Bosna, Sarajevo (1st 1957, 49th 2019)

Bosna, in Sarajevo is lasting since 1957, that means now the third longest major recurring International Chess Tournament after Hastings (today also an Open Festival) since 1920/21 and Beverwijk / Wijk aan Zee since 1938; ahead of the Capablanca Memorial, most often in Havana, since 1962.

(Not counting pure Open Festivals never to be a closed all-play-all round robin Invitation Tournament, such as the U.S. Open Chess Championship, at various places, lasting annually since 1900. Naturally excluding national and city championships or team events).


Most wins in the invitation series (alone or tied) scored Viktor Korchnoi (1969, 1984 shared, and 1998 in the first event after a ten-year Bosna break), and Lajos Portisch (1962 shared, 1963, and 1986 shared), each three.

Predrag Nikolic won twice the invitation tournament (1983, 1987), and shared first prize as third and fifth respectively in the (now rather regional and certainly less strong) Bosna Open of 2013 and 2015, meaning actually both times not first on tie-break. It's a question of definition, whether or not Nikolic could be considered as record winner.

Two wins for then reigning classical world champion Kasparov (2x), Ivkov (2x), Gligoric (2x), Pachman (2x), Puc (2x), Ciric (2x), Georgiev (2x), Psakhis (2x), Ivan Sokolov (2x), and Movsesian (2x); with one winamong othersTimman, Ljubojevic, Matulovic, Trifunovic, Lputian, Kurajica, Parma, Szabo, Uhlmann, Hort, Suetin, Stein, Bronstein, Polugaevsky, Tal, Beliavsky, Shirov, Morozevich, Bologan, Eljanov, Nisipeanu, Carlsen, or Wang Hao (40th edition, the first played as Open).

Great players also competing, but <not winning> at Bosna Invitation: Spassky, Petrosian, Keres, Kotov, Simagin, Eliskases, Larsen, Andersson, Lobron, Darga, Robatsch, Benko, Browne, R. Byrne, Seirawan, Pirc, Udovcic, Vukic, Velimirovic, Cebalo, Hulak, Lengyel, Adorjan, Csom, Ribli, Sax, Smejkal, Jansa, Kavalek, Yusupov, Vaganian, Romanishin, Bareev, Van der Wiel, Piket, Bacrot, Miles, Short, Adams, Harikrishna, Sasikiran, Naiditsch, Leko, Radjabov, Kasimdzhanov, and Topalov.

Botvinnik, Smyslov, Fischer, Karpov, Kramnik, and Anand did never take part.


  • Until today five Undisputed World Chess Champions played at Bosna in Sarajevo: Mikhail Tal (co-winner in 1966), Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Garry Kasparov (twice-winner in 1999 and 2000 as reigning Classical Champion), and Magnus Carlsen (co-winner in 2006).


  • Stojan Puc (1921-2004) was the first winner of the Sarajevo tournament in 1957 and he won it again, tied with Ludek Pachman in 1960. Stojan Puc was awarded the International Master title in 1950, and the rare Honorary Grandmaster title by FIDE in 1984.


  • The highest score (in number of points) in closed tournament tradition was achieved by Alexander Beliavsky in 1982 with 12.5 points / 15 rounds, maybe the biggest upset happened in 1972 with veteran László Szabó scoring one of his finest international tournament wins as clear first ahead of Petrosian, and Keres. 


  • The highest rating performance at Bosna, Sarajevo was by Garry Kasparov in 1999 with 7/9 points (+5=4-0), the then reigning classical world chess champion chalked up a sizzling 2914 ELO performance. Remember: It was right after this victory at Bosna in May 1999, when Garry Kasparov achieved in the next ELO list from July 1999 his phenomenal ELO 2851 rating (for more see at the bottom).

  • Norwegian Prodigy Magnus Carlsen (*1990) is by far the youngest winner of Bosna, aged 15½ in 2006, his first “A” elite tournament win, shared with Nisipeanu (winner on tie-breaking valuation) and Malakhov, ahead of Borki Predojevic, Sasikiran and Naiditsch; doublerounded.


  • Indefatigable Viktor Korchnoi (*1931) is by far the oldest winner of Bosna, aged 67 in 1998 (clear first ahead of Ivan Sokolov, Bareev, Georgiev, Nikolic, Lputian, Kozul, Piket, among others, with +6=2-1). Korchnoi also won in 1984 (unbeaten, shared (first) with Dutch legend Jan Timman, ahead of Yusupov, Van der Wiel, Kurajica, Romanishin, Hulak, Velimirovic, Lobron, among others, with +5=8-0) and in 1969 (clear first ahead of Matulovic, Uhlmann, Gligoric, Damjanovic, Lutikov, Parma, Vukic, among others, with +9=6-0).

