For those of us beginning to study chess in the 1970s, Yugoslavian Svetozar Gligoric, who died last week at the age of 89, was one of a group of Soviet and East European players who had legendary status. The games of Gligoric along with those of other exotic sounding individuals such as Korchnoi, Botvinnik, Bronstein, Keres, Stein, Tal, Geller and Smylov seemed to fill every chess-book — though we knew little of the players themselves.
Much later Gligoric’s fine chess autobiography I Play Against Pieces put some flesh on the bones. We learned amongst other things that, orphaned at a young age, he spent a good part of his teenage year’s fighting with the resistance against Hitler’s invading army. For chess-players Gligoric’s name will live on, attached as it is in perpetuity to a number of opening variations — in particular, 7.Be3 against the King’s Indian. The following game was played in 1946 while Gligoric was working as a journalist and before he had made the decision to become a chess professional.
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