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

Ratmir Kholmov
Number of games in database: 2,274
Years covered: 1946 to 2005
Last FIDE rating: 2432
Highest rating achieved in database: 2555

Overall record: +737 -339 =1187 (58.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 11 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (403) 
    B91 B40 B80 B33 B30
 Ruy Lopez (124) 
    C85 C78 C88 C80 C69
 French Defense (96) 
    C06 C05 C03 C02 C01
 French Tarrasch (65) 
    C06 C05 C03 C09 C07
 Sicilian Najdorf (61) 
    B91 B90 B92 B99 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (57) 
    C85 C88 C96 C84 C89
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (201) 
    C92 C77 C95 C91 C87
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (142) 
    C92 C95 C91 C87 C88
 Nimzo Indian (141) 
    E55 E32 E54 E21 E20
 Queen's Indian (69) 
    E17 E16 E19 E12 E14
 English (66) 
    A17 A14 A15 A13 A10
 Bogo Indian (64) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kholmov vs Bronstein, 1965 1-0
   Kholmov vs Keres, 1959 1-0
   Fischer vs Kholmov, 1965 0-1
   Bagirov vs Kholmov, 1961 0-1
   Uhlmann vs Kholmov, 1960 0-1
   T Wiesniak vs Kholmov, 1991 0-1
   Spassky vs Kholmov, 1957 1/2-1/2
   Kholmov vs W Golz, 1956 1-0
   Keres vs Kholmov, 1948 1/2-1/2
   Estrin vs Kholmov, 1955 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1963)
   Bucharest (1954)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1967)
   Skopje (1967)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   Havana (1965)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   USSR Championship (1969)
   USSR Championship (1949)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)
   USSR Championship (1948)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Cool Moves by Kholmov by Resignation Trap
   Ratmir Kholmov - Selected Games 1945-1957 by Resignation Trap

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Ratmir Kholmov
Search Google for Ratmir Kholmov

(born May-13-1925, died Feb-18-2006, 80 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Ratmir Dmitrievich Kholmov was born in Shenkursk. He learned chess at age 12, and it took him only a couple of years to reach master level. He was awarded the Soviet master title in 1950. He became a FIDE international master in 1954, and a FIDE grandmaster in 1960. Kholmov was not well known in the West, for during his peak, he was confined to events in communist countries. This may have been for "security reasons", as Kholmov had been a wartime sailor.

He played in the final of the Soviet Championship sixteen times between 1948 and 1972. In 1963 he tied for first in this event with Boris Spassky and Leonid Stein (who ultimately won the playoff). Two years later he scored one of his finest international results, finishing sole fifth, undefeated, at the 21-round Capablanca Memorial in Havana. A formidable attacking player, he was able to record victories against Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Robert James Fischer and Garry Kasparov during a distinguished career that remained in progress until his death in 2006.

The Kholmov Gambit in the Petrov Defense (C42) (1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘f6 3.♘xe5 ♘xe4?! 4.♕e2 ♕e7) is named after him, although this is probably a misattribution stemming from the game Kholmov vs A Belousov, 1974 in which he dramatically refuted this dubious defense.

Wikipedia article: Ratmir Kholmov

 page 1 of 91; games 1-25 of 2,274  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kholmov vs M Aizenshtadt  1-0431946First Category TournamentB24 Sicilian, Closed
2. Kholmov vs Kasparian  0-1781947URS-ch sfA46 Queen's Pawn Game
3. Kholmov vs Ravinsky  0-1451947URS-ch sfA48 King's Indian
4. Bastrikov vs Kholmov 0-1311947YaroslavlA30 English, Symmetrical
5. Averbakh vs Kholmov 1-0261947URS-ch sfA15 English
6. Kholmov vs E Zagorjansky  1-0671947URS-ch sfE17 Queen's Indian
7. Kholmov vs Nezhmetdinov 0-1611947All-Union Candidate Master TtA46 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Kholmov vs Kan 1-0771947URS-ch sfE12 Queen's Indian
9. Kholmov vs Konstantinopolsky  1-0361947URS-ch sfD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
10. Simagin vs Kholmov 1-0601947Ch URS (1/2 final)E19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
11. Petrosian vs Kholmov 0-1721947URS-ch sfE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
12. Ragozin vs Kholmov 1-0221947MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
13. Kholmov vs Boleslavsky 0-1301947MoscowA48 King's Indian
14. Pachman vs Kholmov 1-0311947MoscowD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Kholmov vs Keres 0-1401947MoscowA32 English, Symmetrical Variation
16. P Trifunovic vs Kholmov  ½-½211947MoscowE17 Queen's Indian
17. Kholmov vs Bondarevsky 1-0681947MoscowD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
18. C Kottnauer vs Kholmov  ½-½421947MoscowA43 Old Benoni
19. Kholmov vs Gligoric 0-1601947MoscowD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
20. Botvinnik vs Kholmov  1-0301947MoscowE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
21. Kholmov vs Novotelnov  0-1521947MoscowC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. K Plater vs Kholmov  0-1551947MoscowC01 French, Exchange
23. Kholmov vs A Tsvetkov  1-0501947MoscowE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
24. Sokolsky vs Kholmov  ½-½801947MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
25. Kotov vs Kholmov ½-½961947MoscowA56 Benoni Defense
 page 1 of 91; games 1-25 of 2,274  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kholmov wins | Kholmov loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Darth> With the possible exception of Tal's being dropped by the Soviet federation for their side in Tel Aviv 1964, I suspect they generally didn't mess with players whom they believed were title contenders. Kholmov wasn't quite in that class, formidable a player as he was.

Tal, despite his drinking and the perceived taint of his Jewish origins, behaved well from the federation's point of view. They were willing, as with Botvinnik, Korchnoi and Kasparov, to overlook ethnic considerations, as keeping a firm grasp on the world crown was paramount.

