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Fridrik Olafsson
F Olafsson 
Number of games in database: 931
Years covered: 1947 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2355 (2348 rapid, 2336 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2570

Overall record: +315 -199 =411 (56.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 6 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (73) 
    B93 B92 B83 B32 B27
 King's Indian (59) 
    E60 E62 E66 E63 E90
 English (53) 
    A15 A13 A17 A10 A16
 Nimzo Indian (26) 
    E41 E53 E46 E54 E51
 Sicilian Najdorf (25) 
    B93 B92 B90 B96 B94
 Reti System (24) 
    A04 A05
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (117) 
    B42 B48 B40 B59 B47
 King's Indian (51) 
    E69 E70 E62 E94 E80
 Nimzo Indian (40) 
    E54 E42 E53 E59 E41
 Ruy Lopez (34) 
    C92 C99 C86 C97 C72
 English (28) 
    A13 A15 A16 A14 A19
 Grunfeld (25) 
    D71 D78 D75 D91 D80
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   F Olafsson vs Fischer, 1958 1-0
   Tal vs F Olafsson, 1975 0-1
   J Bodvarsson vs F Olafsson, 1947 0-1
   F Olafsson vs Unzicker, 1970 1-0
   O Rodriguez Vargas vs F Olafsson, 1978 0-1
   F Olafsson vs Eliskases, 1960 1-0
   F Olafsson vs Tal, 1971 1-0
   F Olafsson vs Quinteros, 1974 1-0
   Larsen vs F Olafsson, 1959 0-1
   V Rothuis vs F Olafsson, 2007 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Marianske Lazne Zonal (1961)
   Varna Olympiad qual-3 (1962)
   Reykjavik (1966)
   Wageningen Zonal (1957)
   Reykjavik (1976)
   Reykjavik (1964)
   Las Palmas (1978)
   Mar del Plata (1960)
   Portoroz Interzonal (1958)
   Hoogovens (1969)
   Moscow Olympiad Final-B (1956)
   Reykjavik (1970)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Zuerich (1959)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   IGM Friðrik Ólafsson by 64rutor
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1971 by suenteus po 147
   Mar del Plata 1960 by suenteus po 147
   Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1969 by suenteus po 147
   Zurich 1959 by suenteus po 147
   Lugano 1970 by Phony Benoni
   Teesside 1975 by Tabanus
   Teesside 1975 by suenteus po 147
   First Piatigorsky Cup 1963 by Benzol

   🏆 European Team Championship
   F Olafsson vs T Vedrickas (Nov-20-15) 0-1
   N Miezis vs F Olafsson (Nov-16-15) 1-0
   F Olafsson vs B Esen (Nov-15-15) 0-1
   F Olafsson vs B Sadiku (Nov-14-15) 1/2-1/2
   T Mamedjarova vs F Olafsson (Feb-27-13) 1/2-1/2

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Fridrik Olafsson
Search Google for Fridrik Olafsson
FIDE player card for Fridrik Olafsson

(born Jan-26-1935, 88 years old) Iceland

[what is this?]

Friðrik Ólafsson was born in Reykjavik. In 1953, he took 3rd in the World Junior Championship. He tied for first with Korchnoi at Hastings (1955/56). A multiple-time Scandinavian champion, he became the first Icelandic grandmaster when he qualified in the Portoroz Interzonal (1958) for the Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959). After a number of years as one of the top non-Soviet players (he served as first reserve in the USSR vs. Rest of the World (1970) match, and shared first place at Wijk aan Zee (1976)), he retired from World Championship contests to devote himself to other things, including the FIDE presidency from 1978 to 1982. He is a lawyer by profession.

