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Viktor Korchnoi
Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 4,416
Years covered: 1945 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2499
Highest rating achieved in database: 2695

Overall record: +1688 -672 =1730 (62.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 326 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (267) 
    E99 E81 E60 E94 E80
 English (231) 
    A15 A13 A17 A14 A10
 Nimzo Indian (189) 
    E32 E21 E42 E54 E50
 English, 1 c4 c5 (144) 
    A30 A33 A34 A31 A35
 English, 1 c4 e5 (132) 
    A28 A29 A22 A25 A20
 Queen's Gambit Declined (121) 
    D30 D37 D31 D35 D38
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (390) 
    C11 C07 C02 C09 C19
 Sicilian (265) 
    B45 B44 B83 B32 B56
 Queen's Indian (170) 
    E12 E16 E15 E17 E19
 Nimzo Indian (163) 
    E32 E46 E34 E54 E21
 Ruy Lopez (160) 
    C80 C83 C77 C82 C81
 Grunfeld (140) 
    D85 D94 D91 D97 D86
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Korchnoi vs Tal, 1962 1-0
   Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1994 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Udovcic, 1967 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1948 1-0
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1974 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1977 1-0
   Spassky vs Korchnoi, 1977 0-1
   S Tatai vs Korchnoi, 1978 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship (1978)
   Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament 2001/02 (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Bucharest (1954)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   IBM Amsterdam (1972)
   Buenos Aires (Konex) (1979)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   USSR Championship (1952)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Korchnoi! (i) The Early Years (1956-1984) by amadeus
   Victor Korchnoi in Olympiads by capybara
   Victor Korchnoi in Olympiads by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by Gottschalk
   Korch.noise by fredthebear
   Challenger Korchnoy by Gottschalk
   My Best Games (Korchnoi) by Qindarka
   French Korchnoi II by AuDo
   Run for the Championship - Viktor Korchnoi by Fischer of Men
   JoseTigranTalFischer's favorite games by JoseTigranTalFischer
   French Korchnoi III by AuDo
   Fictional Atticus Finch Subpoenaed Fredthebear by fredthebear
   On My Great Predecessors 5 (Kasparov) by Incremental

   🏆 Korchnoi-Uhlmann Rapid Match
   Korchnoi vs Uhlmann (Feb-16-15) 0-1, rapid
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (Feb-16-15) 0-1, rapid
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (Feb-15-15) 1-0, rapid
   Korchnoi vs Uhlmann (Feb-15-15) 1-0, rapid
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (2014) 0-1

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Viktor Korchnoi
Search Google for Viktor Korchnoi

(born Mar-23-1931, died Jun-06-2016, 85 years old) Russia (federation/nationality Switzerland)
[what is this?]

Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi was born in Leningrad, USSR. His father taught him chess when he was seven years old. He won the Soviet Championship four times: USSR Championship (1960), USSR Championship (1962), USSR Championship (1964/65) and USSR Championship (1970). He made eight appearances in the world championship candidates cycle. He reached the Spassky - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1968), but failed to beat Spassky. In the next cycle he won his quarterfinal Korchnoi - Geller Candidates Quarterfinal (1971), but lost his semifinal match to Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian. He made it to the Karpov - Korchnoi Candidates Final (1974), but lost.

Korchnoi defected from the USSR in 1976, and two years later he finally managed to win the Candidates and qualify for the Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978). Trailing late with just two victories to Karpov's five, Korchnoi staged a comeback, winning three games to level the score at 5-5. However, Karpov then won the final game, thereby taking the match and retaining the crown. Korchnoi qualified again for the Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981), but was beaten 6-2. In the next Candidates cycle he was beaten by the rising young Soviet star Garry Kasparov. He continued to play at a very high level throughout the 1980s and 1990s, though he never contended for the world title again. He did, however, capture the 2006 World Seniors' Championship, scoring nine points out of eleven games. Though never World Champion himself, Korchnoi defeated nine players who at some time held the title: Petrosian, Spassky, Karpov, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Robert James Fischer, Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen.

After defecting, Korchnoi settled in Switzerland, which he represented at Olympiads and other international events. He was ranked in the top 100 on the FIDE world rating list as late as January 2007 (aged 75), the oldest player ever so ranked.

Korchnoi suffered a stroke in December 2012, but returned to competitive chess beginning in 2014. He died in Wohlen, Switzerland on June 6, 2016, aged 85.

