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Lajos Portisch
Photograph copyright © 2006 Milan Kovacs (  
Number of games in database: 2,836
Years covered: 1952 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2467 (2426 rapid)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2655

Overall record: +980 -424 =1402 (59.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 30 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (206) 
    E92 E60 E62 E97 E81
 Nimzo Indian (147) 
    E54 E41 E55 E30 E59
 Queen's Indian (126) 
    E12 E14 E15 E17 E19
 Queen's Gambit Declined (90) 
    D37 D35 D31 D38 D30
 English (87) 
    A17 A14 A10 A15 A16
 Grunfeld (86) 
    D97 D78 D92 D85 D94
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (294) 
    B43 B42 B46 B47 B97
 Ruy Lopez (167) 
    C95 C92 C93 C69 C65
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (102) 
    C95 C92 C93 C94 C85
 Nimzo Indian (96) 
    E41 E38 E54 E55 E21
 Queen's Indian (89) 
    E12 E15 E19 E17 E14
 French Defense (87) 
    C18 C16 C09 C02 C05
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Portisch vs de Firmian, 1990 1-0
   Portisch vs Petrosian, 1967 1-0
   Portisch vs Tal, 1964 1/2-1/2
   Portisch vs S Johannessen, 1966 1-0
   Portisch vs Larsen, 1972 1-0
   Portisch vs Reshevsky, 1973 1-0
   Portisch vs I Radulov, 1969 1-0
   Suba vs Portisch, 1984 0-1
   Portisch vs Petrosian, 1972 1/2-1/2
   Portisch vs Petrosian, 1974 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Halle Zonal (1963)
   Solidarity Tournament 2nd (1968)
   Las Palmas (1972)
   Halle Zonal (1967)
   Amsterdam IBM (1969)
   Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979)
   First Lady Cup 2nd (1983)
   Hoogovens (1964)
   Biel Interzonal (1976)
   Szirak Interzonal (1987)
   Buenos Aires Olympiad (1978)
   Capablanca Memorial (1964)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Lajos Portisch (Varnusz) by Chessdreamer
   Selected Games of Lajos Portisch by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Exchange sacs - 4 by obrit
   Grandmaster Portisch by keywiz84
   My Secrets in the Ruy Lopez (Portisch) by Qindarka
   Milan 1975 by suenteus po 147

   🏆 1st MVM Chess Cup
   Portisch vs Rapport (2014) 0-1
   Rapport vs Portisch (2014) 1/2-1/2
   Rapport vs Portisch (2014) 1-0
   Portisch vs Rapport (2014) 0-1
   Y Boukhris-Ferre vs Portisch (Aug-04-13) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Lajos Portisch
Search Google for Lajos Portisch
FIDE player card for Lajos Portisch

(born Apr-04-1937, 84 years old) Hungary

[what is this?]
Lajos Portisch was born in Zalaegerszeg. He won the Hungarian Championship for the first time in 1958, and in 1961 he became a grandmaster. In 1960, he qualified from the Madrid Zonal for the Stockholm Interzonal (1962), where he came equal 9th. In 1963, he won the Halle Zonal ahead of Borislav Ivkov and Bent Larsen and advanced to the Amsterdam Interzonal (1964) where he came 8th. Over the course of his career he qualified for the Candidates eight times and played for his country in nineteen consecutive Olympiads (1956-1996). He had another fine tournament finish with an equal 2nd with Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian after Anatoly Karpov at Milan (1975). At the Biel Interzonal (1976), he qualified again with an equal 2nd after Bent Larsen, and went on to win the Portisch - Larsen Candidates Quarterfinal (1977) match, but then lost the Spassky - Portisch Candidates Semifinal (1977) match. He led the Hungarian team to an unprecedented 1st place finish ahead of the Soviets at the Buenos Aires Olympiad 1978.

He still lives in Hungary, and is still active in local tournaments. His younger brother is Ferenc Portisch.

