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Ratmir Kholmov
Number of games in database: 2,394
Years covered: 1946 to 2005
Last FIDE rating: 2432
Highest rating achieved in database: 2555

Overall record: +785 -356 =1241 (59.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 12 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (411) 
    B91 B40 B80 B33 B30
 Ruy Lopez (133) 
    C85 C84 C78 C80 C72
 French Defense (101) 
    C05 C03 C07 C01 C02
 French Tarrasch (67) 
    C05 C03 C07 C09 C04
 Sicilian Najdorf (66) 
    B91 B92 B90 B99 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (62) 
    C85 C84 C96 C94 C89
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (214) 
    C92 C77 C95 C84 C91
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (150) 
    C92 C95 C84 C91 C85
 Nimzo Indian (144) 
    E55 E32 E54 E21 E20
 Queen's Indian (73) 
    E17 E16 E19 E14 E12
 Bogo Indian (68) 
 English (67) 
    A17 A14 A15 A13 A10
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kholmov vs Bronstein, 1965 1-0
   Kholmov vs Keres, 1959 1-0
   Fischer vs Kholmov, 1965 0-1
   Bagirov vs Kholmov, 1961 0-1
   Spassky vs Kholmov, 1957 1/2-1/2
   Keres vs Kholmov, 1948 1/2-1/2
   Alatortsev vs Kholmov, 1948 1/2-1/2
   Furman vs Kholmov, 1963 0-1
   Uhlmann vs Kholmov, 1960 0-1
   Kholmov vs A Bannik, 1962 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Asztalos Memorial (1959)
   URS-ch sf Tashkent (1958)
   Bucharest (1962)
   Capablanca Memorial (1968)
   Dresden (1956)
   Przepiorka Memorial (1957)
   October Revolution 50 (1967)
   Budapest Tungsram (1976)
   Bucharest (1954)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   Skopje (1967)
   URS-ch sf Kharkiv (1956)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   Havana (1965)
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Cool Moves by Kholmov by Resignation Trap
   Ratmir Kholmov - Selected Games 1945-1957 by Resignation Trap

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Ratmir Kholmov
Search Google for Ratmir Kholmov

(born May-13-1925, died Feb-18-2006, 80 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Ratmir Dmitrievich Kholmov was born in Shenkursk. He learned chess at age 12, and it took him only a couple of years to reach master level. He was awarded the Soviet master title in 1950. He became a FIDE international master in 1954, and a FIDE grandmaster in 1960. Kholmov was not well known in the West, for during his peak, he was confined to events in communist countries. This may have been for "security reasons", as Kholmov had been a wartime sailor.

He played in the final of the Soviet Championship sixteen times between 1948 and 1972. In 1963 he tied for first in this event with Boris Spassky and Leonid Stein (who ultimately won the playoff). Two years later he scored one of his finest international results, finishing sole fifth, undefeated, at the 21-round Capablanca Memorial in Havana. A formidable attacking player, he was able to record victories against Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Robert James Fischer and Garry Kasparov during a distinguished career that remained in progress until his death in 2006.

The Kholmov Gambit in the Petrov Defense (C42) (1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘f6 3.♘xe5 ♘xe4?! 4.♕e2 ♕e7) is named after him, although this is probably a misattribution stemming from the game Kholmov vs A Belousov, 1974 in which he dramatically refuted this dubious defense.

