The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Lajos Portisch

Lajos Portisch
Photo: Rob Croes/Dutch National Archives, CC.
Full name
Lajos Portisch
Apr 4, 1937 (age 87)‎
Place of birth
Zalaegerszeg, Hungary



GM Lajos Portisch is perhaps the greatest Hungarian chess player in history. He reached number-two in the world at his peak in January 1981 (tied with GM Viktor Korchnoi, behind only world champion GM Anatoly Karpov), comparing favorably with GM Judit Polgar (number-eight at peak) and GM Richard Rapport (number-11 at peak) as of April 2021.

Portisch was the Hungarian national champion eight times between 1958 and 1981 and an eight-time candidate for the world championship from 1965-89. In 1977 and 1980 he was a semifinalist in the Candidates, the closest he would come to the world championship.

Portisch also played the first board in Hungary’s victory at the 1978 Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires, the only gold medal for Hungary in the event since 1928 (as of 2021).

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