Wolfgang Heidenfeld (29 May 1911 – 3 August 1981) was a chess player.
Heidenfeld was born in Berlin. He was forced to move from Germany to South Africa because he was a Jew. There, he won the South African Chess Championship eight times, and he represented South Africa in the Chess Olympiad in 1958. Besides chess-playing he was also a writer, door to door salesman, journalist, and designer of crossword puzzles. His hobbies were poker, bridge and collecting stamps as well as playing chess. During World War II he helped decode German messages for the Allies.
In 1955 he beat former world champion Max Euwe. He also won games against Miguel Najdorf, Joaquim Durao and Ludek Pachman. He never became an International Master—he did eventually attain the required qualifications but declined to accept the award from FIDE.
He wrote several chess books including Chess Springbok, My Book of Fun and Games, Grosse Remispartien (in German; an English edition entitled Draw!, edited by John Nunn, was published in 1982), and Lacking the Master Touch (1970).
In 1957, after visiting Ireland, he moved to Dublin. In 1979 the family moved back to Ulm where he died two years later.
Heidenfeld was Irish Champion in 1958, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968, and 1972. He was in the Olympiad team in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1974; and in the European Championships team in 1967.
His son Mark Heidenfeld is an International Master, has also played chess for Ireland and won the Irish Chess Championship in 2000.
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“If youth is a fault, it is one that one gets rid of soon enough.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (17491832)