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Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Viktor Korchnoi
Number of games in database: 4,432
Years covered: 1945 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2499
Highest rating achieved in database: 2695
Overall record: +1705 -676 =1743 (62.5%)*
   * 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 (270) 
    E99 E81 E60 E94 E80
 English (228) 
    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 (132) 
    A28 A29 A22 A25 A20
 Orthodox Defense (112) 
    D55 D50 D58 D51 D54
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (394) 
    C11 C07 C02 C19 C09
 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 (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 Spassky, 1948 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Udovcic, 1967 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1974 1-0
   Averbakh vs Korchnoi, 1965 0-1
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 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)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Buenos Aires (Konex) (1979)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Rovinj/Zagreb (1970)
   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
   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, 84 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.

Wikipedia article: Korchnoi

 page 1 of 178; games 1-25 of 4,432  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. 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. A Khavsky vs Korchnoi 0-131 1950 LeningradB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
17. Korchnoi vs O Moiseev 0-141 1950 TulaB57 Sicilian
18. Korchnoi vs G Borisenko 0-138 1950 TulaC34 King's Gambit Accepted
19. Korchnoi vs Cherepkov 1-068 1950 Leningrad ch-cityC58 Two Knights
20. N Bakulin vs Korchnoi 0-139 1950 LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
21. Korchnoi vs G Goldberg 1-041 1950 TulaA02 Bird's Opening
22. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-135 1950 LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
23. I Vistaneckis vs Korchnoi  0-148 1950 TulaA80 Dutch
24. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Korchnoi vs E Polyak  1-033 1950 TulaC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
 page 1 of 178; games 1-25 of 4,432  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 84 OF 84 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: <TheFocus> Thank you for posting all these great quotes by Korchnoi.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tomlinsky: Reading, and listening, to Korchnoi's views on the KID he clearly has a great disrespect for the system in general. Looking at his results against it one can understand why he appears to view it as some kind of joke in the hands of many players...

Wins = 157
Draws = 82
Losses = 31

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Yet, Korchnoi was known as an expert in the Gruenfeld Defense.
Jun-25-15  ughaibu: Korchnoi's results as black, using the KID, are very slightly better than his results with white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: How many games were you able to find with Korchnoi having black in the KID? I could only find four here at Chessgames.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tomlinsky: Viktor Korchnoi with KID as Black:

Wins = 11
Draws = 10
Losses = 3

Jun-25-15  ughaibu: My comment above involved mistaking his white draws and losses. This morning's guess is that the white result is 6.7% higher. I wonder how his performance varied, black vs. white, in other openings. Who wants to do a few?
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Marvelous Photograph of <Viktor Korchnoi> at the third <Pegasus Summit in Dresden 2014>, the meeting of chess grandmasters 75+ years young :)

Viktor Lvovich, the Inimitable and Infatiguable. The iron man of chess, who played and beat grandmasters of five generations, from <Levenfisch> (born 1889) and <Lilienthal> to <Carlsen> and <Caruana> (born 1992), with a persistant search for new ideas and truth at the chess board, master of aggressive counter-attacking, full of fantasy, with a unique willingness to enter double-edged, unbalanced positions in a fresh style and competitive longevity. What an immense Gallery of Opponents:

Jul-03-15  HeMateMe: The above article mentions that VK has beaten the last nine undisputed world champions, from post WWII to the present (he has beaten Magnus Carlsen). I wonder about the 'disputed' world champions? Does he have wins against Topalov, Kramnik and Anand?
Jul-03-15  Lambda: Kramnik and Anand, disputed?

Topalov different from all the other toy FIDE champions?

Jul-03-15  HeMateMe: I don't think Kramnik and Anand are 'disputed,' but they aren't given the full respect that the other champions are given, in this article.

I never considered Topalov world champion just because he won some B.S. consolidating tournament, set up to clean up the mess made by Kasparov's decision.

Jul-03-15  Troller: No classical wins against Anand (surprising) or Kramnik (less surprising) according to cg database. But he did beat Topalov first time around: Korchnoi vs Topalov, 1991
Jul-03-15  ughaibu: According to the database Korchnoi has never beaten either Kramnik or Anand, but he has beaten Topalov. Naturally the article doesn't mention Topalov, as he was never world champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: quote from the site: <Viktor Korchnoi is the only man on earth beating every of the eight non-disputed post-war II world chess champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov in a regular classical tournament or match game> then the these eight World Champions are mentioned - plus Carlsen (commonly regarded as the 16th World Chess Champion)

It is also mentioned (quote) <Korchnoi is in lifetime scores behind 44-years younger Kramnik, and clearly behind Anand (no wins)>

Both statements are imo correct. And of course, Anand and Kramnik are non-disputed World Chess Champions! That's why they are not listed in the Gallery of beaten champs by Korchnoi.

