Korchnoi won with a convincing 11/13 at Brussels (OHRA) in 1985. Spassky finished sole second. Both men with a trophy in their hands (14 players). Photo: CNC - Chess Network Company
A moderate invitation tournament took place in 1984 (won by IM Julian Hodgson ahead of IM Lev Gutman, both soon later GM, in total 14 participants). This might have been the first closed tournament with a chance for
IM norms in Belgium.
Brussels, the capital of Belgium began having elite tournaments in December 1985: Viktor Korchnoi took clear first ahead of Boris Spassky in a strong single round robin of 14 players including
prominent names such as Sax, Speelman and Nunn, or rising Zsuzsa Polgar mixed in old style with three (rather inferior) participants from the hosting nation.
This event was sponsored again by OHRA,
a Dutch insurance company which had launched simultaneously a strong series in Amsterdam (closed and open tournaments): Tournoi OHRA — Wikipédia.
Driving force behind the OHRA support was Willy Iclicki, who also organised the Iclicki Masters from 1986 to 1990, sometimes as a side event of the OHRA tournaments.
In April 1986, Karpov won ahead of Korchnoi a Category XIII invitation tournament at Brussels sponsored by S.W.I.F.T (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications).
the same year, in December 1986, an even stronger tournament (Category XVI, the initial maximum) was organized at Brussels by OHRA again, where Kasparov was in awesome form and played some wonderful games, though he was lucky against Korchnoi who finished
Kasparov and Korchnoi were the only players above 50% (Hübner and Nunn shared third place, Short was fifth, justly proud of his victory against the champion, solid Portisch finished sole
last (!), six players, double round robin).
Of the thirty games, twenty were decisive, an incredible quantity for such a top-level clash!
Brussels (OHRA) 1986 was
a ground breaking event in many respects. It was Garry Kasparov's first all-play-all tournament since 1983 (after his gruelling series of marathons against Anatoly Karpov for the world title), and it was the first major chess tournament televised by the BBC
and containing commentary by the players themselves.
The OHRA tournament at Brussels 1986 averaged out at Elo 2636, was then the strongest chess tournament ever since the
Elo system of rating was introduced.
At the second SWIFT tournament in Brussels 1987, World Champion Garry Kasparov and Ljubomir Ljubojevic shared first prize, a full
1.5 points ahead of the rest of the field, 3. Karpov, 4. Korchnoi, 5. Timman, 6. Tal, 7. Larsen; Short finished sole 11th, in total 12 players. Tal was originally attending the tournament as a journalist, but when Robert Hübner fell ill during
his first round game against Ljubojevic (a draw which was not counted), Tal stepped in and replaced him for the entire event.
Brussels SWIFT 1987 was the first time K, K, and
K played each other in the same tournament!
The (inofficial) first Blitz World Championship just played afterwards, was won by Kasparov ahead of Timman, followed by shared third Karpov and Ljubojevic.
Korchnoi, now at age of 56 took his personal revenge and beat twenty years younger Karpov twice (twelve players, mostly the same contestants as in the classical event, among them also great Tal, who had already played at the famous Herceg Novi Blitz
events in 1970 and 1983, and won in 1988 at Saint John World Blitz knock-out).
The same year in 1987, a Team match Ladies vs. Men was organised and sponsored by OHRA at Brussels. As a side event, an additional
Open had been played in 1986 and 1987 at Brussels.
In 1998, Karpov won the (part of the GMA World Cup) tournament at Brussels ahead of Salov.
the hosting city of the FIDE World Chess Championship Quarter Final in 1991, played as parallel matches, sponsored by SWIFT. Remarkably, Viktor Korchnoi, aged 60, had qualified for the Candidates’ tournament for the tenth time (world record!).
Chessdiagonals then watched the first round live in Brussels at the SAS Royal Hotel. What a line-up (in alphabetical order): Anand, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Jussupov, Karpov, Korchnoi,
Short, and Timman.
In 1992, SWIFT organised in Brussels a Rapid event in a Knock-out format, Adams beat surprising Lobron in the finals (32 players, including Anand, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kamsky, Jussupov,
Salov, Bareev, Beljavsky, a.o.), this was the Farewell Event by SWIFT.
The Belgian company S.W.I.F.T (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), was founded in 1973, Bessel Kok
the driving force behind its splendid support for chess.