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Nikolai Krogius

Krogius in 1995, Bad Liebenzell
Full name Nikolai Vladimirovich Krogius
Country Russia
Born July 22, 1930
Saratov, Russia (then USSR)
Title Grandmaster
Peak rating 2575 (January 1971)

Nikolai Vladimirovich Krogius (first name sometimes written Nikolay) (born July 22, 1930 in Saratov) is a Russian Chess Grandmaster, International Arbiter (1985), psychologist, chess coach, chess administrator, and author. He won several tournament titles at Sochi and in eastern European events, and appeared in seven Soviet finals from 1958-71. His peak was in 1967 when he ranked 18th in the world for a time. He earned his doctorate in psychology, and specialized in sports psychology. He coached World Champion Boris Spassky for several years, also served as chairman of the USSR Chess Federation, and co-authored five chess books. He was the co-winner of the 1993 World Senior Chess Championship.

Early years

Nikolai V. Krogius scored 4.5/15 for a tied 13th-14th place at Leningrad 1946 in the Soviet Junior Championship; the winner was Tigran Petrosian. Krogius made his first creditable result in Master company at Leningrad 1949, tallying 8/17 for a tied 12th-15th in a very good field; this was a Soviet Championship semi-final, and he did not advance to the final. He also missed advancing from the Soviet semi-final at Leningrad 1951, although complete results from this are unavailable. He competed in three Russian Championships: at Yaroslavl 1951, in his home town of Saratov in 1953, and at Rostov-on-Don in 1954, but complete results of these events are also unavailable.

Krogius was selected for the Soviet team for Oslo 1954, the World Student Olympiad, where he scored 7.5/9 (+7 =1 -1) on board three, and won team silver. At Leningrad 1955-56, a Soviet semi-final, Krogius scored 9/18 for a tied 11th-14th place in an excellent field. He was gradually working his way up through the deep Soviet chess hierarchy. In the Soviet semi-final at Tbilisi 1956, he scored 11/19 for seventh place, and missed advancing to the final by half a point.

First Soviet final

Krogius qualified for his first Soviet final by scoring 11.5/19, for a tied 5th-7th place, in the semi-final at Leningrad 1957. The final was at Riga 1958, URS-ch25, and he debuted strongly with 9.5/18 and a tied 9th-11th place; the winner was Mikhail Tal. Although he did not as yet earn an international title for this, it showed that he was of at least International Master standard by this time, because of the immense strength of the Soviet finals. He made his first appearances for the USSR in team matches against Bulgaria (Sofia 1957) and Yugoslavia (Zagreb 1958), scoring 50 percent in both. At Tbilisi for URS-ch26, he scored just 6.5/19 for 18th place; the winner was Petrosian. He improved at Leningrad for URS-ch27, scoring 10/19 for a tied 9th-10th place, as Viktor Korchnoi won.

Krogius earned his first international opportunity for Varna 1960, where he tied for 1st-2nd with Nikola Padevsky on 8/12. At Yerevan for URS-ch30, he scored 8.5/19 for 11th place, as Korchnoi won again. He scored 6.5/11 for a tied 3rd-4th place at Sochi 1963, as Lev Polugaevsky won. Krogius earned his International Master title in 1963.


Krogius scored his most impressive triumph with clear first at the Chigorin Memorial in Sochi 1964 on 11/15. This earned him the Grandmaster title later that year. At Kiev 1964-65 for URS-ch32, he scored 10.5/19 for a tied 8th-9th place; Korchnoi won again. Krogius was fifth at Sochi 1965 with 8.5/15; the winners were Boris Spassky and Wolfgang Unzicker. He was selected for the USSR team for Hamburg 1965, the European Team Championships, where he played on board nine, scored 4.5/8 (+2 =5 -1), won the gold medal on his board, and was part of the gold-medal winning team. He was 4th at Budapest 1965 with 10/15, as Lev Polugaevsky, Laszlo Szabo, and Mark Taimanov shared first place.

In URS-ch34 at Tbilisi 1966, Krogius scored 11/20 for 8th place, as Leonid Stein won. A sure sign of favour in high circles was his first trip to Western Europe for an individual tournament, Le Havre 1966, which celebrated the 900th anniversary of the voyage which led to the Norman Conquest of England. Since the Soviet Chess Federation controlled all foreign invitations, opportunities outside the Soviet bloc were highly sought, and many players with better results, such as Ratmir Kholmov, never received one during their prime years. Krogius performed well with a shared 2nd-3rd place on 7/11; the winner was Bent Larsen.

