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Lajos Portisch
Photograph copyright © 2006 Milan Kovacs (  
Number of games in database: 2,765
Years covered: 1955 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2467 (2426 rapid)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2655

Overall record: +945 -418 =1373 (59.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 29 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (202) 
    E92 E62 E60 E97 E81
 Nimzo Indian (144) 
    E41 E54 E57 E30 E55
 Queen's Indian (123) 
    E12 E14 E15 E17 E19
 Grunfeld (86) 
    D97 D78 D92 D85 D94
 English (86) 
    A17 A14 A10 A15 A16
 Queen's Gambit Declined (84) 
    D37 D35 D31 D38 D30
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (301) 
    B43 B42 B47 B97 B46
 Ruy Lopez (163) 
    C95 C92 C93 C69 C72
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (101) 
    C95 C92 C93 C85 C94
 Nimzo Indian (90) 
    E41 E38 E54 E55 E21
 Queen's Indian (87) 
    E12 E15 E19 E17 E14
 French Defense (82) 
    C18 C16 C09 C02 C01
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Portisch vs Petrosian, 1967 1-0
   Portisch vs de Firmian, 1989 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 Petrosian, 1974 1-0
   Portisch vs Karpov, 1975 1/2-1/2
   Suba vs Portisch, 1984 0-1
   Keres vs Portisch, 1967 0-1
   Portisch vs I Radulov, 1969 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   San Antonio (1972)
   Las Palmas (1972)
   Hoogovens (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)
   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 JoseTigranTalFischer
   Selected Games of Lajos Portisch by StuporMoundi
   Exchange sacs - 4 by obrit
   Grandmaster Portisch by keywiz84
   My Secrets in the Ruy Lopez (Portisch) by Qindarka
   Milan 1975 by suenteus po 147
   Milan 1975 by JoseTigranTalFischer

   🏆 1st MVM Chess Cup
   Portisch vs R Rapport (2014) 0-1
   R Rapport vs Portisch (2014) 1-0
   Portisch vs R Rapport (2014) 0-1
   R Rapport vs Portisch (2014) 1/2-1/2
   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, 81 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 2,765  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. K Honfi vs Portisch  0-1411955HUN-ch 11thB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
2. S Johannessen vs Portisch  ½-½261955AntwerpC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
3. Portisch vs E Gereben  1-0411955HUN-ch 11thE89 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox Main line
4. Szabo vs Portisch 1-0401955HUN chE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
5. J Foldi vs Portisch  ½-½251955HUN-ch 11thB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
6. Portisch vs F Csiszar  1-0481955Voros LobogoD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
7. Portisch vs Benko  0-1361955HUN-ch 11thE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
8. G Barcza vs Portisch  ½-½261955HUN-ch 11thE42 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein)
9. Portisch vs F Koberl  1-0471955Voros LobogoA44 Old Benoni Defense
10. Portisch vs T Florian  1-0661955HUN-ch 11thB53 Sicilian
11. M Bely vs Portisch  1-0631955HUN-ch 11thC45 Scotch Game
12. Portisch vs Mednis  ½-½501955Wch U20 final-AA40 Queen's Pawn Game
13. Portisch vs P Dely 1-0221955HUN-ch 11thA69 Benoni, Four Pawns Attack, Main line
14. L Tipary vs Portisch  ½-½891955HUN-ch 11thA43 Old Benoni
15. F Jenei vs Portisch  ½-½571955HUN-ch 11thD02 Queen's Pawn Game
16. Portisch vs I Bilek  0-1511955HUN-ch 11thB40 Sicilian
17. S Schweber vs Portisch  0-1381955Wch U20 final-AE41 Nimzo-Indian
18. Portisch vs L Hallstrom  ½-½331955Wch U20 final-AD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
19. Spassky vs Portisch  1-0361955Wch U20 final-AE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
20. Portisch vs Tringov  ½-½401955Wch U20 prel-BE97 King's Indian
21. Portisch vs K Lloyd  ½-½411955Wch U20 prel-BE75 King's Indian, Averbakh, Main line
22. Portisch vs M Donia  1-0541955Wch U20 prel-BE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
23. Tringov vs Portisch  ½-½631955Wch U20 final-AB88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
24. Portisch vs J van Oosterom  1-0381955Wch U20 final-AA44 Old Benoni Defense
25. Portisch vs S Johannessen  1-0351955Wch U20 final-AB10 Caro-Kann
 page 1 of 111; games 1-25 of 2,765  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Portisch wins | Portisch loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <nikolaas/Dillinger> All of the above are fine choices -- and I would add also Charousek. (At least.)

My list was by no means exhaustive; I highlited Maroczy as I like both his play and the way he faced life.

I just plain out spaced on Breyer. He was a revolutionary chess thinker, but I was looking along the lines of a championship calliber play.

Reti and Benko are "multinationals" so I kind of passed by them too. While Reti is an all time favorite of mine I knew next to nothing about Benko's play and thoughts untill very recently. Only about a month ago I read Benko's book on chess psychology and I liked his writing and games there.

I rooted for Leko in the Kramnik match, and he exceeded expectations pretty much throughout the match, except for his dear-in-headlight play in the last game (and one or two early draws up to that point). His conduct off the board was impecable throughout. We will see how he proceeds from here on.

As for Polgar sisters: It was absolutely shameful how some appartchiks of hungarian chess federation tried to block their progress (particularly Zuza's) and "put them in their place". Interestingly, Judith and Zuza play quite different chess. While Judith brilliance reminds one of Alekhine, I found also very pleasurable to watch Zuza dismantle her oponents (during the Olympiad) with the logic of Rubinstein.

