GM Jóhann Hjartarson is a legend of Icelandic Chess and has a firm place in the chess history books. He is best known for defeating GM Viktor Korchnoi in a match during the 1988 Candidates Cycle (before succumbing to Anatoly Karpov), but he is also the 6 time champion of Iceland, and the 2 time Nordic Champion. Jóhann took some time out from his duties at the World Championship in London, and we discussed the following:
His impressions of the World Championship, and what his responsibilities were as a member of the Appeals Committee for the match.
Perspective and stories from the height of his chess career, when he was among the top players in the world and crossed swords with all time greats like Kasparov, Karpov and Korchnoi.
What led him to decide, at a time when he was near the peak of his chess powers, to transition from playing chess full time to working as a lawyer? Does he regret this decision?
Has he kept up with the changes in study habits among world elites? What are his favorite chess books?
This interview was quite a treat for me as a fan of chess history, and I think that you will enjoy it too. Thanks so much to Johann for sharing his experiences! This episode is brought to you in part by Chessable.comGM Hjartarson's favorite game of his own, Game 1 of his match vs. Korchnoi is here. His favorite game by any player, Spassky vs. Fischer, Game 13, is here. If you would like to donate to support the podcast, go here.