Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Photograph copyright © 2006 Milan Kovacs (  
Lajos Portisch
Number of games in database: 2,753
Years covered: 1955 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2467 (2426 rapid)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2635
Overall record: +938 -418 =1368 (59.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      29 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (200) 
    E92 E62 E60 E81 E69
 Nimzo Indian (142) 
    E41 E54 E57 E30 E55
 Queen's Indian (124) 
    E12 E14 E15 E17 E19
 English (86) 
    A17 A14 A10 A15 A16
 Grunfeld (86) 
    D97 D78 D85 D92 D94
 Queen's Gambit Declined (82) 
    D37 D35 D31 D38 D30
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (297) 
    B43 B42 B47 B40 B97
 Ruy Lopez (163) 
    C95 C92 C93 C69 C72
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (101) 
    C95 C92 C93 C94 C85
 Nimzo Indian (89) 
    E41 E38 E54 E55 E21
 Queen's Indian (87) 
    E12 E15 E19 E17 E14
 French Defense (85) 
    C18 C16 C09 C02 C15
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Portisch vs Tal, 1964 1/2-1/2
   Portisch vs S Johannessen, 1966 1-0
   Portisch vs Petrosian, 1967 1-0
   Portisch vs Larsen, 1972 1-0
   Suba vs Portisch, 1984 0-1
   Portisch vs DeFirmian, 1989 1-0
   Portisch vs I Radulov, 1969 1-0
   Portisch vs Petrosian, 1974 1-0
   Portisch vs Karpov, 1975 1/2-1/2
   Keres vs Portisch, 1967 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Las Palmas (1972)
   San Antonio (1972)
   Hoogovens (1975)
   Toluca Interzonal (1982)
   Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979)
   Palma de Mallorca (1966)
   Biel Interzonal (1976)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   Petropolis Interzonal (1973)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Moscow (1967)
   Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Politiken Cup (2012)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Selected Games of Lajos Portisch by StuporMoundi
   Exchange sacs - 4 by obrit
   Grandmaster Portisch by keywiz84
   Milan 1975 by suenteus po 147
   Second Piatigorsky Cup 1966 by Benzol
   Montreal 1979 by suenteus po 147

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

(born Apr-04-1937, 79 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 111; games 1-25 of 2,753  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Portisch  1-036 1955 Wch U20 final-AE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
2. Portisch vs S Johannessen  1-035 1955 Wch U20 final-AB10 Caro-Kann
3. L Tipary vs Portisch  ½-½89 1955 HUN-ch 11thA43 Old Benoni
4. Portisch vs J van Oosterom  1-038 1955 Wch U20 final-AA44 Old Benoni Defense
5. Portisch vs F Koberl  1-047 1955 Voros LobogoA44 Old Benoni Defense
6. S Johannessen vs Portisch  ½-½26 1955 AntwerpC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
7. Portisch vs P Dely 1-022 1955 HUN-ch 11thA69 Benoni, Four Pawns Attack, Main line
8. K Honfi vs Portisch  0-141 1955 HUN-ch 11thB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
9. Portisch vs Mednis  ½-½50 1955 Wch U20 final-AA40 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Portisch vs I Bilek  0-151 1955 HUN-ch 11thB40 Sicilian
11. Portisch vs V Muller  1-050 1955 Wch U20 prel-BD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. S Schweber vs Portisch 1-054 1955 Wch U20 prel-BE41 Nimzo-Indian
13. J Foldi vs Portisch  ½-½25 1955 HUN-ch 11thB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
14. I Johannsson vs Portisch  0-126 1955 Wch U20 prel-BE15 Queen's Indian
15. Portisch vs E Gereben  1-041 1955 HUN-ch 11thE89 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox Main line
16. Portisch vs Tringov  ½-½40 1955 Wch U20 prel-BE97 King's Indian
17. M Farre vs Portisch  1-060 1955 Wch U20 final-AE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
18. Portisch vs L Hallstrom  ½-½33 1955 Wch U20 final-AD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
19. G Barcza vs Portisch  ½-½26 1955 HUN-ch 11thE42 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein)
20. S Schweber vs Portisch  0-138 1955 Wch U20 final-AE41 Nimzo-Indian
21. Portisch vs Benko  0-136 1955 HUN-ch 11thE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
22. Tringov vs Portisch  ½-½63 1955 Wch U20 final-AB88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
23. D Keller vs Portisch  0-148 1955 Wch U20 final-AB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
24. Portisch vs M Donia  1-054 1955 Wch U20 prel-BE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
25. M Bely vs Portisch  1-063 1955 HUN-ch 11thC45 Scotch Game
 page 1 of 111; games 1-25 of 2,753  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 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-04-12  talisman: happy birthday!... how many GM's have said that if you played it it must be correct!
Apr-04-12  HeMateMe: I wonder if he still plays in the Hungarian closed championships?
Apr-08-12  ketchuplover: belated happy birthday :)
Jul-15-12  achieve: I tremendously enjoyed the 2-part Chessbase interview with <Lajos Portisch>!

