Viktor Korchnoi to Return to the Chess Board

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 12/21/13, 4:44 AM.

Viktor Korchnoi will soon return to competitive chess - at least for one tournament. The 82-year-old chess legend suffered a stroke in September 2012, and it was feared that he would never play chess again. However, "Viktor the Terrible" can be found in the participants list of the Zurich Christmas Open!

He seems indistructible. Viktor Kortchnoi, until recently the oldest active grandmaster and famous for playing at a very high level for his age, suffered a stroke last year and had to say goodbye to tournament chess — or so it seemed. Apparently the 82-year-old grandmaster, arguably the strongest player never to become world champion, has recovered enough to be able to try it again! This was reported by Franz Jittenmeier earlier this week on Schach-Ticker.

Jittenmeier received the news from Dr Christian Issler, the Chairman of the Zurich Chess Club and a close friend of Korchnoi. Issler wrote that although Korchnoi is moving in a wheel chair these days, he still likes to visit friends at his house, where he lives with his wife Petra, and still analyses chess positions.

On 6 September the Zurich Chess Club organized an excursion to the Swiss Chess Museum, where Werner Hug, Yannick Pelletier, Etienne Bacrot and Christian Bauer were also present. Naturally, the group also played chess and in the photo below Dr Issler is playing with Korchnoi.

Issler: “Ten days ago a group of Swiss senior players gathered in Wohlen and played a small tournament. Of course Viktor won convincingly!”

The Swiss Senior squad in the Güpf House in Wohlen (Viktor Kortchnoi,
Hans Karl, Dragomir Vucenovic und Peter Hohler)

Issler: “Everyone who got to know this chess legend, knows that chess means a lot to him and also that he is extremely tough. So it is not surprising that, despite his health problems at the age of almost 83 years, he's going to fight in one more tournament; he has entered for the Zurich Christmas Open.”

Indeed, a look at the participants list of the tournament website learns that Korchnoi can be found on the 22nd place with a FIDE rating of 2499. The top seeds in this pretty strong tournament are Radek Wojtaszek (2711), Evgeny Alekseev (2698) and Boris Grachev (2669). The tournament runs 26-30 December and takes place in Hotel Crowne Plaza Zurich.

Let's hope Korchnoi will indeed be able to make it to the chess board, and not just for this one. It can definitely be called the chess comeback of the year 2013! We'll certainly be following this event.

This article was largely translated with permission from Franz Jittenmeier's report in German. Further thanks to Dr Christian Issler, Raymund Stolze and Schach-Ticker.

23857 reads 76 comments
19 votes


  • 3 years ago


    What a. Star! I'm 77 and still enjoy playing online even though my play is littered with blunders! I'll be happy if I'm still shoving wood at 82!!

  • 3 years ago


    Best wishes to Mr. Korchnoi. An inspiration to all chess lovers!

  • 3 years ago


    long live Victor....

  • 3 years ago


    Rock on, VK!

  • 3 years ago


    Good article, enjoyable read! thanks

  • 3 years ago


    He is very similar to that old man who blew himself up on breaking bad.

  • 3 years ago


    This is fantastic news!  I wish GM kortchnoi the best of luck in the Tournament and in life.  It would be fantastic and amazing if he won.

  • 3 years ago


    I wish the very best for Victor, nicely written article

  • 3 years ago


    @kbs1954 Chessbase spells his name "Kortschnoj".

  • 3 years ago


    Great news!

  • 3 years ago


    I agree with my fellow chess comrades... very "inspirational."

    Fight until then end, never get lazy, live life to the fullest.  A lesson in the truth that the game of chess can be enjoyed throughout one's life.Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Good to hear that about Korchnoi.  He's truly a legend of the chess board.

  • 3 years ago


    Good to hear.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Long life for this Great Chess Fighter.

  • 3 years ago


    what an inspiration

  • 3 years ago


    This guy plays to win, not like some GMs who accept 3 move draws.

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    My Mum and my Stepdad still teach ballroom dancing,they are both over 80,it keeps them young!!

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