Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

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Richard Bates
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Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:00 pm

Chess for tigers rabbit basher.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:08 pm

And maybe the biggest friend the French Defence has ever had.

One of the top players in the old GDR for most of its existence and former Candidate.

Another giant of the game gone :(
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Chris Rice
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Chris Rice » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:45 am

As a French defence player all my life I find this a bitter blow! Emil Sutovsky made some heartfelt comments on social media. The translation isn't good but I'm sure you can get the giste:

"Sad news from Germany - Wolfgang Uhlmann died at the age of 85 The strongest chess player of the GDR during three post-war decades, Uhlmann combined modesty and real chess force. His peak was the 1970 Zonal (1. Fischer), but until the end of the seventies, the German chess player confidently was always in the top ten of the world. For many years, he remained the leading player of the French defence, defeating many of the strongest players on the planet, including Fischer. Always elegant, he often attended tournaments even in the 1990s and became the last match partner for Victor Korchnoi. I've talked to Uhlmann several times and his intelligent manner of communication always made an impression. He was a good old guy and he kept his love for chess until his last years. A couple of years ago, we wanted to award him with a scholarship under the FIDE program to support veterans, but Uhlmann, having thanked us for the thought, proposed to include someone who might need these funds more instead...
For sure, among those reading these lines there are those who knew Maestro Wolfgang closer than me - I would love your feedback. A decent person and a serious chess player in the highest score.

Bright memory!"

I had a search for the Fischer game and here it is:


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Adam Raoof
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Adam Raoof » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:34 pm

I will have my own minutes silence, whilst I peruse his games...
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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:14 pm

Might have thought ChessBase would have had some sort of tribute up by now.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Leonard Barden
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Leonard Barden » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:24 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:14 pm
Might have thought ChessBase would have had some sort of tribute up by now.
https://de.chessbase.com/post/wolfgang- ... -gestorben

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:02 pm

Tried that one yesterday and got a "page 404" notice. And of course, its in German......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Simon Brown
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Simon Brown » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:45 pm

I played Shamkovich in a Lloyds Bank many years ago, black side of a French Tarrasch f4 line and I played ..f6 and ..g5. After I lost he told me I played the opening like Uhlmann, which made me very happy. RIP

Andrew Smith
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Andrew Smith » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:45 am

I met Mr Uhlmann at the World Seniors Team championship that Stewart Reuben organised in the Isle of Man around 2004. I was the games imputer, and Uhlmann had absolutely appalling handwriting that made parts of his score-sheets almost indecipherable, and one move in particular, wasn't obvious, even with a board in front of me. So I had to confer with him, and even he couldn't read his own handwriting or recall what the actual move was ! I guess it would have been at the end of a game, when time was short. I have a recollection how charismatic he was, and how gentlemanly. I remember also, how spectators, who played the French Defence themselves, were almost reverential towards him! But one of my favourite games of his was actually a defeat with the French defence when he lost to Bob Wade at Skopje 1968. I was given a chess book at Christmas by my brother when I was a junior. It was the 2nd book I ever had and it was called 'Selected Chess Masterpieces' by Svetozar Gligoric and he annotated this game. It was a great book and I would still recommend it now. By the end of Boxing Day, I had gone through every single game, and every single annotation. I went through it from cover to cover. Bob Wade played a wonderful game and a masterly demonstration on how to exploit dark square weaknesses that occur in the French Defence. That's impressive, when your opponent is Wolfgang Uhlmann ! ( For the record, my first ever book, also present from my brother, was, I think called Tal - Since 1961 by Cozens when I recall being mesmerised by the lightly annotated games!)