    Korchnoi faced an impressive gallery of changing opponents and scored 20 wins, 1 loss. 

    Viktor Korchnoi is “Mr. Sarajevo”: he won the Bosna Tournament at his first participation, with in total three entries and three wins in 1969, 1984, and 1998!


This is the third longest major recurring international classical chess tournament in
annually tradition still existing.


Sarajevo (Tournament homepage)
Sarajevo (Bosna) (Wikipedia in French language) (Table of honour) 

Three participations and three victories at Bosna, Sarajevo between 1969 and 1998 for Viktor Korchnoi (photo from Elista, 2009)

Lajos Portisch, the other thrice-winner at Bosna Invitational tournaments, and Garry Kasparov, twice-winner at Sarajevo (photo from Dubai, Chess Olympiad 1986)

Svetozar Gligorić and Luděk Pachman, the joint winners in 1961, Gligorić won also in 1962, Pachman in 1960 (photo from Leipzig, Chess Olympiad 1960)

Albo d' Oro

Sarajevo  –  Winners of Bosna





Stojan Puc (winner of inaugural edition)

7.5 (11)


Petar Trifunovic and Borislav Ivkov

7 (11)


Ludek Pachman and Stojan Puc [Table]

7.5 (11)


Svetozar Gligoric and Ludek Pachman

7.5 (11)


Svetozar Gligoric and Lajos Portisch

8 (11)


Lajos Portisch

7 (11)


Lev Polugaevsky and Wolfgang Uhlmann

10.5 (15)


Aleksei Suetin

10.5 (15)


Mikhail Tal and Dragoljub Ciric [Table]

11 (15)


Leonid Stein and Borislav Ivkov

10.5 (15)


Dragoljub Ciric and Anatoly Lein

10 (15)


Viktor Korchnoi

12 (15)


Ljubomir Ljubojevic and Bruno Parma

10 (15)


David Bronstein, Milan Matulovic and Milko Bobocov

9 (15)


Laszlo Szabo (ahead of 2. Petrosian, 3.= Keres) [Table]

11 (15)


William Hartston

9 (13)


Vladimir Raicevic

10 (15)


Bojan Kurajica, Milorad Knezevic and Ivan Farago

9.5 (14)


Vlastimil Hort

10.5 (15)


Lev Psakhis

11 (15)


Aleksander Beliavsky (record number of points)

12.5 (15)


Predrag Nikolic

10.5 (15)


Viktor Korchnoi and Jan Timman

9 (13)


Smbat Lputian

10.5 (15)


Lajos Portisch, Lev Psakhis and Kiril Georgiev (with 5. Spassky)

7.5 (12)


Predrag Nikolic

8.5 (11)


Josif Dorfman, Bogdan Lalic and Emir Dizdarevic

10 (15)

Ten-year pause due to Balkans conflict


Viktor Korchnoi (third & final participation, third win)

7 (9)


Garry Kasparov, reigning classical world champion [Table]

7 (9)


Garry Kasparov, reigning classical world champion

8.5 (11)


Kiril Georgiev

6.5 (9)


Sergei Movsesian

6 (9)


Ivan Sokolov

6.5 (9)


Alexei Shirov

7.5 (9)


Viktor Bologan* and Ivan Sokolov

6.5 (9)


Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu*, Vladimir Malakhov and Magnus Carlsen

5.5 (10 rounds, 6 players)


Sergei Movsesian

6.5 (10 rounds, 6 players)


Alexander Morozevich

7.5 (10 rounds, 6 players)


Pavel Eljanov

7 (10 rounds, 6 players)


Wang Hao

23/27 (Open, 3 pts./win, 169 players)


Baadur Jobava

21/27 (Open, 3 pts./win, 103 players)


Viktor Erdos*,
IM Mikhail Antipov,
Evgeny Postny (shared)

6.5/9 (Open A, 40 players)
(Open B, 60 players)


Robert Markus*,
Aleksandar Kovacevic,
Predrag Nikolic (shared)

6/9 (Open A, 29 players)
(Open B, 78 players)


Aleksandr Rakhmanov

7/9 (Open A, 41 players)
(Open B, 93 players)


Zdenko Kozul*,
Hrvoje Stevic,
Mladen Palac,
Dusan Popovic,
Predrag Nikolic (shared)

7/9 (Open, 122 players,
one section)


Denis Kadric

7.5/9 (Open, 135 players,
one section

* = winner on tie-break

Source: (up to 2004)

Bosna, Sarajevo as an Open

Nils Grandelius (*1993) from Sweden, made his third and final GM norm to become a Chess Grandmaster in Sarajevo at Bosna

40th Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2010

Wang Hao took first place with 23 points (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw / 10 rounds) ahead of 2./3. Zahar Efimenko, Viktor Bologan (22 p.) and 4.-8. Zahar Timofeev, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu, Borki Predojevic, Geetha Narayanan Gopal, Vladislav Nevednichy (21 p.), Further top-players included Richard Rapport, Jan Gustafsson, Chanda Sandipan, and Nadezhda Kosintseva. It was also very successful for Nils Grandelius who made his third and final GM norm in the event and became a Grandmaster.

