Team events and first board prizes in team events won by Viktor Korchnoi

This chapter summarize Viktor Korchnoi's most important achievements in International chess team events, as team and as individual.

Please see also 1st Prize chronology - (1st Prize chronology) and OlimpBase :: Men's Chess Olympiads' Overall Statistics, click Korchnoi.


          • In total 20 Gold team & board medals and 3 silver / 3 bronze boards (excluding Soviet Student or Swiss Senior teams)
              • Olympiad for USSR 1960-1974 six team gold medals with scoring 78.9% (+50 =31 -2; and 1 missed by default)
              • Olympiad with four individual gold medals (1st prizes for board), in 1966, 1968, 1972; and 1978 for Switzerland
              • Olympiad for USSR 1960-1974 and for Switzerland 1978-2008, with 211 played games at 17 Chess Olympiads
              • Team-World Championship with two individual gold medals at first board for Switzerland 1985 and 1989
              • Team-World Championship (Switzerland as hosting nation) 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, with 35 games (+12 =22 -1)
              • European Team Championship Winner five team gold medals in a row for USSR 1957, 1961, 1965, 1970, 1973
              • European Team Championship with three individual gold medals in 1957, 1961, 1965
              • European Team Championship first in the inaugural edition in 1957, last participation 2011, aged eighty years and a half
              • European Team Championship tournaments with 105 played games (record mark)
            • Multiple winner Soviet Team Championship with Leningrad, Swiss Team Champion with Biel and Zürich and Dutch Team Champion with Volmac Rotterdam, and winner of the 7th and 8th Russian Chess Premier League 2000 and 2001 with St. Petersburg Lentransgaz (alongside Peter Svidler, born in 1976, on board one)
            • Frequently victories in further team duelling chess events (Club, City, Country, Spartakiade), countlessly member of the winning USSR team, esp. in the then traditional matches Soviet-Union vs. Yugoslavia, individual and/or team winner in Ladies vs. Veterans (dance-themed sponsored by Joop van Oosterom) matches, and many other ad-hoc team formations
            • Numerous best individual performances at European and World <Senior Team> Championships, playing for Switzerland (gaining several individual gold and team silver medals)
            • Gold at the Student Chess Olympiad 1956 in Uppsala as <Junior Team> with USSR (Korchnoi scoring 6/7 on board one)

Seven World Chess Champions as teammates

Geller, Korchnoi, Spassky, and Petrosian are pictured

Korchnoi's teammates in various team competitions cover no less than seven undisputed World Chess Champions:

Karpov, Spassky, Petrosian, Tal, Smyslov, Botvinnik, and Euwe (with Volmac Rotterdam).

Note: Euwe (1901-1981) and Korchnoi played 1979 in the same team at the 2nd European Chess Club Cup (held decentralised):

Of course, Viktor Korchnoi faced most of the mentioned players also as opponent in national and / or international team events, ie. Botvinnik in 1960, December (Moscow vs. Leningrad, Korchnoi beat Botvinnik 1.5-0.5) or then reigning World Champion Petrosian in 1965 (Moscow vs. Leningrad, Korchnoi beat Petrosian without mercy 2-0).

Korchnoi also faced Kasparov three times in direct encounters during team tournaments:
> 1982 in Lucerne at the Chess Olympiad (USSR vs. Switzerland, Karpov taking a rest his second round in a row, a famous win for young Garry as replacement on board one)
> 1988 in Madrid at the 3rd USSR vs. REST OF THE WORLD Match, Rapid in Scheveningen System. Korchnoi and Kasparov drew their indivual game, they were the only players to remained unbeaten in an elite field, Korchnoi, by far the oldest player, scored the individual best performance of all: (scroll down for full cross table)
> 1992 in Debrecen at the European Team Championship, Korchnoi already above sixty years still dangerous to everyone, in a fascinating, complicated and disputed draw in the King's Indian lines:
(annotations by Bryan Smith, GM who grew up in Alaska, please scroll down the page)

Video from the Chess Olympiad at Skopje in 1972:

Men: Gold for the USSR: Petrosian, Korchnoi, Smyslov, Tal, and as reserve Karpov, Savon.
Individual board gold for Korchnoi (board 2), Tal (board 4) and Karpov (first reserve board).

Women: Gold for the USSR: Nona Gaprindashvili, Alla Kushnir, and as reserve Irina Levitina.
Individual board gold for Gaprindashvili (board 1) and Kushnir (board 2).

Paul Keres (Team Manager men), Aivars Gipslis (Team Manager women), IA Alexander Kotov (Chief Arbiter)

Playing in official FIDE team events from 1957 to 2011 (excluding Juniors and Seniors)

Korchnoi at the Chess Olympiad in Manila 1992

Korchnoi's first appearance in an adult international chess team tournament was in 1957 at the 1st European Team Chess Championship, held in Vienna and Baden, a spa near by Vienna. 

Eleven teams (Hungary was notable absent) were registered for the preliminaries - already starting in 1955! - and of those the top four teams were qualified for a double-rounded final on ten boards.

Qualified after the preliminaries: USSR, YUG, CSR and GER. The Soviets dominated the field, winning the inaugural edition of the ETCC with seven points advantage.

Young (in fact, he was a latecomer compared to others) and rising Korchnoi scored imposing 91.7% on board eight. His 5.5 out 6 (plus 2/2 in the only USSR pre-match against Poland) was the best result of the event. 

The USSR line-up was as follow:

board no.1: Smyslov, then reigning World Chess Champion
board no. 2: Keres
board no. 3: Bronstein
board no. 4: Tal
board no. 5: Spassky
board no. 6: Petrosian
board no. 7: Taimanov (played Korchnoi in a rapid in 2015)
board no. 8: Korchnoi (played Taimanov in a rapid in 2015)
board no. 9: Tolush
board no.10: Boleslavsky
first reserve board: Averbakh, the oldest living gm today 
second reserve board: Aronin
absent: Botvinnik and Geller

Time is flying

Viktor Korchnoi played a record 105 games at the European Team Chess Championship (ETCC) between the inaugural edition of 1957 up to 2011, an incredible duration of more than fifty years (including six games during decentralised ETCC preliminaries, in 1955/6 as a member of the victorious USSR team in a qualification match against Poland for the final stage in 1957, and in 1981/2 for Switzerland, which did not reach the final stage in 1983).

In earlier days, the ETCC was played as a round robin, restricted to a certain number of qualified countries, since Haifa 1989 it is held in swiss system, since Pula 1997 biannually organised.

Note: Alexander Beliavsky (USSR, Ukraine, Slovenia), played at the European Team Chess Championship between 1983 and 2017 exactly 100 games (none in preliminaries). Both men, Beliavksy and Korchnoi made 13 appearances.

A wonderfully animated Viktor Korchnoi, European Team Chess Championship 2011 in Greece. Two photos: ChessBase

A relaxed Viktor Korchnoi, sitting together with Martin Leutwyler, non-playing Team Captain of Switzerland at the ETCC in November 2011. It is difficult to put into words, that The Iron Man of Chess, Viktor Korchnoi, suffered a severe stroke just a few months after this picture has been taken. Photo: GM Uwe Boensch, DSB

Korchnoi plays the anti-dutch line 2.Qd3 , board one, first round in the very first minutes at the ETCC in 2009 versus Volokitin (Switzerland with VK, Jenni, IM Ekström, and Gallagher, the match winner on board four, beating Ukraine). The sheer physical presence of Korchnoi had an enormous impact on the Swiss Team. Photo:, chess site of Vladimir Grabinsky, Fide Senior Trainer, International Master, and Honoured Trainer of Ukraine