English language interview with Portisch on 1 Feb 2012, Part 1:, and Part 2: YouTube tribute to Portisch

Wikipedia article: Lajos Portisch

 page 1 of 114; games 1-25 of 2,838  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Portisch vs Oravez 1-0101952SombathejB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
2. Portisch vs M Donia  1-0541955Wch U20 prel-BE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
3. I Johannsson vs Portisch  0-1261955Wch U20 prel-BE15 Queen's Indian
4. Portisch vs Tringov  ½-½401955Wch U20 prel-BE97 King's Indian
5. S Johannessen vs Portisch  ½-½261955Wch U20 prel-BC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
6. Portisch vs V Muller  1-0501955Wch U20 prel-BD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. S Schweber vs Portisch 1-0541955Wch U20 prel-BE41 Nimzo-Indian
8. Portisch vs K Lloyd  ½-½411955Wch U20 prel-BE75 King's Indian, Averbakh, Main line
9. M Farre vs Portisch  1-0601955Wch U20 final-AE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
10. Spassky vs Portisch 1-0361955Wch U20 final-AE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
11. Portisch vs J van Oosterom  1-0381955Wch U20 final-AA44 Old Benoni Defense
12. Tringov vs Portisch  ½-½631955Wch U20 final-AB88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
13. Portisch vs S Johannessen  1-0351955Wch U20 final-AB10 Caro-Kann
14. S Schweber vs Portisch  0-1381955Wch U20 final-AE41 Nimzo-Indian
15. Portisch vs Mednis  ½-½501955Wch U20 final-AA40 Queen's Pawn Game
16. D Keller vs Portisch  0-1481955Wch U20 final-AB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
17. Portisch vs L Hallstrom  ½-½331955Wch U20 final-AD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
18. Portisch vs F Csiszar  1-0481955Voros LobogoD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
19. Portisch vs F Koberl  1-0471955Voros LobogoA44 Old Benoni Defense
20. L Tipary vs Portisch ½-½891955HUN-ch 11thA43 Old Benoni
21. Portisch vs Benko 0-1361955HUN-ch 11thE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
22. Portisch vs E Gereben  1-0411955HUN-ch 11thE89 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox Main line
23. Szabo vs Portisch 1-0401955HUN-ch 11thE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
24. Portisch vs T Florian  1-0661955HUN-ch 11thB53 Sicilian
25. Portisch vs I Bilek  0-1511955HUN-ch 11thB40 Sicilian
 page 1 of 114; games 1-25 of 2,838  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Portisch wins | Portisch loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <That's the kind of self-congratulating thing immensely talented people say.>

Such as Einstein?

Jun-14-20  JimNorCal: "Success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration!” – Thomas A. Edison
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Leave it to <ohiyuk> to find the cloud inside the silver lining as he takes another shot at escaping the confines of his pedestrian existence, which lasts but a moment, same as all those other tries.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: Piff piff, puff puff
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I got a mule on the farm I can run from sunup to sundown, and he'll never wiin The Kentucky Derby.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: What <would> we do without the usual cogent commentary from that quarter as well?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OhioChessFan: That's the kind of self-congratulating thing immensely talented people say.>

Interesting... I think this has two possible interpretations:

A) Portisch was being humble and honest. Talent is indeed the result of diligence. So, he's just saying he is not special, just a hard worker. <Immensely talented people> are people who work very hard, and they recognize this openly.

B) Portisch was Talent is totally innate, and Portisch was pretending it's about diligence when he was born lucky. Then he is encouraging people to work hard, selling them the idea that they'll get to his level that way. The <immensely talented> then raise the hopes of the masses of regular folk disingenuously.

I thought <OCF> meant A. If it's A, the converse statement, "Talent is 100% innate" would get the comment "That is the kind of <defensive> thing immensely <untalented> people say." ("I lost that game... well, I wasn't born lucky, you know?")

I thought <OCF> meant A. Did <perfidious> interpret B...?

What did you actually mean, <OCF>? Maybe there are more interpretations and I am totally missing it.

FWIW, I think that talent is partially innate, but it needs diligence (and to be in the right place, e.g. Fischer in NYC) to be developed. Whether that partial innateness has to be there (can you make a GM out of any random person with enough hard work?) may be an open question.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: I think he means genius/talent is not enough by itself. You have to work hard as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <saffuna> Sure, but I'm not asking what Portisch meant. I'm asking what <OCF> meant by the comment I quoted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: I believe Reshevsky is a player, definitely a genius, who was considered lazy, and lost a number of games due to lack of preparation.

I have read that Casablanca did not work hard, was just a natural genius. Not sure. Maybe he was the exception.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <I have read that Casablanca did not work hard, was just a natural genius. Not sure. Maybe he was the exception.>

Capas wife said he worked hard.
When she was interviewed by Sosonko.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Thanks.
Jun-15-20  JimNorCal: No one cares what I think about it, but I'm gonna tell you anyway :) :) "That's the kind of self-congratulating thing immensely talented people say."

It's a self-deprecating statement like "aw shucks, I ain't no genius". But actually they DO have talent, they're just being modest. And indeed, OCFs mule can practice all it wants. I won't win the Derby.

It's also true that talented people work hard at their craft and don't just coast along depending on innate ability.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <OhioChessFan: That's the kind of self-congratulating thing immensely talented people say.>

<Fusilli: Interesting... I think this has two possible interpretations:>

It was neither of those. I think people who are massively talented have a strong tendency to not realize (or possibly admit) how innately gifted they are. Sure, they work hard, as any chess player has to, but it's not the work that makes them so good. It's their raw talent. No talent plus hard work makes a decent chess player, but not elite. I daresay there are tons of chess players who work as hard as the elite GM's and never come close to that level.

If a person is lucky, they discover they have innate talent in some field they enjoy. I am unimpressed with people who won't acknowledge that they were simply born with a gift that others would kill to have.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There was a virtuoso musician who commented once to the effect:

< I practise twelve hours a day and they call me a genius.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <I practise twelve hours a day and they call me a genius.>>

Well,that is the appproach that always has appealed to Joe the Plummer.

Even Mozart worked very very hard.

I like Kasparov who emphazied that hard work is also a talent. He worked immensely hard himself.

All that being said:There are more intelligent ways of "working hard" than others.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OCF> Ah, ok, that makes sense to me.

There is the additional point that hard work has to be well organized and structured. I think I had some baseline talent, but I was rather lazy to study chess AND my study was chaotic (as in, often, pick up magazine and study random article, or grab book and look at random chapter). My coach provided some structure, but I got little coaching.

I saw a research article, long ago, where the authors had used fMRI to see which parts of the brain lit up when GMs and club players looked at given positions. Turns out they used different parts of the brain. That may have not been the only thing that the researchers did, but I remember the conclusion that, in order to reach GM level, people did in fact need to be born with certain kind of brain setup, and if you lacked that, no amount of work would take you there. So, apparently chess talent has a direct brain anatomy translation. (A little discouraging, I suppose... No wonder that study did not get much traction in the world of chess as it may have in the world of neurology.)

I'll try to find the study and post the link.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <saffuna: ... I have read that Casablanca did not work hard>

No one worked hard in Casablanca! They were all partying and gambling at Rick's cafe all the time. I'd be shocked, SHOCKED to see anyone working hard there. :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: I plead spellcheck!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <saffuna>, that excuse is for suckers and losers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <No one worked hard in Casablanca! They were all partying and gambling at Rick's cafe all the time. I'd be shocked, SHOCKED to see anyone working hard there.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <saffuna: I plead spellcheck!>

"Don´t Bogart that joint..." ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: About ten years ago I had the opportunity to play with GM Portisch on a simul. I had an unusually long time to prepare, some 4-5 days, so I memorized lots of things, one of them was a sideline of a Benoni on the Black side, that featured an idea of a not always perfectly sound exchange sacrifice on e8 in some variations, to press the e file forever. This particular sideline, that did not exist in GM practice, appeared on the board, and I boldly sac'd the exchange against the legend and went full blast attacking after he accepted it.

He neutralized my attempts almost without thinking. Like it was trivial. Like he played from the book. Is it possible that he knew the variation?

I will never ever ever forget that day. I was frightened, demoralized and destroyed - how could anyone defend with this precision, without thinking? By then, I already lost games against GM Gurevich and GM Nikolaidis, but never felt so helpless. Sadly, the game score is almost certainly lost. There is one city, not so extremely far from here, where I might find it - as soon as the COVID enables, I will go there trying my luck.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Messiah: About ten years ago I had the opportunity to play with GM Portisch on a simul...

Sadly, the game score is almost certainly lost. There is one city, not so extremely far from here, where I might find it - as soon as the COVID enables, I will go there trying my luck.>

For the sake of chess, let us all hope you find the game score!

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: We can hardly wait.
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