Lajos Portisch Biography

Lajos Portisch, born on April 4, 1937, in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, is a Hungarian chess Grandmaster known for his positional style of play, which earned him the nickname “Hungarian Botvinnik”.

He won the Hungarian Chess Championship eight times, either sharing the title or winning it outright. 

Portisch was one of the strongest non-Soviet players from the early 1960s into the late 1980s, participating in twelve consecutive Interzonals from 1962 through 1993, qualifying for the World Chess Championship Candidates Cycle a total of eight times. 

Achievements and Contributions

Portisch has won many strong international tournaments during his career. He is also known for setting several all-time records in Chess Olympiads.

He represented Hungary in 20 Chess Olympiads, winning six team medals, including gold in 1978, and five individual medals.

Portisch played a record 260 Olympiad games with a lifetime winning percentage of 68 percent. In 2004, he was awarded the title of ‘Nemzet Sportolója’

Notable Matches and Rankings

Throughout his career, Portisch played against renowned players and achieved significant rankings.

For instance, he reached number two in the world at his peak in January 1981, tied with GM Viktor Korchnoi, behind only world champion GM Anatoly Karpov.

He was an eight-time Candidate for the World Championship from 1965-89 and twice reached the semi-finals of the World Championship.


Lajos Portisch’s contributions to chess have solidified his place as one of the greatest Hungarian chess players in history. 

His exceptional career, numerous tournament victories, and records in Chess Olympiads have left a lasting legacy in the world of chess.

See also  Jan-Krzysztof Duda Biography

Playing Style

Lajos Portisch is renowned for his positional style of play, which earned him the nickname “Hungarian Botvinnik”. 

In an interview, when asked about his playing style, he characterized it as “positional” and mentioned that he was always very positional in his approach to chess. 

This style is reflected in his games and has contributed to his success as a chess player.

Portisch’s positional approach to chess is evident in his games and has been a key factor in his numerous tournament victories and records in Chess Olympiads. 

His dedication to positional play has solidified his reputation as one of the greatest Hungarian chess players in history.