Wikipedia article: Viktor Korchnoi

 page 1 of 177; games 1-25 of 4,416  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. D Rovner vs Korchnoi 1-0201945LeningradC45 Scotch Game
2. Zikov vs Korchnoi 0-1201946LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
3. Petrosian vs Korchnoi 1-0231946LeningradA90 Dutch
4. Korchnoi vs Razov 1-0271946LeningradC50 Giuoco Piano
5. V Shiyanovsky vs Korchnoi 0-1351947LeningradD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. L Aronson vs Korchnoi 0-1431947LeningradD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. Y Vasilchuk vs Korchnoi 0-1601947LeningradB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
8. Korchnoi vs S Giterman 1-0361948TallinnC07 French, Tarrasch
9. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-0121948LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
10. Korchnoi vs N Levin 1-0311949URS-ch qfE03 Catalan, Open
11. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-1321949LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
12. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-1511949LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
13. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-0181949MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
14. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-1421949MoscowA90 Dutch
15. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-0301949URS-ch qfD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16. Korchnoi vs I Pogrebissky  ½-½431950URS-ch sfB55 Sicilian, Prins Variation, Venice Attack
17. N Bakulin vs Korchnoi 0-1391950URS-ch qfB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
18. Korchnoi vs Cherepkov 1-0681950Leningrad ch-cityC58 Two Knights
19. Korchnoi vs G Borisenko 0-1381950URS-ch sfC34 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Korchnoi vs O Moiseev 0-1411950URS-ch sfB57 Sicilian
21. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-1341950URS-ch qfD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-1351950LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
23. Korchnoi vs G Goldberg 1-0411950URS-ch sfA02 Bird's Opening
24. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-1441950LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
25. Korchnoi vs E Polyak 1-0331950URS-ch sfC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
 page 1 of 177; games 1-25 of 4,416  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Korchnoi wins | Korchnoi loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 98 OF 98 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-15-17  Howard: You didn't specify exactly which game this was, but presumably it was the last game of their, aborted, 1974 match. It was the ONLY Sicilian that was played in their three matches!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Lambda: <One thing that might give guys like Pillsbury and Rubinstein extra credit is that they had decent records against their world champion peers but never had the chance to be world champion.>

You have to be careful with that sort of measure, because it could easily just mean players who always made a special effort against the world champion, as opposed to players who put equal effort into all of their games in a tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <keypusher:...

Glad that's settled! :-)>

No problem. I like to settle these age-old controversies in one fell swoop, so we are still not discussing this in 2027.

Sep-15-17  SChesshevsky: The idea that guys like Rubinstein and Pillsbury might be given extra consideration toward the top of the heap of non-champions is because unlike players like Tarrasch and Korchnoi who couldn't close the deal and others like Keres, Geller, Reshevsky who had opportunities to try for a title fight but failed in the prelims, Pillsbury and Rubinstein never got the opportunity.

Most agree that of the players around at the time Pillsbury and Rubinstein deserved a title shot and their records against the champions seemed to indicate that a championship match would've been competitive.

Plus it appears Rubinstein had a match set but the war interrupted and I guess Pillsbury wanted one but Lasker never called him back.

So there was the potential, with odds that can certainly be debated, that either Pillsbury and/or Rubinstein could've been a world champion which would've automatically taken them out of this discussion and put them a level above.

So it seems a bit unfair that they were unlucky enough not to get a deserved shot at the champion but are also begrudged a little extra credit from their misfortune for a higher spot on the list of second bananas.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Petrosianic: Just for grins, here are the 20 highest rated players on Chessmetrics (based on 1-year highs), who never became World Champion, with the number of months that they spent in the ChessMetrics #1 spot in parentheses).

...Maroczy (30 months).>

That is a very interesting list. It is also the ONLY time I have ever heard Maroczy's name mentioned in any list of WWCs (Weren't World Champions).

If he is reading this from the quasi-celestial abode wherein he sometime dwelleth, I bet he does a simply colossal Spectral Hungarian James-Finlayson-style Double Take.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Plus it appears Rubinstein had a match set but the war interrupted and I guess Pillsbury wanted one but Lasker never called him back.>

There was no voice mail in the 1890s. I'm not aware of Pillsbury ever challenging Lasker. But I'd love to know more, if there's more to know.

Sep-16-17  SChesshevsky: On Pillsbury's page here at chessgames, it mention's the desire to take on Lasker. I didn't bother to investigate it further.

There was no voice mail when I graduated high school.

Speaking of Maroczy, it appears he also wanted a match with Lasker but that didn't happen either.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <SChesshevsky: On Pillsbury's page here at chessgames, it mention's the desire to take on Lasker. I didn't bother to investigate it further. There was no voice mail when I graduated high school.

Speaking of Maroczy, it appears he also wanted a match with Lasker but that didn't happen either.>

As with many things, you don't get a world championship match by just wanting it.

Maroczy came a lot closer to getting one than Pillsbury. A Maroczy-Lasker match was scheduled to take place in 1906(?) in Havana but fell apart because of political disruption, I think. Then Maroczy stopped playing competitive chess for about 15 years, whether out of frustration with Lasker or for other reasons I can't say.

