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Rafael Vaganian
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 1,901
Years covered: 1967 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2560 (2534 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2662

Overall record: +650 -332 =833 (58.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 86 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (135) 
    A15 A14 A13 A17 A16
 Reti System (113) 
    A04 A06 A05
 King's Indian (96) 
    E62 E60 E63 E97 E69
 Queen's Indian (66) 
    E12 E15 E19 E14 E17
 King's Indian Attack (56) 
    A07 A08
 Queen's Pawn Game (52) 
    A46 D02 A45 A41 E10
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (342) 
    C09 C07 C16 C18 C02
 French Tarrasch (133) 
    C09 C07 C04 C05 C08
 French Winawer (115) 
    C16 C18 C15 C19 C17
 Orthodox Defense (99) 
    D58 D55 D59 D56 D50
 Queen's Gambit Declined (99) 
    D37 D31 D35 D36 D30
 Alekhine's Defense (57) 
    B04 B03 B02 B05
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Reshevsky vs Vaganian, 1976 0-1
   Vaganian vs G Botterill, 1975 1-0
   Lautier vs Vaganian, 2004 0-1
   Vaganian vs Kupreichik, 1974 1-0
   Vaganian vs Hjartarson, 1991 1-0
   Vaganian vs Sveshnikov, 1980 1-0
   Vaganian vs G Forintos, 1975 1-0
   Van der Wiel vs Vaganian, 1993 0-1
   Vaganian vs P Nikolic, 1985 1-0
   Vaganian vs Bronstein, 1975 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Biel Interzonal (1985)
   Montpellier Candidates (1985)
   3rd Aeroflot Festival (2004)
   USSR Championship (1974)
   Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1978)
   October Revolution 60th Anniversary (1977)
   50th USSR Championship (1983)
   Phillips & Drew GLC Kings (1984)
   Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979)
   European Club Cup (2007)
   USSR Championship (1971)
   Politiken Cup (2006)
   EU-ch 4th (2003)
   36th Olympiad (2004)
   European Individual Championships (2007)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship 1983 by Benzol
   Hastings 1974/75 by suenteus po 147
   Montpellier Candidates 1985 by Benzol
   USSR Championship 1989 by suenteus po 147
   USSR Championship 1975 by Phony Benoni
   Moscow 1975 by suenteus po 147
   USSR Championship 1974 by suenteus po 147

   S Zhigalko vs Vaganian (Mar-11-14) 1-0
   Vaganian vs V Zvjaginsev (Mar-10-14) 1/2-1/2
   A Shimanov vs Vaganian (Mar-08-14) 1/2-1/2
   Vaganian vs M Ragger (Mar-07-14) 1/2-1/2
   G Sibashvili vs Vaganian (Mar-06-14) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Rafael Vaganian
Search Google for Rafael Vaganian
FIDE player card for Rafael Vaganian

(born Oct-15-1951, 65 years old) Armenia

[what is this?]
Rafael Artemovich Vaganian was born in Yerevan. Awarded the GM title in 1971, he was a Candidate twice. In 1986 he lost to Andrei Sokolov (+0, =4, -4) and in 1988 he lost to Lajos Portisch (+0, =5, -1).

He won the USSR Championship in 1989 [rusbase-1] and played on the 1984 and 1986 USSR Olympiad teams. In 1984 he played Board 5 for the USSR in the USSR versus The Rest of the World Match against Zoltan Ribli.

He has achieved some excellent tournament victories, including Vrnjacka Banja 1971, Sao Paulo 1977, Las Palmas 1979, Manila 1981, Hastings 1982-83, Biel 1985 and Leningrad 1987. Today he remains a strong grandmaster.

