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Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Viktor Korchnoi
Number of games in database: 4,442
Years covered: 1945 to 2014
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.
      304 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (275) 
    E81 E99 E60 E94 E62
 English (229) 
    A15 A13 A17 A14 A16
 Nimzo Indian (190) 
    E32 E21 E42 E46 E41
 English, 1 c4 c5 (143) 
    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 (403) 
    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
 French (144) 
    C11 C00 C10 C12 C13
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
   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)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   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 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
   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
   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 4,442  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 N Levin 1-031 1949 LvovE03 Catalan, Open
11. L Omelchenko vs Korchnoi 0-132 1949 LeningradC77 Ruy Lopez
12. Korchnoi vs Shapkin 1-018 1949 MoscowD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
13. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-151 1949 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
14. V Golenishchev vs Korchnoi 0-142 1949 MoscowA90 Dutch
15. Korchnoi vs Y Sakharov  1-030 1949 Lvov Ch URSD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Korchnoi vs E Polyak  1-033 1950 TulaC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
18. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-144 1950 LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
19. Korchnoi vs Suetin  ½-½60 1950 TulaB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
20. M Aizenshtad vs Korchnoi  0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. Korchnoi vs Kasparian 0-138 1950 TulaB10 Caro-Kann
22. Korchnoi vs S Zhukhovitsky  1-055 1950 LeningradB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
23. Korchnoi vs I Pogrebissky  ½-½43 1950 TulaB55 Sicilian, Prins Variation, Venice Attack
24. Averbakh vs Korchnoi 1-043 1950 TulaB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
25. A Khavsky vs Korchnoi 0-131 1950 LeningradB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
 page 1 of 178; games 1-25 of 4,442  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
  Rookiepawn: This stuff about "hating your opponent" reminds me of some box fighter who said "To me, the guy in front is just a bastard who wants to steal my kid's food".

I think this is the downside of professional sport. When you depend on results to survive, then you don't think about the beauty of sport but money. That's also the reason for quick boring draws in chess, or refusal to play against someone you fear, as happened many times in chess history.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <TheFocus> Well KGB and the USSR were smarting after Bobby took THEIR title!!;-)......think of it this way, this is not a perfect analogy but I find it similar.

Imagine a baseball team in Russia challenging the World Series winner to a 7 game match and winning say in 5 or 6 games!! I hope I live for the day when Cuban baseball teams play in the Major's. When a certain country dominates an activity year after year, then loses it, it creates havoc within that country!! Personally I'd LOVE to see another country compete and win the World Series. Just to show us how silly we have been calling it the World Series for all these years. When they do, THEN it can properly be titled such.

May-25-14  Mr 1100: At the risk of repeating observations that have already been made, I must note that Korchnoi is the only player I've been able to find on to have played competitively against Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Khalifman, Ruslan Ponomariov, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, and Veselin Topalov. Remarkably, he has a plus score against Tal, Petrosian and Spassky.

This must be an achievement in itself, surely?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Rookiepawn> For the same streak of ferocity at the board, with a milder demeanour on a personal basis, I should like to call your attention to two players I have known: John A Curdo and Harry Lyman.
May-29-14  Strelets: <Mr 1100> Much less equal scores in games with Botvinnik and Fischer. He also beat Geller +11 -6 =16, Leonid Stein +3 -2 =12, Polugaevskii by the considerable margin of +21 -9 =33, Taimanov +9 -5 =22, Larsen +6 -4 =4, Unzicker +6 -1 =4, Najdorf +3 -0 =3, Ljubojević +7 -5 =22, Hübner +15 -13 =25, Lajos Portisch +13 -12 =18, Gligorić +8 -2 =14, Timman +19 -14 =43, Henrique Mecking +5 -2 =12, Uhlmann +5 -3 =7, Sammy Reshevsky +3 -0 =8 [classical games only, source: this site]...
Jun-04-14  Mr 1100: <Strelets> Many thanks for the statistics.
Jun-08-14  NeoIndian: Take a look at this :)

Btw, who is the person standing at the start of the video?

Jun-08-14  NeoIndian: Ah. Got it- GM Ljubomir Ljubojević.
Premium Chessgames Member
  M61MG Wrestler: <petrosianic: a few words that Fischer didn't even say (see "My 61 Memorable Games Hoax"). >


Jun-25-14  vkk: Fischer was afraid of Karpov and tried to make him seem weaker than himself

I'd be afraid too after looking at karpovs style

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: For the third time, chess grandmasters aged 75plus, are invited to the International Pegasus Summit at Dresden as special guests during the ZMDI Schachfestival (Open) Dresden.