John Moore
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by John Moore » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:40 pm

Andrew - just to be picky, the Cozens book was entitled Tal since 1960. But the real reason for posting was to say how lucky you were to have this and the Gligoric book as your first two books. I reckon a lot of people got some right old tripe as their first chess book.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by David Sedgwick » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:03 pm

Andrew Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:45 am
I met Mr Uhlmann at the World Seniors Team championship that Stewart Reuben organised in the Isle of Man around 2004. I was the games imputer, and Uhlmann had absolutely appalling handwriting that made parts of his score-sheets almost indecipherable, and one move in particular, wasn't obvious, even with a board in front of me. So I had to confer with him, and even he couldn't read his own handwriting or recall what the actual move was ! I guess it would have been at the end of a game, when time was short. I have a recollection how charismatic he was, and how gentlemanly.
If I remember correctly, that was Uhlmann's game against Korchnoi, whose handwriting was even worse.

The year was indeed 2004. Korchnoi left after Round 4 to play in the Calvià Olympiad.

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John Saunders
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by John Saunders » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:47 pm

By a weird, almost Plaskettian, coincidence, I have an illegible Korchnoi scoresheet from the 2004 Monarch Assurance tournament on my desk at the moment which turned up amongst my papers a day or so ago, sent to me long ago by one David Sedgwick for some reason that I can't now remember...
2004 Korchnoi Rowson scoresheet.jpg
2004 Korchnoi Rowson scoresheet.jpg (98.27 KiB) Viewed 526 times
If I recall rightly (though David has a vastly better memory than me and will inevitably recall better), Andrew took over from me as game inputter for the 2004 World Senior Team Championship after I had done the same job for the Monarch Assurance tournament that immediately preceded it. I think I hung around for one round of the World Senior, took some photos and then headed home to England. (incidentally, I have preserved the web page for this event at BritBase: https://www.saund.org.uk/britbase/world ... index.html)

I can tell a similar story to Andrew's as regards the job of inputting illegible scores, though relating to games played by Korchnoi rather than Uhlmann. David is right to draw attention to the pairing Uhlmann-Korchnoi which game inputters from the pre-DGT board era would probably dread as the ultimate clash of GMs with illegible handwriting. However, Andrew treated this as an opportunity rather than a threat, enjoying the chance to chat with a star of the game. Nearly all my chats with Korchnoi followed sessions where I had had to ask him to dictate the moves to me (which he invariably did from memory since he couldn't read his own handwriting). Though notoriously crabby with some of his opponents, I can report that he was always very amiable and cooperative on these occasions.
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Andrew Smith
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Andrew Smith » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:59 pm

You are probably right David, as you were there as well. Usually, the 'Get out of Jail card free' is that you read the other players score-sheet, so your recollection would explain why that wasn't a helpful option! I think it was during that event that I challenged Korchnoi, in the bar area, to a 5 minute game, and he agreed, perhaps because he thought that as a games imputer, I was bound to be complete rubbish. He started the game quite jovially, talking to the spectators and not paying to much attention to his French Defence position. Suddenly silence descended on the board when he realised he was in quite a bit of trouble and in danger of being mated ! But a few careful moves with maximum concentration, and he soon had everything back under control as I misplayed the attack...
When i suggested a replay, he was already up and on his way, suggesting that I was far too good.....!

Andrew Smith
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Andrew Smith » Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:14 pm

John Moore wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:40 pm
Andrew - just to be picky, the Cozens book was entitled Tal since 1960. But the real reason for posting was to say how lucky you were to have this and the Gligoric book as your first two books. I reckon a lot of people got some right old tripe as their first chess book.
Yes John, I agree. My half-brother Michael Pitt, who gave me the books, was a 180+ chess player, so he knew what to buy ! Most people have to rely on mum or dad getting them their first book, and that doesn't tend to turn out well ! It worked out well for me because my first grade was a handy 145 amended subsequently to 150. Now you mention it, I think you are right about the title of the Tal book.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Wolfgang Uhlmann (1935-2020)

Post by Paul Habershon » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:38 am

Informative obituary in today's Times. He narrowly escaped death in the 1945 bombing of Dresden.

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