Wikipedia article: Rafael Vaganian

 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,901  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Vaganian vs Karpov ½-½40 1967 05, MoscowE18 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3
2. Karpov vs Vaganian  ½-½43 1968 03, Riga ttB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
3. Vaganian vs A Lombard 1-040 1969 EU-ch U20 final AE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
4. E Turunen vs Vaganian  0-125 1969 EU-ch U20 final AA06 Reti Opening
5. S Webb vs Vaganian  ½-½17 1969 EU-ch U20 prelD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
6. Vaganian vs Karpov ½-½53 1969 09, Leningrad jrE20 Nimzo-Indian
7. Vaganian vs H Schaufelberger  1-040 1969 EU-ch U20 final AA44 Old Benoni Defense
8. Vaganian vs G Ligterink  1-027 1969 EU-ch U20 prelE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
9. K H Maeder vs Vaganian  ½-½17 1969 EU-ch U20 prelB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
10. Ribli vs Vaganian  ½-½12 1969 EU-ch U20 prelC01 French, Exchange
11. Karpov vs Vaganian 0-144 1969 07, Leningrad jrB03 Alekhine's Defense
12. Vaganian vs Ghizdavu  ½-½49 1969 EU-ch U20 final AD75 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O c5, 8.dxc5
13. Vaganian vs Podgaets  1-030 1969 URS-ch sfE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
14. Ribli vs Vaganian 0-138 1969 GroningenD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
15. H Schaufelberger vs Vaganian  ½-½10 1969 EU-ch U20 prelB02 Alekhine's Defense
16. Vaganian vs Karpov 0-130 1969 05, Leningrad jrE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
17. Vaganian vs K H Maeder  0-162 1969 EU-ch U20 final AE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
18. Vaganian vs Ulf Andersson  1-041 1969 EU-ch U20 prelE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
19. Vaganian vs Ghizdavu  1-043 1969 EU-ch U20 prelE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
20. Karpov vs Vaganian ½-½45 1969 03, Leningrad jrB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
21. P Atanasov vs Vaganian  ½-½47 1969 EU-ch U20 final AB02 Alekhine's Defense
22. S Webb vs Vaganian  0-139 1969 EU-ch U20 final AA16 English
23. Vaganian vs Karpov 0-154 1969 01, Leningrad jrE14 Queen's Indian
24. Karpov vs Vaganian  ½-½53 1969 11, Leningrad jrB03 Alekhine's Defense
25. Vaganian vs Ulf Andersson 1-048 1969 GroningenA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
 page 1 of 77; games 1-25 of 1,901  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Vaganian wins | Vaganian loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-27-07  Ziggurat: I am tempted to use aikido as a metaphor for these opening systems - they invite premature activity from the opponent and then turn it back against him. I guess another way of putting it is that they are "elastic" - a favourite term of Andersson's.
Dec-27-07  Chesstalesfan: Very interesting, Ziggurat! I get the message of the *elastic* What does aikido mean? Is this a japanese word?
Dec-27-07  Ziggurat: <What does aikido mean? Is this a japanese word?> It's a Japanese martial art that I practiced (with very little skill) for a short while. One of the basic ideas (which actually applies even more to judo, another martial art) is to adapt to the opponent's way of attacking and use it against him with minimal effort. Actually, in aikido the idea is to stop the attack without harming the attacker, while in judo, the attacker's momentum is used to defeat him, so it would be more precise to compare e.g. the French to judo rather than aikido.

After all these explanations I begin to feel that the metaphor is kind of strained...

Dec-27-07  Chesstalesfan: Thank you very much that you took the time to give all these explanations. Well, aikido and judo and chess.. I am enchanted.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Chesstalesfan> Logically, yes. In practice, I'm not so sure -- maybe because there's such a difference between, say, the Caro-Kann Advance variation and the Panov-Botvinnik. But this disparity also applies to different kinds of French.

Anyway, I've spent years admiring Vaganian's games as Black. I've just recently started looking at his White games as well. It's often very hard to know what's going on, which is also a typical Winawer trait. The C-K strikes me as being clearer and less chaotic, which is maybe why Capablanca and Karpov liked it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: Happy Birthday Rafael!
Oct-15-08  hovik2003: Happy Birthday Rafik!
Keep on playing chess for a longtime to come.
Premium Chessgames Member
  amadeus: Vaganian is going to play on the World Blitz Championship (Almaty, November 7-8)

Bassem, Amin (EGY)
Dominguez-Perez, Leinier (CUB)
Grischuk, Alexander (RUS)
Gelfand, Boris (ISR)
Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR)
Kamsky, Gata (USA)
Kazhgaleev, Murtas (KAZ)
Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar (AZE)
Morozevich, Alexander (RUS)
Polgar, Judith (HUN)
Rublevsky, Sergey (RUS)
Radjabov, Teimur (AZE)
Sasikiran, Krishnan (IND)
Svidler, Peter (RUS)
Tkachev, Vlad (FRA)
Vaganian, Rafael (ARM)

