Person of day - 1 DECEMBER 2023
A celebrated theorist who made a notable contribution to theory of several debuts- the Grunfeld and the Nimzo-Indian Defences, the Spanish Game and the Queen’s Gambit. He proved himself as a strong chess practitioner who was often successful in different competitions. Semyon Abramovich Furman was the champion of Leningrad and a participant of 13 Soviet Championships. His best performance was in the Union’s competition of 1948, where he won 3rd place. 17 years later, he came close to repeating this result in the national championship of 1965, but eventually shared 4th-5th places with Paul Keres.
“Furman’s matches are monumental. He possesses a deep positioning intuition…” wrote Konstantinopolsky. Romanovsky noted that Furman’s games were characterised by energy in attack and cold-bloodedness in defence. These qualities enabled him to successfully participate in international tournaments and play for the Soviet national team, in particular, in the European championship in 1961.
Despite his practical achievements, Semen Furman gained the greatest fame as an exceptional mentor. He was the trainer of the Soviet national team in the 1974 Chess Olympiad and the European championship in 1977. In 1969, Furman began to train 18 year-old Anatoly Karpov- who became the world junior champion that same year- and remained his mentor for 9 years, right up to his death. Furman made great efforts to establish and develop Karpov’s chess talent and made an incalculable contribution to the successes of the 12th world champion. Karpov often reminisced that meeting Furman was the most important moment of his career.
Semyon Furman died in Match 1978 in Leningrad.