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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 (266) 
    E99 E60 E81 E94 E80
 English (230) 
    A15 A13 A17 A14 A16
 Nimzo Indian (190) 
    E32 E42 E21 E50 E46
 English, 1 c4 c5 (144) 
    A30 A33 A34 A31 A35
 English, 1 c4 e5 (132) 
    A28 A29 A22 A25 A20
 Orthodox Defense (110) 
    D55 D50 D58 D51 D54
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (389) 
    C11 C07 C02 C09 C19
 Sicilian (279) 
    B44 B83 B32 B89 B45
 Queen's Indian (170) 
    E12 E16 E15 E17 E19
 Ruy Lopez (160) 
    C80 C83 C77 C82 C81
 Nimzo Indian (158) 
    E32 E46 E34 E21 E44
 Grunfeld (141) 
    D85 D94 D91 D97 D90
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
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978 1-0
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 0-1
   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)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Bucharest (1954)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Buenos Aires (Konex) (1979)
   Palma de Mallorca (1972)
   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 JoseTigranTalFischer
   Victor Korchnoi in Olympiads by capybara
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by Gottschalk
   Challenger Korchnoy by Gottschalk
   Korch.noi by fredthebear
   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
   On My Great Predecessors 5 (Kasparov) by Qindarka
   On My Great Predecessors 5 (Kasparov) by Gutierrev

   🏆 Korchnoi-Uhlmann Rapid Match
   Uhlmann vs Korchnoi (Feb-16-15) 0-1, rapid
   Korchnoi vs Uhlmann (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 1-0201945LeningradC47 Four Knights
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. L Aronson vs Korchnoi 0-1431947LeningradD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Y Vasilchuk vs Korchnoi 0-1601947LeningradB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
7. V Shiyanovsky vs Korchnoi 0-1351947LeningradD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
8. Korchnoi vs S Giterman 1-0361948TallinnC07 French, Tarrasch
9. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-0121948LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
10. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-1321949LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
11. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-1511949LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
12. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-0181949MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
13. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-1421949MoscowA90 Dutch
14. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-0301949URS-ch qfD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
15. Korchnoi vs N Levin 1-0311949URS-ch qfE03 Catalan, Open
16. Korchnoi vs G Borisenko 0-1381950URS-ch sfC34 King's Gambit Accepted
17. Korchnoi vs O Moiseev 0-1411950URS-ch sfB57 Sicilian
18. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-1341950URS-ch qfD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-1351950LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
20. Korchnoi vs G Goldberg 1-0411950URS-ch sfA02 Bird's Opening
21. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-1441950LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
22. Korchnoi vs E Polyak 1-0331950URS-ch sfC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
23. I Vistaneckis vs Korchnoi  0-1481950URS-ch sfA80 Dutch
24. Korchnoi vs S Zhukhovitsky 1-0551950LeningradB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
25. Korchnoi vs Kasparian 0-1381950URS-ch sfB10 Caro-Kann
 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 6 OF 98 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-20-04  qqq: <iron maiden: My ten greatest players who never became WC:

1. Viktor Korchnoi
2. Paul Keres
3. Samuel Reshevsky
4. Seigbert Tarrasch
5. Viswanathan Anand (yet)
6. Reuben Fine
7. Akiba Rubinstein
8. David Bronstein
9. Salo Flohr
10. Efim Geller >

I beg to differ..i believe Anand won a legitimate WCC in new delhi/tehran 2000. Its not his fault if kasparov defaulted( i.e didnt take part).

With that stance even khalifman and karpov('98) wouldnt be classified as world champions.

I believe anand has been treated unfairly by FIDE and many players(no offense) who believe that he isnt a world champion. No wonder he forefeited the current WCC in libya.

Jun-20-04  Everett: qqq, some good points.

Many believe that khalifman and karpov ('98) should not be considered champions at that time. Kasparov took the WC with him in '93.

So, since '72 according to some:

Though another group would still consider Kasparov the champ.

Unfortunately, Anand has been very unlucky, in that he has not been given as many opportunities as others to play for the championship. FIDE treatment of him is an example of exactly why their WCC doesn't hold water anymore.

itonmaiden, I like your list, though I'm surprised that Fine is so high. Any thoughts on Schlecter?

Jun-20-04  iron maiden: <Everett> Schlechter? I felt really bad about leaving him out. Lots of brilliant games, but when it came to results, he was too poor of a tournament player to warrant a place. I would place him right behind the eleven I gave. Larsen might be the only other non-WC I'd put ahead of him. A further note on my list: I only count players who were active during or after the time when the official title came into existence, so Morphy doesn't count.

<qqq> When I said WC, I was basing my definition on the terms that Everett gave (Kasparov took the title away in '93, and it has since passed to Kramnik). I am, however, a big fan of Anand and I hope and believe he can prove that he is WC-caliber if he gets another title match.

Jun-20-04  madlydeeply: David Bronstein goes before Reuben Fine on that has-been list
Jun-21-04  Knezh: If you want my opinion, i think that Fine shouldn't be in the top 10 list.. He never had major successes aside from AVRO (1938). Fine also gave up competitive chess before he could fully realize his potential. I'd sub Fine with either Zukertort or Schlechter
Jun-21-04  square dance: <qqq> anand did win a WC tounramnt, but was never the recognized WC in the minds of most people so i think it is fair to put him on the best to never win it list.
Jun-21-04  square dance: <everett> anand had two WC matches ('95 &'98) so i think he has had more oppurtunities than most players.
Jun-21-04  qqq: <SD> could you tell me why he was never the recognized WC in the minds of most people?

like i said, its not his fault if kasparov defaulted.