Feb-06-09  timhortons: [Event "Moscow Open"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "2009.02.05"]
[Round "5"]
[White "GM Vaganian, Rafael A(ARM)"]
[Black "GM Popov, Ivan(RUS)"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A07"]
[WhiteElo "2596"]
[BlackElo "2541"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[EventDate "2009.??.??"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 b5 4. a4 b4 5. d3 e6 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. O-O c5 8. e4 Nc6 9. Re1 a5 10. b3 O-O 11. Bb2 Bb7 12. Ne5 Nd4 13. f4 Rc8 14. g4 Bd6 15. c3 bxc3 16. Bxc3 g5 17. Bxd4 cxd4 18. fxg5 Bxe5 19. gxf6 Bxf6 20. exd5 Bg5 21. d6 Bd5 22. Nc4 Bxc4 23. bxc4 Qxd6 24. Rb1 Bf4 25. Rb5 Bxh2+ 26. Kh1 Bf4 27. Qf3 e5 28. Qh3 h6 29. Reb1 Rb8 30. Be4 Rxb5 31. axb5 Diagram # a4 32. g5 f5 33. gxf6 Qxf6 34. b6 a3 35. b7 White wins 1-0 1-0

GM Vaganian,R - GM Popov,I, Moscow Open 2009

click for larger view

1. = (0.02): 31...Kg7 32.b6 a4 33.b7 a3 34.Qg2 Rb8 35.Qe2 Qf8 2. = (0.22): 31...Rb8 32.Ra1 Qc7 33.Qh5 Bg5 34.Kg2 Kg7 35.Kg3 Rg8 36.Ra4 Qa7 3. (0.38): 31...Qb6 32.g5 Bxg5 33.Qf5 Re8 34.Qh7+ Kf8[] 35.Qh8+ Ke7[] 36.Qxe5+ Kf8 37.Qf5 Qe6 38.Qf3 Qb6

at 31st move popov still had drawing chances with kg7.

after 31...a4 followed by 32...g5 popov game collapse

GM Vaganian,R - GM Popov,I, Moscow Open 2009

click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 3 Human 1-cpu 32-bit:

1. (1.85): 33.gxf6 Kf7 34.Ra1[] a3

Feb-12-09  M.D. Wilson: Yet another player who deserves a photo.
Feb-12-09  arsen387: <Davolni: a very good article on him, posted by <AgentRgent> > wow, a fascinating article, read it on a single breath, thanks for reposting it.

Here's what Korchnoi said about Vaganian (a little excrept from that article) <'Vaganian? He has something that makes the pieces move around the board in a way only he can conceive of. His game is something special - and I've seen plenty in my time. More than once I've seen him play in time pressure, although he had grasped the position instantly. And it happened because he didn't want to just play - he had to play his own way. Perhaps that's why he never got close to playing for the world itle. He was never a chess practitioner, he was a chess artist, a fantastic chess artist!'> Also it's very interesting to read Botvinnik's, Karpov's and other great players' thoughts about Rafael, seems like they all were of a very high opinion about his genius

Feb-13-09  M.D. Wilson: Absolutely.
Jul-13-09  suenteus po 147: Here's the 56th Soviet Championship where Vaganian came in sole first ahead of a field that included Beliavsky, Gelfand, and Andrei Sokolov: Game Collection: USSR Championship 1989
Oct-15-09  walker: <In 1984 he(Rafael Vaganian) played Board 5 for the USSR in the USSR versus The Rest of the World Match against Zoltan Ribli.>

Can't find "USSR versus The Rest of the World Match" on this site.Have forgotten about this match.Maybe they use different title.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <walker> Have a look at Game Collection: USSR v Rest of the World, Match London 1984 that <capybara> has put together.
Oct-15-09  walker: <Benzol> Thanks a lot!
Oct-15-09  WhiteRook48: Sokolov just pounded this guy in 1986
Oct-15-09  Vazken Proudian: Happy Birthday GM Vahanian. Thanks for so many wonderful games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Hooray! A picture! :-)

Happy Birthday, GM Vaganian.

Oct-15-09  Davolni: Happy Birthday GM Vaganian!

All the best to you!

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "No, I never had one particular chess idol. Though I did have a model - Fischer. I knew all his games, I was in love with his playing. Like him I tried never to offer a draw, I always played to the bitter end."

- GM Rafael Vaganian

happy birthday GM Vaganian!

Oct-15-10  AgentRgent: Happy birthday GM Vaganian! Your games have been a great source of insight and entertainment for me. Thank you so much!
Dec-21-10  Everett: Sure it's been said somewhere on this thread, but I did not realize Vaganian was the 3rd best player in the world through most of '84 and '85, behind the two K's. In early '86 he was brought down to the pack of Korchnoi, Yusupov, Timman and Beliavsky.

Mar-26-11  suenteus po 147: A modest little tournament won by Vaganian some years back: Game Collection: Ter Apel Klooster 1992
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Rare live film footage-

<Karpov> v <Vaganian> Blitz training games 1975

(with special guest appearance by Semyon Furman)

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