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Viktor Korchnoi
Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 4,638
Years covered: 1945 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2499
Highest rating achieved in database: 2695

Overall record: +1747 -676 =1786 (62.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 429 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (288) 
    E99 E81 E60 E80 E94
 English (237) 
    A15 A13 A14 A17 A16
 Nimzo Indian (197) 
    E32 E42 E21 E41 E46
 English, 1 c4 c5 (151) 
    A30 A33 A34 A31 A35
 English, 1 c4 e5 (139) 
    A28 A29 A22 A25 A20
 Queen's Gambit Declined (126) 
    D30 D37 D31 D38 D35
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (412) 
    C11 C07 C02 C09 C19
 Sicilian (270) 
    B45 B44 B83 B32 B56
 Queen's Indian (175) 
    E12 E16 E15 E17 E19
 Nimzo Indian (172) 
    E32 E34 E46 E21 E54
 Ruy Lopez (162) 
    C80 C83 C77 C82 C81
 French (143) 
    C11 C10 C12 C00 C13
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Korchnoi vs Tal, 1962 1-0
   Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1994 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Udovcic, 1967 1-0
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1948 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1977 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1974 1-0
   Spassky vs Korchnoi, 1977 0-1
   S Tatai vs Korchnoi, 1978 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978)
   Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1981)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Capablanca Memorial (1963)
   October Revolution 50 (1967)
   Hoogovens (1968)
   Bucharest (1966)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   Asztalos Memorial (1965)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Dutch Championship (1977)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   Biel (1979)
   Be'er Sheva (1978)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   USSR Championship (1954)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Korchnoi! (i) The Early Years (1956-1984) by amadeus
   Korch.noise woke up Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Victor Korchnoi in Olympiads by capybara
   Victor Korchnoi in Olympiads by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by Gottschalk
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Challenger Korchnoy by Gottschalk
   My Best Games (Korchnoi) by DrOMM
   My Best Games (Korchnoi) by Qindarka
   French Korchnoi II by AuDo
   Run for the Championship - Viktor Korchnoi by Fischer of Men
   JoseTigranTalFischer's favorite games by JoseTigranTalFischer
   French Korchnoi III by AuDo
   Fictional Atticus Finch Subpoenaed Fredthebear by fredthebear

   🏆 Korchnoi-Uhlmann Rapid Match
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (Feb-16-15) 0-1, rapid
   Korchnoi vs Uhlmann (Feb-16-15) 0-1, rapid
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (Feb-15-15) 1-0, rapid
   Korchnoi vs Uhlmann (Feb-15-15) 1-0, rapid
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (2014) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Viktor Korchnoi
Search Google for Viktor Korchnoi

(born Mar-23-1931, died Jun-06-2016, 85 years old) Russia (federation/nationality Switzerland)
[what is this?]

Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi was born in Leningrad, USSR. His father taught him chess when he was seven years old. He won the Soviet Championship four times: USSR Championship (1960), USSR Championship (1962), USSR Championship (1964/65) and USSR Championship (1970). He made eight appearances in the world championship candidates cycle. He reached the Spassky - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1968), but failed to beat Spassky. In the next cycle he won his quarterfinal Korchnoi - Geller Candidates Quarterfinal (1971), but lost his semifinal match to Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian. He made it to the Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974), but lost.

Korchnoi defected from the USSR in 1976, and two years later he finally managed to win the Candidates and qualify for the Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978). Trailing late with just two victories to Karpov's five, Korchnoi staged a comeback, winning three games to level the score at 5-5. However, Karpov then won the final game, thereby taking the match and retaining the crown. Korchnoi qualified again for the Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981), but was beaten 6-2. In the next Candidates cycle he was beaten by the rising young Soviet star Garry Kasparov. He continued to play at a very high level throughout the 1980s and 1990s, though he never contended for the world title again. He did, however, capture the 2006 World Seniors' Championship, scoring nine points out of eleven games. Though never World Champion himself, Korchnoi defeated nine players who at some time held the title: Petrosian, Spassky, Karpov, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Robert James Fischer, Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen.

After defecting, Korchnoi settled in Switzerland, which he represented at Olympiads and other international events. He was ranked in the top 100 on the FIDE world rating list as late as January 2007 (aged 75), the oldest player ever so ranked.

Korchnoi suffered a stroke in December 2012, but returned to competitive chess beginning in 2014. He died in Wohlen, Switzerland on June 6, 2016, aged 85.

