Chess grandmaster and four-times Soviet chess champion who fled to the West, Viktor Korchnoi, has died aged 85, the Russian chess federation said on Monday.
Korchnoi died in Switzerland where he had lived for many years after defecting to West in 1976 from the Soviet Union. He had suffered from heart problems and had a stroke in 2012.
He won four Soviet Union championships in 1960, 1962, 1966 and 1970. In 1974, he lost against Anatoly Karpov, then emerging as a great player.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the international chess federation (FIDE) told TASS news agency: “This is a great loss for the whole chess world. Korchnoi led a vivid life and did a lot to popularise chess.”