Gallery of Greats beaten by Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi is undoubtedly the player with the most games and wins against grandmaster calibres in professional chess history.
Inluding simultaneous exhibitions all over the World, Korchnoi played maybe 20'000 games, more than 5'000 games in official events.
Korchnoi faced and beat great players from at least five chess generations (see more details below): from Levenfish & Lilienthal to Carlsen & Caruana.
Viktor Korchnoi is the only man on earth beating every of the eight non-disputed post-war II world chess champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov in a regular classical tournament or match game.
Gallery of the Nine undisputed World Chess Champions, beaten at least once by Korchnoi:
Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian,
Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, and
(who is considered as the 16th World Chess Champion since Steinitz in modern history)
In beating nine <undisputed> World Chess Champions in classical games, Korchnoi is catching up Paul Keres, the other all-time-great uncrowned king of chess, and Alexander Beliavsky (with Korchnoi having the highest number of classical game wins against future, reigning or past World Chess Champions). As pointed out, Viktor Korchnoi is the only player to beat all eight consecutive World Champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov.
|> First win of Korchnoi against (future) World Champion: |
1952 versus GM Smyslov at Moscow, 20th USSR Championship
|> Latest win of Korchnoi against (future) World Champion: |
2004/05 versus GM Carlsen at Drammen (with Carlsen beating Shirov)
> Oldest great player against whom Korchnoi won (1953):
GRIGORY LEVENFISH, born 1889, GM 1950 (GM title inauguration)
> Youngest great player (ELO 2700+) against whom Korchnoi won (2011):
FABIANO CARUANA, born 1992, GM since 2007
Age difference between Korchnoi and Caruana is 61 and a half years, the same delta as it would be between Schmeling and Tyson
There are even later born players beaten by Korchnoi
under regular tournament conditions in classical chess, but these players are at that time too young to be considered at very Super-GM level, among others: Hou Yifan, born 1994 (at Paks, Marx Gyoergy Memorial, her ELO was then 2523), or Lars Rindlisbacher,
born 1996 (at the Legends vs. Geneva match in Geneva, that means a difference of 65 years to his swiss fellow who made then an IM norm).
Viktor Korchnoi, "the Rolling Stone of Chess" faced and beat players from at least five chess generations: from Levenfish & Lilienthal as well as Najdorf, Reshevsky, Keres and Botvinnik, to the coeval generation of Petrosian, Tal, Polugaevsky, Stein, Spassky, Larsen and Fischer to Karpov to Kasparov until the days of Carlsen & Caruana including among others Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Svidler, Topalov, Leko, Judit Polgar, Vallejo Pons, Ponomariov, Bacrot, Grischuk, and Gashimov.
- winning against the Pre-War warriors, already playing competitively before / during World War II, notable players faced and beaten by Viktor Korchnoi include among others mentioned Levenfish (born 1889), Lilienthal (born 1911); then Lisitsin, Sokolsky, Mikenas, Guimard, Barcza, Golombek, Rossolimo, Bondarevsky, Nezhmetdinov, Kluger, Stahlberg, Pirc, Prins, Paoli, Denker, Flohr (born 1908), Najdorf (born 1910), Reshevsky (born 1911), Keres (born 1916), and Botvinnik (born 1911)
- winning versus all of the rising Soviet Post-War youngsters: Smyslov, Bronstein, Geller, Petrosian, Tal, Polugaevsky, Stein, Spassky, as well as versus Fischer, Larsen & Co. and all the best of the Rest of the World
- winning versus the Karpovian generation and his seconds, with Karpov 20 years younger
- winning versus the Kasparovian generation, characterized by its revolution of the openings, meanwhile Kasparov 32 years younger than Korchnoi — be aware, they met first (apart from a clock simultaneous) when Korchnoi was already older than fifty years
- winning versus the Engine kids:
- beating with about 40 plus year-odds vs. elite players as Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Svidler, Adams, Topalov, Leko, and Judit Polgar,
- beating with about 50 plus year-odds vs. elite players as Vallejo Pons (born 1982), Ponomariov (born 1983), Bacrot (born 1983), Grischuk (born 1983), Gashimov (born 1986, R.I.P. 2014), Carlsen (born 1990), and Caruana (born
Lifetime scores of Viktor Korchnoi:
Korchnoi (1931) has a plus lifetime - score against the giants of "his generation": Petrosian (1929), Spassky (1937) and overwhelmingly versus Tal (1936);
apart from these three world chess champions Spassky, Petrosian and Tal, Viktor Korchnoi has also a (frequently dominating) plus lifetime score in a <substantial> number of encounters, vs. most of the top-players of his prime decades, <among others> Averbakh, Taimanov, Suetin, Gligoric, Szabo, Barcza, Ivkov, Filip, Unzicker, Uhlmann, Matanovic, Donner, Geller, Stein, Polugaevsky, Gheorghiu, Mecking, Benko, Panno, Torre, Hort, Portisch (narrowly), Fridrik Olafsson, Larsen, Ljubojević, Hübner, Miles, Timman, Yusupov. Viktor Korchnoi is even with Beliavsky, slightly behind Short, and younger stars, with still a <substantial> overall plus score versus about forty years youngsters such as Akopian, Lautier or Piket.
Against the 20-years younger Karpov and the 32-years younger Kasparov he has a minus overall lifetime - score, also against older fellows Keres, Bronstein and Smyslov (not including Korchnoi's two wins in blitz at Herceg Novi 1970 balancing the score); and naturally Korchnoi is in lifetime scores behind 44-years younger Kramnik, and clearly behind Anand (no wins).
Korchnoi tied legendary Bobby Fischer (+2=2-2;+1-1 in blitz); he tied also Botvinnik (+1=2-1).
From the 22 competitors (including two substitutes), regarded at that time to be the strongest Chess Grandmasters, playing in the 'USSR vs. Rest Of The World: Match of the Century' at Belgrade in Spring 1970, Viktor Korchnoi beat during his career all ! other than himself, of course.
Against 17 of them (Larsen, Portisch, Hort, Gligoric, Reshevsky, Uhlmann, Matulovic, Najdorf, Ivkov, Olafsson, Spassky, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Geller, Taimanov, Tal, and Stein), Korchnoi has a plus lifetime record, twice an equal score (against Fischer and Botvinnik) and only against two a negative lifetime record (Keres and Smyslov).