Hungary. Budapest, 3rd-4th April. A double round all-play-all rapidplay in honour of Lajos Portisch. 1st L Portisch (HUN) 4/6; 2nd = L Ljubojevic (SRB) & V Hort (GER) both 3.5; 4th I Csom (HUN) 1. Portisch (b. 1937) became an IM in 1958 and a GM three years later. He has played for his native Hungary in countless Olympiads, starting at Moscow, 1956, where he was undefeated. Szabo and Barcza played above him in ’58 and he had to wait another four years before he finally sat at top board. ‘Pre-Polgar’ he has become omni-present in countless events, a proud moment coming, surely, when Hungary won the Olympiad in 1980, ending a run of Soviet wins stretching as far back as 1952.
The book Selected Games of Lajos Portisch (Batsford 1979) no longer does the great warrior, with the gothic style, justice. 89 games are presented, played 1956-1976. Does a more detailed biography exist? We don’t know of one. Lajos drew fifty times with Spassky, emerged with plus scores with Keres, Bronstein, Kotov and, we think, Korchnoi. Fischer, though he had nine tries, eluded him. He was a candidate when Soviets roamed the chessboards. A quiet man, seemingly smug, always professional. No doubt his pride was – and is - justified. Of that, we have no doubt!
“Sometimes he tries too hard.”- Wade on Portisch. Botvinnik compared him to Flohr. Tributes enough ..
This should not read like an obituary as BCM salutes Lajos Portisch.