Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Viktor Korchnoi
Number of games in database: 4,460
Years covered: 1945 to 2012
Last FIDE rating: 2499
Highest rating achieved in database: 2695
Overall record: +1717 -683 =1759 (62.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      301 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (275) 
    E81 E60 E99 E94 E62
 English (229) 
    A15 A13 A17 A14 A16
 Nimzo Indian (190) 
    E32 E21 E42 E54 E46
 English, 1 c4 c5 (145) 
    A30 A33 A34 A31 A35
 English, 1 c4 e5 (134) 
    A28 A29 A22 A25 A20
 Orthodox Defense (112) 
    D55 D50 D58 D51 D54
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (404) 
    C11 C07 C02 C19 C09
 Sicilian (279) 
    B44 B83 B32 B89 B45
 Queen's Indian (173) 
    E12 E15 E16 E17 E19
 Nimzo Indian (162) 
    E32 E46 E34 E21 E44
 Ruy Lopez (162) 
    C80 C83 C77 C82 C81
 Grunfeld (145) 
    D85 D94 D91 D97 D87
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
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1974 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1977 1-0
   Averbakh vs Korchnoi, 1965 0-1
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 0-1
   Spassky vs Korchnoi, 1977 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Karpov-Korchnoi World Championship Match (1978)
   Karpov-Korchnoi World Championship Rematch (1981)

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

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Korchnoi! (i) The Early Years (1956-1984) by amadeus
   Victor Korchnoi in Olympiads by capybara
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1960-1979 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   challenger Korchnoy by Gottschalk
   French Korchnoi II by AuDo
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1980-1989 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Run for the Championship - Viktor Korchnoi by Fischer of Men
   Viktor Korchnoi's Best Games - Korchnoi by TheFocus
   French Korchnoi III by AuDo
   OMGP V by keypusher
   Exchange sacs - 3 by obrit
   OMGP 5 - Korchnoi - Karpov by grellas
   Match Petrosian! by amadeus
   Inspirational Games of Viktor Korchnoi by MadBishop

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Viktor Korchnoi
Search Google for Viktor Korchnoi
FIDE player card for Viktor Korchnoi

(born Mar-23-1931) Russia (citizen of Switzerland)
[what is this?]
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi was born in Leningrad, USSR. His father taught him chess when he was seven years old. In the mid 1950s, Korchnoi began an international career that would eventually result in four Soviet Championship victories in 1960*, 1962*, 1964* and 1970* and eight appearances in the Candidates. He reached the Candidates final in 1968 before being defeated by Boris Spassky, thereby being seeded into the next candidates cycle, in which he defeated Efim Geller by the score of 5.5-2.5 (+4 -1 =3) before losing in the semifinal to Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian by (-1 =9). He earned the right to qualify towards the Karpov-Korchnoi Candidates Match (1974) final, but lost.

Korchnoi left the USSR in 1976, and two years later he finally managed to win the Candidates and qualify to play Karpov for the title. Trailing late in his first World Championship match 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 for another shot against Karpov in 1981, but was beaten again, 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 has defeated 11 players who at some time held the official title: three reigning champions (Petrosian, Spassky, and Karpov), six former or future champions (Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Fischer, Kasparov, Carlsen) and two future FIDE champions (Topalov and Ponomariov).

Today Korchnoi lives in Switzerland, representing his country 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.

In December 2012 Korchnoi suffered a stroke, and it is uncertain if he will be able to return to competitive chess.

* [rusbase-1]; [rusbase-2]; [rusbase-3] and [rusbase-4]

Wikipedia article: Korchnoi

 page 1 of 179; games 1-25 of 4,460  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. D Rovner vs Korchnoi 1-020 1945 LeningradC47 Four Knights
2. Petrosian vs Korchnoi 1-023 1946 LeningradA90 Dutch
3. Korchnoi vs Razov 1-027 1946 LeningradC50 Giuoco Piano
4. Zikov vs Korchnoi 0-120 1946 LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
5. Y Vasilchuk vs Korchnoi 0-160 1947 LeningradB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
6. V Shiyanovsky vs Korchnoi  0-135 1947 LeningradD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. L Aronson vs Korchnoi 0-143 1947 LeningradD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
8. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-012 1948 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
9. Korchnoi vs S Giterman 1-036 1948 TallinnC07 French, Tarrasch
10. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-030 1949 Lvov Ch URSD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
11. Korchnoi vs N Levin 1-031 1949 LvovE03 Catalan, Open
12. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-132 1949 LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
13. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-018 1949 MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
14. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-151 1949 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
15. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-142 1949 MoscowA90 Dutch
16. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-135 1950 LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
17. I Vistaneckis vs Korchnoi  0-148 1950 TulaA80 Dutch
18. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Korchnoi vs E Polyak  1-033 1950 TulaC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
20. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-144 1950 LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
21. Korchnoi vs Suetin  ½-½60 1950 TulaB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
22. M Aizenshtad vs Korchnoi  0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Korchnoi vs Kasparian 0-138 1950 TulaB10 Caro-Kann
24. Korchnoi vs S Zhukhovitsky  1-055 1950 LeningradB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
25. Korchnoi vs I Pogrebissky  ½-½43 1950 TulaB55 Sicilian, Prins Variation, Venice Attack
 page 1 of 179; games 1-25 of 4,460  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 79 OF 79 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-23-14  Penguincw: Happy 83rd birthday to Viktor Korchnoi. Hope he gets well soon.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Vic played 3 WC matches, '74, '78 and '81. I think that makes him the strongest player to never wear the crown.

