Wolfgang Uhlmann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wolfgang Uhlmann
WolfgangUhlmannPolanicaZdroj19670809 31.jpg
Uhlmann in 1967
Full nameWolfgang Uhlmann
Born (1935-03-29) 29 March 1935 (age 84)
TitleInternational Grandmaster
Peak rating2575 (January 1978)

Wolfgang Uhlmann (born 29 March 1935) is a prominent German International Grandmaster of chess. He was undoubtly GDR's most successful dedicated professional chess player.

Chess career[edit]

Uhlmann's father taught him the game at the age of 11 at their home in Dresden and he progressed to the title of German Youth Champion in 1951. He learned the trade of letterpress printing[1], but his career in chess prevented him to ever practicing it. By 1956 he was an International Master and by 1959, a Grandmaster.

He quickly established himself as the dominant force in East German chess, winning the GDR (German Democratic Republic, or East German) national championship on eleven occasions from 1954 to 1986. He was the GDR's most outstanding player at the Chess Olympiads of 1956–1990, where he made eleven appearances, mostly on top board. At the 1964 event in Tel Aviv, he scored 83.3 percent, earning him the individual board one gold medal. An individual bronze medal followed in 1966 at Havana.

Uhlmann in 2005

His most promising attempt at World Championship qualification occurred at the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal of 1970, where he tied for fifth and sixth place and reached the Candidates Matches held the following year. But his quarter-final match with Bent Larsen in Las Palmas ended in disappointment, a 5½–3½ victory for Larsen, and Uhlmann was not able to come so close again.

It was during the 1960s that Uhlmann made a lasting impression on the international tournament scene. He shared victory (with Polugaevsky) at Sarajevo 1964, tied for first (with Smyslov) at Havana 1964, tied for first (with Ivkov, and ahead of World Champion Petrosian) at Zagreb 1965, tied for first (with Spassky) at Hastings 1965/66, tied for first (with Bronstein) at Szombathely 1966, tied for first (with Liberzon) at Zinnowitz 1967 and tied for first (with Bronstein) at the Berlin 'Lasker Memorial' in 1968. At Raach in 1969, a zonal tournament, he finished two points clear of the field (which included Lajos Portisch).

Into the 1970s and 1980s, there was further success. He tied for first (with Bronstein and Hort) at Hastings 1975/76, placed second (behind Karpov) at Skopje 1976, finished first at Vrbas 1977, tied for first (with Farago and Knaak) at Halle 1978 and was an outright winner at Halle 1981.

In 2012, and at the age of 77, Uhlmann was a member of the "old Hands" team (a group of senior previous top players) facing the "Snowdrops" (extremely talented young females) in a display match. Uhlmann demonstrated a vivid style of chess reminiscent of his glory days. "Especially the game Kashlinskaya–Uhlmann was considered the most beautiful of the event – the multiple East German Champion, it was said, played it like the young Mihail Tal."[2]


Uhlmann is acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on the French Defence, having refined and improved many of its variations and written books on the opening. He is one of very few grandmasters to have deployed the French almost exclusively in reply to 1.e4.

Example games[edit]

Bronstein vs. Uhlmann, Tallinn 1977
c8 black king
d8 black queen
e8 black bishop
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
h7 black rook
c6 black knight
e6 black pawn
e5 white pawn
d4 black pawn
e4 white knight
f4 white pawn
g4 black rook
h4 black knight
a3 white pawn
c3 black pawn
h3 white rook
c2 white pawn
b1 white rook
c1 white bishop
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white queen
Position after 23.Ne4

Bronstein vs. Uhlmann, Tallinn 1977
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 Ne7 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3[3] c5 7. Qg4 Qc7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 10. Ne2 Nbc6 11. f4 Bd7 12. Qd3 dxc3 13. h4 0-0-0 14. h5 Nf5 15. h6 Rg6 16. h7 Rh8 17. Rh3 (17.Rb1 f6 18.exf6 Be8 19.Qxc3 Rxh7 20.Rxh7 Qxh7 21.Rb3 [Vasiukov–Doroskevic, USSR 1967] d4!=/+ Ivkov[4]) d4! 18. Rb1 Be8 19. Qf3 Qd8+/− 20. g4 Nh4 21. Qh1 Rxg4 22. Ng3 Rxh7 23. Ne4 (see diagram; "Black now sacrifices a piece to establish a fatal pin on the long light-square diagonal."[5]) Nxe5 24. fxe5 Bc6 25. Bd3 Kc7 26. Kf2 Rh5 27. Rf3 Qg8 28. Bf4 Nxf3 29. Qxh5 Rxf4 30. Qh6 Ng5+ 0–1[6]


  1. ^ https://www.mz-web.de/mitteldeutschland/wolfgang-uhlmann-wird-80-ddr-schach-genie-gewann-gegen-fuenf-weltmeister-897444
  2. ^ http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=8713
  3. ^ French Defence, Winawer Variation (ECO C18)
  4. ^ Matanović, Aleksandar, ed. (1981). Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings. C (2nd ed.). Yugoslavia: Chess Informant. p. 111, n. 100.
  5. ^ Hooper & Whyld (1987), p. 366
  6. ^ David Bronstein vs. Wolfgang Uhlmann, It (cat. 10) (1977) Chessgames.com


External links[edit]