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Rafael Vaganian
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 1,950
Years covered: 1965 to 2019
Last FIDE rating: 2516 (2428 rapid, 2439 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2662

Overall record: +665 -342 =849 (58.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 94 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (139) 
    A15 A13 A14 A17 A16
 Reti System (107) 
    A04 A06 A05
 King's Indian (101) 
    E62 E60 E63 E97 E69
 Queen's Indian (66) 
    E12 E15 E19 E14 E17
 King's Indian Attack (65) 
    A07 A08
 Queen's Pawn Game (60) 
    A46 D02 A45 A41 A40
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (350) 
    C07 C09 C16 C18 C02
 French Tarrasch (136) 
    C07 C09 C04 C05 C03
 French Winawer (117) 
    C16 C18 C15 C19 C17
 Queen's Gambit Declined (113) 
    D37 D31 D35 D30 D36
 Orthodox Defense (87) 
    D58 D55 D59 D56 D50
 Alekhine's Defense (59) 
    B04 B03 B02 B05
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Reshevsky vs Vaganian, 1976 0-1
   Vaganian vs G Botterill, 1975 1-0
   Vaganian vs Kupreichik, 1974 1-0
   Lautier vs Vaganian, 2004 0-1
   Van der Wiel vs Vaganian, 1993 0-1
   Vaganian vs G Forintos, 1975 1-0
   Vaganian vs Bronstein, 1975 1-0
   Vaganian vs Hjartarson, 1991 1-0
   Vaganian vs Sveshnikov, 1980 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Vaganian, 1981 1/2-1/2

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament 2001/02 (2001)
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Biel Interzonal (1985)
   Montpellier Candidates (1985)
   Aeroflot Open (2004)
   Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1978)
   USSR Championship (1974)
   50th USSR Championship (1983)
   October Revolution 60th Anniversary (1977)
   Phillips & Drew GLC Kings (1984)
   Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979)
   European Club Cup (2007)
   USSR Championship (1971)
   Politiken Cup (2006)
   European Individual Championship (2007)
   EU-ch 4th (2003)
   36th Olympiad (2004)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship 1983 by Benzol
   Hastings 1974/75 by suenteus po 147
   USSR Championship 1975 by Phony Benoni
   USSR Championship 1974 by suenteus po 147
   USSR Championship 1989 by suenteus po 147
   Rotterdam World Cup 1989 by suenteus po 147

   🏆 Asrian Memorial
   A Davtyan vs Vaganian (Jun-19-19) 0-1
   Vaganian vs M Basencyan (Jun-18-19) 1-0
   Vaganian vs Armen Ar Barseghyan (Jun-15-19) 0-1
   Haik Der Manuelian vs Vaganian (Jun-14-19) 1/2-1/2
   Vaganian vs M Gevorgyan (Jun-13-19) 1-0

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Rafael Vaganian
Search Google for Rafael Vaganian
FIDE player card for Rafael Vaganian

(born Oct-15-1951, 68 years old) Armenia

[what is this?]
Rafael Artemovich Vaganian was born in Yerevan. Awarded the GM title in 1971, he was a Candidate twice. In 1986 he lost to Andrei Sokolov (+0, =4, -4) and in 1988 he lost to Lajos Portisch (+0, =5, -1).

He won the USSR Championship in 1989 [rusbase-1] and played on the 1984 and 1986 USSR Olympiad teams. In 1984 he played Board 5 for the USSR in the USSR versus The Rest of the World Match against Zoltan Ribli.

He has achieved some excellent tournament victories, including Vrnjacka Banja 1971, Sao Paulo 1977, Las Palmas 1979, Manila 1981, Hastings 1982-83, Biel 1985 and Leningrad 1987. Today he remains a strong grandmaster.