Jan-14-05  dryden: Hungarian all time favourites of mine:
1. Lajos Portisch (who once sang several bars of a magyar folk song over the phone to the referee of the K-K match to prove he was Anatoly's coach) 2. Laszlo Szabo (3 times a candidate - brilliant attacking player) 3. Geza Maroczy
4. Farago (always plays the French)
5. Forintos
Jan-14-05  percyblakeney: <Hungarian all time favourites> Isidor Gunsberg is my choice. Losing 4-6 (with nine draws) against Steinitz in a match for the World Championship was no bad result, even if he maybe was counted as an Englishman by then.
Jan-17-05  nikolaas: <gypsy> I have to agree that it's a pleasure to study his endgames. Especially those two against Marshall.
Feb-15-05  Dudley: Portisch is a very solid strategic player so many of his games don't have the brilliant touch of a Kasparov, but they are probably more realistic for the average player to emulate. In the aforementioned new book, Benko relates that Portisch did not think much of his own tactical ability, comparing it to a typical master ranked player. It's positional play and strategy that allow him to play and sometimes beat the highest ranked players. Btw, there seems to be a lot of contempt here for players like Portisch that would beat almost anyone on this website routinely.
Apr-04-05  skakmiv: Today, Portisch turns 68.
Jun-19-05  Caissanist: As I remember it, Portisch was on the wrong end of a lot of brilliant *comebacks*, rather than brilliancies in general. He was the best in his generation at planning and preparing openings, arguably better even than Fischer; so long as the game followed his plans he would totally crush his opponent. But if something happened that he had not foreseen then he became a completely different player. He would then make not just tactical but positional errors as well.

Several times I have heard him described as "panicking" when things did not go as expected. It may be that he simply didn't have the kind of mind that couldn't adjust to surprises quickly enough.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OneArmedScissor: I have yet to see a picture of Mr. Portisch. Anyone care to post a link to a picture of him? Thanks
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: For picture, go to google link on this site ( better to strike chess after his name ) and do a google " images" search. You'll come up with some decent pictures of Lajos at various times during his career. Paul Albert
Aug-01-05  WMD: Another excerpt from the NIC interview:

Q: One of the reasons why you wore this this black suit against Fischer was that it was Sunday. Has it ever been a problem for you to be a Catholic in a socialist country?

P: Actually never, because they never dared say anything about it. When they realized I was a religious person I was already a well-known chess player. For example, the morning after we had won the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires in '78, me and two other players ran into the chief of the Hungarian delegation in the hall of the hotel. Well, he was a nice man, but a strong communist. And he said, 'Where are you going?' And I said, 'To church to give thanks that we won the Olympiad.' And his answer was, 'Yes, well done, well done. Go, go.' (Laughs) It was a bit funny and we started to laugh, well, smile at least, that a communist leader should say something like that.'

Aug-01-05  Koster: Posiibly because socialism and catholicism are so similar. Both are absolutist and demand obedience to a centralized beauracracy.
Aug-01-05  WMD: <beauracracy> 6/10 for effort.
Aug-03-05  weirdoid: This is not fully chess related, but I cannot refrain from posting it.

Was Portisch the strongest (again, strongest, not best) chessplayer of his day? You judge!

Nov-09-05  EmperorAtahualpa: <weirdoid> Your link doesn't work! Could you correct it please?
Jan-06-06  chessmaster pro: <EmperorAtahualpa>yes it works are u connected??or maybe you have a virus
Jan-09-06  Caissanist: Hehe, nice anecdote. The directory that contains the link that <weirdoid> gave has been moved to another site, and it looks like there's a redirection problem. The correct new link is
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <it was Russia who liberated Hungary>. The Soviets had an unfortunate tenancy to turn their liberated countries into Soviets Pawns. After 11 years of Soviet freedom, came 1956. I well remember the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and the savage Soviet response.
Feb-04-06  Dozy: As a member of a Sydney Hungarian chess club I had the good fortune to play a simul against Portisch when he was in Australia in 1971 for a GM tournament. I've been a Portisch fan ever since. I don't remember much about the game except that his b2 bishop kept its malevolent eye on my position the whole time. It didn't actually DO anything, it just watched, but boy, how it watched! There's a short piece about it at
Mar-16-06  Caissanist: All four of Portisch's "notable" draws are games where he should have won and got swindled, ouch.
Mar-16-06  Hafen Slawkenbergius: Reading Caissanist from June 19th, doesn't it seem as if Leko and Portisch have much in common, far more than their nationality?
Apr-04-06  BIDMONFA: Lajos Portisch


Apr-04-06  Catfriend: Happy birthday, Mr.Portisch!
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Dozy> I also played against Portisch in 1971 in a simul in Canberra. I had been playing chess for a couple of years since high school and mine was one of the last games to finish when I lost (needlessly I might add) a Queen pawn ending.

I don't have the score for that game any more, but I do remember Portisch regretfully taking advantage of my blunder as I had played really well up till then.

He was my favourite GM for a while after that and I truly hoped he could do well in the Candidates cycle.

Boldog szuletesnapot, GM Portisch!

Apr-04-06  drukenknight: <Several times I have heard him described as "panicking" when things did not go as expected. It may be that he simply didn't have the kind of mind that couldn't adjust to surprises quickly enough.>

This sounds about right. If you read his comments to his game vs Fischer, the Nimzo Indian at Santa Monica 1966, he sounds as if there is nothing he can do after the sack of Q for 2 rooks. His comments are fatalistic.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: late happy birthday for Lajos Portisch, the man with the - until know - most Chess Olympic appearances (twenty times: 1956-74, 78-88, 92-96 & 2000): the hungarian regular was also a strong contender in the Interzonals: eight times qualified as a Candidate (but never made the final).
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