Wikipedia article: Viktor Korchnoi

 page 1 of 186; games 1-25 of 4,635  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Y Rovner vs Korchnoi 1-0201945LeningradC45 Scotch Game
2. Zikov vs Korchnoi 0-1201946LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
3. Korchnoi vs Razov 1-0271946LeningradC50 Giuoco Piano
4. Petrosian vs Korchnoi 1-0231946URS-ch U18A94 Dutch, Stonewall with Ba3
5. V Shiyanovsky vs Korchnoi 0-1351947LeningradD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. L Aronson vs Korchnoi 0-1431947LeningradD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. Y Vasilchuk vs Korchnoi 0-1601947LeningradB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
8. Korchnoi vs S Giterman 1-0361948TallinnC07 French, Tarrasch
9. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-0121948LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
10. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-0301949URS-ch qfD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
11. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-1321949LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
12. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-1511949LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
13. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-0181949MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
14. Korchnoi vs N Levin 1-0311949URS-ch qfE03 Catalan, Open
15. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-1421949MoscowA90 Dutch
16. Korchnoi vs G Borisenko 0-1381950URS-ch sfC34 King's Gambit Accepted
17. S Khavsky vs Korchnoi 0-1311950URS-ch qfB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
18. Korchnoi vs Kasparian 0-1381950URS-ch sfB10 Caro-Kann
19. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-1341950URS-ch qfD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Averbakh vs Korchnoi 1-0431950URS-ch sfB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
21. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-1351950LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
22. Korchnoi vs A Cherepkov 1-0681950Leningrad chC58 Two Knights
23. Korchnoi vs S Zhukhovitsky 1-0551950LeningradB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
24. N Bakulin vs Korchnoi 0-1391950URS-ch qfB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
25. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-1441950LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
 page 1 of 186; games 1-25 of 4,635  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Korchnoi wins | Korchnoi loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-20-20  Grad: Adolf Andersen. Looks like.
Mar-24-20  cunctatorg: A true citizen of the Kingdom of Chess, he fought -in his own way and his own terms- for a , really, better world ... and he had many, very good reasons for doing that!! Therefore he lived mostly in peace and I do believe that he is resting in peace also...
Jun-07-20  SirChrislov: Four years ago, on a day like today
(06, Jun,2016) Viktor Korchnoi, Russian-born chess grandmaster, dies at 85. I found this nice article from the NY times:

<At 79, ‘Viktor the Terrible’ Outsmarts an 18-Year-Old> By DYLAN LOEB McCLAIN Published: January 29, 2011

The game’s mental and physical toll eventually forces most top players to stop competing. And those who continue to play tend to avoid the elite tournaments where the pressure is greatest.

Then there is Viktor Korchnoi.

He was a top player for more than 30 years and competed for the world title three times. The last of those battles was in 1981, when he was 50. Four years ago, when he was 75, he was still ranked No. 85 in the world.

Korchnoi will be 80 in March, and his ranking has slipped to No. 460. But he can still be a formidable opponent, and he has lost little of his zest for competition. (He earned the nickname Viktor the Terrible partly because of the way he reacted when he lost.)

He is currently entered in the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. The tournament, in Gibraltar, has become a magnet for top players, and Korchnoi was seeded 38th.

After winning his first game, he faced Fabiano Caruana of Italy in the second round. The contrast between the two could not be more pronounced. Caruana, 18, is No. 25 in the world and is expected to breach the top 10 soon. As for Korchnoi, well, he probably has socks that are older than Caruana. <(LOL!)>

Though circumstances clearly favored Caruana, the old lion won in the end.

Korchnoi chose the Ruy Lopez opening, which is named after a 16th-century Spanish bishop who wrote a treatise about the system.

Caruana, rather than entering one of the systems that Korchnoi has played for decades, chose 5 d3, a quiet and relatively meek variation.

Korchnoi is known for his defense. But he also can attack, and once Caruana traded off his dark-squared bishop, Korchnoi threw his pawns forward with 13 ... g5, trusting in the power of his bishops.

Caruana’s 14 h3 was a mistake because it gave Korchnoi a target for his pawns; 14 Nc4, which would have created a retreat for his king knight, would have been better. Still, chances were about equal after 22 ... Rg8.

Caruana erred by playing 23 Qg3. He was afraid that after 23 ... g3, Korchnoi could have attacked down the h file. Caruana should have played 23 Rd1. For example, after 23 ... g3 24 Nf1 Qh4 25 d4, White’s development would have given him the advantage. After 23 ... gf3, Korchnoi had the edge, and he knew how to use it.

Korchnoi missed some chances to shorten the game (for example, 34 ... Rh5), but the result was no longer in doubt.

This is the game vs the young Caruana, Caruana vs Korchnoi, 2011 , Rest peaceful Mr. Korchnoi.

Garry Kasparov, the world champion who defeated Mr. Korchnoi in a 1983 match, wrote in the preface of Mr. Korchnoi’s autobiography, “Chess is My Life”, “In all of history you cannot find another player with his long-lived discipline, vigour and ferocity.”

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <SirChrislov> And, at least on occasion, Korchnoi had (gasp!) a good sense of humor. See, for example,
Jun-08-20  SirChrislov: AylerKupp, that put a smile on my face, so thank you, and it's even more funny to me when I consider Korchnoi's complaint that a cup of yogurt delivered to Karpov during a WCC game might have a "secret code meaning." lol.


"When you play the Ruy López, it's like milking a cow."

–David Bronstein

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <SirChrislov> Well, I'm glad I could put a smile on your face. I find the video incongruous because it's so uncharacteristic of the image we have of Korchnoi. But it was, after all, an ad. I wonder how much he was paid for it?

