"Black is OK!": Andras Adorjan turns 70!

by André Schulz
3/31/2020 – In the 1980s the Hungarian Grandmaster Andras Adorjan was one of the world's best players. He was a renowned opening expert and worked as an author and trainer, assisting Garry Kasparov, Peter Leko and others. However, Adorjan's most famous legacy is the slogan "Black is OK"! Today the Hungarian celebrates his 70th birthday. | Photo: Dutch National Archive

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Happy birthday Andras Adorjan!

Today the Hungarian grandmaster Andras Adorjan celebrates his 70th birthday. Adorjan, actually Andras Jocha, was born on March 31, 1950 in Budapest. In 1968 he took his mother's maiden name. In 1969 Adorjan became Vice Junior World Champion behind Anatoly Karpov and at the end of the same year he won the European Junior Championship.


In 1970 he became an International Master and three years later, in 1973, a Grandmaster. In the same year he also won the Hungarian National Championship for the first time, a success which he repeated in 1984.

In 1979 Adorjan qualified for the Candidate Matches but narrowly lost 4.5:5.5 against Robert Hübner after a play-offcandidate fights after a play-off, but lost narrowly to Robert Hübner in the quarter-finals with .


Adorjan's tournament successes include victories – sometimes shared – in Varna 1972, Luhacovice 1973, Osijek 1978, Budapest 1982, Banja Luka 1983, Gjovik 1983, Esbjerg 1985 and at the New York Open 1987. He also played for various club in Europe, e.g. from 1988 to 1990 for the SG Heidelberg-Kirchheim in the German Bundesliga.

In 1978 Adorjan sensationally won gold with the Hungarian team at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires, the only Olympiad in which the Soviet Union did not win gold when it took part. Adorjan also played successfully for Hungary at the Chess Olympiads in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1992, and between 1970 and 1992 he also had numerous successes in other team tournaments.


Adorjan also worked as a coach and second and assisted Garry Kasparov (from 1979 to 1986) and Peter Leko (from 1993 to 1999).

Kasparov, Adorjan, Timman | Photo: Dutch National Archive

Both players, Kasparov and Leko, were inspired by Adorjan's handling of the Grünfeld Defence. Adorjan first met then 16-year-old Garry Kasparov during the 1979 tournament in Banja Luka. Adorjan first met Peter Leko in 1990 when Leko was ten years old.

The Gruenfeld Defence

The Gruenfeld Defence is a popular opening for fighting players. Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov liked to play it, Peter Svidler, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri like to play. On this DVD Lubomir Ftacnik shows why the Gruenfeld is such an attractive and strong opening.

Since 1994 Adorjan has also been working as an International Arbiter.

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

Photo: Juchapress

Andras Adorjan was considered a great opening expert, especially in the Grünfeld Defence and in the Hedgehog. He published a number of books, mostly on opening themes, and with the slogan "Black is OK" he claimed that Black had no disadvantage in the opening. His most famous book is also titled "Black is OK!" and propagates the same idea. Adorjan later expanded on this theme with "Black is still OK!", "Black is OK forever!", and "Black is Back!".

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

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


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