Wikipedia article: Ratmir Kholmov

 page 1 of 97; games 1-25 of 2,401  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kholmov vs Shumakher  1-0491946First Category TournamentC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. Kholmov vs M Aizenshtadt  1-0431946First Category TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
3. Kholmov vs E Zagoryansky  1-0671947URS-ch sfE17 Queen's Indian
4. Averbakh vs Kholmov 1-0261947URS-ch sfA15 English
5. Kholmov vs I Kan 1-0771947URS-ch sfE12 Queen's Indian
6. Kholmov vs Kasparian  0-1781947URS-ch sfA46 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Kholmov vs G Ravinsky  0-1451947URS-ch sfA48 King's Indian
8. Kholmov vs A Konstantinopolsky  1-0361947URS-ch sfD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
9. G Bastrikov vs Kholmov 0-1311947YaroslavlA30 English, Symmetrical
10. Kholmov vs R Nezhmetdinov 0-1611947All-Union Candidate Master TtA46 Queen's Pawn Game
11. Petrosian vs Kholmov 0-1721947URS-ch sfE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
12. Simagin vs Kholmov 1-0601947URS-ch sfE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
13. Ragozin vs Kholmov 1-0221947MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
14. Kholmov vs Boleslavsky 0-1301947MoscowA48 King's Indian
15. Pachman vs Kholmov 1-0311947MoscowD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Kholmov vs Keres 0-1401947MoscowA32 English, Symmetrical Variation
17. P Trifunovic vs Kholmov  ½-½211947MoscowE17 Queen's Indian
18. Kholmov vs Bondarevsky 1-0681947MoscowD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
19. C Kottnauer vs Kholmov  ½-½421947MoscowA43 Old Benoni
20. Kholmov vs Gligoric 0-1601947MoscowD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
21. Botvinnik vs Kholmov 1-0301947MoscowE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
22. Kholmov vs N Novotelnov 0-1521947MoscowC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
23. K Plater vs Kholmov  0-1551947MoscowC01 French, Exchange
24. Kholmov vs A Tsvetkov  1-0501947MoscowE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
25. Sokolsky vs Kholmov  ½-½801947MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
 page 1 of 97; games 1-25 of 2,401  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kholmov wins | Kholmov loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-22-13  Wyatt Gwyon: This dude seems like he was an interesting character.
Nov-30-13  Everett: <Bronstein vs Kholmov, 1957>

Regarding that long think vs Tal in 1957...

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: I was not here
May-13-14  Marmot PFL: Peak ranking #8 in the world, beat Fischer, Keres and Bronstein, peak rating 2555. And people say there is no such thing as rating inflation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Ah, so that explains one of the bumps on the road encountered by (K)holmov during his career.
Feb-18-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, GM Ratmir Kholmov.
Feb-18-16  morfishine: <MarmotPFL> The term "rating inflation" is misleading since the term is associated to monetary inflation, which is caused by an artificial increase in the money supply brought on by printing fake, or fiat money. Ratings can go up and not necessarily be "inflated" and a true strength, relative, is preserved

I could care less about numbers

I like results

Good day sir


Feb-18-16  greed and death: Elo isn't meant to be a measure of absolute strength, but a measure of strength relative to other players.

Therefore, a 100-point Elo gap between two players in 1970 shows a strength difference equivalent to a 100-point gap between two players today.

The actual numerical value of the Elo rating means nothing unless compared with another's Elo over the same time period, making comparisons between two players from different eras based on Elo meaningless.

Feb-18-16  Shams: <Therefore, a 100-point Elo gap between two players in 1970 shows a strength difference equivalent to a 100-point gap between two players today.>

I don't think this follows at all.

May-11-16  zanzibar: Reading the above, I think Kholmov was a more colorful character than the <CG> portrait portrays:


May-13-17  gars: It seems Kholmov was a very strong player who had very few chances of playing outside the URSS. Is there any book about his games? Anyway, my congratulations on his birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Seconded
May-13-17  morfishine: Kholmov was an excellent player and of course we remember his game vs Fischer where Kholmov played his famous preparation, then saw it backfire in his face: Kholmov vs Fischer, 1967

Oh well, can't win'em all


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: One of my favorite old Soviet school players. Forceful, dynamic play.

Here's Kholmov taking care of teenager GK:

Kholmov vs Kasparov, 1978

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Anyone else out there who beat both Fischer and Kasparov and was not himself a world champion? Ah, yeah, Larsen and Korchnoi. But Kholmov played Fischer only twice, and Kasparov only once.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Petrosianic: Chicks? Do Russians say "chicks"? To describe girls, I mean.> They use for girls of this kind a word "тёлка" (tyelka or rather tyolka) which literally means "calf" or very young "heifer".
Jul-03-17  hemy: <Honza Cervenka><They use for girls of this kind a word "tyolka">

This word is in use in a newer Russian language. In 1951 they used a word "devki" (girls,chicks).