Sep-16-17  Howard: Tamar seems to be assuming that the North Koreans will not have wiped out the entire world before 2027, but I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Howard: Tamar seems to be assuming that the North Koreans will not have wiped out the entire world before 2027, but I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens.>

Just in terms of capabilities, we here in the US of A are a much bigger threat than the North Koreans in that respect, Howard.

Sep-16-17  Howard: Of course! But, that doesn't necessarily mean that the ever-cordial North Koreans can't set up a nuclear holocaust.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Some interesting anecdotes here, some of them about Korchnoi.

<Petrosianic> posted the link in one of the Korchnoi-Petrosian 1974 match games. I got it from him.

Feb-07-18  posoo: korchnoi likes 👘👟🎩🐶
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: While <Petrosianic>'s list is interesting, how can he include such players as Zukertort, Kamsky, Nimzovich, Janowsky???, Morozevich & Marshall, yet not include Super Nez??? Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov

In any case, if I had to pick the one best player to never be World Champ (instead of creating an unwieldly list of also-rans) I'd choose Bronstein, absolutely no question


Mar-23-18  cunctatorg: There is not so fascinating chess player like Korchnoi nowadays, not even close!...

There is not any citizen of the Kingdom of Chess like Korchnoi nowadays, not even close!...

At least we have the chance of these comparisons; that's some part of Korchnoi's legacy.

Mar-23-18  botvinnik64: Happy Birthday Victor the Terrible!!!
You have passed, but will never be forgotten. I remember our battles...
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Sosonko has written a biography of Korchnoi. There sre excerpts and a review at

<Korchnoi's escape to the West is a political humiliation and an insult for Soviet officials and they retaliate with all their power to punish the "Evil-Doer".>

And that is the title, "Evil-Doer".

Chessbase comments:
<Sosonko's reflections, comments, background information, and his benevolent view of the strenghts and weaknesses of Korchnoi connect and unite these stories and turn Evil-Doer into a very readable and entertaining book.>

Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi
by Genna Sosonko
ISBN-10: 5950043383
ISBN-13: 978-5950043383

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Korchnoi looks like the brother of Richard Feynman in that photo.

Can it be a pure coincidence that "evil-doer" is an anagram of both "doe-liver" and "red olive"?

Hint: the answer is "Yes"

Finally, Sosonko's book is expensive. I bought some of his e-books on Amazon for 9 or 10 clams.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyke: Peter Svidler tells a cool Korchnoi story:

Enjoy; without spoiling anything, it's basically about Victor's endless fighting spirit - much to the chagrin of his teammates.

Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: It's interesting that Korchnoi had excellent results against 1.e4 with every move but 1...e5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: <gezafan> I think he had a rather good score on the black side of the open Ruy Lopez, which, during his long career, he played quite a few games in, I believe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Korchnoi's record in this DB with Black in the Open was +23 -22 =50, with many of those losses coming from the mid 1990s onwards, when his play had clearly declined. Prior to 1995-6, he enjoyed a significant plus with the line.

Jan-13-19  KID Slayer: Viktor is undoubtedly my favorite player ever. I admire his style to counterattack more aggressive folks like Tal or outmaneuver his equally positional foes such as Karpov. His games using the French as Black and beating the KID as White especially stand out to me.

My faves are his immortal against Tal and when he humiliates Karpov in epic fashion as below.

Korchnoi vs Tal, 1962

Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1994

Jan-13-19  JimNorCal: Who is behind Korchnoi, out of focus, in the photo ... perhaps Robatsch?
Jan-13-19  JimNorCal: From tga's 2/7/18 link to ChessDryad

Korchnoi played beautifully to achieve three wins, one loss, and one draw in the first five games against Tigran Petrosian in Odessa, April 12-24, 1974. Just after the fourth game Tigran Petrosian went to the match committee and requested in writing that Victor Korchnoi be asked not to move his leg up and down beneath the table so much! It was just a Korchnoi nervous habit and did not seem to disturb anything really. No noise or offence intended probably. But Petrosian mentioned that Korchnoi had actually kicked him beneath the table while reaching out to make a move. Surely it was an accident.... Korchnoi knew absolutely nothing of Petrosian's complaint throughout the night, and it was only upon arriving for the fifth game that he was shocked by the formal request to quit moving his leg in a kicking motion beneath the table! Korchnoi was furious but did not say anything to his opponent, beginning to make moves against Petrosian in the fifth game. You're not going to believe what happened next and at the worst possible moment. Petrosian, while shifting in the chair to adjust his hearing aid, kicked Victor Korchnoi accidentally! As match officials looked on with complete horror and silence. Everybody knew the match could explode any second. Korchnoi, now thoroughly in flames, sat there for a second and found what has to be one of the truly great one-liner punch outs of all times... "Mister Petrosian, please look for your match chances above the chess table rather than below it." That's the real story, how a great match really ended -- never reported by the wire services. Petrosian exploded, refused to continue the fifth game, and resigned the match forthwith.

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