International Open won by Viktor Korchnoi

Viktor Korchnoi won about 25 International Open Chess Tournaments of grandmaster strength (others than official events also played in swiss system as an open, to avoid double-counting). 

Some players are in bold to facilitate the reading of all these names, it does not necessarily mean that they faced Korchnoi in the Open (swiss system), I tried to name always the next best players, but the selection of further listed participants rests subjective and a little sentimental 😉


1.  Lone Pine, CA, Open 1981 at age of 50!
Last edition of the legendary Louis D. Statham Masters. Korchnoi, not immatriculated to avoid being boycotted, wins a spectacular game vs. Jussupow, and the tournament // Two Soviet grandmasters - Artur Yusupov and Oleg Romanishin - were in the field, making Lone Pine the first tournament other than an Olympiad or Candidate match since Korchnoi's 1976 defection from the Soviet Union in which Soviet players have competed with him

Korchnoi winner as clear first ahead of 2.-4. Seirawan, Sosonko, Gligoric; Jussupow, Christiansen, Tarjan, Pfleger, Henley, Campora, Alburt, Romanishin, Wilder, Larsen, Shirazi, Kudrin, Ree, Lombardy, Shamkovich, Grünfeld, Gutman, Lein, Donaldson, Fedorowicz, Biyiasas, Soltis, Ivkov, Liberzon, Benko, Bisguier, Reshevsky, Grefe, Whitehead, Benjamin, Peters, De Firmian, Hébert, Dzindzichashvili, Dmitry Gurevich, among others // nine rounds, in total 61 players, 27 Grandmasters competing (for the early 1980s an enormous number)

1.  Lugano Open 1982
First game against Boris Spassky (France, inoffically, no other soviet player present) since the Candidate’s final at Belgrade in 1977/8, Korchnoi wins game and tournament

(8 / 9 points), clear first ahead of Nunn, Spassky, Bischoff, Ekström, Bhend, Soos, Nemet, Franzoni, Trepp, Karlsson, 48. Mariotti, Igor Ivanov, Carlos Cuartas, Kindermann, Glauser, Pein, Karl, Wirthensohn, Teschner, among others (156 players)

1.  Kaiserslautern (Barbarossa), Rapid Open 1983

(8.5 / 9 points), clear first ahead of Klaus Klundt, Bernd Feustel, Michel Roos, among others

1.  Chessfestival Liechtenstein, Mauren, Open 1983

(8.5 / 9 points), clear first ahead of Zenón Franco Ocampos, Karoly Honfi, among others

1.=U.S. Chess Championship, Pasadena, CA, Open 1983 (1.-2., winner on tie-break scores)
An open national chess championship that is been held in the United States (different cities) annually since 1900 without any single year interruption going on and on and on!

Among the rare Non-US winners are Boris Kostic, Carlos Torre Repetto, Arturo Pomar Salamanca, Daniel Yanofsky, Bent Larsen, Vlastimil Hort, Florin Gheorghiu, Boris Spassky, Viktor Korchnoi, Vladimir Akopian, Smbat Lputian, Eduardas Rozentalis, Evgeniy Najer, Vadim Milov and Judit Polgar // Bobby Fischer won 1957 as teenager in Cleveland

shared with Larry Christiansen; above Dmitry Gurevich, Jay Whitehead, Gutman, Perry Youngworth (who gave up competitive chess in his late teens that year 1983, the US produced a bunch of Youngworth’s in the seventies and early eighties in Fischer's wake, strong teenagers who could easily achieving more had they kept at it. Most of them quit playing when they decided to make a living doing something else hopefully better paid), David Strauss, McCambridge, De Firmian, Fedorowicz, Seirawan (beaten by Korchnoi in the last round), Soltis, Igor Ivanov, Benjamin, Bisguier, Biyasas, Shirazi, Reshevsky, Denker, Diane Savereide, among others (best turnout in U.S. Open history: 836 players!)