It's linked at the bottom of the Bio section of this Player Page.

Portisch was a specialized Wijk aan Zee performer, winning a whopping 50% of the ones he participated in... Four wins out of just eight participations!

Neither Short, nor Timman himself, can match the Hungarian!

Kortchnoi also won 4, but out of 14 entries. = 29%

And Anand, record holder with a total of 5 victories, out of 16! participations. = 31%

The Great Anatoli Karpov scored 50%, scoring 2 wins out of (only) 4 participations.

Portisch was a fine player, and his stories are priceless.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <achieve> True, very enjoyable interview.

I thought his proposed time control was quite reasonable. Portisch says:

"I have studied chess history, and in the early 20th century and even later, the first time control was after thirty moves, not forty. Why not shorten the time of the first time control to one hour for thirty moves? Everyone knows the openings extremely well nowadays, with the internet, ChessBase, New in Chess and so on. That way there would be more time for the ending. Certainly what is going on now is no good."

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: I interviewed GM Portisch for the university newspaper when he was touring the U.S. on the way to the Church's tournament in San Antonio, Texas late 1972. He was a very pleasant, proper gentleman in the manner of GMs of yesteryear.

Larsen had recently spoken of a Danish School of Chess. I asked him with the lineage of Charousek, Maroczy, Breyer, Barcza and himself if there could be spoken of an Hungarian School of Chess. I don't recall his exact words but they were to the affect, "No, I cannot speak so optimistically as Larsen." Rather reserved, I think it was the only point in the interview he smiled.

Church's participants:

Apr-04-14  gars: Happy Birthday, Grandmaster Portisch!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Portisch reminds me of one of those correct opening batsmen who can play Lillee allright but has trouble against a less accurate and less predictable bowler like Thomson. Portisch could play the top players because he could guess their moves but he could struggle against the less predictable tailenders.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy 77th birthday to GM Lajos Portisch!
Oct-27-14  Zugzwangovich: Was there ever any other player who could lay claim to having beaten Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Keres in the same tournament?
Nov-21-14  zanzibar: According to this site:

<Now thereís a name thatís unknown to a lot of players today, [...]>

Can that possibly be true?

(Wonder who conducts the surveys to determine this)

Tartajubow finishes with links to the two part Chessbase interview found in the bio above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame> - Lajos Portisch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <He approaches the chess board as if about to perform a sacrament, and when one watches his deep concentration at play, even his silence seems different from the silence of the others> - (on Portisch) - Grigor Piatigorsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The best decisions in chess are always those that are supported by accurate calculation> - Lajos Portisch.
Jun-05-15  ToTheDeath: <Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame> - Lajos Portisch.

This advice is definitely outdated... nowadays it's not enough to put your pieces on good squares and hope for the best. You have to play to win from the start.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ToTheDeath: <Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame> - Lajos Portisch. This advice is definitely outdated... nowadays it's not enough to put your pieces on good squares and hope for the best. You have to play to win from the start.>

Well, it remains valid advice to amateurs, to whom I assume it was addressed. It's not as if he played that way himself.

Jun-05-15  ToTheDeath: Good point. Out of context that quotation can be easily misread.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: If your pieces ARE properly developed, it is better to form attacks.

I think Little Paulie morphy taught us that trick.

Jun-05-15  Everett: Reaching playable middlegames <while assidiously avoiding your opponents prep> is the magic recipe of Carlsen. Seems the above advice is still quite valid with a little tweaking.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Everett: Reaching playable middlegames <while assidiously avoiding your opponents prep> is the magic recipe of Carlsen. Seems the above advice is still quite valid with a little tweaking.>

That has definitely been Carlsen's approach but I think he is getting more ambitious in the opening. This game seemed like more or less straight prep. Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2015

Quite a contrast with Carlsen vs Kramnik, 2013.

Jun-05-15  Everett: <keypusher> I agree. Do you think match preparation changes things, especially WC prep, compared to tournament prep? If so, I agree.
Oct-04-15  Helios727: Why are there 7 games between Portish and Karpov from 8/31/1975 to 9/14/1975 ? That is a lot of games in a 15 day period.
Oct-04-15  Helios727: And I would add that they are all in Milan.
Jan-28-16  HSOL: >Helios727>: Check this tournament page, Milan (1975). An unusual format for a chess tournament with a round robin and then a playoff with semifinals and final.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Lajos Portisch!!
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 7)
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific player and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2016, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies