Presentation of the players and additional information for the 18th Maccabiah


GM Boris Gelfand, Israel

Born 1968, April 2009 FIDE rating 2733

Boris was born in Belarus. He began playing chess at age 4 and at 11 he was already a Candidate Master. He improved his chess skills under the coaching of Kapengut. After winning the 1985 USSR Junior championship, he decided to devote his life to professional chess. In 1987/88 he won the European Junior Championship and shared first place with Ivanchuk, Serper, and Lautier in the World Junior. At his first participation in the USSR Championship in 1989 he finished second. In the following years he has participated in Candidates’ matches for the World Title, beating Nikolic, Adams, and Kramnik.

He has won or shared 1st place in Norilsk 1987, Vilnius 1988, Manila (interzonal) 1990, Wijk aan Zee 1992, Moscow 1992, Biel 1993, Vienna 1993, Tilburg 1993, Cap D’agde rapid 1994 and 2002, Polanica Zdroj 1998 and 2000, Amber rapid 2001 and 2002, Cannes 2002, Pamplona 2004, Ashdod 2004, Bermuda 2005 and Biel 2005.

In 2007 he won matches against Kasimdzhanov and Kamsky to qualify for the WCC 2007. A few months later, in Mexico, he shared 2-3 place with Kramnik in the World Championship tournament. In 2008 he led the the Israeli national team to their historic silver medal in the Dresden Olympiad, while collecting a silver medal for the second best performance at the first board. Recently his rating went over 2750 after some strong performances and in May 2009 he won the prestigious ACP Rapid World Cup in Odessa, defeating Peter Svidler 3:1 in the final.

GM Judit Polgar, Hungary

Born 1976, April 2009 FIDE rating 2693

The strongest ever female in the history of chess. Judit is the youngest of the three famous sisters who took the chess world by storm during the 1980s. From her childhood she participated solely in men’s events, The exception being the Women Chess Olympiad where she brought Hungary the gold medal in 1988 and 1990. She became WGM at age 12 and GM at age 15 (1991). In the same year she won the Hungarian Championship.

With her enterprising style Judit has defeated almost all the leading chess-players in the world. She won or shared first in Hastings II 1988-1989, Amsterdam II 1990, Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, Leon 1996, US Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Siegman 1999, Japfa 2000, Najdorf Memorial 2000. In 2005 she reached her best rating of 2725 and participated in the World Championship tournament in San-Luis. She has beaten former world champion Boris Spassky in a match.

GM Pavel Eljanov, Ukraine

Born 1983, April 2009 FIDE rating 2693

Pavel received the Grandmaster title in 2000. He has also graduated in Law. He won or shared 1st place in the following tournaments: Polanica Zdroj 2000, Amsterdam 2005, Biel Open 2004, Montreal Empresa 2006, Wijk aan Zee II 2007. He was equal third in the European Individual Championship 2004. As a member of the Ukrainian team he won gold in the 2004 Olympiad and the World Team U20 (2000). His father Viktor is also an International Master. In 2007 Pavel worked as a second of Boris Gelfand in the World Championship tournament. His highest rating was 2720 in 2008.

GM Evgeny Najer, Russia

Born 1977, April 2009 FIDE rating 2669

As a junior Evgeny won the Russian championships under 16 and under 20. Since then he has acheived the GM title, winning or sharing first in the following tournaments: Moscow GM 1996, Pardubice 1996, Moscow Championship 1997 and 2003, St Petersburg 2000, Korinthos Open 2001, US Open 2002, National Open 2004, Moscow Open 2007, World Open 2007, World Open (USA) 2008 and President Cup (AZE) in 2008. In 2005 he won the main tournament of the Maccabiah Games, and now he is coming back to defend his title. His highest rating was 2677 in 2006.

GM Emil Sutovsky, Israel

Born 1977, April 2009 FIDE rating 2660

Emil was born in Azerbaidjan. He started playing chess when he was five, immediately showing great talent. He moved to Israel in 1991 and in the next few years he had great results in junior events, culminating in winning the World Junior in 1996. He has been coached by GM Alon Greenfeld for many years, while winning or sharing first in the following tournaments: Hoogoven VAM 1997, Buenos Aires 1997, Essen 1999, Hastings 2000, Isle of Man 1998 and 1999, Gibraltar and Aeroflot Open in 2005 and Ashdod Open 2006. Emil was a member of the Israeli national team from 1996 till 2007 and of the Ashdod team who won the Israeli League from 2007 to 2009. Since 2007 he has been coaching Gata Kamsky. Emil’s extremely sharp chess style has helped him to create many beautiful games. His other interest include singing (Emil is a prolific bass-baritone, who has performed in a number of concerts) and trivia games (In 2005 he shared 1-3 places in Israeli trivia championship). His highest rating was 2694 in 2004.

