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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 E81 E60 E94 E80
 English (230) 
    A15 A13 A17 A14 A16
 Nimzo Indian (190) 
    E32 E42 E21 E46 E50
 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 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 (141) 
    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
   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 (1962)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   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 Gottschalk
   Korchnoi's 400 best games by Wade & Blackstock by JoseTigranTalFischer
   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 Gutierrev
   OMGP V by keypusher

   🏆 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. Y Vasilchuk vs Korchnoi 0-1601947LeningradB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
6. V Shiyanovsky vs Korchnoi 0-1351947LeningradD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. L Aronson vs Korchnoi 0-1431947LeningradD44 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. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-0181949MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
11. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-1421949MoscowA90 Dutch
12. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-0301949Lvov Ch URSD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
13. Korchnoi vs N Levin 1-0311949LvovE03 Catalan, Open
14. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-1321949LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
15. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-1511949LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
16. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-1441950LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
17. Korchnoi vs E Polyak 1-0331950TulaC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
18. I Vistaneckis vs Korchnoi  0-1481950TulaA80 Dutch
19. Korchnoi vs S Zhukhovitsky 1-0551950LeningradB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
20. Korchnoi vs Kasparian 0-1381950TulaB10 Caro-Kann
21. Korchnoi vs Suetin  ½-½601950TulaB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
22. A Khavsky vs Korchnoi 0-1311950LeningradB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
23. Averbakh vs Korchnoi 1-0431950TulaB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
24. Korchnoi vs I Pogrebissky  ½-½431950TulaB55 Sicilian, Prins Variation, Venice Attack
25. N Bakulin vs Korchnoi 0-1391950LeningradB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
 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 98 OF 98 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-15-17  ughaibu: Yes, Fine is another about whom one could say the same as Spielmann and Geller.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Perhaps also, Pillsbury and Rubinstein might have foundered once they sat opposite Lasker; it is a simple matter to engage in all sorts of conjecture based on the tournament records of each that their chances would have been good, whilst forgetting that a match possesses a different atmosphere, and demands a different approach than, tournament play.

It is quite enough to offer the examples of Alekhine and Fischer as players who had their troubles with the reigning titleholder before exacting retribution in the hardest of hard ways.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Conjecture on who is the greatest non-champion, but the greatest games played against a champion are Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896 Rubinstein vs Lasker, 1909

Don't know which is greater, but you had to pull out an immortal performance to beat the guy.

Sep-15-17  ughaibu: Here Schlechter vs Lasker, 1904 is another Lasker brilliancy prize loss.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <tamar: Conjecture on who is the greatest non-champion, but the greatest games played against a champion are Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896 Rubinstein vs Lasker, 1909>

Glad that's settled! :-) I'm fond of Larsen vs Petrosian, 1966

How do you feel about this game from this past January?

Aronian vs Carlsen, 2017

Putting aside ranking the non-champs by their best games, how about ranking them by how they play when they're not in form? I wrote this a dozen years ago:

<Rubinstein and Korchnoi tend to show up at the top of lists of the strongest non-champs. I think if you were going to choose between them based on their best games you would prefer Rubinstein. The King's Gambit against Hromadka, the counterattack on Thomas at Hastings, the wins over Capablanca and Lasker, the classic against Rotlewi are among my favorite games ever played. But if you were trying to figure out who was stronger day in and day out, I am sure you would pick Korchnoi.>

In support of that, I said:

<Look at this game, from Rubinstein's annus mirabulus:

Rubinstein vs Spielmann, 1912

It's a fine game by Spielmann, but white is positionally dead by move 15 and resigns at move 32. I can't remember a game in which Capablanca or Lasker just gets over-run like that.

Here's a famous loss to Alekhine:

Rubinstein vs Alekhine, 1926

A wonderful combination by Alekhine, but again white is busted inside of 20 moves.

A lot of Rubinstein's losses were classics, but I think because he tended to play very rationally and logically, rather than because he was very hard to beat. He didn't have the "smell" for danger that Capablanca was famous for, and he didn't have the slipperiness and stubborness and sheer orneriness that made defeating Lasker or Capablanca such an ordeal. Reti said something like chess was an acquired language for Rubinstein (he learned it relatively late in life) while for Capablanca it was his mother tongue. I have the London 1922 tournament book, when Capa was at his absolute peak. He never seemed to get in the slightest trouble, except via his own carelessness (as against Morrison). Rubinstein played some fine games there, but he doesn't exude power like Capablanca does.

I think Rubinstein just had bad days (he was having visible mental problems as early as 1912), and I think he was also a fatalist -- he believed in the game more than in himself. If things started going badly he seemed to expect to lose.>

Does that make any sense?

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <Glad that's settled! :-) I'm fond of Larsen vs Petrosian, 1966>

I am fund of it too,but Larsen himself,considered his win with the black pieces vs Petrosian for way better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Premium Chessgames MemberSep-15-17 moronovich: <Glad that's settled! :-) I'm fond of Larsen vs Petrosian, 1966> I am fund of it too,but Larsen himself,considered his win with the black pieces vs Petrosian for way better.>

Poets are equally bad at identifying their best poems. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <keypusher>I'm somehow prejudiced against Larsen because of his later failures. Even when I first got the Piatagorsky book, I could not believe he could crush Petrosian like that, and still not win the tournament.

