Lothar Schmid

Lothar Maximilian Lorenz Schmid (10 May 1928 – 18 May 2013) was a German chess grandmaster. He was born in Radebeul near Dresden[1][2] into a family who were the co-owners of the Karl May Press, which published the German Karl May adventure novels.

Lothar Schmid
Lothar Schmid 1961 Oberhausen.jpg
Schmid at Oberhausen in 1961
Full nameLothar Maximilian Lorenz Schmid
Born(1928-05-10)10 May 1928
Radebeul, Dresden, Germany
Died18 May 2013(2013-05-18) (aged 85)
Bamberg, Germany
Peak rating2550 (January 1971)
ICCF peak rating2691 (July 1992)

He was best known as the chief arbiter at several World Chess Championship matches, in particular the 1972 encounter between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky at Reykjavík. He was also an avid collector of chess books and paraphernalia. It was reputed that he owned the largest known private chess library in the world,[3] as well as a renowned collection of chess art, chessboards and chess pieces from around the globe.

Playing careerEdit

German championshipsEdit

In 1941, at the age of 13, Schmid won the Dresden chess championship which marked the beginning of his chess career. In 1943, he took second place in Vienna (German Juniors Championship). In June 1947, he tied for first place with Gerhard Pfeiffer in Wiessenfels (SBZ-ch). In April 1948, he tied for second place in Celle when Carl Ahues won. In September 1948, he tied for fourth place at the full German Chess Championship (12th GER-ch) in Essen. The event was won by Wolfgang Unzicker. In May 1949, he took third place in Bad Pyrmont (13th GER-ch). The event was won by Efim Bogoljubow. In August 1949, he tied for first place in Grossröhrsdorf. In October 1955, he was second behind Klaus Darga in Hoechst (third FRG-ch), having won a qualifying event in Nuremberg the same year. In October 1959, he took second place, behind Unzicker, in Nuremberg (5th FRG-ch).

International tournaments and matchesEdit

Schmid in 2008

In 1950, he drew a match with Wade in Bamberg, 4–4. In 1951, he won in Travemünde. In 1951–52, he took third place in Hastings (Svetozar Gligorić won). In 1953, he tied for second place behind Esteban Canal in Venice. In 1954, he won in Zürich and at Bad Kissingen. In 1956, he won in Gothenburg. In 1957, he held the fourth place in Dublin; a zonal qualifier tournament won by Luděk Pachman. In 1961, he tied for fourth place in Zürich. In 1963, he tied for second place in Málaga. In 1964, he won the South African Open, held in "The Wilderness". In 1968 in his home town of Bamberg,[3] he tied for second place with Tigran Petrosian who was the world champion at the time, behind Paul Keres, an outcome described by the Oxford Companion to Chess as "Schmid's greatest playing achievement".[3] In 1970, he won the Mar del Plata. In 1971, he finished equal second with two others in Adelaide. In 1979, he tied for third place in Lugano. In 1980, he won the fifth edition of the BBC's The Master Game series, ahead of Viktor Korchnoi and Vlastimil Hort.


Lothar Schmid played for West Germany at eleven Chess Olympiads.[4]

Team competitionsEdit

He won four individual silver medals (1950, 1952, 1968, 1970) and two team bronze medals (1950, 1964).[4]

Representing his national team, he also competed for the Clare Benedict Cup on twelve occasions. He won nine gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the period 1957–73.

Correspondence chessEdit

In correspondence chess, he won the first German Championship (1950–1952), the first Eduard Dyckhoff Memorial (1954–1956), and came second with Lucius Endzelins, behind Viacheslav Ragozin, in the second World Correspondence Championship (1956–1959).

International titlesEdit

Schmid was awarded the International Master title in 1951, and the Grandmaster title in 1959.[1]


Schmid was awarded the International Arbiter title in 1975.[1] He was the chief arbiter for the Fischer–Spassky 1972, Karpov–Korchnoi 1978, Kasparov–Karpov 1986 World Championship matches, and for the Fischer–Spassky 1992 'Revenge Match'.

Schmid was featured in the 2014 Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice, which depicted the 1972 contest between Fischer and Spassky, played by the actor Brett Watson.


Among the many rare books he owned was one of only ten copies that have survived of the first-ever printed chess manual Repetición d'Amores y Arte de Ajedrez, published in Salamanca in 1497.[5]

Notable gamesEdit


  1. ^ a b c Gaige, Jeremy (1987), Chess Personalia, A Biobibliography, McFarland, p. 377, ISBN 0-7864-2353-6
  2. ^ "Lothar Schmid: 1928–2013". ChessBase. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1996) [First pub. 1992], "Schmid, Lothar Maximilian Lorenz", The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 358, ISBN 0-19-280049-3
  4. ^ a b Schmid, Lothar team chess record at olimpbase.org
  5. ^ The Telegraph, London, 20 May 2013

External linksEdit