1.  San Bernardino, Brocco-Open 1983

(8.5 / 9 points), clear first ahead of Hort, Grünfeld, Toth, Böhm, Werner Hug, among others

1.  Chessfestival Liechtenstein, Mauren, Open 1984

(8.5 / 9 points), clear first ahead of Zenón Franco Ocampos, Andreas Huss, among others

1.  Int. Paris, Meudon, Open 1984

(7.5 / 9 points), clear first ahead of Garcia-Palermo, Zapata, Lobron, King, Hebden, Fayard, Flear, Ree, among others

1.=Berlin, Sommer-Open 1985
(1.-2., 2nd on tie-break)

shared with Suba; ahead of Sax, Gheorghiu, Campora, Murey, Ghitescu, Martin Breutigam, Cekro, 36. Quinteros, Miles, Tringov, among others (432 players!)

1.=Toronto, International Open 1985 (1.-2.)

shared with Igor Ivanov; ahead of Benjamin, Dlugy, Spraggett, Hébert, among others

1.=Lugano Open 1986
(1.-4., winner on tie-break scores)

shared with Gutman, Plaskett, Short; ahead of Seirawan, Nunn, Nikolic, Sax, Tukmakov, Hickl, Levitt, Georgiev, Dolmatov, Adianto, Bellon, Gheorghiu, King, Torre, Miles, Bischoff, Mednis, Hug, Conquest, Ivkov, Davies, Brunner, Flear, Pein, Quinteros, Jana Miles, Lautier (born in 1973) among others (250 players) // A bunch of young brits in chess invasion

1.=Vienna Open 1986
(1.-2., winner on tie-break scores)
IBM-Invitation Open tournament in January 1986, based on the model of Lone Pine, nine rounds swiss system, 48 invited participants in an international mix of absolute superstars, female players and some local heroes // One of the very few times, Anatoly Karpov playing an Open in classical chess (he remained unbeaten but with six draws out of nine games and was upset to be paired with too many 'minor' players due to swiss system). SCHACHWOCHE no. 3 & no. 4/1986,

shared with Beliavsky; ahead of 3. Ftacnik, Karpov, Nunn, Garcia-Palermo, Gheorghiu,  Quinteros, Spassky, Chandler, Dückstein, Züger, Danner, Kindermann, Klinger, Farago, Schüssler, Matanovic, Mednis, Zsuzsa Polgar, Otto Borik, Helene Mira, among others

Four reigning top ten players of the world in an Open competing: Karpov (#2), Korchnoi (#6), Beliavsky (#7=), Spassky (#9=), followed by Nunn (#top twenty of ELO list January 1986). Karpov (white) and Korchnoi (black) drew their individual encounter at IBM-Vienna Open

1.  Genua Chessfestival Open 1987

ahead of Rogulj, Damjanovic, Zaja, Sibilio, Stefan Löffler, among others

1.=Lugano Open 1988
(1.-7., 3rd after tie-break)

shared with 1. (on tie-break) Ftacnik, 2. Torre; 3. Korchnoi, above Psakhis, Spraggett, Norwood, Bischoff; Balaschov, Kindermann, Seirawan, Bellon, Kudrin, Pein, Hort, Gulko, Flear, King, Hickl, Bönsch, ua. Alisa Maric (5.5 / 9, beating Anand), IM Viswanathan Anand (5.5 / 9, then reigning Junior World Chess Champion 1987) (222 players)

1.=Lugano Open 1989
(1.-2., winner on tie-break scores)

Last edition of the legendary Open scacchistico internazionale di Lugano (della Banca del Gottardo)

(8 / 9 points) shared as first with 2. Petursson; one and a half point above 3. Lautier, Miles, De Firmian, Gheorghiu, Tschernin, King, Knaak, Rogers, Piket, Hort, Bönsch, Browne, Sax, Nunn, Ftacnik, Nikolic, Torre, Maus (beating Hübner in 19 moves), Chiburdanidze (reigning Female World Champion), Seirawan, 57. Hübner, Gutman, Van der Wiel, Tukmakov, 86. Larsen, Giffard, Pein, among others, 29  Grandmasters competing (184 players)