GM Boris Avrukh, Israel

Born 1978, April 2009 FIDE rating 2647

Boris was born in Kazakhstan, where he became world champion under-12 in 1990. He moved to Israel in 1995. In 1998 he received the GM title and made his debut for the Israeli national team. In the 2000 Olympiad he won the gold medal for the best performance on Board 6. He has been a member of the teams who finished second in the European Team Ch. 2003 and 2005 and the 2008 Olympiad.

Boris shared 1st place in the Israeli championship 2000 and 2002, and has won many Israeli League titles with both Beer-Sheva and Ashdod. Other successes included: Antwerp Open 1999, Paris Ch. 1997 and 1999, Beersheba 1996. Andorra Open 2001, Biel Open 2001, 2004 and 2006, Kavala Open 2003 and Benidorm 2008.

In 2008 he again shared first place in the Israeli championship, and was declared the champion after tie-break. At about the same time his first book was published: a 450-page treatise on the 1.d4 d5 openings including many of his own novelties. His best rating was 2657 in 2008.

GM Daniel Fridman, Germany

Born 1976, April 2009 FIDE rating 2646

Daniel was born in Latvia. He became a Grandmaster in 2001. Earlier he won bronze in the World championship U16 in 1992, 4th in the World junior in 1996 and won the Latvian championship in 1996. He has won or shared first in the following events: Herfort Open 2000, Bermuda Open 2003, National Open 2004, German Open Championship 2005, Marseilles Open 2006, LGA Nuremberg, Karl Marma Memorial (GER) 2006 and Liverpool Open 2007. He is currently a member of the German national team. His best rating was 2650 in 2009.

GM Ilia Smirin, Israel

Born 1968, April 2009 FIDE rating 2641

Ilia was born in Belarus and immigrated to Israel in 1991. He won the Israeli championship in 1992 and 1999, and shared first in 2008. Ilia represented Israel in  successive Olympiads from 1994 to 2006. He is a member of the Ashdod team who won 3 Israeli League titles from 2007-2009. Over the years he had numerous successes, including winning or sharing first in Sverdlovsk 1987, Saltsiobaden and Daugavplis 1989, Gausdal 1990, Komotini and Tel Aviv 1992, New York Open 2000, Burgas 1994, Las Palmas 1993, Olso 1994 and Vienna Open 1994, Las Vegas 1997 and Paris Open 1997, Los Angeles 2000, Croatia Zonal and US Continental Open 2000, Dos Hermanas and World Open 2001, Foxwood Open and Biel 2002, World Open and Foxwood Open in 2003 and in 2006, Ashdod International 2004, Acropolis 2007 and was also 2nd at Biel 2003. His best rating was 2702 in 2001.

GM Alexander Beliavsky, Slovenia

Born 1953, April 2009 FIDE rating 2640

Alexander was born in Ukraine. Since 1995 he has been a Slovenian citizen. His first notable achievement was winning the Word Junior Championship in 1973. A year later he became USSR champion for the first time. He repeated this feat three more times: 1980, 1987, 1990. In 1982 he qualified for the candidates matches. Unfortunately he was paired against the future winner Garry Kasparov, and thus was eliminated in the first round. Meanwhile he won or shared first in numerous international competitions, including Alicante 1978, Bucharest 1980, Tashkent 1980, Tilburg 1981 (a very strong event where he finished ahead of several past and future world champions), Sarajevo 1982, Minsk 1983, Wijk aan Zee 1984, Tilburg 1986 (ahead of Karpov), Sochi 1986, Amsterdam 1989, Munich 1990, Belgrade 1993, Leon 1994, Bern 1995.

Alexander has won several Olympic gold medals with the USSR team. In Thessaloniki 1984 he was promoted to Board 1, as Karpov and Kasparov were busy with their world championship match, and he scored a superb 8/10 to guarantee another win for the Soviet team. His uncompromising style always attracts great interest of the spectators, as Beliavsky always struggles until the “last bullet”, to use the words of Salo Flohr.