Wikipedia article: Rafael Vaganian

 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,950  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Euwe vs Vaganian  0-1291965SimulB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
2. Vaganian vs Karpov ½-½401967URS-ch U20E18 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3
3. Vaganian vs Ulf Andersson 1-0411968EU-ch U20 prelE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
4. Karpov vs Vaganian  ½-½4319686th Soviet Team CupB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
5. Vaganian vs A Lombard 1-0401969EU-ch U20 final AE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
6. E Turunen vs Vaganian  0-1251969EU-ch U20 final AA06 Reti Opening
7. S Webb vs Vaganian  ½-½171969EU-ch U20 prelD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
8. Karpov vs Vaganian ½-½451969World Jr Ch qualB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
9. Vaganian vs H Schaufelberger  1-0401969EU-ch U20 final AA44 Old Benoni Defense
10. K H Maeder vs Vaganian  ½-½171969EU-ch U20 prelB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
11. Vaganian vs Karpov 0-1541969World Jr Ch qualE14 Queen's Indian
12. Karpov vs Vaganian  ½-½531969World Jr Ch qualB03 Alekhine's Defense
13. Vaganian vs Ghizdavu  ½-½491969EU-ch U20 final AD75 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O c5, 8.dxc5
14. H Schaufelberger vs Vaganian  ½-½101969EU-ch U20 prelB02 Alekhine's Defense
15. Vaganian vs Karpov ½-½531969World Jr Ch qualE20 Nimzo-Indian
16. Vaganian vs K H Maeder  0-1621969EU-ch U20 final AE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
17. Vaganian vs G Ligterink  1-0271969EU-ch U20 prelE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
18. Vaganian vs Ghizdavu  1-0431969EU-ch U20 prelE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
19. Ribli vs Vaganian  ½-½121969EU-ch U20 prelC01 French, Exchange
20. Karpov vs Vaganian 0-1441969World Jr Ch qualB03 Alekhine's Defense
21. P Atanasov vs Vaganian  ½-½471969EU-ch U20 final AB02 Alekhine's Defense
22. Vaganian vs Podgaets  1-0301969URS-ch sfE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
23. S Webb vs Vaganian  0-1391969EU-ch U20 final AA16 English
24. Ribli vs Vaganian 0-1381969GroningenD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
25. Vaganian vs Karpov 0-1301969World Jr Ch qualE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,950  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Vaganian wins | Vaganian loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-28-11  BobCrisp: <Vaganian> played a simul against the strong London Central YMCA chess club, some time in early 1975. <Jimmy Adams> wrote it up as <Rafael Vaganian in London Town> for the April 1975 <BCM> (alas, he omitted the date!).

<Rafa> had a tough time over 30 boards, scoring only +13 -10 =7. Unfortunately, none of the scores have made it into the <> far!

Oct-15-11  talisman: happy birthday to a great player!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: A leading Chicago player used to refer to this player as "Vagina Man" because he didn't know the correct pronunciation. I've heard Christiansen say "vahg-ahn-yahn" and he should know.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: @FSR: <Vagina Man??> You are telling me that he could not be bothered to check the proper or less offensive pronunciation? Did anyone ever correct him?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <paavoh> I believe I told him the correct pronunciation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: @FSR: Good for you - I think Vaganian deserved a better moniker than that!
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: What's he doing these days? Playing anywhere?
Oct-15-12  parisattack: <FSR: A leading Chicago player used to refer to this player as "Vagina Man" because he didn't know the correct pronunciation. I've heard Christiansen say "vahg-ahn-yahn" and he should know.>

Some years back I was re-watching an old James Bond movie - I think You Only Live Twice. There was a scene of a Russian spacecraft countdown with the Russian counting ... dva, oden (two, one) and then he said what sounded like 'vaganian' which I thought might mean blastoff or zero, but apparently not.

Any Russian scholar know what word he did say, what it meant, if it was at all like 'vaganian?'

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <paavoh: @FSR: Good for you - I think Vaganian deserved a better moniker than that!>

True, though "Vagina Man" could be a fine name for a transgendered superhero.

Oct-16-12  Manoloo: The Vaganian Monologames
Dec-12-12  EdZelli: His true name is Vahanian. *Russians can't render the letter H hence the G substitution.
Oct-15-13  Kikoman: Happy 62nd Birthday GM Rafael Vaganian :D
Oct-15-13  kereru: His win against Reshevsky deserves to be in any greatest games of all time collection.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <kereru> Reshevsky vs Vaganian, 1976
Oct-15-13  EdZelli: Sammy and Rafael, both legendary players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Happy Birthday <POTD>: Rafael Vaganian.
Apr-19-14  Ginos Vougas: Hi guys, I was wondering if there are any books about Rafael Vaganian and his games. Thank you!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Ginos Vougas> check this one..

Rafael Vaganian: Over 100 victories spanning his career (ELO 2600 series)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Frankly speaking, I donít like modern chess, and Iím not sure whatís going to happen next.>

I'll tell you what's going to happen: Anand won't win!

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Vaganian got an invitation to play in the forthcoming International Grandmaster Tournament at the 50th Jubilee edition of the Biel Chess Festival 2017!

It doesn't happen every day that a veteran player, aged 65, got a chance to battle some (super)grandmasters of today in a closed tournament. Vaganian will face Harikrishna, Navara, Bacrot, Pono, Moro, Leko, and Yifan You. On the other end of the scale, he will be challenged by the two young Swiss players Nico Georgiadis and Noel Studer.

