Master Class on Viktor Korchnoi at Biel

8/1/2016 – Among the many activities and events hosted at the Biel Chess Festival were two excellent Master Classes. The first was presented by MVL, and this second one is by GM Daniel King together with GM Yannick Pelletier. The theme is suitably a tribute to Viktor Korchnoi, who was a Swiss citizen for much of his life, and his games played at the Biel tournaments. Enjoy this video presentation on Viktor the Terrible!

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The 49th International Chess Festival Biel is taking place from Saturday, July 23 until Wednesday, August 3 2016. The exact schedule and further information are now published on the official website. Here are the main links:

Together with GM Daniel King is Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier who faced Viktor Korchnoi at the board many times, as well as played beside him in the Olympiad. Pelletier shares anecdotes and impressions of Viktor as they go over various games played by the legend at Biel over the years.

After defecting from the Soviet Union, Viktor Korchnoi was essentially 'stateless' for a while as he sought citizenship from a country sympathetic to his plight. Switzerland opened its doors to him and he proudly fought for his new home for decades.

It starts with one of the first grandmaster round-robins held at Biel in 1979. In spite of having won the event several rounds (yes, that is rounds with an S) in advance, Korchnoi was his usual fighting self, always seeking to score the maximum possible, and won with 12.0/13 while the second place finisher had 7.5. Take a look at the crosstable as it is something to behold. Viktor was the world no.2 at the time, just behind Anatoly Karpov.

Click on the crosstable to see a large high-res version


The video lasts a little over an hour but is a joy to watch. Grab a coffee and sit back and enjoy this Master Class on a legend. Be sure to watch it full screen by clicking on the icon in the bottom right corner of the video.

If you enjoyed it, be sure to check out further DVDs by Daniel King in the Chessbase Shop, most notably his extremely popular PowerPlay series.


The games will be broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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JWild JWild 9/5/2016 03:51
Not sure if this is known already but I verified, Korchnoi has beaten or drawn EVERY world champion (undisputed OR disputed) since the interregnum of WWII (at some point in the champs' careers, (i.e. not necessarily when they were champs) in at least one single game of chess.

Victor Korchnoi has beaten:
Undisputed World Chess Champions:
Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Carlsen
FIDE World Chess Champions:
Topalov, Ponomariov

Korchnoi has drawn:
Undisputed World Chess Champions:
Kramnik, Anand
FIDE World Chess Champions:
Khalifman, Kasimdzhanov
Queenslander Queenslander 8/4/2016 11:27
My only memory of Viktor Korchnoi is watching him lose to Kasparov's cheeky Modern Benoni Defence at the Luzern Olympiad in Switzerland in 1982. I was transfixed by the fact that a knight stayed en prise for several moves!