41st Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2011

Leading players: Arkadij Naiditsch, Baadur Jobava, Kiril Georgiev, Ivan Ivanisevic, Jan Smeets, Dragan Solak, Hrant Melkumyan, and Nils Grandelius. Second favourite Baadur Jobava won outright with 21/27 (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw).

42nd Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2012

Leading players included legendary Alexander Beliavsky, Alexander Ipatov, Hrant Melkumyan, Mladen Palac, Zdenko Kozul, Bojan Kurajica, Tamir Nabaty, Ognjen Cvitan, and Borki Predojevic. Viktor Erdos won the Open as first on tie-break, shared with 15 years young (born 1997) and promising IM Mikhail Antipov and Evgeny Postny. There were two sections: ”A” tournament for players with rating of ELO 2300 or higher – “B” tournament for players with rating of ELO 2299 or lower.

43rd Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2013

Ledaing players in the nine-round Swiss Open included Viktor Erdos, Gabor Papp, Mikhail Antipov, Zdenko Kozul, Borki Predojevic, Emre Can, and again Nils Grandelius. Robert Markus came in first on tie-break, shared with Aleksandar Kovacevic and Predrag Nikolic. The tournament with sections “A” and “B” brought together 107 players from 12 countries.

44th Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2014

Aleksandr Rakhmanov convincing winner in Open “A”. The Russian Grandmaster emerged clear first with 7/9 points, performing at 2773 ELO. The 44th International Chess Tournament Bosna 2014 took place in Sarajevo at the conference hall of the Hotel “Radon Plaza” from 30th May to 6th June 2014, organized by the Chess Club "Bosna", quadruple European champion. 134 players from 13 countries, playing for nine rounds according to the Swiss system, FIDE variant. The event had two sections again (“A” for players rated over ELO 2300).

Leading players: Hrvoje Stevic, Aleksandr Rakhmanov, Benjamin Bok, Zdenko Kozul, Mladen Palac, Mustafa Yilmaz, Aleksandar Kovacevic, Evgeny Gleizerov, Bojan Kurajica, and in “B” veteran IM Rajko Bogdanovic (born in 1931). The novice of the Bosna tournament 2014 was Ana Sakotic (born in 2003), in the Open section “B” section.

45th Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2015

The 45th International Chess Tournament Bosna 2015 took place from 30th May to 6th June at the Hotel Holiday in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina as a nine round swiss system. This time the Open was consisting entirely of one section (122 players from 11 countries, mostly form former Yugoslavia). Zdenko Kozul edged out Hrvoje Stevic, Mladen Palac, Dusan Popovic and Predrag Nikolic after all scored 7/9. The tournament is organized by the Chess Club Bosna Sarajevo and sponsored by Canton Sarajevo and Federation BIH.

Leading players: U-18 GM Mikhail Antipov (RUS), Borki Predojevic (BIH), Predrag Nikolic (BIH), Emir Dizdarevic (BIH), Bojan Kurajica (BIH), Zdenko Kozul (CRO), Mladen Palac (CRO), Hrvoje Stevic (CRO), Robert Markus (SRB), Aleksandar Kovacevic (SRB), Dušan Popovic (SRB), and Bartlomiej Heberla (POL). Attending again at "Bosna" is also legendary IM Rajko Bogdanovic (BIH), on the road to chess eternity in Sarajevo!


46th Bosna Open in Sarajevo BIH 2016

Denis Kadric (BIH) won the 46th International Chess Tournament “Bosna 2016″, held from 28th May to 3rd June at the Hotel Saraj in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, sponsored by Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canton Sarajevo, Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ministry of Civils Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, City of Sarajevo and Center Municipality.

Top-seeded was Predrag Nikolic (BIH) as one of only two players ranked above of 2600 ELO. Further prominent participants: Zdenko Kozul (CRO), Mustafa Yilmaz (TUR), Emre Can (TUR), and Bojan Kurajica (CRO).

135 competitors from different 12 countries (among them most participants from the Balkans) played in one section. The tournament format was again a 9-round swiss system in classical chess with the rate of play 90 minutes per 40 moves, plus 15 minutes till end of game,with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

The total prize fund was 14,200 EUR, divided in 42 prizes. The participants rated under ELO 2300 were requested to bring their own chess electronic clock!

Since 2010 Sarajevo, Bosna is no longer played as an invitation tournament and unfortunately has lost at the moment its character as a supertournament. Still an honour to win that traditional event, congratulation to young Denis Kadric (born in 1995, GM since 2015), clear first in 2016.

