Gyula Sax (1951- 2014)

Multiple times Hungarian Champion and Olympic Champion

Hungarian chess has a rich tradition from Maroczy to Portisch. Hungary won the first Chess Olympiad held in London. Even though that was a huge accomplishment, it didn’t have that much effect on Hungarian Chess. Modern Chess started with the victory in Buenos Aires 1978. The team consisted of (in board order) Lajos Portisch, Zoltan Ribli, Gyula Sax, Andras Adorjan, Istvan Csom and Laszlo Vadasz. This team was built to succeed. The was lead by the ever-ambitious Portisch, followed by the youthful three Ribli, Sax and Adorjan. Thanks to their success chess rose in popularity. Chess gained respect in Hungary after their great win surpassing the Yugoslav and the Soviet Team in Argentina. So great was the enthusiasm, that the following Olympiad in Malta in 1980 they tied with Soviet Union for first place. Unfortunately, for the Hungarian Team the scoring system focused on smaller teams results, that’s why they had to settle for second place on tiebreak.

Sax started his chess career with winning a youth tournament in 1965, later winning the European Youth Championship twice. 1972 he became an international master, in ’74 he received his GM title. Along with many other tournaments, he won major events such as in Rovinj-Zagreb (1975), Vinkovci (1976), Las Palmas (1978), Amsterdam (1979), Zurich (1980), New York Open (1985). He won the Hungarian Championship twice, and was a World Championship Candidate qualifying through Subotica and Manila Interzonals. He was number 12 in the world with the rating 2610. Gyula was an amazing attacking player as well as an ardent sports fan. He loved to watch water polo and soccer matches. He enjoyed good conversations, and had a good sense of humor. Once he told me, that he was teaching a kid, who complained about the Ruy Lopez. He said what’s the problem with the Ruy Lopez? It’s one of the most intricate and exciting openings in chess. It amazes me how rich these positions are. The Ruy Lopez to me is the salt and pepper of chess! I would like to say goodbye to Gyula Sax, a highly original player and a great person. Watch him demolishing the Zaitsev defence in the Ruy Lopez!

By GM Denes Boros

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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