Igor Zaitsev

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Igor Zaitsev
Full nameIgor Arkadyevich Zaitsev
CountrySoviet Union
Born (1938-05-27) 27 May 1938 (age 80)
Ramenskoye, Moscow Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Peak rating2520 (July 1971)

Igor Arkadyevich Zaitsev (Russian: Игорь Аркадьевич Зайцев; born 27 May 1938) is a Russian grandmaster of chess.

Early life and family[edit]

Zaitsev was born in Ramenskoye, a town outside Moscow. His Armenian father, Arkady Gevorgovich Aghaian, was a deputy commander of a warship; his mother, Anna Fyodorovna Zaitseva, was a worker at the Red Banner Textile Factory.[1]

Chess career[edit]

In 1969, Zaitsev attained the title of Moscow Champion by defeating Yakov Estrin using the Giuoco Piano opening. The next year, Zaitsev was given the title of International Master and in 1976 he became a Grandmaster.

Zaitsev played in six USSR Chess Championships (1962, 1967, 1968–69, 1969, 1970, 1991), his best finishes being 15th–16th in Riga 1970.

His results in international tournaments include 2nd at Polanica-Zdrój 1970; 2nd at Dubna 1976; 1st at Quito 1976.

Contribution to theory[edit]

a8 black rook
d8 black queen
f8 black rook
g8 black king
b7 black bishop
c7 black pawn
e7 black bishop
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a6 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
b5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
b3 white bishop
c3 white pawn
f3 white knight
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white rook
g1 white king
Ruy Lopez, Flohr–Zaitsev Variation: 9...Bb7

Zaitsev is best known for his contribution to opening theory. His variation of the Ruy Lopez opening (known as the Flohr–Zaitsev Variation, jointly named for Grandmaster Salo Flohr) follows one of the main lines of the Ruy Lopez and remains in wide use today. In the Flohr–Zaitsev Variation, Black plays 9...Bb7 after the moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3.[2] The move fianchettoes the light-squared bishop, putting pressure on White's pawn on e4.


Zaitsev became one of the trainers of World Champion Anatoly Karpov in the late 1970s, following the death of Karpov's coach Semyon Furman in March, 1978. Zaitsev was one of Karpov's seconds in a number of his World Championship matches, including the matches against Garry Kasparov in 1984 to 1990.[3][4]

Karpov popularized Zaitsev's line at the top level, playing it with success for many years.[5]

Zaitsev is Honoured Coach of USSR and Russia. In 2006 he was awarded the title of FIDE Senior Trainer.[6]


  • Зайцев, Игорь (2004). Атака в сильном пункте. Советский спорт. ISBN 5-85009-897-6 (in Russian)

Notable games[edit]


  1. ^ "My father was Arkady Aghaian", Chess in Armenia, 52 (891), 2009, p. 4 (in Armenian)
  2. ^ Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992). "Zaitsev Variation". The Oxford Companion to Chess (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 456. ISBN 0-19-280049-3.
  3. ^ Mark Weeks. "World Championships 1984". Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  4. ^ Mark Weeks. "World Championships 1990". Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  5. ^ chessgames.com. "Karpov's Zaitsev games". Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  6. ^ "FIDE Senior Trainers". Retrieved 1 November 2009.

External links[edit]