Fridrik Olafsson (or Friðrik Ólafsson in Icelandic orthography) was born January 26, 1935 in Reykjavík, Iceland. He won the Icelandic Championship in 1952 and the Scandinavian Championship a year later, establishing himself as the strongest Icelandic player of his generation.
His first great international success was a shared first with Viktor Korchnoi at Hastings 1955-56. He competed in the World Championship cycle and finished 5th/6th at the 1958 Portoro Interzonal tournament. That gave him the grandmaster title and a place in the 1959 Candidates Tournament.
A commomerative 2008 stamp for 50 years as a GM. It shows the final position of an important game:
Olafsson,Fridrik - Fischer,Robert James [D38]
Portoroz Interzonal Portoroz (11), 1958
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d4 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 c5 8.e3 Nc6 9.Rc1 c4 10.Be2 Be6 11.0-0 0-0 12.Nd2 Be7 13.b3 g5 14.Bg3 Ba3 15.Rc2 Nb4 16.bxc4 Nxc2 17.Qxc2 dxc4 18.Nb5 Bb4 19.Nc7 Bxd2 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Bxc4 Qe8 22.Qxd2 Ne4 23.Qd3 Nxg3 24.hxg3 Rf6 25.Qe4 Rc8 26.Bb3 Qd7 27.Rd1 Re8 28.f4 Qh7 29.Qe5 Qf5 30.g4 Qxe5 31.dxe5 Rf7 32.f5 Rc7 33.Rd6 Rc5 34.Bxe6+ Kf8 35.Bb3 Rcxe5 36.Rxh6 Rxe3 37.Rg6 R8e4 38.Rxg5 Rg3 39.Rg8+ Ke7 40.g5 Re2 41.Bd5 Kd6 42.Bf3 Rxa2 43.f6 Ke6 44.Re8+ 1-0. [Click to replay]
Fridrik Olafsson facing Bobby Fischer in Bled 1961. He lost this game, but had beaten
Fischer in the 1958 Portoro Interzonal and in the 1959 Candidates Tournament in Yugoslavia
Fridrik also played in the following Interzonal (Stockholm 1962) but failed to qualify for the Candidates. Among his best tournament results we find a shared first with Ljubomir Ljubojevic at Wijk aan Zee 1976, ahead of Mikhail Tal.
Candidacy poster of Fridrik Olafsson in 1978
In 1978, Fridrik Olafsson succeeded Max Euwe as President of FIDE, where he served a single term, being replaced by Florencio Campomanes in 1982.
At home he was appointed Secretary to the Icelandic Parliament, having worked as a lawyer at the Icelandic Ministry of Justice before becoming a chess professional in 1974. Fridrik is married and has two adult daughters.
A portrait of Fridrik Olafsson by painter Einar Hákonarson
In 2003 Fridrik Olafsson won a rapid match against fellow veteran Bent Larsen by 5-3
Here's a game played by Fridrik Olafsson just a couple of weeks ago:
Olafsson,Fridrik - Kjartansson,Gudmundur [D37]
CCP Rapid, 09.01.2010
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bg3 cxd4 10.exd4 N7f6 11.Bd3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 b6 13.Qe2 Bb7 14.0-0 Qd5 15.c4 Qa5 16.Ne5 Rad8 17.Rcd1 Nd7 18.d5 Nxe5 19.Bxe5 Bd6??
20.Bxh7+! Kxh7 21.Qh5+ Kg8 22.Bxg7! Kxg7 23.Qg5+ Kh7 24.Rd3 Qa3 25.Rxa3 Bxa3 26.Qh4+ Kg7 27.Qg3+ Kf6 28.Qxa3 exd5 29.Qf3+ 1-0. [Click to replay]
Distribution of the games played by Fridrik Olafsson (total 1013 games)
Information and pictures provided by Einar S. Einarsson