Wikipedia article: Friðrik Ólafsson

Last updated: 2020-11-02 18:33:43

 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 975  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Bodvarsson vs F Olafsson 0-151947IcelandA02 Bird's Opening
2. Y Barda vs F Olafsson  0-1231950Birmingham U20 InternationalB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
3. F Olafsson vs B A Pritchard  1-0451950Birmingham U20 InternationalD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
4. Walter Marshall vs F Olafsson  ½-½461950Birmingham U20 InternationalC71 Ruy Lopez
5. F Olafsson vs J L Alexander  ½-½421950Birmingham U20 InternationalD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. E Klaeger vs F Olafsson  ½-½241950Birmingham U20 InternationalC07 French, Tarrasch
7. F Olafsson vs J M Boey  1-0241950Birmingham U20 InternationalB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
8. B Haggqvist vs F Olafsson  1-0471950Birmingham U20 InternationalD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. P Harris vs F Olafsson  ½-½341950Birmingham U20 InternationalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
10. F Olafsson vs J A Way  1-0391950Birmingham U20 InternationalE72 King's Indian
11. T Grove vs F Olafsson  ½-½211950Birmingham U20 InternationalB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
12. F Olafsson vs H Oosterhuis  1-0201950Birmingham U20 InternationalC25 Vienna
13. L Joyner vs F Olafsson  0-1421951World Junior ChampionshipA13 English
14. F Olafsson vs Ivkov 0-1451951World Junior ChampionshipA91 Dutch Defense
15. P Harris vs F Olafsson  1-0361951World Junior ChampionshipC42 Petrov Defense
16. F Olafsson vs A Eikrem  1-0441951World Junior ChampionshipB91 Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation
17. F Olafsson vs E Selzer  0-1751951World Junior ChampionshipB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
18. J A Jackson vs F Olafsson  0-1261951World Junior ChampionshipB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
19. W Rosen vs F Olafsson  ½-½401951World Junior ChampionshipC47 Four Knights
20. F Olafsson vs Larsen  1-0491951World Junior ChampionshipD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. S Burstein vs F Olafsson  ½-½211951World Junior ChampionshipB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
22. F Olafsson vs R C Cruz  0-1401951World Junior ChampionshipE41 Nimzo-Indian
23. F Olafsson vs M Barker  ½-½211951World Junior ChampionshipB44 Sicilian
24. O Benkner vs F Olafsson  ½-½801952Helsinki Olympiad qual-1E71 King's Indian, Makagonov System (5.h3)
25. Filip vs F Olafsson 1-0441952Helsinki Olympiad qual-1D51 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 975  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Olafsson wins | Olafsson loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-07-10  Petrosianic: Yes, I've heard that story too, from Horowitz's book on the World Championship. It's one of the few stories about ANY zonal that wasn't a US or USSR Championship. I'd love to see somebody compile a complete set of zonal crosstables, but I doubt anyone ever will. They're just too spread out. No one magazine seemed to cover them all.

Of course by the 70's, Olafsson wouldn't have had to qualify at all. As a participant in the previous Candidates, he would have been seeded into the next Interzonal. That's why there was no 3rd place (Larsen vs. Korchnoi) match in the 1971 Candidates or any 3rd place matches after. The 3rd place matches in 1965 and 1968 (both won by Larsen) had been held to determine who got a free interzonal spot. When all the Candidates got one, there was no more need for them.

Funny this should come up. Just this morning I had Fritz analyzing Olafsson's last round black win against Keres at the 1959 Candidates.

Keres vs F Olafsson, 1959

Jul-25-10  64rutor: Game Collection: IGM Friðrik Ólafsson
Jan-26-11  twinlark: Happy Birthday, GM Olafsson.
Jan-26-11  galdur: Thanx for the great collection 64rutor.

All the best, g.

Jan-26-11  diagonal: Happy birthday and many more!

Those were the days: nice picture from the Olympiads, La Valletta, Malta, 10th round, 1980: Fridrik Olafsson facing Karpov on board one, with Geller, quite symbolically alongside Karpov, <<;> as posted above, in that year Fridrik Olafsson beat the reigning chess world champion at a tournament in Buenos Aires.

Fridrik Olafsson: great icelandic player and still the last democratic ruling FIDE president.

Jan-26-11  talisman: Happy Birthday Mr. President! and great player.
Jan-26-12  brankat: Best wishes for Your Birthday!
Jan-26-12  diagonal: Happy birthday and best wishes for Friðrik Ólafsson.

Here a game worth to comment: young Olafsson against legendary Savielly Tartakower, 1953 at Hastings *those where the days*

<F Olafsson vs Tartakower, 1953>

Jan-26-13  talisman: happy birthday!
Jan-26-15  diagonal: Happy birthday to Friðrik Ólafsson who turns eighty today!

<Born 26 January 1935, GM since 1958, Friðrik Ólafsson was the strongest player in Iceland for many decades. He is a lawyer by profession, worked as an attorney, and was president of FIDE from 1978 to 1982. Fridrik Olafsson is certainly one of the strongest amateur players in modern era. In life outside of law and chess, he is married and has two adult daughters.

Fridrik Olafsson beat in classical games amongst others Tartakower (!), Eliskases, Taimanov, Najdorf, Reshevsky, Keres, Geller, Gligoric, Portisch, Hort, Uhlmann, Panno, Miles, Hübner, Timman, Bent Larsen (countless times, database has 40 games between the years 1953 and 2003 with an even head-to-head of 15 to 15 and 10 draws, both Larsen and Olafsson were born in 1935), as well as Fischer (twice), Petrosian (twice), Tal (twice), Karpov (Buenos Aires, Clarin) 1980 when Karpov was reigning world champion, and Korchnoi (Amsterdam, IBM) 1976.