Recently chessbase had a photo of him at a tournament as a spectator. I guess he is up and alert. I think he was in a wheelchair. They didn't discuss his condition, whether he was still recuperating, or if the wheelchair was permanent.

Mar-23-14  Tigranny: Happy birthday Viktor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Happy Birthday, Viktor Lvovich!

<From Levenfisch & Lilienthal to Carlsen & Caruana>

Viktor Korchnoi faced and beat players from four to five player generations:

> winning among others versus the following notable chess players already active on a high level before World War II: mentioned Levenfish, Lilienthal; Lisitsin, Sokolsky, Mikenas, Guimard, Barcza, Golombek, Rossolimo, Bondarevsky, Kluger, Nezhmetdinov, Stahlberg, Pirc, Prins, Paoli, Flohr, Najdorf, Reshevsky, Keres, and Botvinnik,

> winning versus Smyslov and the rising post-war youngsters — Korchnoi's generation: Bronstein, Geller, Petrosian, Tal, Polugaevsky, Stein, and Spassky, as well as versus Fischer, Larsen & Co.,

> winning vs. the (then new) Karpovian generation, suceeded by Kasparov and his computer followers, with Karpov always 20 years younger, Kasparov 32 years younger than Viktor the Terrible

> winning with about 40 year-odds vs. elite players as Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Topalov, Svidler, Leko, Judit Polgar, with having still a substantial lifetime plus against players about forty years younger of a calibre as eg. Akopian, Lautier or Piket.

> winning with about 50 year-odds vs. Vallejo Pons (born 1982), Ponomariov (b 1983), Bacrot (b 1983), Grischuk (b 1983), Gashimov (b 1986, R.I.P. 2014), Carlsen (b 1990), Caruana (b 1994)

> Oldest great player against whom Korchnoi won (1953): GRIGORY LEVENFISH, born 1889, GM 1950 (GM title inauguration)

> Youngest great player (2700+) against whom Korchnoi won (2011): FABIANO CARUANA, born 1992, GM since 2007

(There are even later born players beaten by Korchnoi under regular tournament conditions, but these players are at that time too young to be considered as already at top level, among others: Hou Yifan, born 1994)

> First win against (future) World Champion: 1952 versus GM Smyslov at Moscow, 20th USSR Championship

> Last win against (future) World Champion: 2004/05 versus GM Carlsen at Drammen (with Carlsen beating Shirov)

Happy Birthday, good health and recovery to the man who has spent his whole life and love for the royal game!

Mar-23-14  sire: Happy birthday Viktor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: Yes salute Victor!! It was your match with Karpov that really got me hooked on chess back in October of 1978. Walked into a bookstore without realizing it was a chess bookstore. They were scoring the match on the wall as you walked in, think it was right before Victor had scored his 2nd win in a row! Was so impressed by all the chess books, that I had no idea that they actually wrote books on chess!! Think I went to that store daily for about 3 months!!LOL Newbury Street, Boston, Ma.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Seen/met the man once, Las Vegas National Open, he was guest of honour and played table/board 1 every game, regardless of standing.

Glad to be able to say I have seen him. Still a grouch, though. =))

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <WannaBe> I envy you for sure in meeting Victor!! I got to meet Karpov,but I really think having a chat with Victor would have been more exciting. Thanks for sharing!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Joshka> 'Twas a sad day indeed when that store closed-only got to visit twice, also in October '78, then again the following June. Was closed by the time I moved to Boston in spring 1982.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I shook hands with the hand that shook the world!
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Remake – Match between the old 'Leningrad boys' Viktor Korchnoi (aged 83) and Boris Spassky (aged 77), both suffered severe health problems, we know. It will be great to see them doing again, what they love most!

<Schach-Event der Extraklasse in Leipzig 2014>, Veranstaltung auf Initiative von Dr. Gerhard Köhler, ORWO Net AG, Wolfen, Deutscher Schachbund DSB, Emanuel-Lasker-Gesellschaft und der Universität Leipzig:

If health allows, then Viktor Lvovich and Boris Vasilievich will play four games, from (this) Friday, 28th march 2014 on, with live coverage.

The official announcements:




For Viktor Korchnoi it is not a come-back, it is a continuation and the first public games after he suffered a stroke in september 2012.

And the city of Leipzig creates also reminiscences of his first Chess Olympiads for the USSR in 1960 on board 4, whith Tal, Botvinnik, Keres, Korchnoi and Smyslov, Petrosian as reserve - what an incredible line-up! Even a formation of the then not nominated Bronstein, Spassky, Geller, Stein, Polugaevsky, Taimanov would be most certainly better that time than every other nation on this planet.