Aronian vs Carlsen, 2017 was a great game. I had not realized it at the time, probably for the same reasons I begrudged Larsen his due.

Sep-15-17  ughaibu: But let's not forget that Aronian will shortly be disqualified.
Sep-15-17  SChesshevsky: Larsen did play well in that 1966 win over Petrosian but might lose some style points as that Sicilian variation of Petrosian is really awful.

Much of the time, if you don't lose outright, you certainly suffer with trying to hold an ugly position. Probably a bad choice by Petrosian to play it at all but almost suicide against a clever aggressive player like Larsen.

Sep-15-17  SChesshevsky: Oh yeah, since this is a Korchnoi page. Korchnoi also beat Petrosian in the same line in one of their matches. Probably giving the Victor a lot of satisfaction.
Sep-15-17  Howard: You didn't specify exactly which game this was, but presumably it was the last game of their, aborted, 1974 match. It was the ONLY Sicilian that was played in their three matches!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Lambda: <One thing that might give guys like Pillsbury and Rubinstein extra credit is that they had decent records against their world champion peers but never had the chance to be world champion.>

You have to be careful with that sort of measure, because it could easily just mean players who always made a special effort against the world champion, as opposed to players who put equal effort into all of their games in a tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <keypusher:...

Glad that's settled! :-)>

No problem. I like to settle these age-old controversies in one fell swoop, so we are still not discussing this in 2027.

Sep-15-17  SChesshevsky: The idea that guys like Rubinstein and Pillsbury might be given extra consideration toward the top of the heap of non-champions is because unlike players like Tarrasch and Korchnoi who couldn't close the deal and others like Keres, Geller, Reshevsky who had opportunities to try for a title fight but failed in the prelims, Pillsbury and Rubinstein never got the opportunity.

Most agree that of the players around at the time Pillsbury and Rubinstein deserved a title shot and their records against the champions seemed to indicate that a championship match would've been competitive.

Plus it appears Rubinstein had a match set but the war interrupted and I guess Pillsbury wanted one but Lasker never called him back.

So there was the potential, with odds that can certainly be debated, that either Pillsbury and/or Rubinstein could've been a world champion which would've automatically taken them out of this discussion and put them a level above.

So it seems a bit unfair that they were unlucky enough not to get a deserved shot at the champion but are also begrudged a little extra credit from their misfortune for a higher spot on the list of second bananas.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Petrosianic: Just for grins, here are the 20 highest rated players on Chessmetrics (based on 1-year highs), who never became World Champion, with the number of months that they spent in the ChessMetrics #1 spot in parentheses).

...Maroczy (30 months).>

That is a very interesting list. It is also the ONLY time I have ever heard Maroczy's name mentioned in any list of WWCs (Weren't World Champions).

If he is reading this from the quasi-celestial abode wherein he sometime dwelleth, I bet he does a simply colossal Spectral Hungarian James-Finlayson-style Double Take.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Plus it appears Rubinstein had a match set but the war interrupted and I guess Pillsbury wanted one but Lasker never called him back.>

There was no voice mail in the 1890s. I'm not aware of Pillsbury ever challenging Lasker. But I'd love to know more, if there's more to know.

Sep-16-17  SChesshevsky: On Pillsbury's page here at chessgames, it mention's the desire to take on Lasker. I didn't bother to investigate it further.

There was no voice mail when I graduated high school.

Speaking of Maroczy, it appears he also wanted a match with Lasker but that didn't happen either.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <SChesshevsky: On Pillsbury's page here at chessgames, it mention's the desire to take on Lasker. I didn't bother to investigate it further. There was no voice mail when I graduated high school.

Speaking of Maroczy, it appears he also wanted a match with Lasker but that didn't happen either.>

As with many things, you don't get a world championship match by just wanting it.

Maroczy came a lot closer to getting one than Pillsbury. A Maroczy-Lasker match was scheduled to take place in 1906(?) in Havana but fell apart because of political disruption, I think. Then Maroczy stopped playing competitive chess for about 15 years, whether out of frustration with Lasker or for other reasons I can't say.

Sep-16-17  Howard: Tamar seems to be assuming that the North Koreans will not have wiped out the entire world before 2027, but I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Howard: Tamar seems to be assuming that the North Koreans will not have wiped out the entire world before 2027, but I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens.>

Just in terms of capabilities, we here in the US of A are a much bigger threat than the North Koreans in that respect, Howard.

Sep-16-17  Howard: Of course! But, that doesn't necessarily mean that the ever-cordial North Koreans can't set up a nuclear holocaust.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Some interesting anecdotes here, some of them about Korchnoi.

<Petrosianic> posted the link in one of the Korchnoi-Petrosian 1974 match games. I got it from him.

Feb-07-18  posoo: korchnoi likes 👘👟🎩🐶
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: While <Petrosianic>'s list is interesting, how can he include such players as Zukertort, Kamsky, Nimzovich, Janowsky???, Morozevich & Marshall, yet not include Super Nez??? Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov

In any case, if I had to pick the one best player to never be World Champ (instead of creating an unwieldly list of also-rans) I'd choose Bronstein, absolutely no question


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