The legendary Viktor Korchnoi, one of the strongest grandmasters in the world in the ’70s, continues to play quality chess at the age of 77.
If his performance has fallen off a bit in recent years, it is as much due to changes in chess itself, as the inevitable physical changes due to age.
The advent of chess programs and computers pose special problems for a player of Korchnoi’s temperament. His strength was his ability to thrive in complex, double-edged positions that few others played with comfort.
He still challenges his opponents to contest on such grounds.
The problem is that his predilections are well known to other players. Their response is to come to the board with in-depth computer analysis of precisely those positions he likes to play.
What once was murky no longer is obscure.
Korchnoi now often struggles in openings in which he once thrived.
In an international tournament in Amsterdam, earlier this year, Korchnoi engaged tournament winner and emerging Chinese star Wang Yue.
He surprised the youth with an opening variation he had introduced 25 years earlier. Korchnoi outfought Wang Yue throughout only to let his winning position slip into a draw with an error on the 51st move.
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– GM Susan Polgar