December 28, 2012 10:37

No more chess for Viktor Kortchnoi?

Viktor Kortchnoi

Viktor "the Terrible" Kortchnoi has had a stroke and is in a bad condition. The legendary, 81-year-old Swiss grandmaster suffered a stroke already at the end of September. We first came across this sad news at the Swedish blog of Lars Grahn, and it was confirmed to us by sources in Switzerland.

Viktor Kortchnoi last August | Image © MFB Prod

The latest news is that at the moment Kortchnoi is again in a clinic because he has experienced heart problems as well. Friends have expressed the hope that he can go back to his appartement with professional support of doctors and help from a nurse. It is unlikely, however, that he'll return to tournament chess.

Viktor Lvovich Kortchnoi is famous for his unusual longevity at the chessboard, continuing to play strong chess at a high age. A good example was his win in January 2011 against Fabiano Caruana, now the world #5. Half a year later he won the Botvinnik Memorial Veterans rapid tournament in Russia with 7/9, a full point ahead of Evgeni Vasiukov. The rest of the field included many legends: Lajos Portisch, Borislav Ivkov, Igor Zaitsev, Aleksandar Nikitin, Wolfgang Uhlmann, Oleg Chernikov, Anatoly Bykhovsky and Mark Taimanov.

Until July 2012 his rating was as high as 2558 but this has dropped to 2499 in the December list. At the 9-round Swiss Championship last summer in Flims he played in a wheelchair and finished at the bottom with 2/9, scoring two draws and a win against the tournament winner, Joel Gallagher. After this it was clear that the chess legend couldn't participate at the Olympiad in Istanbul.

His next event, however, the CEG contre Légendes in early August, went quite reasonable. In this special tournament between legends (players who were once a World Championship Candidate) and members of the Geneva Chess Club (CEG) Kortchnoi scored 7/10 against IM Richard Gerber (2408), IM Alexandre Domont (2361), FM Bastien Dubessay (2350), IM Alexandre Vuillemumier (2332) and Lars Rindlisbacher (2304).

As the sad news has now reached us, it seems that Viktor the Terrible has played his last official game on September 23rd, 2012 against Michele Godena in round 7 of the 2012 Swiss league. This game ended in a draw.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


chris chanin's picture

No way! I was at Viktor's 65th Birthday party at the Downtown Athletic Club in NYC - the guy looked as if he would play forever!

bronkenstein's picture

Get well soon, Victor. Your last game is still to be played!

B Conrad's picture

OMG how terrible! Korchnoi has always been my chess role model, and has inspired me throughout the years with his brilliant and beautiful play, and his fighting against all the odds. I offer my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, and I send him my very best karma. We love you, Viktor!

noyb's picture

Viktor Lvovich is truly the "Lion of Chess". I wish him comfort and respite. Every now and then a giant strides through the landscape. We were fortunate to have witnessed his journey through Chess.

Dave Bull's picture

An almost incredible feat for longevity still in the top 100 at something like 78 years of age ... he must have analysed the board differently to the rest of us therefore not relying on the normal powers that degrade abouve the age of 40 ... he was arguably the best player never to be world champion ...

MW's picture

I wonder if players with styles similar to his tend to age better. He is a defender and a counter-puncher, and this means he didn't have to rely on obtaining the initiative or an advantage from the opening to score. Lasker had a similar style and also aged well.

Matt's picture

Sad news, hope he gets well, or otherwise a sweet trip away from us. Unforgettable Viktor.

Daniel's picture

Viktor, wish you a quick recovery!!!

Ians's picture

I hope he gets well again soon , quite a character that he is , i'd miss him

yusevich's picture

It's a sad news. He is a great player. The only thing I can't forget about Victor is his bad behavior with Sofia Polgar.

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