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Ratmir Kholmov
Number of games in database: 2,282
Years covered: 1946 to 2005
Last FIDE rating: 2432
Highest rating achieved in database: 2555

Overall record: +741 -341 =1189 (58.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 11 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (396) 
    B91 B40 B30 B33 B32
 Ruy Lopez (124) 
    C85 C84 C78 C80 C96
 French Defense (96) 
    C05 C03 C07 C02 C01
 French Tarrasch (65) 
    C05 C03 C07 C09 C04
 Sicilian Najdorf (64) 
    B91 B92 B90 B99 B93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (57) 
    C85 C84 C96 C89 C94
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (201) 
    C92 C77 C95 C84 C91
 Nimzo Indian (142) 
    E55 E32 E54 E21 E20
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (142) 
    C92 C95 C84 C91 C87
 Queen's Indian (69) 
    E17 E16 E19 E12 E14
 English (66) 
    A17 A14 A15 A13 A10
 Bogo Indian (64) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kholmov vs Bronstein, 1965 1-0
   Kholmov vs Keres, 1959 1-0
   Bagirov vs Kholmov, 1961 0-1
   Fischer vs Kholmov, 1965 0-1
   Spassky vs Kholmov, 1957 1/2-1/2
   Alatortsev vs Kholmov, 1948 1/2-1/2
   Keres vs Kholmov, 1948 1/2-1/2
   Furman vs Kholmov, 1963 0-1
   Uhlmann vs Kholmov, 1960 0-1
   T Wiesniak vs Kholmov, 1991 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1963)
   Bucharest (1954)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   Skopje (1967)
   USSR Championship (1967)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   Havana (1965)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   USSR Championship (1969)
   USSR Championship (1949)
   USSR Championship (1972)
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)
   USSR Championship (1948)

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 92; games 1-25 of 2,282  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kholmov vs M Aizenshtadt  1-0431946First Category TournamentA07 King's Indian Attack
2. Averbakh vs Kholmov 1-0261947URS-ch sfA15 English
3. Kholmov vs E Zagorjansky  1-0671947URS-ch sfE17 Queen's Indian
4. Kholmov vs Kan 1-0771947URS-ch sfE12 Queen's Indian
5. Kholmov vs Konstantinopolsky  1-0361947URS-ch sfD61 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack
6. Kholmov vs Kasparian  0-1781947URS-ch sfA46 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Kholmov vs Ravinsky  0-1451947URS-ch sfA48 King's Indian
8. Bastrikov vs Kholmov 0-1311947YaroslavlA30 English, Symmetrical
9. Kholmov vs Nezhmetdinov 0-1611947All-Union Candidate Master TtA46 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Simagin vs Kholmov 1-0601947URS-ch sfE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
11. Petrosian vs Kholmov 0-1721947URS-ch sfE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
12. Ragozin vs Kholmov 1-0221947MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
13. Kholmov vs Boleslavsky 0-1301947MoscowA48 King's Indian
14. Pachman vs Kholmov 1-0311947MoscowD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Kholmov vs Keres 0-1401947MoscowA32 English, Symmetrical Variation
16. P Trifunovic vs Kholmov  ½-½211947MoscowE17 Queen's Indian
17. Kholmov vs Bondarevsky 1-0681947MoscowD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
18. C Kottnauer vs Kholmov  ½-½421947MoscowA43 Old Benoni
19. Kholmov vs Gligoric 0-1601947MoscowD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
20. Botvinnik vs Kholmov 1-0301947MoscowE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
21. Kholmov vs Novotelnov 0-1521947MoscowC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. K Plater vs Kholmov  0-1551947MoscowC01 French, Exchange
23. Kholmov vs A Tsvetkov  1-0501947MoscowE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
24. Sokolsky vs Kholmov  ½-½801947MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
25. Kotov vs Kholmov ½-½961947MoscowA56 Benoni Defense
 page 1 of 92; games 1-25 of 2,282  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>
May-23-11  Caissanist: In the same book Kholmov also says that his reputation as a defender was primarily due to a lack of opening knowledge: <Everyone says I'm a defender, a congenital defender. You'll become a defender if you don't know any theory and your regularly get bad positions after the opening. You'll potter about--as Black, almost always--in your own trenches.>
May-23-11  Everyone: Kholmov is really a defender, a congenital defender.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <DarthStapler> Tarasov was also suspended with Kholmov see my post at Vitaly Georgievich Tarasov
Jun-22-12  Call Me TC: <In the same book Kholmov also says that...> he played a four game training match against Bronstein prior to his 1951 WC match with Botvinnik and that he scored +1 =3 but the moves of these games are lost. The <> DB has Kholmov with a positive score (+4 -2) against Bronstein.
Jun-22-12  Petrosianic: Chicks? Do Russians say "chicks"? To describe girls, I mean. I suppose they would to describe those things that come out of eggs in the barnyard. I had no idea that Ratmir was such a hip dude.
Jun-22-12  Petrosianic: From this story, it doesn't sound like he was suspended for drinking. It sounds like he was suspended for being involved in a disturbance in which the police were summoned.

But in true Soviet fashion, they pardoned the guy who causd the disturbance and banned the two bystanders. It sounds like alcohol was only indirectly involved.

Part of it probably depends on where this tournament was played. If they got into enough trouble in a Western country that the police had to be called in, you'd expect the authorities to look badly on that. Especially if, when the police got there, Kholmov and Tarasov were involved with two hookers (he didn't quite say that explicitly, but I'm reading between the lines, with that bit about "what if my wife reads this").

So, it sounds like he was probably suspended for being caught by the police with a hooker in a western country. Not for drinking too much.

Jun-22-12  Petrosianic: Maybe I should take back what I said about "true Soviet fashion". If Nezhmetdinov was only responsible for the fact that the police were summoned, but Kholmov and Tarasov were responsible for what the police found when they got there, then it might have been quite reasonable to come down harder on them than on Nezhmetdinov.
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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
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