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Vlastimil Jansa

Full name Vlastimil Jansa
Country Czech Republic
Born November 27, 1942
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2540 (July 1975)

Vlastimil Jansa (born November 27, 1942 in Prague) is a chess grandmaster from the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia).

He learned chess while in hospital at the age of eight and at fourteen, became the youth champion of Prague. In 1959, he finished second in the Czechoslovak national junior championship. Academically, he qualified in sports sciences from the Charles University in Prague, before becoming a professional soldier and reaching the rank of captain. As part of his chess education, he studied under the tutelage of IM Emil Richter (1894-1971).

A deep and original thinker, Jansa has been one of the Czech Republic's leading players for many years, collecting experience across a range of chess activities. Representing his country at the Chess Olympiads on a number of occasions, he won a team silver medal in 1982. He has also been a coach and a writer of books and theoretical articles.

In terms of his fine reputation as a trainer, he developed a test in the 1970s from which the talent of young players could be measured. Of his students, the Czech Republic's strongest player (as of January 2008), David Navara is probably the best known. Jansa has also been the national coach of Luxembourg.

Along with IM Josef Pribyl, he is known as one of the creators of an opening system known as the 'Czech Pirc'. The opening, distinguished by an early c6, offers the player of the black pieces the opportunity for greater flexibility, in order that an appropriate plan can be formulated, once white's strategy is revealed.

In international tournaments, he has been many times a winner, taking outright or shared first prize at Cerveny Kostelec 1959, Prague 1968, Madonna di Campiglio 1973, Amsterdam 1974, Vrnjacka Banja 1981, Trnava 1982, Borgarnes 1985, Gausdal 1987 (and twice in 1988), Badenweiler 1990, Munster 1992 and Lazne Bohdanec 1997. He was a runner-up at Zinnowitz in 1964.

A loyal servant of the Czechoslovak Chess Championship, he was the national champion in 1964, 1974 and 1984. Indeed, prior to the splitting into Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, he finished in the top three on no fewer than fourteen occasions. Post-millennium, he remains actively engaged in playing chess and finished second, taking the silver medal at the 2006 World Senior Chess Championship in Arvier, behind only Viktor Korchnoi.

Vlastimil Jansa was awarded the International Master title in 1965 and became a Grandmaster in 1974.

Partial bibliography