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Rafael Vaganian
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 1,928
Years covered: 1965 to 2017
Last FIDE rating: 2550 (2547 rapid, 2564 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2662

Overall record: +658 -339 =842 (58.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 89 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (138) 
    A15 A13 A14 A17 A16
 Reti System (105) 
    A04 A06 A05
 King's Indian (98) 
    E62 E60 E63 E97 E67
 Queen's Indian (66) 
    E12 E15 E19 E17 E14
 King's Indian Attack (65) 
    A07 A08
 Queen's Pawn Game (58) 
    A46 D02 A45 A41 E00
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (348) 
    C07 C09 C16 C18 C02
 French Tarrasch (136) 
    C07 C09 C04 C05 C03
 French Winawer (117) 
    C16 C18 C15 C19 C17
 Queen's Gambit Declined (113) 
    D37 D31 D35 D30 D36
 Orthodox Defense (86) 
    D58 D55 D59 D56 D50
 Alekhine's Defense (58) 
    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 Bronstein, 1975 1-0
   Vaganian vs G Forintos, 1975 1-0
   Vaganian vs Sveshnikov, 1980 1-0
   Van der Wiel vs Vaganian, 1993 0-1
   Vaganian vs P Nikolic, 1985 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)
   Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1978)
   October Revolution 60th Anniversary (1977)
   USSR Championship (1974)
   50th USSR Championship (1983)
   Phillips & Drew GLC Kings (1984)
   European Club Cup (2007)
   USSR Championship (1971)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Politiken Cup (2006)
   EU-ch 4th (2003)
   36th Olympiad (2004)
   European Individual Championship (2007)

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

   🏆 Tsaghkadzor Open
   R Jumabayev vs Vaganian (Nov-27-17) 1-0
   Vaganian vs M Bosiocic (Nov-26-17) 1/2-1/2
   E Hakobyan vs Vaganian (Nov-25-17) 0-1
   Vaganian vs N Maisuradze (Nov-24-17) 1-0
   Armen Ar Barseghyan vs Vaganian (Nov-23-17) 0-1

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

(born Oct-15-1951, 66 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 78; games 1-25 of 1,928  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Euwe vs Vaganian  0-1291965SimulB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
2. Vaganian vs Karpov ½-½40196705, MoscowE18 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3
3. Karpov vs Vaganian  ½-½43196803, Riga ttB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
4. Vaganian vs Ulf Andersson 1-0411968EU-ch U20 prelE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
5. Vaganian vs K H Maeder  0-1621969EU-ch U20 final AE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
6. Karpov vs Vaganian ½-½451969World Jr Ch qualB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
7. Vaganian vs Ghizdavu  1-0431969EU-ch U20 prelE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
8. P Atanasov vs Vaganian  ½-½471969EU-ch U20 final AB02 Alekhine's Defense
9. Vaganian vs Karpov 0-1541969World Jr Ch qualE14 Queen's Indian
10. S Webb vs Vaganian  0-1391969EU-ch U20 final AA16 English
11. Karpov vs Vaganian  ½-½531969World Jr Ch qualB03 Alekhine's Defense
12. Vaganian vs G Ligterink  1-0271969EU-ch U20 prelE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
13. Vaganian vs A Lombard 1-0401969EU-ch U20 final AE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
14. Ribli vs Vaganian  ½-½121969EU-ch U20 prelC01 French, Exchange
15. E Turunen vs Vaganian  0-1251969EU-ch U20 final AA06 Reti Opening
16. Vaganian vs Karpov ½-½531969World Jr Ch qualE20 Nimzo-Indian
17. Ribli vs Vaganian 0-1381969GroningenD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
18. S Webb vs Vaganian  ½-½171969EU-ch U20 prelD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
19. Vaganian vs Podgaets  1-0301969URS-ch sfE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
20. Vaganian vs H Schaufelberger  1-0401969EU-ch U20 final AA44 Old Benoni Defense
21. Karpov vs Vaganian 0-1441969World Jr Ch qualB03 Alekhine's Defense
22. K H Maeder vs Vaganian  ½-½171969EU-ch U20 prelB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
23. Vaganian vs Ghizdavu  ½-½491969EU-ch U20 final AD75 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O c5, 8.dxc5
24. Vaganian vs Karpov 0-1301969World Jr Ch qualE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
25. H Schaufelberger vs Vaganian  ½-½101969EU-ch U20 prelB02 Alekhine's Defense
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,928  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>
Premium Chessgames Member
  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?
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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!

Premium Chessgames Member
  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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