All accommodations were sponsored by Pegasus Residenz, Dresden on the initiative by chairman Dr. Rainer Maas, a chess lover himself. Some grandmasters could not come due to health issues or long transports / journeys, so there was no south or us american grandmaster present (as eg. Benko, Bisguier, Lombardy, or Oscar Panno from Argentina, turning eighty next year). Contrary to 2013, Boris Spassky, born in Leningrad as Korchnoi, unfortunately was absent this year meanwhile Korchnoi was not present at Dresden last year.

IM Andreas Dückstein, from Austria, born in Budapest, is regarded as of grandmaster strength (he was always an amateur player, but nevertheless beat Botvinnik, Euwe and Spassky), the other grandmaster nestors this year meeting at Dresden are Viktor Korchnoi, Mark Taimanov, Nikola Padevsky (Bulgaria), Hans-Joachim Hecht, Klaus Darga, Wolfgang Uhlmann (Germany), Yair Kraidman (Israel), and Fridrik Olafsson (Iceland), who is in a splendid health condition, he gave a clock simul for club players, walking as an athlete.

Look at this picture of Victor Korchnoi together with old friend Mark Taimanov: lucid minds :))
(scroll down and then click on the picture to enlarge)

Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Strelets: <Mr 1100> Much less equal scores in games with Botvinnik and Fischer. He also beat Geller +11 -6 =16, Leonid Stein +3 -2 =12, Polugaevskii by the considerable margin of +21 -9 =33, Taimanov +9 -5 =22, Larsen +6 -4 =4, Unzicker +6 -1 =4, Najdorf +3 -0 =3, Ljubojević +7 -5 =22, Hübner +15 -13 =25, Lajos Portisch +13 -12 =18, Gligorić +8 -2 =14, Timman +19 -14 =43, Henrique Mecking +5 -2 =12, Uhlmann +5 -3 =7, Sammy Reshevsky +3 -0 =8 [classical games only, source: this site]...>

Among World Champions, this is Korchnoi's record:

Viktor Korchnoi tied Mikhail Botvinnik 1 to 1, with 2 draws

Vasily Smyslov beat Viktor Korchnoi 5 to 3, with 13 draws

Viktor Korchnoi beat Mikhail Tal 13 to 4, with 27 draws

Viktor Korchnoi beat Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian 12 to 10, with 49 draws

Viktor Korchnoi beat Boris Spassky 21 to 16, with 34 draws

Robert James Fischer tied Viktor Korchnoi 2 to 2, with 4 draws

Anatoly Karpov beat Viktor Korchnoi 31 to 14, with 63 draws

Garry Kasparov beat Viktor Korchnoi 16 to 1, with 23 draws

Vladimir Kramnik beat Viktor Korchnoi 6 to 0, with 6 draws

Viswanathan Anand beat Viktor Korchnoi 8 to 0, with 3 draws

Viktor Korchnoi beat Magnus Carlsen 1 to 0

Game Collection: Korchnoi vs World Champions Decisive Games

Note however that Karpov was in fact a generation younger than Korchnoi. if we only count the players around Korchnoi's generation, just a bit older or younger, then only Smyslov among World Champions had a positive score against him, and only barely.

Among top players near his age bracket, I think only the puzzling Paul Keres (who like Korchnoi was an Almost World Champion) was able to dominate Viktor the Terrible. In their first 16 games, Keres beat Korchnoi 4 times with no defeats. Korchnoi only managed to win on his 17th and last try when Keres was just a few months from dying of a heart attack in 1975. (Paul Keres beat Viktor Korchnoi 4 to 1, with 12 draws)

Aug-25-14  Refused: Well, it's kinda tough to dismiss Karpov as simply being from a younger generation. Korchnoi (and others from that <golden generation> were playing competitive well into the 1980s. And Korchnoi played Karpov in two title matches.

I can see your point though, because Karpov was a good twenty years younger than Viktor the terrible. But then you can also claim Fischer was another generation from Korchnoi. Because Fischer was 12 years Korchnoi's junior.

Sep-11-14  fisayo123: <visayanbraindoctor> Good post.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: In Korchnoi's case age hardly matters anything - he peaked around the age at which other top players are long retired. He played his WC matches at 46 and 49, his rating peaked on several occasions between 47 and 50 (chessmetrics gives his peak at 47 btw). That is - when at his <peak>, Korchnoi was older than Anand is now - and many consider Anand kind of a miracle case :D
Sep-12-14  Olavi: <visayanbraindoctor> Good post, but again, the newer head to heads on this site can not really be trusted. For instance, Anand beat Korchnoi in Tilburg 1991, izt 1993 and in 1998 and 2000, but the other four wins that are listed as classical games were in fact rapid.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < In December 2012 Korchnoi suffered a stroke, and it is uncertain if he will be able to return to competitive chess. >

He may not return to <competitive> chess, but at least he's still playing.

