Lajos Portisch learned chess at the age of 12 years and has continuously improved. In 1955 he took part in the World Youth Championship in Antwerp and took there the 4th Place. In 1958 he received the title of International Master.
Between 1958 and 1981 he won the Hungarian championship nine times. Since 1961 he is the Grand Master. From 1956 to 2000 he played for Hungary in the Chess Olympiad and put it on several records: Most appearances (20 ), games played (260) and points scored ( 176.5 ). Greatest success with the national team was winning the 1978 Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires before the favored Soviet team. 1970 in Siegen, 1972 in Skopje and at the Chess Olympiad 1980 in Valletta won Hungary with him the silver medal.
Between 1965 and 1989, Portisch qualified seven times for the candidates tournament and arrived there in 1977 and 1980 to the semi-finals. In January 1980, he reached his best Elo rating 2655th He is regarded as an outstanding position player and also as one of the most prolific Grand Master. In his own words after he worked for many years to eight hours a day with chess. Together with Balázs Sárközy he published a book entitled 600 finals (ISBN 3-87144-810-9 ) 1986.
Portisch has received the highest sports award in Hungary in 2004, he has become athletes in the nation.
His current Elo rating is 2523 (as of April 2008).
His younger brother, Ferenc ( born April 9, 1939) is also a chess player and carries the title of International Master.