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Ratmir Kholmov
Number of games in database: 2,276
Years covered: 1946 to 2005
Last FIDE rating: 2432
Highest rating achieved in database: 2555
Overall record: +737 -340 =1189 (58.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      10 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (403) 
    B91 B40 B80 B30 B33
 Ruy Lopez (124) 
    C85 C78 C88 C80 C96
 French Defense (96) 
    C06 C05 C03 C02 C09
 French Tarrasch (65) 
    C06 C05 C03 C09 C07
 Sicilian Najdorf (61) 
    B91 B90 B92 B99 B98
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (57) 
    C85 C88 C96 C84 C89
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (201) 
    C92 C77 C95 C91 C88
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (142) 
    C92 C95 C91 C88 C87
 Nimzo Indian (141) 
    E55 E32 E21 E54 E48
 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
   Fischer vs Kholmov, 1965 0-1
   Kholmov vs Keres, 1959 1-0
   Bagirov vs Kholmov, 1961 0-1
   T Wiesniak vs Kholmov, 1991 0-1
   Spassky vs Kholmov, 1957 1/2-1/2
   Kholmov vs W Golz, 1956 1-0
   N Padevsky vs Kholmov, 1956 0-1
   Furman vs Kholmov, 1963 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)
   Skopje (1967)
   USSR Championship (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 92; games 1-25 of 2,276  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Kholmov vs M Aizenshtadt  1-043 1946 First Category TournamentB24 Sicilian, Closed
2. Simagin vs Kholmov 1-060 1947 Ch URS (1/2 final)E19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
3. Petrosian vs Kholmov 0-172 1947 URS-ch sfE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
4. Bastrikov vs Kholmov 0-131 1947 YaroslavlA30 English, Symmetrical
5. Kholmov vs Kasparian  0-178 1947 URS-ch sfA46 Queen's Pawn Game
6. Kholmov vs Ravinsky  0-145 1947 URS-ch sfA48 King's Indian
7. Kholmov vs Nezhmetdinov 0-161 1947 All-Union Candidate Master TtA46 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Averbakh vs Kholmov 1-026 1947 URS-ch sfA15 English
9. Kholmov vs E Zagorjansky  1-067 1947 URS-ch sfE17 Queen's Indian
10. Kholmov vs Kan 1-077 1947 URS-ch sfE12 Queen's Indian
11. Kholmov vs Konstantinopolsky  1-036 1947 URS-ch sfD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
12. Ragozin vs Kholmov 1-022 1947 MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
13. Kholmov vs Boleslavsky 0-130 1947 MoscowA48 King's Indian
14. Pachman vs Kholmov 1-031 1947 MoscowD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Kholmov vs Keres 0-140 1947 MoscowA32 English, Symmetrical Variation
16. P Trifunovic vs Kholmov  ½-½21 1947 MoscowE17 Queen's Indian
17. Kholmov vs Bondarevsky 1-068 1947 MoscowD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
18. C Kottnauer vs Kholmov  ½-½42 1947 MoscowA43 Old Benoni
19. Kholmov vs Gligoric 0-160 1947 MoscowD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
20. Botvinnik vs Kholmov  1-030 1947 MoscowE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
21. Kholmov vs Novotelnov  0-152 1947 MoscowC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. K Plater vs Kholmov  0-155 1947 MoscowC01 French, Exchange
23. Kholmov vs A Tsvetkov  1-050 1947 MoscowE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
24. Sokolsky vs Kholmov  ½-½80 1947 MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
25. Kotov vs Kholmov ½-½96 1947 MoscowA56 Benoni Defense
 page 1 of 92; games 1-25 of 2,276  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kholmov wins | Kholmov loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: In addition to being a great player, Kholmov was an excellent annotator.
Mar-17-11  fab4: I came across him re his very interesting tussles with the great RJF. Did'nt realise he'd passed away. So sad to see that.

<Ewan14> Soviet chess ooozed corruption and fixing. That's just the way it was.. face fitted or not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: A small homage to Kholmov - Game Collection: Ratmir Kholmov Additional Games
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Resignation Trap: Yes, Kholmov was once suspended for a year by the Soviet Chess Federation for excessive drinking.>

Long ago, I remember reading that Kholmov had thrice been suspended by the Soviet chess authorities, but never particulars as to why.

Anyone else know more about this?

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: If they suspended people for drinking then what happened to Tal?
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...

May-13-14  ketchuplover: I was not here
May-13-14  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


Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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:


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