Aivars Gipslis

By Mark Crowther 

The Latvian Grandmaster Aivars Gipslis who was born in Riga 8th February 1937 died on April 13th 2000 at the age of 63 in a Berlin hospital. He came from a strong generation of Latvian players who emerged in the early 1950's. Gipslis along with M Pasman, Klyavin, Janis Klovens and Mikhail Tal were all teenagers when they won the Latvian Championships in the period
1951-5. In 1953 Gipslis, Tal and Klyavin represented Latvia in the USSR Team Championships and finished in fourth place. Gipslis first won the Latvian Championships in 1955 afterwards was many times Latvian Champion.

He became a GM in 1967. His best results were: Bad Liebenstein 1963; 1st=with Polugaevsky (+6=9), Pecs 1964 1st= with Bobotsov (+6=9). His most impressive result came in the Alekhine Memorial of 1967 (1st Stein 11, 2nd-5th Bobotsov, Gipslis, Smyslov, Tal 10, 6th-8th Bronstein, Portisch, Spassky 9.5 (Geller, Keres, Najdorf, Petrosian and Gligoric also played).

He also played in the USSR Championships six times from 1958-1970 notably finishing 3rd in the event which took place 1966-7 (+6=12-2. Scores: Stein 13, Geller 12.5, Gipslis, Korchnoi, Taimanov 12 other players included: Bronstein, Polugaevsky and Smyslov). Gipslis played almost all the World Champions alive during his career. He had draws against most including a very young Garry Kasparov, and had wins against Karpov and Smyslov. From 1963 he was editor of the Latvian Magazine Sahs.