A survey of Leipzig 1960 with pictures of young Bobby Fischer, the wizard Tal, Korchnoi (once called the Tal in-reverse), elder statesman Max Euwe, sixteen years young Vlastimil Hort (doesn't he looks a bit like Carlsen?) or Manuel Aaron, the first indian International Master who did much for the popularization of the game in India:


After Korchnoi's attempt to play at the Zurich Christmas Open 2013 had to be declined because of health issues, the chess community keeps fingers crossed for Viktor Lvovich and Boris Vasilievich to a delicious next chess summit. I suppose, it couldn't be a better time and feeling as playing simultaneously during the present Candidates.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: <The Rolling Stone of Chess> Viktor Lvovich, is playing again!

Live coverage from the University of Leipzig:


Korchnoi (in wheelchair, seconded at the entry by his wife Petra) is playing against Wolfgang Uhlmann. Exhibition with one hour each.

Wolfgang Uhlmann, former Candidate, 1971 quarter-final vs. Larsen, and also member of the "Rest of the World" team in the famous match vs. the USSR in 1970, leading player for decades of former East Germany and undoubtedly the GDR's most successful ever.

Boris Spassky had to withdraw of health problems or / and it was a misunderstanding <>, he was greeted warmly at the Opening ceremony.

Korchnoi (*1931) vs. Uhlmann (*1935): A duel of two major french defense experts! Let's go!

Dr. Gerhard Köhler, an amateur player and student player in the 1970s who is also engaged in popularizing chess for kids, made this chess summit possible:

<Gerhard Koehler>

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Both Korchnoi and Spassky were in Leningrad when the German armies surrounded the city in 1941. Over 1 million civilians may have starved to death. Being children, they might have been evacuated from the city, not sure.

They are two different personalities, one rough and one pleasant, but I think Spassky has an inner strength that isn't so visible. They both grew up in hard times and are probably stronger for it.

Mar-28-14  Nerwal: <Spassky were in Leningrad when the German armies surrounded the city in 1941. Over 1 million civilians may have starved to death. Being children, they might have been evacuated from the city, not sure. >

Spassky as did many young children left Leningrad by train; but it's not clear when he did so : just before the siege, or following the winter 1941-42, when a railroad was built on the icy Lake Ladoga, providing an escape for citizens of Leningrad. It's also not clear when he actually learned chess, in this train as the legend says, or shortly after in the Kirov Oblast.

Apparently Korchnoi, who was six years older, stayed in Leningrad the whole time. No wonder he has become such a fighter...

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: <Live from Leipzig>: Korchnoi is on the road again
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Korchnoi was already playing in a wheelchair in the summer of 2012 (and looking like he could barely hold his head high enough to see the board), but he never stopped fighting, and even won some nice games. As long as he can move the pieces, he will never stop playing.
Mar-28-14  RedShield: Aside from the problems of their infamous Candidates match, I believe Spassky has long resented Korchnoi's status as a defector.

In a 1988 interview, he said: <As a result of this attitude towards me [post-Reykjavik] I started to fight against the Sports Committee. I started to fight against the political system. If a professional chess player is not sent abroad he can do nothing. I would have had to change my profession. I didn't become a dissident intentionally. Because I was a dissident, Kortchnoi wasn't. At that time Kortchnoi was a typical collaborator, an opportunist. The Sports Committee played a special game with him. (In a soothing tone) They forgave him something, some of his sins, some of his interviews. But my situation was very, very critical, as I got no tournaments.>

I'd like to know whether Spassky would characterise himself as a collaborator and opportunist before he fell into disfavour. Korchnoi never made a secret that his decision to defect was primarily a professional one. As far as I know, Spassky has been far more outspoken (at least, since the fall of the Soviet Union) in his anti-Communism than Korchnoi.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: Korchnoi was a communist party member, Spassky was not. This distinction was a pretty big deal in the Soviet Union; I believe that Spassky was the only Soviet world champion who was not a party member.
Mar-28-14  RedShield: Was Keres a party member?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: I don't know about Keres, but it turns out that I was wrong, Smyslov was not a party member either.
Mar-28-14  RedShield: Was party membership a permanent state, or could one lapse into agnosticism?
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: The first competitive game of Viktor Lvovich since severe health issues:


game 1 in an exhibition match against Grandmaster fellow Wolfgang Uhlmann, active chess, one hour each player, no increments, with a traditional <analog> chess clock :))

Premium Chessgames Member
  afabian: Korchnoi won the 2nd game:

Game 1:
Game 2:

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Caissanist: I don't know about Keres, but it turns out that I was wrong, Smyslov was not a party member either.>

You <do> know what the penalty is for this error???

No trip to the dacha on the Black Sea for you this summer!

Apr-23-14  AsosLight: I see despite his age and his problems hasn't forget to play the rook endgame. The strongest rook endgamer in the history.
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