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Boris Kostić

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Boris Kostić
CountryAustria-Hungary (until 1918)
Austria (1918–1927)
Yugoslavia (1927–1963)
Born24 February 1887[1]
Vršac, Austria-Hungary[1]
Died3 November 1963 (aged 76)[1]
Belgrade, PR Serbia, Yugoslavia[1]
TitleGrandmaster (1950)
Boris Kostić (Hoogovens, 1952)

Borislav Kostić (24 February 1887 – 3 November 1963) was a Serbian chess grandmaster and a popularizer of the game.

Life and chess


Borislav Kostic was born in Vršac, Kingdom of Hungary, at the time part of Austria-Hungary. His father Dimitrije was a merchant and his mother was Emilija (née: Mandukić). He learned chess around the age of ten and made rapid progress while studying Oriental Trade in Budapest. He also spent time in Vienna, the chess capital of the day, and this enabled him to get the high level practice necessary to take his game to the next level.

In 1910 he moved to Cologne and from there, travelled and toured extensively, mainly in the Americas, playing matches against local champions and simultaneous blindfold chess. At New York in 1916, he once played twenty opponents without sight of a board and won nineteen games and drew one, while engaging in polite conversation with opponents and spectators.

Kostic played more formal matches against Frank Marshall, Jackson Showalter, and Paul Leonhardt, and won them all. At Havana in 1919 however, his winning streak ended with a 5–0 loss to Capablanca. Capablanca wrote that his own career peaked with this match. Kostic also played tournaments while in the United States, including New York 1916, Chicago 1918 and New York 1918, where he finished second behind Capablanca.

A monument to Bora Kostic in Vršac

On the European circuit, he won at Stockholm 1913, finished second at Hastings 1919 and won at Hastings 1921/1922. At Trencianske Teplice 1928, he won ahead of Steiner, Sämisch and Spielmann. At Bled 1931, he finished in tenth place, but nevertheless outscored fellow chessmasters Maróczy, Colle and Pirc. At Bucharest 1932, he won the title of Romanian champion. At Belgrade 1935, he shared the title of Yugoslav champion with Pirc, and went on to become sole champion in 1938. He won at Ljubljana the same year.

A strong player in his own right, Kostic is mostly famous not for his tournament results but for his chess world tours. From 1923 to 1926, Kostic travelled to Australasia, the Far East, Africa, India, and Siberia - places that were barely represented on the chess map of the time. In one match held in Africa at the equator, Kostic was in the northern hemisphere, and his opponent on the southern.

In the late 1920s, he made another trip to the Americas. He represented Yugoslavia in four Chess Olympiads (London 1927, Prague 1931, Warsaw 1935, and Stockholm 1937), and in the 3rd unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936.[1]

During World War II, Kostić was imprisoned in a concentration camp by a Nazi SS commander (Schiller) because he declined to participate in tournaments called "Free Europa" and to glorify the Nazi regime. Afterwards, he played chess only in a more minor capacity. His final appearance was at the Zürich veterans tournament of 1962, which he won. Kostic was awarded the Grandmaster title by FIDE in 1950, on its inaugural list. He was fluent in Russian, English, Hungarian, German, Spanish and Hebrew. He died in Belgrade in 1963, aged 76.[1]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f O životu Bore Kostića, prvog srpskog velemajstora. kosticmemorial.vrsac.com (11 April 2016)

Further reading

  • Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992), The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280049-3
  • Biographic Article at Chess.vrsac.com