1.  Val Maubuée, Torcy (France), Open 1990 (1.-2., winner on tie-break scores)

shared with Strikovic (both at 7.5), ahead of Shirov, Sveshnikov, Apicella, Kupreichik, Palac, Prié, Hector, Lanka, Andruet, among others

1.  Hamburg, Wichern - Open 1995
San Francisco, Madrid, Beersheba, Wenzhou, Hamburg: Korchnoi at 64 years is fighting each and every game with determination. That year 1995, he wins the great San Francisco (Pan Pacific), a match vs. Alon Greenfeld in Beersheba, the supertournament Magistral de Madrid, a match vs. Xie Jun in Wenzhou, China, and the strong Wichern - Open in Hamburg

(7.5 / 9 P.), clear first and playing the whole Open at Hamburg on board one, ahead of Chuchelov (later trainer of Caruana), Kindermann, Ftacnik, Malaniuk, Hector, Lutz, Hickl, Wahls, Karsten Mueller (today the endgame expert no. 1 on this planet), Glek, Kengis, Bischoff, Miles, Jansa, Tischbierek, Oliver Reeh, Teske, Gustafsson, among others (373 players!)

1.  Copenhagen Chess Festival, Politiken-Cup, Open 1996 at age of 65!
From its inauguration in 1979, the leading Danish daily newspaper Politiken (Danish for 'politics'), founded in 1884 in Copenhagen, was longtime sponsor and name giver of this traditional and powerful Open, today called Xtracon Chess Open

clear first ahead of Speelman, Gulko, Hodgson, Curt Hansen, Rozentalis, Hillarp Persson, Glek, Krasenkow, De Firmian, Tukmakov, Hjartarson, Hector, Nielsen, Rowson, Lars Bo Hansen, Vitaly Tseshkovsky, Petursson, Macieja, Tisdall, Mark Taimanov, Sune Berg Hansen, Aagaard, Høi, among others (179 players)

1.=Münster (Germany), Open 1996 (1.-2.)

shared with Eingorn; above Bezold, Kupreitschik, Sax, Espig, Lerner, Golubev; Prof. Freise, among others // Computer Fritz 4 gains midfield result

1.  Baden (Argovia), Casino-Open 1997

clear first above of Nedeljko Kelecevic, Nemet, Tukmakov, Pikula, Pelletier, Liardet, Känel, R. Moor, Jenni, Habibi, Regez, among others (101 players)

1.  Basel Chessfestival, Hilton-Open 2001

Winner of final vs. Sturua, above semifinalists Tukmakov, C. Horvath, and A. Sokolov, Cvitan, Alexey Suetin (the year he died R.I.P.), among others (System beochess)

1.=Curaçao (40th Anniv Candidates of 1962), Open 2002 (1.-2., winner on tie-break scores)

shared with Kosashvili; above Timman, Macieja, Zsofia Polgar, Zapata, among others

1.  Quebec Open, played in Montreal 2004

(7.5 / 9 points), clear first ahaed of Gilardo Garcia, Barsov, Hébert, Lesiege, among others

1.  Basel Chessfestival, Hilton-Open 2002

Winner of final (knock out), mating Solak, above semifinalists Varga, Pelletier, and Tukmakov, A. Sokolov, Nemet and others (System beochess)

1.=Banyoles (Catalonia), Open 2006
(1.-6., winner on tie-break scores)

shared with Tiviakov, Lapshun, Hillarp Persson, among others above Viktor Moskalenko, Cicak, Swinkels, Fomichenko, Kristensen, Giffard (131 players) // Korchnoi, just celebrating his 75th anniversary, is unbeaten and winning against top-seeded Sergei Tiviakov in the penultimate round, then securing his victory by drawing with Tiger Hillarp Persson in the last round





Participation at Gibraltar Open 2011 and 2012 (as well as in some earlier years with less success)

both years with 6 / 10 points, winning individual game in 2011 against Top Junior Fabiano Caruana, 61½ years younger than Korchnoi just two months before turning 80, Caruana then already rated ELO 2700+


Note: National Open are not listed / counted as eg. 1.= Uitikon, Rapid Open 2007 (1./2.) with 6.5/7 points, shared with GM Florian Jenni; above IM Dragomir Vucenovic, IM Nedeljko Kelecevic, IM Hans Karl, IM Hansruedi Glauser, IM Ali Habibi, among other national players or 1. Banyoles, Rapid Open 2010 (16/17 P.) clear first, only local opposition.