Oct-21-14  john barleycorn: Spassky on Korchnoi:

<I remember fondly one conversation I had a few years back with Boris Spassky. We were discussing Victor Korchnoi (‘Victor the Terrible’). Boris and Victor had been bitter adversaries for more than 40 years at the time of this conversation, and they had played more than 60 times in official competitions..(including 2 candidates finals)… only Karpov can boast to have played Victor more times. Boris, at one point, came up with the incredible statement that Korchnoi had every quality necessary to become world champion BUT lacked ONE very essential quality…and it was precisely this quality that prevented him from attaining chess’ highest title. I coaxed Boris on… He began to list Korchnoi’s many qualities:
…Killer Instinct (nobody can even compare with Victor’s ‘gift’) …Phenomenal capacity to work (both on the board and off the board) …Iron nerves (even with seconds left on the clock)
…Ability to Calculate (maybe only Fischer was better in this department) …Tenacity and perseverance in Defense (unmatched by anyone) …The ability to counterattack (unrivaled in chess history) …Impeccable Technique (Flawless, even better than Capa’s) …Capacity to concentrate (unreal)
…Impervious to distractions during the game
…Brilliant understanding of strategy
…Superb tactian (only a few in history an compare with Victor) …Possessing the most profound opening preparation of any GM of his generation …Subtle Psychologist
…Super-human will to win (matched only by Fischer)
…Deep knowledge of all of his adversaries
…Enormous energy and self-discipline
Then Boris stopped, and just looked at me, begging for me to ask the question that needed to be asked….I asked: ‘But, Boris, what does Victor lack to become world champion?‘ Boris’ answer floored me:”He has no chess talent !” And then Spassky roared with laughter…>

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: < john barleycorn: Spassky on Korchnoi: >

I've heard this before, but I'm beginning to think it's silly. So what if Spassky thinks he has no "chess talent" whatever that is. Clearly Korchnoi got to where he did on hard work, and that's nothing to sneer at.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: BTW: How is the old man these days? I haven't heard any news about his health.
Oct-28-14  john barleycorn: <And then Spassky roared with laughter…>

I think it was exaggeration typically for a joke. Korchnoi himself said that his talent for chess was not up there with others. I have to search for that interview. However, what does this assessment of talent mean? Nothing. Performance counts. And Korchnoi had a strong and long-lived performance.

Nov-26-14  themindset: <Joshka> Personally I'd LOVE to see another country compete and win the World Series.

Yeah, even a team from Toronto or something at least.

Premium Chessgames Member
  norami: Odd bit of trivia - Korchnoi is one day younger than Kirk and three days older than Spock.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Throw Viktor Lvovich in there as the crusty Dr McCoy and we've got ourselves a lineup.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: New site <> is honouring Viktor Korchnoi's life and chess achievements and gives a comprehensive survey of his tournamant wins: international invitation tournaments (round robin), international open tournaments (swiss system), official FIDE competitions, national championships, matches, team events and first board prizes, with an exclusive World Ranking survey and 1st Prizes chronology of Viktor Korchnoi:

Master of aggressive counter-attacking, full of fantasy, with a unique willingness to enter double-edged, unbalanced positions. 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, winner of more than 220 tournaments, matches and team events.

Included is a historical abstract of the four longest - annually - running major international (originally invitational) tournaments, <Hastings> *1920/21 (winter congresses with first summer congress in 1895), today continued as an Open, <Wijk aan Zee, Beverwijk> *1938, <Sarajevo> (Bosna) *1957 today played as an Open, and <Havana>, sometimes also at other cuban venues (Capablanca Memorial) *1962; as well as the International Chess Festival of <Biel / Bienne>, plus for the first time in the world wide web, a wrap-up is featuring the legendary tournaments of <Banja Luka> (with stories about Kasparov, Chiburdanidze and Korchnoi) and <Lugano>, a big International Open Festival in the 1980s (among the winners are Sosonko, Seirawan and Korchnoi).

People of all ages, from every region and walk of life, study and play it. Like all truly classic things, chess stands the test of time. I am deeply appreciated of the time and effort of all chess friends devoted to the development of the art of the royal game. I pay tribute to them and gratefully acknowledge their contributions in a link collection of informative chess websites: <>

My homepage is strictly non-commercial, non-selling, has no political, religious, racial, sexual, or whatsoever hidden intention. Just enjoy. Happy boxing day, everyone!

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