Robert Hübner

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Robert Hübner
Born (1948-11-06) November 6, 1948 (age 75)
Porz, Allied-occupied Germany[1]
TitleGrandmaster (1971)
FIDE rating2574 (February 2024)
Peak rating2640 (July 1981)
Peak rankingNo. 3 (July 1981)

Robert Hübner (born November 6, 1948) is a German chess grandmaster, chess writer, and papyrologist.[citation needed] He was one of the world's leading players in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Chess career[edit]

At eighteen, he was joint winner of the West German Chess Championship.

In 1965 he won, together with Hans Ree, the Niemeyer tournament for European players under 20.

His International Master (IM) title was awarded in 1969 and his Grandmaster (GM) title in 1971.[1] He reached third place in the FIDE world ranking list in 1980.

Between 1971 and 1991 (loss to Jan Timman), Hübner played in four Candidates Tournaments for the World Championship. Three ended in controversial circumstances:

  • In 1971, he forfeited a closely contested quarter final to Tigran Petrosian, after blundering a piece in the 7th game in a drawn position.[2]
  • In 1980–81, his best result, after winning the quarter and semi final (against the Hungarian players Adorjan and Portisch), he reached the final before losing to Viktor Korchnoi. Hübner forfeited the match after 10 games when he was down 1 point.[3]
  • In 1983, he lost a quarter final to Vassily Smyslov in unique circumstances: with the match tied after the original 10 games plus 4 further games, the tie was resolved (in Smyslov's favour) by a spin of a roulette wheel.[4]

At his strongest in the mid-seventies to mid-eighties, Hübner participated in many of the elite tournaments of the day, and was invited at Montreal 1979 (The Tournament of Stars), playing alongside Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Tal, and Jan Timman. His most notable tournament victories were at Houston 1974, Munich 1979 (shared with Ulf Andersson and Boris Spassky), Rio de Janeiro Interzonal 1979 (shared with Lajos Portisch and Tigran Petrosian),[5] Chicago 1982, Biel 1984 (equal with Vlastimil Hort), Linares 1985 (shared with Ljubomir Ljubojević), and Tilburg 1985 (shared with Anthony Miles and Viktor Korchnoi).

He served as a second to Nigel Short in the 1993 world championship match against Garry Kasparov.

In 2000 he won, with the German team, a silver medal in the 34th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul.

He remained active on the international circuit into the 2000s but has never been a full-time chess professional due to his academic career.

Playing style[edit]

Hübner at Porz in 1966

Over the chessboard, Hübner's technique has been described as efficient and ruthless. According to Bill Hartston—"His perfectionist and rather pessimistic approach, however, prevented him from reaching the very top."[6]

Other contributions[edit]

Hübner's contributions to chess literature include the study of world champions and extensive analysis of 19th-century chess brilliancies. His recent[when?] contributions are detailed analysis and study of the chess games of world champions – notably Bobby Fischer and Alexander Alekhine.[citation needed]

He is the eponym of the Hübner Variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defence: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Bxc3+.[7]

When anti-doping tests were introduced into international chess, Hübner declared his withdrawal from the German national team. He views these tests as bureaucratic power displays that degrade the individual. In his opinion, doping in chess cannot improve the true abilities of a player, only their application. "I am always happy if my opponent's abilities can fully unfold, because then I learn more."[8]

Additionally, Hübner is known as one of the world's best xiangqi players not from China.[9]

Notable games[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gaige, Jeremy (1987). Chess Personalia, A Biobibliography. McFarland. p. 181. ISBN 0-7864-2353-6.
  2. ^ "Petrosian - Huebner Candidates Quarterfinal (1971)".
  3. ^ "Korchnoi - Huebner Candidates Final 1980/81".
  4. ^ CHESS; SHOULD CHANCE DECIDE THE OUTCOME OF A MATCH?, Robert Byrne, New York Times, May 9, 1983
  5. ^ Hooper, David and Whyld, Kenneth (1984). The Oxford Companion To Chess. Oxford University. pp. 147, 148. ISBN 0-19-217540-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Hartston, William (1996). The Guinness Book of Chess Grandmasters. Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 200. ISBN 0-85112-554-9.
  7. ^ Hansen, Carsten (2002). The Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3. Gambit Publications Ltd. ISBN 1-901983-58-7.
  8. ^ Hübner, Robert (2008-12-10). "Von der Willkür der Dopingkontrollen". ChessBase Schach Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  9. ^ Chinese Chess for Beginners by Sam Sloan (1989) ISBN 0-923891-11-0


External links[edit]