The site mentions, that there are two other Greats, who have also beaten nine undisputed World Chess Champions: <Keres> (widely known), and <Beliavsky> (mostly forgotten or not realized).

Korchnoi beat Topalov once at Las Palmas in earlier years, but Topalov (undoubtedly a strong tournament player somehow in the line of Larsen) is in generally not considered as an undisputed World Chess Champion, he was FIDE Champion during the schism, that's why is not counted here.

Some commentators or players, eg. Nigel Short who was at least co-maker of the chess world split in 1993, might possibly in their own interest also count the FIDE K.-O. (some would say: Lottery) Champions during the schism (Khalifman, was the first of these people, as world no. 44 or 46 in ELO list, then Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, and Topalov - Anand and Karpov claimed the FIDE title at some point too, but naturally they reigned as well as longtime undisputed World Chess Champions).

If Topa-Pono-Khalif-Kasim are counted, then only players of their age and era could benefit from beating them in a phase of title inflation and near yearly variety of cup holders. I regard <Magnus Carlsen> as <16th World Chess Champion> in modern history.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tomlinsky: <diagonal> Why would it be in the interests of Short, and by extension Kasparov, to claim that Khalifman, Ponomariov and Topalov are legitimate World Champions when the title they held was arranged by the "opposition", FIDE?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Korchnoi is a killer of the King's Indian Defense. One of his favorite opening systems is this: Repertoire Explorer: Viktor Korchnoi (white)

White's strategy is clear. Attack on the Queenside, defend your Kingside. Notice that White's two bishops are placed to both support a queenside attack and defend the Kingside. I've used this system in offhand games with good results.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: <Tomlinsky> sorry for answering late: Today, Short rarely speaks about the schism in opposition to the FIDE he & Kasparov provoked in 1993, and the mess they caused.

Nigel Short in an interview or eg. Judit Polgar in one of her recent published books - as well some media recipients - tend to counting Kasim, Khalif & Co. as Chess World Champion, pimping up the number of beaten Champions. An example: "Judit Polgar has defeated nine World Champions", Quote from

In historical comparisons, some of these FIDE lottery winners, were relatively weak (still on a high level, of course), beaten by many players wtihin a short time. Don't forget, Kasimdzhanov never ever was a top-ten player, not a single month, neither FIDE nor SONAS. Khalifman was about number forty something in the ELO rating list when winning that title. Kasparov clearly not count them.

It's all about the definition of <undisputed>: I regard Magnus Carlsen as the 16th World Chess Champion in modern history following Anand, Kramnik, Kasparov, Karpov, Fischer, Spassky and predecessors.

According to this line, Beliavksy (often forgotten), Korchnoi and Keres have beaten nine World Chess Champions in classical games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tomlinsky: <diagonal> Not a problem. Yes, I understand the thrust of what you are saying and thought your post made some good factual points only to be ruined by basing the final sloppy paragraph wholly on a 'might possibly'. I don't even disagree with the points made but randomly throwing your gut feeling on what GM Short may, or may not think, on the subject adds no value to them at all as far as I can see.
Jul-22-15  savagerules: When Korchnoi was in his mid 70s a few years back he beat a twenty something IM with White in a Benko gambit and it lasted around 60 moves or so and when he shook hands at the end of the game he sarcastically told the IM "Why did you give me a pawn at move 3?" The IM was all miffed at Korchnoi for this and was saying Korchnoi was a bad sportsman and bad human being for doing this. lol The IM was just mad for getting beat by a 76 year old most likely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <savagerules> Recall such a story--difference was, Korchnoi beat up on his beloved whipping boy, the KID and had some smarmy remarks postgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I recall reading about the KID at Gibraltar, but it never found its way into our database.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Korchnoi's style reminds me of a gifted child who has been given a one hour chess lesson by Botvinnik and a two hour chess lesson by Smyslov then told to go out there and give it his best shot.
Aug-25-15  RookFile: If that's the case, sign me up for those lessons too.
Sep-22-15  siggemannen: Nice kill by Korchnoi in that KID (or more of a modern)-game
Sep-29-15  7he5haman: I saw Korchnoi once. He was giving a simultaneous and the London Chess Classic a few years ago. I must've caused some disturbance, because he gave me such a stern look!
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