<anand had two WC matches ('95 &'98) so i think he has had more oppurtunities than most players.>

That isnt exactly a fair statement..correct me if i'm wrong but i take it that you are saying the follwing :

Had anand won in 98 , he would have had the opportunity to become a legitimate wcc even though kasparov didnt take part?

so whats the difference between wcc '98 and wcc 2000?

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <great non-WC players> How about Polugaevsky?
Jun-21-04  Legend: Keres was the greatest! And what about Leonid Stein?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Geronimo: Where do great chess players/teachers fit in. Any room for a Nimzovich or a Chigorin on this list? Perhaps their competition play doesn't stand up, but their contributions to the game go way beyond their 'official' records.
Jun-21-04  square dance: <qqq> anand was never the recognized WC because he won fide's rapid KO tourney.

as for the second part, im saying that he played in two WC matches: '95 against kasparov, and '98 against karpov. had he won in '98 i dont think anand would have been considered the real WC, but it was still a WC match. i view these last few years kind of like boxing; you may have more than one champ, but you (usually) know who the real one is.

as for the difference between '98 and '00: '98 was a match, which is how the chess WC has always been decided, except for 1948 of course, and '00 was a KO tourney using fide's rapid time controls.

this is my opinion, and it seems to be the opinion of most people as well. this does not automatically mean that i am right, but i think you get what im saying.

Jun-21-04  Everett: square dance, you make a very good point, that Anand has had only one shot at the title in '95. '98 wasn't legit (not against Kasparov) and otherwise has not had the opportunity to play for it again, so my "lack of opportunity" still makes sense to me.

Perhaps this fixation on the WC is over-rated. Certainly tennis thrives through personal matchups at big tournaments, yet do not have a direct championship cycle. Hasn't Kramnik voiced such an opinion?

Of course it's easy for him, "holding" the title.

Jun-21-04  Isolani: Richard Reti, Jan Timman, Lajos Portisch, and Veselin Topolov could be considered honorable mentions. However I would definitely put Nimzowitsch in the top ten because many chess historians claim that at his peak he was the third best in the world behind Capablanca and Alekhine.
Jun-21-04  iron maiden: <I would definitely put Nimzowitsch in the top ten because many chess historians claim that at his peak he was the third best in the world behind Capablanca and Alekhine>

WHAT ABOUT LASKER!!! Seriously though, Nimzo could be argued onto a lot of top-ten lists, but, unlike most of the others on my list, he was never in a real position to challenge for the world championship. Neither were Reti, Portisch, Topalov or even Timman, really.

Regarding Fine: he was generally recognized as being on the same level as Keres and Reshevsky for several years, and his joint win at AVRO is overlooked by a lot of people. I think that, in general, he is one of the most underrated players in chess history.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: There are several worthy cathegories to consider here. All my orders are chronological.

Players who came agonizingly close to actually winning WC: Chigorin, Schlechter, Bronstein, and Korchnoi.

Players that were arguably the strongest players of some era (say, 1-2 years) but never world champions: Zukertort, Tarrasch, Pillsbury, Rubinstein, Keres, Boleslavski, Bronstein, Reshevski, and Anand (I suspect Anand is the strongest player right at this time!).

Players that were arguably the strongests non-champions of some era, but were passed over and never got a title shot: Pillsbury, Maroczy, Rubinstein, Nimzovich, Flohr, Keres, Fine, Eliskases, Boleslavski, Geller.

Players that could have easily gotten a title shot on the strength of their long-term excellence, and that are not already members of any of the above cathegory: Reti, Najdorf, Stein, Larsen, Portish, Polugaevski.

The greatest players ever not to be the WC? 1-3. Keres, Bronstein, and Korchnoi--with little to nothing to distinguish between them.

Jun-21-04  iron maiden: So what we're learning here is that there are too many players who never got a chance at the world championship. Too many even for a top-ten list. I felt bad about having to leave out Geller, Larsen, Schlechter, Zukertort, Nimzowitch, Chigorin, Stein and others.

I'd also like to add another criteria to <Gypsy>'s: players who might have become WC if they had not stopped playing prematurely (for whatever reason). Of players not yet mentioned, I'd shove Sultan Khan and Rudolf Charousek into this category, along with Pillsbury and maybe even Kamsky.

I'm a little surprised that no one's yet mentioned Nezhmetdinov; I've seen him on a handful of all-time top ten lists (not just non-WC lists).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Fine point, <iron maiden>. Illnesses took out of WC running Pillsbury, Charousek, Stein. WW1 terminated WC runs of Schlechter, Duras, and Rubinstein. WW2 stoped Keres, Fine, Eliskases, and killed candidate caliber players Junge and Belavenetz. Sultan Khan chess-playing career was especially amazing; it lasted only the span of his master's 2-year visit to Europe. And Kamsky should have been on one or two of my above lists, but I forgot about him.

(With Nezh, I'd be happy if he at least got a retroactive GM title; and the same with Bohatyrchuk.)

Jun-27-04  Sylvester: I read last year that a three volume collection by Korchnoi was coming out in early 2004. Does anyone have any information on this?
Jun-27-04  Knezh: <Gypsy> There has been a lot of talk about Bohatyrchuk, but i am not even able to locate him on this site. Any background on that guy, perhaps?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Sorry <Knezh>, his page is under <Bogatyrchuk> here. Since I wrote my last comment, lots of great information about Dr. Bohatirchuk (he apparently prefered this spelling) surfaced via IM Lawrence Day. You will find some of it on Day's own page, some on the Bogatyrchuk page. Do check it out!
Jun-29-04  Knezh: Thanx a lot for that helpful info, <Gypsy>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Most velcome <Knezh>.
Jun-30-04  qqq: why didnt Viktor take part in the libya tourney?
Jun-30-04  sire: Victor was invited to Libya. He could not go, I dont know the reason. It was Magnus Carlsen who got his place.
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