Wang Hao, winner of the 40th edition at Bosna, Sarajevo in 2010, played as an Open.

Arguably his biggest triumph was at the Biel GM invitation tournament in 2012 above Magnus Carlsen, then already the world's number one player.

In 2005 when 16 years young, Wang Hao won the Dubai Open as titleless player (!) outright, and also took the 1st Sharjah Masters, Open in 2017. Photo: Organiser Sharjah, UAE

Alexei Shirov, dominating winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 2004 (Photo: Wikipedia, Andreas Kontokanis from Piraeus, Greece)

Ivan Sokolov, later also organizer of Bosna, Sarajevo, winner in 2003 and co-winner in 2005

Predrag Nikolic, later also organizer of Bosna, Sarajevo, winner in 1983 & 1987, plus shared first prizes in the now rather local Bosna Open. Photo by Frits Agterdenbos, one of the leading chess photographers, in 1984 author of the Dutch book "64 Schaakportretten" (in English "64 Chess Portraits") and founder of ChessVista (unfortunately no longer existing)

Alexander Beliavsky, winner at Sarajevo in 1982. Photo: ChessBase

Bojan Kurajica, co-winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 1979

László Szabó, stunning winner at Bosna, Sarajevo at the age of 55 as clear first in 1972, ahead of Petrosian, and shared third to fifth Jansa, Keres, and Hort (this picture is from László Szabó's tournament win in the second annual Chess Meeting at Dortmund in 1974)

David Bronstein, co-winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 1971

Mikhail Tal, co-winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 1966

Aleksej Suetin, sole winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 1965, for that achievement he got the GM title by FIDE. Senior World Chess Champion in 1996 and an author of note (print from the cover "Grundlagen des modernen Eröffnungsspiels", Schachverlag Kania, 1997, 2004)

Wolfgang Uhlmann, co-winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 1964. This picture shows Uhlmann at the 5th Rubinstein Memorial in 1967 in Polanica-Zdrój (Poland), taken by the organizers and presented to Wolfgang Uhlmann. Photo courtesty of the Wilkau-Haßlau Chess Club

Borislav Ivkov, co-winner at Bosna, Sarajevo in 1958 and again 1967, Junior World Chess Champion in 1951 (the first ever such event)

Kasparov reaching ELO 2851

Garry Kasparov, the Beast from Baku with 1000 eyes. Imagine having to sit at a chess table for five hours with this guy staring at you..

It was right after the victory at Bosna, Sarajevo in May 1999, when Garry Kasparov achieved in the next ELO list from July (to December) 1999 his phenomenal ELO 2851 rating:

Always as clear first, Kasparov scored that year 10/13 at Wijk aan Zee, then 10.5/14 at Linares (doubleround) and afterwards 7/9 at Sarajevo, all together these 36 games gave him a plus of 39 points to climb from ELO 2812 in January 1999 to ELO 2851 in July 1999 – and January 2000 as well (no games of Kasparov in the second half-year 1999). This was Garry’s highest rating ever – and a world record, later only surpassed by Magnus Carlsen (not taken the galloping ELO inflation into account).


Historic ELO list of (July - December) 1999 II:
Kasparov reaching ELO 2851

 1  Kasparov, Garry (RUS)  ELO 2851 +39 points *1963

 2  Anand, Viswanathan (IND) 2771 -10 *1969

 3  Kramnik, Vladimir (RUS) 2760 +9 *1975

 4  Morozevich, Alexander (RUS) 2758 +35 *1977

 5  Shirov, Alexei (ESP) 2734 +8 *1972

 6  Kamsky, Gata (USA) 2720 0 *1974

 7  Gelfand, Boris (ISR)  2713 +22 *1968

 8  Karpov, Anatoly  (RUS) 2709 -1 *1951 (FIDE WCC, not defending title at Las Vegas 1999)

 9  Adams, Michael (ENG) 2708 -8 *1971

10 Ivanchuk, Vassily (UKR) 2702 -12 *1969

11 Leko, Peter (HUN) 2701 +7 *1979 (eleven players with ELO >2700)

12 Bareev, Evgeny (RUS) 2698 +19 *1966

13 Topalov, Veselin (BUL) 2690 -10 *1975

14 Svidler, Peter (RUS) 2684 -29 *1976

15 Azmaiparashvili, Zurab (GEO) 2681 0 *1960

16 Dreev, Alexey (RUS) 2679 +40 *1969

17 Korchnoi, Viktor (SUI) 2676 +3 *1931 (aged 68 / 69 years - and in the ELO top twenty)

18 Short, Nigel (ENG) 2675 -22 *1965

19 Smirin, Ilia (ISR) 2671 +19 *1968

20 Polgar, Judit (HUN) 2671 -6 *1976