Reports | August 13, 2012 10:19

Kortchnoi still a fierce fighter at 81

Viktor Kortchnoi

Viktor Kortchnoi finished as the "winner" at the "CEG contre Légendes" event in Geneva, Switzerland. The former World Championship contender participated in this special event between legends (players who were once a World Championship Candidate) and members of the Geneva Chess Club (CEG), and scored 7/10.

Viktor Kortchnoi, still indefatigable at 81 | Images © MFB Prod

Event CEG contre Légendes | PGN via TWIC
Dates August 4-10, 2012
Location Geneva, Switzerland
System 10-player Scheveningen

Legends: Kevin Spraggett, Ulf Andersson, Zoltan Ribli, Viktor Kortchnoi, Vlastimil Hort

CEG members: Richard Gerber, Alexandre Domont, Bastien Dubessay, Alexandre Vuillemumier, Lars Rindlisbacher

Rate of play 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with 30 seconds increment from move 1

Viktor Kortchnoi keeps on inspiring chess players all over the world by doing what he loves the most: playing chess. Although he needs to use a wheelchair to reach the table these days, behind the board he's still the fierce fighter he's always been. GM Kevin Spraggett, another participant of the event this article is about, wrote:

At age 81, Viktor Korchnoi's 7 points must be considered one of the best achievements by a senior. It was a pleasure to watch Viktor play for a win in every game and seemingly never run out of energy! Some of the days had double rounds...

Kortchnoi (2519) was one of the legends in the "CEG contre Légendes" event held August 4-10 at the Swissôtel Métropole in Geneva, Switzerland. Together with four other former World Championship Candidates, Kevin Spraggett (2595), Ulf Andersson (2569), Zoltan Ribli (2561) and Vlastimil Hort (2475), he played against a team of members of the local chess club: IM Richard Gerber (2408), IM Alexandre Domont (2361), FM Bastien Dubessay (2350), IM Alexandre Vuillemumier (2332) and Lars Rindlisbacher (2304).

The playing hall in Geneva | Photo Anémone Kulczak

The event was a Scheveningen match played over five double rounds with the possibility for the Geneva Chess Club members to score a norm. (Lars Rindlisbacher managed: he scored his first IM norm with his result of 4/10 and a 2544 TPR.) It was quite a tough schedule with rounds 2-3, 5-6 and 7-8 played on one day, with the first game at 10.00 in the morning and the second at 16:30.

Viktor Kortchnoi did much better than at the recent Swiss Championship, where the 81-year-old finished last with a score of 2/10. In Geneva he scored 7/10, just like Kevin Spraggett and Zoltan Ribli but because Kortchnoi had the highest tie-break, his was the best personal score.

OK, Kortchnoi's 2499 TPR was below his own rating of 2519, but considering his age it was an achievement nobody would be embarrased about. Moreover, it's Kortchnoi's legendary fighting spirit that continues to amaze. In his ten games, Viktor the Terrible played just two draws, and only three of his games finished before move 41!

Viktor Kortchnoi | Photo Anémone Kulczak

Here are two games by the legendary Swiss GM. The first is from round 6, played on Tuesday, August 7th in the afternoon, after the morning round.

PGN string

The following game is from round 8 played on August 8th, again after the morning round!

PGN string

CEG contre Légendes 2012 | Final standings


Special thanks to arbiter Anémone Kulczak, who helped a lot promoting the event with photos and videos. Here's the video of the last day with lots of Kortchnoi footage.

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.


Remco G's picture

What a nice format! The players of the organizing chess club get to play true legends and have norm chances to boot. Great idea.

The only criticism is perhaps that doing it this way means all of the titled players are likely to be somewhat overrated, making the norms slightly easier to score. But I think nobody there cares :-)

Anonymous's picture

re: "all of the titled players are likely to be somewhat overrated, making the norms slightly easier to score"

Why do you think that? If they are active don't their current ratings reflect their real level?

Remco G's picture

I think that their level is slowly declining, and that their rating is likely to lag behind that decline a bit. Just like youth players are more likely to be underrated.

noyb's picture

Hurray for Victor Lvovich, The Lion still roars!

saturnz's picture

live long and prosper Victor, a beautiful clip, I didn't understand a word that was said but I couldn't care

JanisNisii's picture

Loved he video! Vicgtor, what a chess player!

JanisNisii's picture

Loved he video! Victor, what a man and what a chess player!

chris chanin's picture

Viktor is a legend!!!

chris chanin's picture

Viktor is a legend!!!

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