Aged seventeen years, he won his first Icelandic Championship (in total, Olafsson is a six times national champion, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1962, and 1969). In 1953, he took 3rd in the World Junior Championship.

Shortly after this, he completed his studies in Law, he took a post in the Icelandic Ministry of Justice. He continued to be a part-time chess player during the next twenty years, but did not always enjoy the type of success that he might have attained had he been able to devote all of his energies to his studies of the game of chess prior to 1976 when he gave up his government post in order to become a full-time chess player for a brief period until he became president of FIDE in 1978.

He is a multiple-time Scandinavian and became the first Icelandic grandmaster: Olafsson was awarded the GM title automatically - together with Fischer - after they qualified in the Interzonal Portoroz 1958 for the Candidates 1959 in Bled / Zagreb / Belgrade (Tal winning, challenging Botvinnik successfully in 1960).

Fridrik Olafsson’s finest results of international note are his win at Hastings Congress 1955–56 (together with Viktor Korchnoi) and his two triumphs of the traditional Hoogovens tournament (today TATA Steel) at Beverwijk in 1959 (clear first ahead of Erich Eliskases), and at Wijk aan Zee in1976 (together with Ljubomir Ljubojevic;, ahead of Mikhail Tal as shared third).

Notable results include a third place together with Najdorf ahead of Reshevsky, Gligoric;, Benko, and Panno in the strong Piatigorsky Cup, Los Angeles 1963 (Petrosian and Keres won), Olafsson was runner-up with Gligoric, Petrosian and Ivkov, ahead of equal Mecking, Andersson, Hort and Hübner in Wijk aan Zee in 1971 (Korchnoi won), joint second at Las Palmas in 1974 (Ljubojevic won), and runner-up with Spassky, ahead of Bronstein and Hort at Tallinn in 1975 (Keres won).

Olafsson won several strong international invitation events at Reykjavik, in 1957 outright (ahead of Benko, Ståhlberg, and Pilnik) plus three times the today well known Reykjavik Open, then played as an Invitational tournament round robin, in 1966 (II. tournament outright), in 1972 (V. tournament joint with Vlastimil Hort and Florin Gheorghiu), and in 1976 (VII. tournament joint with Jan Timman). After a substantial number of years as one of the top non-Soviet players, Olafsson was nominated also as first reserve in the USSR vs. Rest of the World match in 1970 where he played a sole game, losing it to Smyslov.

He played eight Chess Olympiads between 1952 and 1980. His best score was at Varna in 1962 (+10, = 8), winning the individual Gold medal on board one. In 1955 and 1957, Olafsson played twice a match with Herman Pilnik, winning both.>

(to be continued)

Jan-26-15  diagonal: <Fridrik Olafsson‘s best result in World Chess Championship competition was in the 1958 Interzonal tournament at Portorož, where he finished equal 5th–6th, as said, automatically earning the grandmaster title and qualifying for the 1959 Candidates Tournament (the last stage to determine the challenger to the World Chess Champion). In that quadruple event of eight Candiates, held at Bled, Zagreb and Belgrade, he scored wins against Fischer, Petrosian (beating him in their individual mini-match twice (!!) with one draw and one loss), Keres, Gligoric, and Benko - but however, he finished finally seventh, suffering with his lively style too many losses (three out of four against Tal, winner with meteoric rise and uncompromising vigor, and against Keres, once more arriving on second place).

Olafsson was Petrosian's nemesis in that tournament. Petrosian who came in third behind Tal and Keres, ahead of Smyslov and Fischer, drew all his four games against Tal and scored one win with three draws against Keres, but was forced to reckon his chances of success as compromised. Petrosian's round 15 game can't have helped his spirits, though it became a highlight for Fridrik Olafsson> Petrosian vs F Olafsson, 1959

<Their adjourned game was finished on a balcony overlooking Zagreb's Republic Square, where a giant demonstration board had been erected: "A crowd of... 5,000 assembled to watch. Olafsson won to... great acclamations... When he tried to go back to the hotel... the crowd insisted on carrying him on their shoulders." (Harry Golombek, 4th Candidates' Tournament, 1959- Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade- September 7th - October 29th" Hardinge Simpole, 2009 (First published as BCM Quarterly No.3, 1960))

Olafsson won the Zonal at Berg en Dal (1960a), above amongst others Bent Larsen. He also won the Special Zonal at Mariánské Lázne; (1961) which incorporated also players who could not compete at Berg en Dal, among them strong Eastern players as Filip, Uhlmann, and Szabó, all former or future Candidates. In the Interzonal at Stockholm in 1962, Fridrik Olafsson finished moderate on position eleven / twelve out of 23 players. He receded from World Chess Championship contests to devote himself to his profession.

