano (2003)
   Manila Olympiad (1992)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Lessons_Gulko_2 by skisuitof12
   Lessons_Gulko_2 by stevehrop
   Lessons _ Gulko 3 by stevehrop
   Lessons _ Gulko 3 by skisuitof12
   Lessons with a Grandmaster 1 by skisuitof12
   Lessons with a Grandmaster 1 by stevehrop
   Tallinn 1977 by Chessdreamer
   USSR Championship 1975 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 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, 74 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 73; games 1-25 of 1,802  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Makarov vs Gulko 1-0161963MoscowB40 Sicilian
2. A Chistiakov vs Gulko 1-0351964URSA09 Reti Opening
3. Gulko vs V Sherbakov  1-0321964URSA71 Benoni, Classical, 8.Bg5
4. Gulko vs A Chistiakov  1-0391964URSE08 Catalan, Closed
5. Volovich vs Gulko  0-1541965MoscowA06 Reti Opening
6. Romanov vs Gulko ½-½331965MoscowC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
7. Gulko vs V Lepeshkin  1-0261966URSD74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
8. Razuvaev vs Gulko 0-1331966MoscowC00 French Defense
9. Gulko vs Geller  1-0391966MoscowD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
10. Gulko vs A A Bikhovsky  1-0441966MoscowC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
11. Gulko vs M Despotovic  1-0441966URS-YUGA71 Benoni, Classical, 8.Bg5
12. M Despotovic vs Gulko  ½-½391966URS-YUGE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
13. Gulko vs S Cvetkovic  ½-½561966URS-YUGA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
14. Hankipohja vs Gulko  0-1231966Orebro Stud olm prelim1A07 King's Indian Attack
15. M Schoeneberg vs Gulko  1-0411966Orebro Stud olm fAB06 Robatsch
16. Gulko vs J Aijala 1-0341966Orebro Stud olm fAA44 Old Benoni Defense
17. I Gat vs Gulko  ½-½371966Orebro Stud olm fAA25 English
18. Gulko vs Kolbak 1-0441966Orebro Stud olm fAD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
19. Gulko vs L Spassov  ½-½261966Orebro Stud olm fAC67 Ruy Lopez
20. Gulko vs W E Poutrus 1-0311966Orebro Stud olm fAE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
21. B Nagy vs Gulko  0-1381966Orebro Stud olm fAE12 Queen's Indian
22. Ivanov vs Gulko  0-1391967LeningradA10 English
23. Gulko vs V Vorotnikov  1-0471967LeningradB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
24. M Pavlov vs Gulko  0-1551967Bucuresti 3/212C07 French, Tarrasch
25. Gulko vs Spiridonov 1-0351967SofiaD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,802  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gulko wins | Gulko loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-10-12  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
May-24-15  TheFocus: <When a good position begins to collapse, it normally collapses not into equality, but into ruins> - Boris Gulko.
Feb-09-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, GM Boris Gulko.
Feb-09-17  Marmot PFL: So Boris turned 70! although he looked 70 since he was 55. Bet he can still play the game.
Feb-09-17  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!

Premium Chessgames Member
  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:

Aug-10-17  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!

Feb-02-18  zanzibar: <Fusilli>'s first link is already stale. Gadzooks!
Feb-02-18  zanzibar: I want to post a few of Soltis' comments about Gulko...

Let's start with Botvinnik's comment (Botvinnik got to travel to Sweden in 1926 with other Soviets for a team match - he obviously considered the option of not returning...)

<The trip also made a lasting impression: When Boris Gulko and his wife applied for exit visas nearly 55 years later, Botvinnik said he “told them that I, too, could have remained in Stockholm in 1926. But, Botvinnik added, “I didn't and it did not turn
out badly.”>

Soltis <Soviet Chess: 1917-1992> p65.


