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Korchnoi in Amsterdam, 1972; photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Viktor Korchnoi
Number of games in database: 4,427
Years covered: 1945 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2499
Highest rating achieved in database: 2695
Overall record: +1699 -676 =1736 (62.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      316 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 King's Indian (268) 
    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 (111) 
    D55 D50 D58 D51 D54
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (393) 
    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 (143) 
    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
   Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Spassky, 1977 1-0
   Averbakh vs Korchnoi, 1965 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)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Bucharest (1954)
   Buenos Aires (1960)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1970)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   Leningrad Interzonal (1973)
   Hastings 1971/72 (1971)
   Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Sousse Interzonal (1967)
   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
   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 4,427  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 S Giterman 1-036 1948 TallinnC07 French, Tarrasch
9. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-012 1948 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
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. Korchnoi vs G Goldberg 1-041 1950 TulaA02 Bird's Opening
17. Taimanov vs Korchnoi 0-135 1950 LeningradA97 Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky
18. I Vistaneckis vs Korchnoi  0-148 1950 TulaA80 Dutch
19. M Aizenshtadt vs Korchnoi 0-134 1950 LeningradD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Korchnoi vs E Polyak  1-033 1950 TulaC73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
21. Sikov vs Korchnoi 0-144 1950 LeningradA85 Dutch, with c4 & Nc3
22. Korchnoi vs Suetin  ½-½60 1950 TulaB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
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 178; games 1-25 of 4,427  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
  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.

Jul-22-15  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Three huge King's-Indian-Annihilators are Petrosian, Kramnik and Kortschnoi.

It's odd in a way because their styles are all dissimilar.

Oct-18-15  PJs Studio: I've read Kortchnoi is a stern GM, but hasn't he earned enough through age, accomplishment and certain difficulties with the government he expatriated? I've always considered him as Sisyphus - Disrespected yet undaunted.

If I lost to him with the Benko and he asked me "Why did you give me a pawn on move three?" I'd laugh my ass off. Some players are so full of themselves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: <Korchnoi suffered a stroke in December 2012, but returned to competitive chess beginning in 2014.>

That's such great news! What a tough old bugger!

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: <Big Pawn> Indeed, Viktor Korchnoi recently played a four games rapid match on two days with his friend Mark Taimanov at the Swiss Chess Museum in Kriens near Lucerne.

The Legends from Saint Petersburg were invited together with their wives Petra Korchnoi and Nadja Taimanov to visit the Chess Museum which opened a special exhibition on VK running until 31st March 2016.

Both players will soon celebrate a jubilee birthday, Taimanov (born in 1926) is turning 90 next February, Korchnoi will be 85 in March. (Homepage of the Swiss Chess Museum) (brief summary in english, scroll down) (report in german language with picture gallery)

For Korchnoi it was maybe the first chess match (not single game) against a relatively older opponent compared to him since he played Petrosian in 1980 at Velden (Candidate's quarterfinal).

Dec-31-15  Petrosianic: That is good news. Taimanov's last game in the database was 2011. When these are added, his career will stretch over 77 years.

I wonder if that's a record? Reshevsky's only covers 74, and Smyslov's 66. Can anyone beat 77?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: NN can.
Jan-12-16  Petrosianic: One of the clearest signs of Korchnoi's career renaissance in the mid 70's was the complete turnaround in his results against Petrosian after 1973. Here's how their career results break down (essentially, Korchnoi was dominated before 1973, and did the dominating afterwards) :

1946-1973: + 4- 9=29
1974-1980: + 8- 2=18
Lifetime: +12-11=47

1946-1973: + 2- 3=15
1974-1980: + 7- 0= 8
Lifetime: + 9- 3=23

1946-1973: + 2- 6=14
1974-1980: + 1- 2=10
Lifetime: + 3- 8=24

Premium Chessgames Member

El Gran Victor, Victor el Grande, today at the opening ceremony ZCC (Zurich Chess Challenge) 2016

<I'm very happy for the chance to take yet another portrait of one of my favourite players, Viktor Korchnoi> chess photographer David Llada

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: He looks like have lost weight, cheeks are a little sallow. Very different than when I saw him in Las Vegas.
Feb-12-16  cunctatorg: It will be really sad when this man pass away...

No further comment.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: I'm pretty sure that that's a record for GMs but, among lesser masters, the Argentine Francisco Benko had a career that spanned at least 80 years.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Korchnoi's 70 is not even a record among GMs. Not sure what the record is, but one counter example is enough: Taimanov has 73 years covered.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: I was responding to <Petrosianic> above, forgot to mention that. As he says Taimanov's 77 years is likely the current record.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Korchnoi, 85, is returning after a severe stroke. Taimanov, pushing 90, fathered twins at the age of 78. Both players, incidentally, survived the siege of Leningrad.

These guys are something else.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The recent book by Cyrus Lakdawala, <Korchnoi: Move by Move> is magnificent. The games, naturally, are awesome -- Korchnoi was the first player to really impress me, back when he was playing Karpov. I still regularly play the French as Black and the English/Reti as White.

Lakdawala's annotations are also superb, an excellent counterpart to Korchnoi's brilliance.

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