May-13-11  WhiteRook48: happy birthday
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Regarding Kholmov being suspended by the Soviet Chess Federation for a year, I believe that is a reference to this incident, which Kholmov tells his side of in Sosonko's <Smart Chip from St. Petersburg>:

<I underestimated myself in those days, believing that all the other chess players were potentially stronger. So it turned out that Bronstein played a World Championship match in '51 and I was disqualified in the same year. For what? We were sitting around at a tournament, that's Tarasov, Nezhmetdinov and me, drinking, and two chicks came up to us. Well, Rashid was kid of in the way, eh was about fifteen years older than Tarasov and me. You turn off the tap recorder now, turn it off, can you imagine if my wife reads this...

Anyway, basically, Rashid was flushed, he was drunk, of course, he went out to the balcony and started throwing crockery off it--vases and plates. When Nezhmetdiniov drank he had all kinds of psychoses, he'd lie down under a tram or some other dumb thing. On this occasion nothing would have happened, other than the noise of the plates, but Kotov had to stick his nose into it. He started asking questions and whatever. There was an uproar, and the police came. To cut a long story short, they summoned all three of us to Moscow, to see Rodionov, who was chairman of the Sports Committee. Nezhmetdinov grovelled before him, and they decided to pardon him as he was a party member, but Tarasov and I were disqualified for a year. They also cancelled my stipend, which I received as a member of the national team.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: In the same book Kholmov also says that his reputation as a defender was primarily due to a lack of opening knowledge: <Everyone says I'm a defender, a congenital defender. You'll become a defender if you don't know any theory and your regularly get bad positions after the opening. You'll potter about--as Black, almost always--in your own trenches.>
May-23-11  Everyone: Kholmov is really a defender, a congenital defender.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <DarthStapler> Tarasov was also suspended with Kholmov see my post at Vitaly Georgievich Tarasov
Jun-22-12  Call Me TC: <In the same book Kholmov also says that...> he played a four game training match against Bronstein prior to his 1951 WC match with Botvinnik and that he scored +1 =3 but the moves of these games are lost. The <> DB has Kholmov with a positive score (+4 -2) against Bronstein.
Jun-22-12  Petrosianic: Chicks? Do Russians say "chicks"? To describe girls, I mean. I suppose they would to describe those things that come out of eggs in the barnyard. I had no idea that Ratmir was such a hip dude.
Jun-22-12  Petrosianic: From this story, it doesn't sound like he was suspended for drinking. It sounds like he was suspended for being involved in a disturbance in which the police were summoned.

But in true Soviet fashion, they pardoned the guy who causd the disturbance and banned the two bystanders. It sounds like alcohol was only indirectly involved.

Part of it probably depends on where this tournament was played. If they got into enough trouble in a Western country that the police had to be called in, you'd expect the authorities to look badly on that. Especially if, when the police got there, Kholmov and Tarasov were involved with two hookers (he didn't quite say that explicitly, but I'm reading between the lines, with that bit about "what if my wife reads this").

So, it sounds like he was probably suspended for being caught by the police with a hooker in a western country. Not for drinking too much.

Jun-22-12  Petrosianic: Maybe I should take back what I said about "true Soviet fashion". If Nezhmetdinov was only responsible for the fact that the police were summoned, but Kholmov and Tarasov were responsible for what the police found when they got there, then it might have been quite reasonable to come down harder on them than on Nezhmetdinov.
Oct-22-13  Wyatt Gwyon: This dude seems like he was an interesting character.
Nov-30-13  Everett: <Bronstein vs Kholmov, 1957>

Regarding that long think vs Tal in 1957...

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: I was not here
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Peak ranking #8 in the world, beat Fischer, Keres and Bronstein, peak rating 2555. And people say there is no such thing as rating inflation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Ah, so that explains one of the bumps on the road encountered by (K)holmov during his career.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Rest in peace, GM Ratmir Kholmov.
Feb-18-16  morfishine: <MarmotPFL> The term "rating inflation" is misleading since the term is associated to monetary inflation, which is caused by an artificial increase in the money supply brought on by printing fake, or fiat money. Ratings can go up and not necessarily be "inflated" and a true strength, relative, is preserved

I could care less about numbers

I like results

Good day sir


Feb-18-16  greed and death: Elo isn't meant to be a measure of absolute strength, but a measure of strength relative to other players.

Therefore, a 100-point Elo gap between two players in 1970 shows a strength difference equivalent to a 100-point gap between two players today.

The actual numerical value of the Elo rating means nothing unless compared with another's Elo over the same time period, making comparisons between two players from different eras based on Elo meaningless.

Feb-18-16  Shams: <Therefore, a 100-point Elo gap between two players in 1970 shows a strength difference equivalent to a 100-point gap between two players today.>

I don't think this follows at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Reading the above, I think Kholmov was a more colorful character than the <CG> portrait portrays:


May-13-17  gars: It seems Kholmov was a very strong player who had very few chances of playing outside the URSS. Is there any book about his games? Anyway, my congratulations on his birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Seconded
May-13-17  morfishine: Kholmov was an excellent player and of course we remember his game vs Fischer where Kholmov played his famous preparation, then saw it backfire in his face: Kholmov vs Fischer, 1967

Oh well, can't win'em all


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: One of my favorite old Soviet school players. Forceful, dynamic play.

Here's Kholmov taking care of teenager GK:

Kholmov vs Kasparov, 1978

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Anyone else out there who beat both Fischer and Kasparov and was not himself a world champion? Ah, yeah, Larsen and Korchnoi. But Kholmov played Fischer only twice, and Kasparov only once.
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 5)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  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 2001-2017, Chessgames Services LLC