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Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Viktor Korchnoi
Number of games in database: 4,446
Years covered: 1945 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2499
Highest rating achieved in database: 2695
Overall record: +1708 -678 =1752 (62.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      308 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (276) 
    E81 E99 E60 E94 E62
 English (229) 
    A15 A13 A17 A14 A16
 Nimzo Indian (190) 
    E32 E21 E42 E46 E41
 English, 1 c4 c5 (144) 
    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 (397) 
    C11 C07 C02 C19 C09
 Sicilian (279) 
    B44 B83 B32 B89 B45
 Queen's Indian (172) 
    E12 E15 E16 E17 E19
 Ruy Lopez (162) 
    C80 C83 C77 C82 C81
 Nimzo Indian (160) 
    E32 E46 E34 E21 E44
 Grunfeld (144) 
    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
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 0-1
   Averbakh vs Korchnoi, 1965 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1977 1-0
   Spassky vs Korchnoi, 1977 0-1

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Bucharest (1954)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   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
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by Gottschalk
   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
   French Korchnoi III by AuDo
   OMGP V by keypusher
   Exchange sacs - 3 by obrit
   OMGP 5 - Korchnoi - Karpov by grellas
   Match Petrosian! by amadeus
   Victor Korchnoi : My best games : With White by Malacha

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

(born Mar-23-1931, 83 years old) 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. 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.

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

Wikipedia article: Korchnoi

 page 1 of 178; games 1-25 of 4,446  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. D Rovner vs Korchnoi 1-020 1945 LeningradC47 Four Knights
2. Zikov vs Korchnoi 0-120 1946 LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
3. Petrosian vs Korchnoi 1-023 1946 LeningradA90 Dutch
4. Korchnoi vs Razov 1-027 1946 LeningradC50 Giuoco Piano
5. L Aronson vs Korchnoi 0-143 1947 LeningradD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Y Vasilchuk vs Korchnoi 0-160 1947 LeningradB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
7. V Shiyanovsky vs Korchnoi 0-135 1947 LeningradD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
8. Korchnoi vs S Giterman 1-036 1948 TallinnC07 French, Tarrasch
9. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-012 1948 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
10. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-142 1949 MoscowA90 Dutch
11. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-030 1949 Lvov Ch URSD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
12. Korchnoi vs N Levin 1-031 1949 LvovE03 Catalan, Open
13. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-132 1949 LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
14. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-018 1949 MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
15. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-151 1949 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
16. Korchnoi vs O Moiseev 0-141 1950 TulaB57 Sicilian
17. Korchnoi vs Cherepkov 1-068 1950 Leningrad ch-cityC58 Two Knights
18. N Bakulin vs Korchnoi 0-139 1950 LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
19. Korchnoi vs G Borisenko 0-138 1950 TulaC34 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Korchnoi vs G Goldberg 1-041 1950 TulaA02 Bird's Opening
21. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-135 1950 LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
22. I Vistaneckis vs Korchnoi  0-148 1950 TulaA80 Dutch
23. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Korchnoi vs E Polyak  1-033 1950 TulaC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
25. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-144 1950 LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
 page 1 of 178; games 1-25 of 4,446  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Korchnoi wins | Korchnoi loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Karposian: <HeMateMe: Korchonoi's wife was a convicted spy who was sent to the gulag? First I've heard of this.>

I remember reading about Petra Leeuwerik in the book "The KGB Plays Chess" by Gulko & Korchnoi et al.

Leeuwerik was a university student in East Germany shortly after the war and got arrested and deported to the Soviet Union were she was later tried and convicted for espionage.

She spent several years in a gulag before being able to return to the West. She met Korchnoi and married him several years later, I think.

I seem to remember from the book that she has always maintained her innocence.

Feb-12-15  disasterion: Larsen on Korchnoi:

<Korchnoi is fantastic at calculating complex variations, especially when he is hard pressed; but he must analyse because his judgment when he doesn’t calculate is very bad – he has to get through a lot of variations before he knows what’s happening.>

Feb-15-15  NBAFan: Korchnoi and Uhlmann are currently tied at 1-1. During the first game, Korchnoi slipped into an inferior rook endgame, and lost. However, he made a recovery in Round 2, smoothly outplaying his opponent. The games can be found here:
Feb-15-15  HeMateMe: Larsen has a respectable record against Korchnoi, losing 6-4 with four draws, in classical chess. Impressive, not many have a good record against the Lazarus Leningrader.
Feb-16-15  Andrijadj: Korchnoi played in total 12 world champions (Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Carlsen)and won against 9 of them (all above except Kramnik and Anand). If Caruana, Svidler, Grischuk or Topalov ever become a WC (unified title, of course), Korchnoi will have played 13 world champions and have had victories against 10 of them, which is an absolute record.
Feb-16-15  Retireborn: <Andrijadj> I regard Korchnoi as the greatest player not to win the world title, and he has won matches against Tal, Petrosian, and Spassky in his time, of course.

However, worth pointing out that both Keres and Beliavsky can also claim to have beaten 9 world champions, and Beliavsky would probably have been the one to reach 10 had he ever been able to play against Fischer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <disasterion> That interview Larsen gave Hugh Alexander in the latter's book on chess was superb.
Feb-16-15  disasterion: <perfidious> Wasn't it brilliant? It's good to find so much of it reproduced in Edward Winter's excellent Larsen piece.