Feb-02-18  zanzibar: Soltis p276 gives Gulko mention as a "new face" of Soviet chess, while talking about the "missing generation" (i.e. from WWII):

<But as the 1960s headed towards their end, the absence of the “missing generation” born during the War years seemed to have been obscured. The Soviet student team, with new faces such as Vladimir Tukmakov, Kuzmin and Boris Gulko, won the World Student Olympiad at Harrachov, Czechoslovakia in July 1967 by two points. There was no Soviet entrant for the 1967 World Junior because, for the first time in several years, politics overtly interfered. The Soviets and their Eastern Bloc allies boycotted the tournament, held in Jerusalem, to protest the Six-Day War.>

At least we now know that <CG>'s unattributed Harrachov games were part of a FIDE World Student Olympiad:

M Vukic vs Gulko, 1967
J Tomson vs Gulko, 1967
W Stork vs Gulko, 1967
Gulko vs M Schoeneberg, 1967

Soltis gives the tournament date as July, 1967, also adding info.

Feb-02-18  zanzibar: The Sochi 1970 tournament was interesting - it was a Scheveningen tournament of the GM's vs. the (young) Masters.

Tal wrote extensively about it in 64, and a translation can be found here:

Gulko had a bad tournament, and Tal had this to say:

<The Moscow master Boris Gulko was out of practice for several months, and it affected his game. Gulko began the tournament very passively and lost to Korchnoi and Stein without much struggle. But then he managed to get in shape and gave a good fight to Tal in the third round.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: Wasn't Botvinnik was only 15 or so in 1926? I find it difficult to believe that staying in Stockholm was a realistic possibility for him then, practically and emotionally. The Gulkos were surely in a very different situation.
Feb-03-18  zanzibar: <RB> yes, an important point that should be mentioned when quoting Botivinnik on the matter.

Still, despite the practicality of the notion, it's still quite believable that the young Botivinnik did entertain the idea of staying behind in Stockholm - that he didn't, and that "it did not turn out too badly" for him in the end.

Feb-03-18  zanzibar: Soltis, ibid p336 notes Gulko's jump in performance in going from CM to GM level-play over the period 1974-1976:

<Boris Gulko, only a candidate master in 1974, made an enormous leap forward. Gulko nearly won the 1975 Soviet Championship and then exceeded the grandmaster norm by a point and a half as he won then 13th Capablanca Memorial in Cienfuegos, Cuba.>

Feb-03-18  zanzibar: <Gulko, the German-born son of a Red Army instructor, had become a grandmaster only in 1976.> Soviet Chess: 1917-1992 -p361

And his wife had a good year in 1976 herself, winning the USSR Women's Ch.

Soltis gives Gulko's emmigration application as made in Dec, 1978, after which Gulko's problems really began to mount:

Gulko was not even allowed to continue to play after five games in Buenos Aires [1978], perhaps because he was spotted by KGB agents attached to the team at a bookstore examining works of Solzhenitsyn and was followed to a movie theater where a film forbidden in the USSR was shown. After they applied for exit papers, the name of Gulko and Akhsharumov disappeared from the Soviet rating list and their financial resources dried up. Lev Khariton, who translated Fischer’s My Sixty Memorable Games for a Russian edition before himself emigrating, later said Gulko was the best known of the Soviet citizens denied the opportunity to emigrate. Or, as the joke went, Gulko was the best chessplayer among the “refuseniks” and the most experienced refusenik among the chessplayers.


Gulko did not play in another major tournament until June 1981, when he won the Moscow Championship, an open event, ahead of 12 grandmasters. The result went unnoticed in the Moscow press but appeared on the front page of the New York Times after Gulko made a brief but starding speech at the tournament prize-giving ceremony at the Central Chess Club. While embarrassed — as well as sympathetic — players listened, Gulko announced he had written a letter to FIDE demanding that it help Korchnoi’s family to emigrate. >

Soltis - Soviet Chess: 1917-1991 p362

Feb-09-18  Ironmanth: Happy birthday, Grandmaster!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: A record that may never be broken? Gulko is the only man to have won both the USSR and USA championship. Could Svidler or Kramnik someday become American citizens, play the USA ch and win it? Maybe. Could Kasparov do it on a lark and win? He probably would not beat Wesley So or Fabs, so I'd file that one under 'no.'
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Unlikely anyone will win another Soviet championship.
Dec-01-18  Alex Schindler: Leave it to Nigel Short to have opinions on whether a perfectly standard religious practice in Gulko's community is "self-serving."
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <MissScarlett: Unlikely anyone will win another Soviet championship.>

The way politics are going in the West, the chances of someone winning it improve with each passing year.

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