Krogius scored 10/15 at Sochi 1966 for a shared 3rd-4th place, as Korchnoi won. He made one of his top career results with a shared 1st-5th place at Sochi 1967 on 10/15; the other co-winners were Boris Spassky, Alexander Zaitsev, Leonid Shamkovich, and Vladimir Simagin. At Sarajevo 1967, Krogius scored 9.5/15 for a shared 3rd-4th place; the winners were Anatoly Lein and Dragoljub Ciric.

Krogius scored his career peak rating around this time. ranks him at 2686 in September 1967, good for #18 in the world, and he ranked 17th in the world from January to March 1968. Sochi 1964 was a 2703 performance, as was Sochi 1966. Krogius shared 2nd-3rd places at Polanica Zdroj 1969 with 9.5/15; Laszlo Barczay won. Krogius won at Varna 1969.

Coaches the World Champion

Krogius earned his doctorate in psychology, and specialized in sports psychology. He served as part of Boris Spassky's team for his second world title match against Tigran Petrosian at Moscow 1969, where Spassky won a tight struggle. Krogius was again selected to assist Spassky against Bobby Fischer at Reykjavík 1972, in the Match of the Century, won by Fischer.

Krogius himself was still keeping up an active and successful tournament schedule during these years. He tied 2nd-5th places at Hastings 1969-70 with 5/9, behind winner Lajos Portisch. He placed 2nd in the Russian Championship at Kuibyshev 1970, behind winner Anatoly Karpov. At Leningrad for URS-ch39, his last Soviet final, he scored 10.5/21 for a tied 10th-11th place, as Vladimir Savon won. Krogius placed tied 3rd-4th at Sochi 1973 with 9/15 as Mikhail Tal won. Overall, he tallied 67/135 in his seven Soviet finals, from 1958 to 1971, for just under 50 percent, and had six solid appearances out of seven, with only 1959 being much below standard.

Later years

Krogius scaled back his tournament play by the mid-1970s, playing only in occasional lower-level events. He began important contributions as a chess author, eventually writing or co-writing five chess books. He moved into chess administration as well. He was the captain of the USSR team for the USSR vs. Rest of the World match at London 1984. He served as President of the USSR Chess Federation, and was the head of delegation for Anatoly Karpov's team for the 1990 title match against Garry Kasparov at New York and Lyon, where Kasparov won narrowly.

Krogius returned to high-class tournament play at the Senior level in the 1990s. In the 1991 World Senior Championship at Bad Woerishofen, he scored 8/11 to tie for 3rd-6th places. He tied for the title at the World Senior Championship at Bad Wildbad 1993, with 8.5/11, along with Lein, Taimanov, Bukhuti Gurgenidze, and Boris Arkhangelsky. Krogius stayed fairly active in tournament play until 1998, mostly at the Senior level.

There is a file of 741 of his games at; has 692 of his games, while has 248 of his games. Many of these games would be duplicated between sites.


Krogius was somewhat of a late bloomer by Soviet standards, although this was not that uncommon for players who lived through the Second World War during their formative chess years; other examples are Efim Geller and Semyon Furman, both of whom eventually became formidable players by their late 20s. Krogius had several failed attempts at reaching the Soviet final, and did not make his first one until age 27. His graduate studies were the priority until he finished his doctorate. However, when he did get opportunities at high level, he usually made the most of them, and scored several notable tournament victories in high-standard events during his peak years in the 1960s. He was a middle-range player at the perilous Soviet finals level. Krogius is a very interesting and unusual figure in chess history, since he chose the career of a professional sports psychologist, concentrating on chess, and may have been the first to follow this precise path. In his role as coach, he was undoubtedly an important part of Boris Spassky's team for the world title matches of 1969 and 1972, and maintained a successful tournament program himself during this period. His own playing style was often highly tactical in nature, and he defeated many acknowledged masters of tactical play. By his mid-40s, Krogius appeared less frequently in major events, and moved on to writing and chess administration, also with notable success. He returned to the board after age 60, with some impressive results in Senior events.

Notable chess games