In 1995 he decided to switch federation to Slovenia, won the national championship there and represented his new country in every Olynpiad since then. His more recent results included victories in Polanica Zdroj 1996, Frankfurt open 1997, Vidmar Memorial 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005, Pula Zonal 2000 and Ljubljana 2002. He has also been a regular participant at the FIDE knockout world cup. His highest rating was 2710 in 1997.

GM Michael Roiz, Israel

Born 1983, April 2009 FIDE rating 2635

Michael was born in Russia and moved to Israel as a youth. He immediately joined the Beer-Sheva club, for which he has played ever since, winning several League championships. Michael has a quiet style with a sound positional basis. Accordingly his chess progress was gradual but nevertheless impressive. He became a Grandmaster in 2003. He shared first place in Ashdod 2004, Zurich 2004, Basel 2006, Isle of Man 2007. His finest performance was in Valjevo 2007, where he beat the great Anatoly Karpov to win the tournament outright.

Recently he has been a key member of the Israeli national team: In 2007 he was awarded a bronze medal for the third best performance at the  European Team Championship; In 2008 he was undefeated on Board 2 as Israel won silver in the Dresden Olympiad. In the same year he achieved his highest rating to date: 2680.

GM Maxim Rodshtein, Israel

Born 1989, April 2009 FIDE rating 2627

The youngest participant in the tournament. Maxim was born in Russia, where he was already considered a big talent. He moved to Israel as a child and has since won every possible Junior title. His big time career started when he won the 2006 Israeli Championship. The following year he won 1st in Andorra and Beer-Sheva (rapid) and his rating shot past 2600.

In the 2008 Olympiad he played on Board 5 and made a big score, helping Israel to win a historic silver medal. In particular he was responsible for Israel’s win against the Olympic champion, Armenia. A few months later he was offered by Armenia’s No. 1 Levon Aronian to work with him as a second. Maxim shared 1st in the 2008 Israeli championship, but didn’t retain the title due to inferior tie-break. His highest rating to date is 2650 (January 2009).

GM Vitali Golod, Israel

Born 1971, April 2009 FIDE rating 2587

Vitali was born in Ukraine, where he became U16 Champion in 1987, U20 champion in 1988, and  Ukrainian Champion in 1992. Meanwhile he graduated in Physical Culture and Sport.

In 1995 he immigrated to Israel, where he has played for the Beer-Sheva and Ashdod clubs, winning numerous Israeli League titles. Recently he has been the captain of the Israeli women team.

Vitali has won or shared first in the following events: Iraklion 1993, Bratislava 1993, Skoda Open 1993, Rishon le Zion 1997, Vlissingen 2000, Beer Sheva 2002, Zurich 2003, Saint Vincent 2004, Santa Monica 2004, Dake Memorial 2004, Basel 2006 and Isle of Man Open 2007. His best rating was 2606 in 2008.

On July 15, 2009

The three highest rated participants of the chess Super-Tournament, 
which takes place at Blue-Bay Hotel, Netanya, between July 12-14 
(rapid) and then on July 16 (rapid and closing ceremony), will give 
simultaneous displays around the country on Wednesday, July 15.

The main event will take place at Tel-Nof military base, of the IDF 
Air Force. Beginning at 15:00, the No. 1 woman in the world, JUDIT 
POLGAR will face the IDF Air Force!
Earlier the Air Force championship is going to take place, with the 
top 30 finishers eligible to play against Judit.
During the morning hours of July 15, there will be a guided tour of
Tel-Nof base for Maccabiah participants.

At 17:00 will start in the Jerusalem Town Hall a simultaneous display 
by BORIS GELFAND against celebrities and reporters.
The registration for this display is organized by Alon Cohen-Revivo, 
manager of JeruChess club. The number of players is limited to 30. The 
general public is hereby invited to attend the event!
Anyone who wishes to play against Gelfand may contact Alon
Tel: 052-2688666 E-mail:

And at 20:00 will start in the Netanya amphitheater by the beach, a 
simultaneous display by PAVEL ELJANOV against celebrities and the 
general public.
The registration for this display is organized by Nick Kopaloff, 
manager of the Netanya Chess club. The number of players is limited to 
30. The general public is hereby invited to attend the event!
Anyone who wishes to play against Eljanov may contact Nick
Tel: 052-3572157 E-mail:

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