Reports | April 04, 2012 18:14

Lajos Portisch turns 75 (UPDATE)

Lajos Portisch turns 75

Lajos Portisch celebrates his 75th birthday today. The legendary Hungarian grandmaster, currently rated 2523, was born on April 4th, 1937 in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.

Portisch was one of the strongest non-Soviet players from the early 1960s into the late 1980s. His positional style earned him the nickname "Hungarian Botvinnik".

He participated in twelve consecutive Interzonals from 1962 through 1993, qualifying for the World Chess Championship Candidates' cycle a total of eight times (1965, 1968, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1985, and 1988).

Portisch set several all-time records in Chess Olympiads. He participated in a record 20 Olympiads from 1956 until 2000, playing a record 260 games, over a record six decades, and won 11 medals. His total Olympiad score is +121 =113 -26. Portisch led the Hungarian chess team to the gold medal in the 23rd Chess Olympiad held in Buenos Aires in 1978 with a personal score of 10/14. This was the only Olympiad not to be won by the Soviet Union between 1952 and 1990 (except in 1976 when Soviet Union boycotted the competition).

In Hungarian Chess Championships, he either shared the title or won it outright a total of eight times (1958, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1971, 1975, and 1981). He won many strong international tournaments during his career.

In 2004, Portisch was awarded the 'Nemzet Sportoloja', Hungary's highest national sports achievement award.

He still competes occasionally but these days his main hobby is singing operatic arias; he has a fine baritone voice, a quality shared by the late Vasily Smyslov.

Such a legend deserves a lengthy Wikipedia page, which he has. It is worth visiting. Congratulations to Lajos the Great!

Update: Laszlo Lajos points out in the comments that on the occasion of Portisch' 75th birthday, there was a mini-competition with four participiants: Portisch, Ljubojevic, Csom, Hort: 

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Bronkenstein's picture

Happy b-day Lajos , and many more to come!

Sarunas's picture

An awesome starry carreer! With your ever lasting chess devotion you inscribed your name firm into hearts of worldwide chess lovers. Bless Providence not only for having played a game with you from my humble part, but more importantly having talked to you. Happy Birthday, Mr. Lajos!

Julie's picture

I hope you make it to 100! I am impressed!

stevefraser's picture

It should be note by way of his world class strenght he also dominated WC Petrosian in many of their tournament games.

Lajos LÁSZLÓ's picture

Dear ChessFriends, have also a look at
On the occasion of his b-day there was a mini-competition with
four participiants: Portisch, Ljubojevic, Csom, Hort. Regards, Lajos.

PeterV's picture

Many happy returns Mr. Portisch!

Henk de Jager's picture

One of the mythical names you grew up with when learning chess in the 1970´s and eighties, truly one of the game´s greats, top-10 for like 20 years. Congratulations!

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