András Adorján (1950-2023)

by André Schulz
5/12/2023 – Grandmaster András Adorján died yesterday after a long illness. He was the runner-up at the 1969 World Junior Championship behind Anatoly Karpov, and reached the quarterfinals of the Candidates Matches in the 1979-1981 World Championship cycle. As a coach, he worked with Garry Kasparov and Peter Leko, among others. András Adorján was 73 years old. | Photo: Dutch National Archive

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


András Adorján was born on 31 March 1950 in Budapest under the name András Jocha. He took the name Adorján, his mother’s maiden name, only when he was 18.

Once Adorján started playing chess, he was trained by Bela Papp. In 1969, Adorján celebrated his first major international success as he was the runner-up in the World Junior Championship behind Anatoly Karpov. In 1969/70 he also won the European Junior Championship. In 1970, FIDE awarded Adorján the International Master title. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1973, the year in which he won the National Championship of Hungary for the first time. He celebrated this success for a second time in 1984.

In 1984, Adorján also achieved his best ranking in the FIDE world ratings list with a 2580 Elo rating. He was the number 20 in the world at that point.

In 1979, Adorján qualified for the Candidates Matches. In the quarterfinals, he was narrowly defeated by Robert Hübner — the final score was a close 4½-5½.

Adorján’s greatest successes include tournament wins (some shared with other players) in Varna 1972, Luhacovice 1973, Osijek 1978, Budapest 1982, Banja Luka 1983, Gjovik 1983, Esbjerg 1985 and the New York Open 1987. Adorján played in team championships in a number of countries and leagues. In the German Bundesliga, he played for the SG Heidelberg-Kirchheim from 1988 to 1990.

In 1978, the Hungarian national team sensationally won the gold medal at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires, ahead of the highly favoured Soviet Union. It was Adorján’s first participation in a Chess Olympiad for the Hungarian team, on board 4. After a dispute with the federation, Adorján was temporarily banned from the national team. However, he then took part again successfully for Hungary in the 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1992 Chess Olympiads, as well as in numerous other team tournaments between 1970 and 1992. He won the gold medal at the 1983 European Championship in Plovdiv.

As a coach, András Adorján worked with Garry Kasparov (1979-1986), among others. He also worked as a second for Kasparov in his first World Championship matches, as well as for Peter Leko (between 1993 and 1999).

Garry Kasparov, András Adorján, Jan Timman | Photo: Dutch National Archive

His two prominent protégés adopted Adorján’s preference for the Grünfeld Defence. Adorjan first met the then 16-year-old Garry Kasparov during a tournament in Banja Luka in 1979. Peter Leko met Adorján for the first time in 1990, when Leko was onle ten years old. Adorján had also been active as an International Arbiter since 1994.

After the 1999/2000 Hungarian Team Championship, Adorján retired from tournament chess.

Photo: Juchapress

András Adorján was highly educated. He was interested in literature and music, wrote poetry, composed and was involved in a rock opera commemorating the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He was active as a book author and was considered a great opening expert, especially in the Grünfeld Defence and the Hedgehog System against the English Opening. He published a number of books, mostly on openings, and propagated the view that Black has no disadvantage in the opening. His most famous work on this topic is Black is OK!, which was followed by the volumes Black is still OK!, Black is OK forever! and Black is Back!.

András Adorján died on 11 May 2023 after a long illness. He was 73 years old.

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.