One year later, he qualified for the finals of the USSR Chess Championship for the first time. In the semi-final at Minsk, 1952, he scored 10.5/17 for a shared 2nd–4th place, to advance. In his debut, in URS-ch20 at Moscow, he scored 11/19 for sixth place, as Mikhail Botvinnik and Mark Taimanov came joint first. The next year, he again had to qualify from a semi-final, and succeeded in an event held at Vilnius 1953, with 9/14 for a shared 3rd–4th place. Korchnoi improved on the previous year's showing with his shared 2nd–3rd place in URS-ch21 at Kiev 1954, on 13/19, as Yuri Averbakh won. This high championship placing was rewarded with his first international opportunity, and he did not disappoint, taking clear first at Bucharest 1954 with 13/17. The FIDE awarded him the title of International Master in 1954. He won the 1955 Leningrad Championship with a massive score of 17/19, and shared 1st-2nd places at Hastings 1955–56 on 7/9. He was awarded the Grandmaster title at the FIDE Congress in 1956.
Read more about this topic: Viktor Korchnoi
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