Accomplishments and tournament wins (selection):

1st-3rd for the Niemeyer tournament in the European Junior Championship in 1968-69 at Groningen (but second on tie-break).

Vaganian played 10 times in the USSR Championships, and his best results were <in 1989 at Odessa when he was crowned sole National USSR Champion> and in 1975 when he was equal second.

His maybe most prominent international wins dates from official tournaments:

Biel Interzonal (1985)

Montpellier Candidates (1985)

<Winner Interzonal in Biel 1985>. Vaganian arrived clear first, in a field including Polugaevsky, Seirawan, Ljubojevic, Andersson, Sax, Torre, or young Short (in total 18 players).

In the following <Candidates' Tournament in Montpellier 1985>, Raf Vaganian took joint first place, with Arthur Yusupov and Andrei Sokolov, but lost his pre-semifinal match to A. Sokolov by 2-6 in Minsk in 1986 (the eventual winner of the Candidate's final did not have the status of a Challenger as usual, he 'only' got the right for a match against Anatoly Karpov who had been seeded directly into that extra-final).

In 1988, Vaganian qualified again for the Candidates', but in the 1/7- finals (Karpov seeded), he lost to Portisch narrowly by 2Ĺ-3Ĺ in St. John, Canada.

Won or shared the victory in <Vrnjacka Banja 1971> (as IM ahead of Stein in a pretty strong field including also Ivkov, Ljubojevic, Matulovic, Janosevic, Damjanovic, and Benko; Rafael Vaganian thus was awarded the GM title for this victory), Valencia 1974, Kragujevac 1974, Sant Feliu 1975, <Rome (Banco di Roma) 1977> (joint), Sao Paolo 1977, Kirovakan 1978, <Las Palmas (8th edition) 1979>, <Manila (Marlboro) 1981>, <Hastings 1982-83> (14 players, Vaganian 2.5 points ahead of the rest), <Moscow International 1982> (joint with Tal), <Tallinn (Keres Memorial) 1983> (joint with Tal again, 16 players incl. Petrosian), Lvov 1984, (joint with Dorfman), <Nimzowitsch Memorial (50th Anniv of his death), Naestved 1985> (joint with Browne and Larsen), <Sochi (Chigorin Memorial) 1986>, <Leningrad International (70th Anniv of October Revolution) 1987> then a prestigious win, today rather overlooked, Marseille (closed) 1987, Copenhagen Open 1987, Esbjerg, North Sea Cup 1988 (joint with Kupreichik, ahead of Larsen), <Reykjavik Open 1990> (joint with a bunch of players), Toronto (closed) 1990, <Moscow International 1991>, Porz Open 1991 (joint), Ter Appel (Cloister) 1992, <Reggio Emilia 1992/93>, Ter Appel (Cloister) 1993, World Open, Philadelphia 1994 (joint, Serper won on tie-break), <Reggio Emilia 1994/95>, <Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2004> (joint, Rublevsky won in a three-way-tie).

<With the Soviet Union in the Olympiads of 1984 and 1986 two team gold medals plus an individual gold medal in 1986> as well as a team silver medal in 1978. He played at board 5 in the match USSR vs the Rest of the World in 1984 (Vaganian lost to Ribli 1.5-2.5). A member of the winning USSR team at the European Team Chess Championships in 1980 and 1983. Six times, a member of the Armenian Team in the Olympiads with a bronze medal for the team ranking in 1992 and in 2004, plus <a gold medal for the best individual performance at board 3 in 2004>.

Highest nominal Elo rating: 2670 in the year 2005. <Highest ranking no. 3= of the world in 1986 (January-June)>, after wining the Biel Interzonal in 1985, and co-winning the Candidateís tournament the same year.

Oct-15-18  hyperactivemodernist: Nice to see Vaganian featured today! I've enjoyed his games very much. Like others of the Armenian school, he's a positional master with a fascinating and original style. I really wish someone would publish an annotated collection!
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: Still going strong at the Senior World Championships (65+) with 4/5. His ELO is a very respectable 2514.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <wordfunph: "No, I never had one particular chess idol. Though I did have a model - Fischer. I knew all his games, I was in love with his playing. Like him I tried never to offer a draw, I always played to the bitter end."

- GM Rafael Vaganian>

On the first page, draws in 17, 12, 17, 10, 17, 12, 11, 14 . . . .

Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: <... draws in 17, 12, 17, 10, 17, 12, 11, 14... > Isn't it a bitter end, when you realize (after entering the game with high hopes) that a draw is all you can achieve ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: He is now the 65+ World Champion by 8.5/11, winning the ultimate round with Black pieces. Congratulations!
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