23rd Chess Olympiad

The 23rd Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open[1] and a women's tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 25 and November 12, 1978, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Official logo of the Olympiad

After the boycott two years earlier, the Eastern Bloc countries were back, including the Soviet team who, as usual, were huge favourites—but in the end they had to settle for the silver medal. Hungary, led by Lajos Portisch, caused quite an upset by taking the gold medals by a full point. The United States took the bronze.

Open eventEdit

Sixty-five nations played a 14-round Swiss system tournament. To make for an even number of teams, the Argentine hosts also fielded a "B" team. In the event of a draw, the tie-break was decided first by using the Buchholz system, then by match points.

Open event
# Country Players Average
1   Hungary Portisch, Ribli, Sax, Adorján, Csom, Vadász 2570 37
2   Soviet Union Spassky, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Gulko, Romanishin, Vaganian 2620 36
3   United States Kavalek, Browne, Lein, Byrne, Tarjan, Lombardy 2553 35

Individual medalsEdit

Women's resultsEdit

Thirty-two nations took part in the women's Olympiad. From four preliminary groups the teams were split into four finals. In the event of a draw, the tie-break was decided first by match points, then by using the Sonneborn-Berger system.

The Soviet team was back, and led by newly crowned world champion Chiburdanidze they secured the gold medals in a superior display, as well as all four individual board prizes. On the reserve board, Akhmilovskaya won all of her ten games, the only perfect score in Olympiad history. Hungary and West Germany took silver and bronze, respectively.


  • Group 1: 1. USSR, 2. England, 3. Netherlands, 4. France, 5. Mexico, 6. Finland, 7. Venezuela, 8. New Zealand.
  • Group 2: 1. Hungary, 2. West Germany, 3. USA, 4. Argentina, 5. Denmark, 6. Scotland, 7. Iceland, 8. Monaco.
  • Group 3: 1. Yugoslavia, 2. Poland, 3. India, 4. Sweden, 5. Canada, 6. Brazil, 7. Wales, 8. Bolivia.
  • Group 4: 1. Spain, 2. Bulgaria, 3. Romania, 4. Australia, 5. Colombia, 6. Japan, 7. Puerto Rico, 8. Uruguay.


Final A
# Country Players Average
Points MP S-B
1   Soviet Union Chiburdanidze, Gaprindashvili, Alexandria, Akhmilovskaya 2370 16
2   Hungary Verőci-Petronić, Ivánka, Makai, Kas 2260 11 8 43.00
3   West Germany Laakmann, Fischdick, Hund, Weichert 2143 11 8 37.50

Individual medalsEdit


  1. ^ Although commonly referred to as the men's division, this section is open to both male and female players.