He worked as a lawyer at the Icelandic Ministry of Justice and at the Icelandic Parliament.

In 1978, Friðrik Ólafsson won the election against Svetozar Gligoric; and succeeded Max Euwe as President of the international chess governing body FIDE and served for four years in this capacity.

During the tenure he presided over the 1981 Karpov - Korchnoi World Championship match. Since Korchnoi emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1976, the Soviets were holding Korchnoi's son, Igor and his wife Bella. Olafsson delayed the planned September 19 start date of the match 1981 in a bid to get the Soviets to release Victor's son and wife. For this attempt, Olafsson drew the wrath of the Soviets, who then backed the FIDE Vice-President, Florencio Campomanes for Presidency of FIDE. After losing the election in 1982 at Lucerne against the latter, Olafsson was appointed General Secretary to the Icelandic Parliament Althing.

Fridrik Olafsson continued to play occasionally into the 21st century, winning a rapid match against fellow veteran Bent Larsen in 2003 by a score of 5–3.

Today, he has retired from practicing law and lives in his native country of Iceland which in 1972, hosted the most famous chess match ever held, the World Chess Championship between Boris Spassky and Robert James "Bobby" Fischer. Fridrik Olafsson contributed much to the organiszation of this legendary event.

The respected statistician Jeff Sonas (chessmetrics) ranks Olafsson as the #13 player of the world in 1958. His best ranking in the FIDE ELO list was the #14= player in the world in 1969 (unofficial list based on results of the period between January 1966 and Spring 1969), Fridrik Olafsson remained a top fifty player (today regarded as Super Grandmasters) from the mid fifties until the early eighties. His highest ELO rating was 2600 (FIDE), his highest historical ELO 2692 (SONAS).

Olafsson usually played the Sicilian Defence against 1.e4 and the King's Indian Defence and Nimzo-Indian Defence against 1.d4. With White, he usually played the English Opening, but he also played 1.d4, 1.e4 and 1.Nf3 many times.

Happy birthday, good health, many more inspirational games and best wishes for Friðrik Ólafsson!>

Jan-26-15  diagonal: Ólafsson's 80th Birthday Honorary Tournament:

Recent game: Friðrik Ólafsson vs. David Navara (Reykjavik op) 1/2:1/2 F Olafsson vs Navara, 2013

Jan-26-15  Eastfrisian: 80 years. Congrats Mr. Olafsson.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One year for each square of a badly constructed chess board.
Jan-26-15  Caissanist: Or one for each square of a Capablanca chess board:
Nov-07-15  Mr. V: It's never too late to run again for the FIDE presidency . . .
Jan-26-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, FIDE President and GM Fridrik Olafsson!!
May-10-16  diagonal: A new website in honor of grandmaster Olafsson opened:, owned by the Icelandic Chess Heritage Society.

Excellent and extensive work, about his career with description of all his games, tournament, matches and team events. Listing of his worthy opponents and results are included.

Fantastic archival footage. Watch out!

Jun-27-16  diagonal: Fridrik Olafsson participates at the current World Team Chess Championship 50+ and 65+ (2016) in Radebeul near Dresden, he is playing in the section 50+ !!

Iceland (with Hjartarson, Helgi Olafsson, Petursson, Arnason, and Fridrik Olafsson) is the top-seeded team, narrowly ahead of England 1 (Nunn on board one, Speelman on board two), followed by Armenia (Vaganian on board one):

In the section age of 65+, Russia with Sveshnikov, Balashov, etc. is clearly the highest ELO rated team.

Jun-27-16  Mr. V: Congratulations on your win against England!
Jun-27-16  diagonal: <Mr. V> lol, England kicked out by Iceland in soccer (1/8-finals, k.o.-stages at the UEFA European Championship 2016), unbelievable! Well, a consequent Brexit continuation....

Twitter erupted with Brexit jokes after England is out, what about another timely chessgames pun, ie. this game can be suitable: F Olafsson vs C H Alexander, 1957 English Opening, Icelandic Mating = Brexit II

Jan-26-17  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Fridrik Olafsson.
Jan-26-17  diagonal: Legend! Happiness, health, and some inspirational games to come.

Portrait photograph of Friðrik Ólafsson, (rounded) 70 years ago:

May-23-21  Agferna: Glad Chessgames showed today one of Olaf’s brilliant games. Met him once, while FIDE president. Displayed a calm, quiet, listening, sympathizing, trustworthy intelligence. An extraordinary human being. Long live!!!
Sep-07-21  Albertan: The Chess saga of Fridrik Olafsson:

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