Note: The World Chess Senior Championship is played as an Open. To avoid double-counting, neither Korchnoi's win of 2006 (his only participation) is integrated in this survey, nor are the Swiss National Championships 1982, 1985, 2009, and 2001, played and won in an Open, swiss system. For these tournaments, please see in the section Championships.

Lugano (International Open, the strongest in the 1980s)

🙂 Lugano got an extra-page, until now there was no other in the world wide web! 

The Lugano International Chess Open from 1976 to 1989 (14 consecutive editions), could be considered in its international variety, age & gender mix and strength of participants clearly surpassing the London Lloyds Bank Open (1977 - 1994), aa well as the New York Open (1981 - 2000, no edition in 1982 and 1999, by José Cuchi) as the successor of Lone Pine (1971 - 1981 by Louis D. Statham), and predecessor of the Gibraltar Tradewise Chess Festival (since 2003), and Isle of Man Open (second series since 2016, held in Douglas, sometimes hosting the FIDE Grand Swiss) as the strongest Open Chess Festivals of its time.

For Lugano, see under the page "Calendar":

Lugano -

A very busy and successful Open player

As shown above, Viktor Korchnoi won about 25+ International Open Chess Tournaments of grandmaster strength (others than official events also played in swiss system as an open, to avoid double-counting), in total he participated roughly in about 50+ Open Festivals virtually all over the world, meeting hundreds of young and old grandmasters, well-known players, and not-so-known local heroes, over-the-board in classical chess.

After his emigration, Korchnoi played / switched frequently between Invitation tournaments (round robin), official Fide World Championship and Candidate's matches, and Open tournaments (swiss system).

For instance, Korchnoi played (and won outright at Lone Pine) in Spring 1981, just a few months before facing Karpov again, at Merano. Or in 1983, Korchnoi played (and co-won with Christiansen) the traditional U.S. Open Chess Championship in his only entry, just after beating Portisch at the Candidate's Quarterfinal in Bad Kissingen, and a few months before playing Kasparov in the Semifinal in London. The question, whether playing in a swiss system (beating up the pack, taking risks) just before an important official match or round robin invitation tournament, is the best way of preparation, Viktor never asked.

Of course, Korchnoi was a very enrgetic team player, too. He enjoyed being part of crew: Team -

Just one crazy tourney journey in his later years:

Double winning at Sigeman & Co. in Malmö (International Invitation, closed round robin, first and only participation), and at Politiken Cup in Copenhagen (International Open, swiss system, also his first entry) << the same year within one month >> in 1996 at age of 65, both won as clear first! A unique Scandinavian summer :))

Chess really is for all ages!

An example: Do you remember? GM Hon. Enrico Paoli just after his 95th birthday, then FM Magnus Carlsen, 12 years 2 months, GM Viktor Korchnoi, 72 years, and WGM & GM Antoaneta Stefanova, 24 years, all together at Saint-Vincent Open in February 2003, in total 186 players (incl. 36 GMs, 11 WGMs). Winner: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, globetrotter Sergei Tiviakov best of the runners-up. Korchnoi shared fifth. More informations in the pdf further below.

Korchnoi, a very busy and successful septuagenarian player, then still in Elo Top 50. Viktor’s next station: Reykjavik Hrokurinn Invitation, first round 18 Feb 2003 (joint runner-up behind Shirov in a strong round robin), Aosta Open, last round 16 Feb 2003.

AOSTA Valley, Saint Vincent

Focusing on the edition in 2003 (record number of participants), and year-by-year history