And, in case you didn't know, Bronstein's quote was addressed to Fischer in reference to his great scoring percentage with the Ruy López

You must be a native Spanish speaker. For those that are not and may not know (and probably don't care), when pronouncing Spanish words ending in a vowel, "n", or "s" the emphasis is normally on the next to the last syllable and when pronouncing Spanish words ending in a consonant, not "n" or "s", the emphasis is normally on the last syllable. If for some reason the desired emphasis breaks these rules, then an accent mark is placed where the emphasis should be.

So "Lopez" without an accent mark would be pronounced "Lo<pez>" since it ends in a consonant that is neither "n" nor "s", although the fact that a "z" is pronounced like an "s" muddies the waters since some spell "López" as "Lopes" and pronounce it the same, which in that case it would be the correct pronunciation although likely the incorrect spelling. To put the emphasis on the proper (and I don't know how "proper" was determined; as a native Spanish speaker also I just go by what sounds right) syllable you put the accent mark on the "o" and pronounce it <Ló>pez. And I have heard it pronounced "Lo<pez>" following the Spanish pronunciation rules when the accent over the "o" is omitted.

Fortunately in this case English, which does not use accent marks, is much simpler, although it loses its simplicity when it comes to pronunciation. Maybe that's why the name "Spanish Opening" is replacing "Ruy López" in popularity? What do you think?

Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky that we have only one accent mark. We could be native French speakers and have to deal with a multitude of accent marks. Although I suspect that if we were, it wouldn't be any problem for us.

And I suspect that the length of this post, typical for me, has wiped the smile off your face. Sorry.

Jun-19-20  wordfunph: lifted from New In Chess Magazine 2020 #4

<In 1995, at the magical age of 64, Kortchnoi won a strong tournament in Madrid. He explained his success saying: "I had to win, otherwise people would start to forget me..."

- GM Judit Polgar>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <wordfunph> And, in the same year...

Pan Pacific International (1995)

Oct-28-20  offramp: Korchnoi was a Swiss citizen for 40 years.

In his day-to-day life did he speak German, Italian or French, or perhaps English?

I reckon he used German to get around. It's the lingua franca of middle Europe.

Dec-27-20  Caissanist: I believe his first preference (besides Russian) was German. Australian IM Alexander Wohl told a story about losing a game to him after which Korchnoi made a smug brag/insult to him first in German and then, to ensure that Wohl had understood it correctly, repeated it in English.
Jan-29-21  fabelhaft: After winning Palma de Mallorca 1968 Korchnoi was asked by Dimitrije Bjelica to name the ten best players in chess history. He started with Steinitz, Pillsbury, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine and Botvinnik. He left four places for what he called "contemporaries" and had Keres as the first name there:

"I would say... Keres ... Spassky, Fischer [---] And the Champion, shall I complete the list with him? All right, put down Petrosian also"

"But what about Tal?"

"I am no fan of Tal's"

Some other quotes from the same interview (in Chess Life 2/1969)

"I learned from Alekhine, Nimzowitsch and Lasker, and in recent times from Bronstein. He had a great influence on me"

"Who is your most difficult opponent?"

"Keres, of course. I lost four games to him, and I never stood better"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <"But what about Tal?"

"I am no fan of Tal's">

Korchnoi was no fan of Tal but he played together with him as an actor in 1972 Soviet movie "Grandmaster". In other lesser roles there were also Mark Taimanov, Yuri Averbakh and Alexander Kotov. In the film there were used also some shots from 1972 chess olympiad in Skopje, where you can see among others Vassily Smyslov, Ulf Andersson, Werner Hug and some other players.

Mar-23-21  vonKrolock: Today he would be ninety. Autograph he gave me in 79 shared as Instagram post here
Apr-08-21  Caissanist: RIP Petra Korchnoi: .
Jul-11-21  Albanius: I would put Caruana-Korchnoi 2011 Caruana vs Korchnoi, 2011 among the notable games - from the black side of a Ruy Lopez, 79 YO Korchnoi crushed 19 YO Fabi, already an elite GM, like a bug.
Premium Chessgames Member


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Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <Albanius>

That's a great one indeed! In fact, has there ever been a greater age discrepancy in a game won by the elder between two elite players?

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <0ZeR0>
Great question. I can think of several famous examples of old veterans beating young prodigies, such as Pomar-Tartakower or Smyslov-Kamsky, but it would take some real research to find the biggest age gaps.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <0ZeR0>
See Game Collection: Across the generations for a set of big age gap games. There are a number of examples with the older player winning.
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <beatgiant>

Wow, that collection is a great resource. I'm going to go through the games tonight. Nice find!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I searched "Korchnoi" in the NYC public library system and one of the results was

<KGB igraet v shakhmaty >

Could this be a book in Russian about KGB files on Russian grandmasters, in the time of the USSR?

Oct-28-21  Olavi: <HeMateMe> I have this German edition, surely the same. It's about KGB manipulating the chess scene during the Cold War, mostly about the Gulko case.

Jan-11-22  Albertan: Match in neon limelight:

Aug-21-22  ColdSong: ...But where can one see Korchnoi's grave ?
Aug-21-22  ColdSong: All right.I saw it now.Nice grave.RIP to the great player.
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