The story mentioned by <Caissanist> included in Russian version published on

This is exactly how it should be translated: "We sit, which means Tarasov, Nezhmetdinov and I, we drink, then two girls (chicks) came."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <hemy> Oh, I see. I missed original text in Russian, which is very interesting. Thanks.
Mar-11-20  hemy: Information about Kholmov's conditional disqualification after the 2nd Soviet Spartakiad (Moscow, August 1959) in contemporary Lithuanian newspaper "Draugas" , January 22, 1960, p. 2:

"The Lithuanian chess master (Russian) R. Kholmov was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct displayed at the Soviet Union Spartakiad. He was drunk during the Spartakiad and was removed from the chess squad by the heads of the Lithuanian delegation.

At the meeting that was held in Lithuanian Sports Societies and Organizations office, members of the Presidium of the Sports Council, as well as representatives of chess players, strongly criticized R. Kholmov, who, according to "Sports", did not work and systematically was drunk.

Kholmov was asked to be disqualified for one year for this, but it was later decided to impose a conditional disqualification for one year only. It was decided that R. Kholmov had already been punished by not giving him the title of grand master."

Results of Kholmov on 1st board in this tournament - 4/6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <hemy, I have read elsewhere that Kholmov had three suspensions for misconduct; is this true?
Mar-11-20  hemy: <perfidious> I'm not sure about the number of suspensions of Kholmov. I heard from other Lithuanian team members about him frequently having problems because of excessive alcohol consumption.

I personally knew other Lithuanian team member, 3 times Lithuanian champion, Leonid P Maslov, who was super heavy drinker.
My post about Leonid Maslov:

Maslov (kibitz #17)

Mar-17-20  hemy: <perfidious>
<hemy, I have read elsewhere that Kholmov had three suspensions for misconduct; is this true?>

I found about one more instance of Kholmov's suspension in the article about Lithuanian 1961 chess championship in the "Draugas", May 12, 1961, p. 2:

V. Mikėnas came out the winner in 1961 Lithuanian Chess championship. He scored 9.5 points out of 13. He was followed by I. Vistaneckis and D. Lapienis (8.5 each).

Former Lithuanian champion, Russian grand master R. Kholmov was not playing in these competition. Recently he again started to disregard the decisions of the Lithuanian sports management. He is therefore disqualified for half a year.

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: I think that Kholmov was probably a top 25 player of all time until at least 1990 or so. He was definitely a force to be reckoned w/ on the chessboard!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <perfidious> Alan I originally posted the following on the Tarasov page back in 2010 but it might shed a bit of light on your inquiry about Kholmov so I've reposted here.

<An excerp from Genna Sosonko's book "Smart Chip from St.Petersburg". Sosonko was interviewing Ratmir Holmov who had this to say 'So it turned out that Bronstein played a World Championship match in '51 and I was disqualified in the same year. For what? We were sitting around at a tournament, that's Tarasov, Nezhmetdinov and me, drinking, and two chicks came up to us. Well, Rashid was kind of in the way, he was about fifteen years older than Tarasov and me. You turn off the tape recorder now, turn it off, can you imagine if my wife reads this... 'Anyway, basically, Rashid was flushed, he was drunk, of course, he went out to the balcony and started throwing crockery off it - vases and plates. When Nezhmetdinov drank he had all kinds of psychoses, he'd lie down under a tram or do some other dumb thing. On this occasion nothing would have happened, other than the noise of the plates, but Kotov had to stick his nose into it. He started asking questions and whatever. There was an uproar, and the police came. To cut a long story short, they summoned all three of us to Moscow, to see Rodionov, who was chairman of the Sports Committee. Nezhmetdinov grovelled before him and they decided to pardon him as he was a party member, but Tarasov and I were disqualified for a year. They also cancelled my stipend, which I received as a member of the national team.'>

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: About Kholmov:
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