My copy of The Book of Chess disappeared in a house move several years ago, along with Fischer - Spassky Reykjavik '72; the only Hugh Alexander I seem to have retained is the Penguin Book of Chess Positions.

Feb-16-15  Andrijadj: Retireborn, I admire Korchnoi very much and, result wise, he is probably the most successful player never to become world champion, but for me, the very best player never to become world champion is and will be Vassily Ivanchuk. Unless he wins it, of course.
Feb-16-15  Petrosianic: <Korchnoi played in total 12 world champions (Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Carlsen)and won against 9 of them (all above except Kramnik and Anand).>

12-9 is 3, not 2. But are you sure Korchnoi played Euwe? If not, he only played 11 world champions, and the numbers work.

Feb-16-15  Andrijadj: Petrosianic, there are no Korchnoi-Euwe games in the database, but I remember an old Soviet book which I had when I was a kid (I think it had been written by Tal's trainer, Alexander Koblenz) where Korchnoi's win vs Euwe from the 50s was annotated.

Therefore, it was I that made a mistake-wins against 10 champions, of course.

Feb-16-15  Olavi: <Andrijadj>

It is very unlikely that a Korchnoi-Euwe game exists.

Feb-17-15  beatgiant: <Olavi>
<It is very unlikely> On a brief search, the only tournament I found in which both appeared is the Leipzig 1960 Olympiad, although they don't seem to have played each other. Korchnoi was board 3 for the USSR and Euwe was board 1 on the Dutch team.
Feb-17-15  Olavi: According to olimpbase Korchnoi was board four, plus Euwe skipped the USSR match.
Feb-17-15  HeMateMe: <but for me, the very best player never to become world champion is and will be Vassily Ivanchuk. Unless he wins it, of course.>

Would your claim have more merit if Chucky had played in at least one WC match, in his career?

Feb-17-15  john barleycorn: < HeMateMe: <but for me, the very best player never to become world champion is and will be Vassily Ivanchuk. Unless he wins it, of course.>

Would your claim have more merit if Chucky had played in at least one WC match, in his career?>

Did not Chucky play Ponomariov in the finals for the FIDE WC? Or that does not count?

Feb-17-15  HeMateMe: It's a sketchy claim because Pono was not the real world champion; he was just the survivor of one of those giant two-game match tournaments.

That certainly isn't Chucky's fault. Kasparov split the title by walking away from FIDE. I think most chess fans would agree that Kasparov was world champion, and Ivanchuk would have had to play Kaspy to be considered a WC participant.

Great player, but like Keres, Bronstein, Korchnoi, Aronian and Goldsby, he just wasn't the right player at the right time.

Feb-17-15  john barleycorn: <HeMateMe: ...
Great player, but like Keres, Bronstein, Korchnoi, Aronian and Goldsby, he just wasn't the right player at the right time.>

Goldsby's time will come when the WC's will stop ducking him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <john b: Goldsby's time will come when the WC's will stop ducking him.>

You, or anyone else, has a better chance of winning the Powerball for US $10B than of <that> happening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: I think that Bronstein had the keys about Korchnoi. If you read his book "Secrets notes", will found the true about the great Viktor.
Feb-18-15  Andrijadj: Olavi,

Are you absolutely sure? Perhaps I am wrong but I can definitely swear there was a game. I even remember the opening-poisoned pawn sicilian.

Feb-18-15  Sally Simpson: Hi Andrijadj,

An interesting detective story you have set before us.

Both Euwe and Korchnoi played a poisoned pawn variation in 1958.

Maybe you read about the Euwe game in the Russian notes. The Korhnoi game is v Tolush

Korchnoi vs Tolush, 1958

This took place in the Russian Championship. Don't know if Koblenz did a book about the event.

The Euwe game played in the same year :

A Dueckstein vs Euwe, 1958

Both games follow each other for the first 11 moves. Euwe notes up his game.

In the notes he does not mention Korchnoi but he does mention recent analysis by Spassky & Tolush.

Feb-18-15  Olavi: Good catch Sally, such things can easily cause false memories.

There's no tournament or match that they played together, but of course there may have been exhibition games that do not always find their way into the databases. For example, of the two Sosonko-Euwe 1975 match games only one is in this database.

Feb-20-15  Andrijadj: Well, I wasn't lazy-I went to my parents' house and managed to find the book in question, "Chess Mastery" by Alexander Koblencs and you are completely right-I made a oversight. The book consists of short study/instructions about middlegame, endgame and opening and in the section about openings Sicilian Poisoned Pawn is also analyzed (the book was written in late 50s). There are three games presented, in this order: Keres-Fuderer, Duckstein-Euwe and Korchnoi-Tolush. It seems I "blundered" Duckstein and Tolush (before yesterday last time I saw that book was some 10 years ago :)) and interpreted an analysis as a Korchnoi-Euwe game. My apologies for the mistake and imprecise information, of course!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: It seems that Max Euwe didn't play every player in the soviet elite. As well as missing Korchnoi he apparently didn't play Spassky and I've only seen one game against Tal.

Euwe vs Tal, 1961

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