Tributes to Viktor Korchnoi from Russian press

Tributes to Viktor Korchnoi from Russian press

Jun 8, 2016, 1:01 PM |

Quoted from the interviews by R-Sport (

Sergey Karjakin

"Even though Viktor Lvovich never became a world champion, he still left amazing legacy. His name is written into chess history with golden letters. I remember that when I was 10, I played blitz against him. This was an amazing opportunity for me. I learned chess studying his games, and meeting him in person was mind-blowing. I still keep a photo from my meeting with this great player.

I remember that I played much worse than him, but still I've managed to draw the game. After the game he said that I was lucky, or something. He wasn't too talkative, but still, the meeting was memorable. Afterwards, we'd met at other competitions, and this time, I was the favourite. Obviously, I'm much younger than him, and it was hard for him to keep up with the up-and-coming generation. Nevertheless, I can't remember even a single win against him - we drew all our games.

He was around 75, but still played very well. This alone is enough proof of his greatness. Usually, in chess, you play until you're 45 or 50, then you become a veteran and play rarely. But Viktor Lvovich was an active player almost until the end. Around five years ago, he was stricken by a serious illness and forced to play much less, but before that, he played almost non-stop."

Anatoly Karpov

"Korchnoi is a chess phenomenon. His style is inimitable. His approach to chess was absolutely unique. He was a very hard worker and had a distinctive talent, he was a player of the highest caliber. It's a tragedy for chess to lose one of the last greats of his epoch.

I met Korchnoi when I was ten. I was a little boy and played against him in a simul. He toured the Ural region, and I played against him in Chelyabinsk - although I couldn't find a board for myself and so played together with my friend. And then Korchnoi, who was a young talented player back then, would read us lectures. Later, we became friends for a short time, then we became enemies, and finally, our relationship was restored and balanced."

Yuri Averbakh

"Korchnoi was a significant figure in the chess world. One of the world's strongest players, competed for world championship numerous times. Despite all the various disagreements, he was a brilliant chess player. His life was very hard, he's the Leningrad siege survivor.

He'd worked on his chess a lot, had great successes. He did many things in chess, he was a world championship candidate. Lost a match to Karpov, but it was decided only in the last game. Essentially, Korchnoi showed that his level was equal to Karpov's. That's another proof that he was a very significant figure in chess.

He lived in Switzerland and continued playing until almost 80. If I'm not mistaken, he had a stroke and struggled with the illness in his last years. Great, brilliant player has died, and we can't do anything - that's life."