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Wolfgang Unzicker, 1925–2006

4/24/2006 – After the war, until around 1970, he was the strongest German chess grandmaster. But Wolfgang Unzicker, seven times German champion, never made chess his profession, practicing law instead. He played in thirteen Olympiads and represented his country on the national team 400 times. Unzicker died of heart failure during a holiday in Portugal on April 20, 2006. In memoriam.
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Wolfgang Unzicker, 1925–2006

Anatoly Karpov called Wolfgang Unzicker the “world champion of amateurs”. He was born in Pirmasens, Germany, on June 26, 1925, and started to play chess at the age of ten.

Unzicker's career as an international tournament player began after the Second World War. He won the German championship seven times, from 1948 to 1965, and played in thirteen Chess Olympiads, from 1950 to 1978 (on board one in ten of them). In 1954 he was awarded the grandmaster title. He represented his country on the national team nearly 400 times.

Wolfgang Unzicker died of heart failure on April 20, 2006, during a holiday in Albufeira, Portugal. He is survived by his wife Freia, three sons and three grandchildren. Until his death he sill played first board on the club team "Tarrasch Munich".

Career highlights

Unzicker's tournament victories include first place tie (+6 =9) with Boris Spassky at the Chigorin Memorial in Sochi 1965, first at Maribor 1967 ahead of Samuel Reshevsky, first at Krems, and first at Amsterdam 1980, tied with Hans Ree.


Wolfgang Unzicker vs Dr Max Euwe at the 1950 Chess Olympiade in Dubrovnik. The kibitzers are Lothar Schmid and Vincenzo Castaldi

In 1950, Unzicker shared the prize for best top-board score (+9 =4 -1) with Miguel Najdorf for his performance on first board for the West German team at the Dubrovnik Chess Olympiad.


Playing against Spassky at the Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

At the Tel Aviv 1964 Chess Olympiad Unzicker scored 13.5 points playing first board for the West German team that won the bronze medal on the strength of a 3:1 team victory over the Soviet Union. Unzicker also shared fourth place (+2 =14 -1) with Lajos Portisch in the 1966 Piatigorsky Cup in Santa Monica, California. Only Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, and Bent Larsen finished ahead of Unzicker. Unzicker placed ahead of world champion Tigran Petrosian, Samuel Reshevsky, Miguel Najdorf, Borislav Ivkov, and Hein Donner. At Hastings 1969-1970, Unzicker finished second (+4 =5) after Lajos Portisch and before Svetozar Gligoric and world champion Vasily Smyslov. Unzicker finished second (+3 =7 -2) to Viktor Korchnoi at South Africa 1979.

Klaus Junge Memorial 1946   6/9 +3 Rank 3
Essen 1947   7.5/11 +4 Rank 2
Augsburg 1st 1946   14/16 +12 Rank 1
Bad Nauheim 1948   9/12 +6 Rank 1
GER-ch 12th 1948   13.5/15 +12 Rank 1
Velbert m 4849 1948   4/6 +2 Match winner
Heidelberg 1949   7/9 +5 Rank 1
Travemuende 1950   8/11 +5 Rank 1
FRG-ch 01st 1950   12.5/17 +8 Rank 1
Dubrovnik ol (Men) 1950   11/14 +8  
Hastings 5051 1950   7/9 +5 Rank 1
Bad Pyrmont zt 1951   10/14 +6 Rank 2
Opatija 1953   10/17 +3 Rank 4
FRG-ch 02nd 1953   12/15 +9 Rank 1
GER-ch 15th playoff 1954   3.5/4 +3 Match winner
Munich zt 1954   15/19 +11 Rank 1
Madrid 1957   7.5/11 +4 Rank 3
FRG-ch 04th 1957   10/15 +5 Rank 2
FRG-ch 05th 1959   11.5/15 +8 Rank 1
Baltic Nations 1960   8/11 +5 Rank 2
FRG-ch 06th 1961   9.5/15 +4 Rank 2
FRG-ch 07th 1963   11.5/15 +8 Rank 2
FRG-ch m 1964   2.5/4 +1 Match winner
Chigorin mem Socci 1965   10.5/15 +6 Rank 1
FRG-ch 08th 1965   11/15 +7 Rank 1
FRG-ch 08th playoff 1966   2/4 +0 Draw
Piatigorsky-Cup 2nd 1966   9.5/18 +1 Rank 4
Maribor 1967   10/15 +5 Rank 1
Vidmar mem 1969   9.5/15 +4 Rank 3
Hastings 6970 1969   6.5/9 +4 Rank 2
Bari 1970   8.5/14 +3 Rank 4
Lugano 1970   7.5/14 +1 Rank 3
Biel 1979 VIII 7/13 +1 Rank 3
Bad Kissingen 1980 XV 1.5/6 -3  
FRG-HUN 1980 XV 0.5/2 -1  
IBM-B 1980 IX 7.5/11 +4 Rank 2
Beersheba 1984 IX 8/13 +3 Rank 3
Almada 1988 VII 8.5/11 +6 Rank 1
Daugavpils 1990 VIII 6/9 +3 Rank 3
Bad Wildbad 1990 VIII 6.5/11 +2 Rank 4
Donner mem-B 1994 VIII 5.5/9 +2 Rank 1
Zuerich Kortschnoj-A 2001 XIV 2/5 -1 Rank 4

Opponents

Jan Hein Donner
19.5/31
+8 31 Games
Svetozar Gligoric
15.5/31
+0 31 Games
Arturo Pomar Salamanca
12.5/20
+5 20 Games
Helmut Pfleger
9.5/19
+0 19 Games
Laszlo Szabo
7.5/15
+0 15 Games
Miguel Najdorf
6/15
-3 15 Games
Paul Keres
4.5/15
-6 15 Games
Ludek Pachman
7/14
+0 14 Games
Boris V Spassky
6/13
-1 13 Games
Vlastimil Hort
5.5/13
-2 13 Games
Paul Troeger
9/12
+6 12 Games
Baldur Hoenlinger
8.5/12
+5 12 Games
Karl Robatsch
6.5/12
+1 12 Games
Wolfgang Uhlmann
5.5/12
-1 12 Games
Tigran V Petrosian
5/12
-2 12 Games
Robert Huebner
3.5/12
-5 12 Games
Borislav Ivkov
5.5/11
+0 11 Games
Florin Gheorghiu
4.5/11
-2 11 Games
Vassily Smyslov
4.5/11
-2 11 Games
Lajos Portisch
4.5/11
-2 11 Games
Viktor Kortschnoj
4/11
-3 11 Games

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