Wolfgang Unzicker was the son of the academic professor Eugen Unzicker (1884-1976), who organized chess tournaments in the 1920s and teacher at Theresienstadt Gymnasium in Munich, was the also visited the son through high school in 1944. From his father Unzicker learned the game of chess in the summer of 1935. He made rapid progress, and in 1939 was invited to run by Willi Schlage talent scouting Fürstenwalde / Spree, where he met, among others, Klaus boy. Unzicker went through Reichsarbeitsdienst and basic training of the Armed Forces in 1944 but retired due to a heart failure. In 1948, he began studying law at the Ludwig- Maximilians- University of Munich.
By profession a lawyer, Wolfgang Unzicker has never operated as a professional chess. He worked as a civil servant in the government of Upper Bavaria, from 1971 as a judge and later Chief Judge of the Administrative Court of Munich. For participation in chess tournaments he took each holiday.
In the 1950s and 1960s, he was the strongest player in Germany. In international tournaments he won multiple first-place finishes, about 1948 in Lucerne, 1949 in Heidelberg, 1950 in Travemünde, 1950/51 in Hastings, 1951/52 in Lucerne, 1954 at the zone tournament Munich, 1965 in Soci, 1967 in Maribor, 1967 in Krems. In 1966 he was at the Piatigorsky Cup, one of the historic super tournaments in Santa Monica Fourth and placed thus before the former World Champion Petrosian, Reshevsky, Najdorf, Ivkov and thunder. Even in later years, he could preserve its playing strength long at a high level and reached Tournament Win in Amsterdam 1980 ( IBM -II), Almada, 1988, Daugavpils, 1990 ( shared with Shirov ) and Amsterdam in 1994. His best Elo individual performance, he scored at the tournament in South Africa 1979, where he finished second behind the former world Championship runner- Korchnoi.
In 1950 he became an International Master. The title of grandmaster won in 1954.
Between 1948 and 1965 he won seven times the German championship, namely in 1948 in Essen ( West German champion ), 1950 in Bad Pyrmont (Germany - Master ), 1953 in Berlin (Germany Master ), 1953 in Leipzig (total German champion), 1959 Nuremberg, 1963 in Bad Pyrmont and 1965 in Bad Aibling ( together with Helmut Pfleger). Seven times he 1836 German team champion with the Munich SC. He participated in 13 Chess Olympiads and is, he represented the West German national team in the years 1950-1982 at the two top boards, with 386 inserts ( of which 206 in Chess Olympiads ) most-capped player. In 1958 he was International Judge for Chess Composition for studies.
In 1956, he lost in Hamburg a friendship match against Paul Keres 6-2 ( 4 -0 = 4). This match is remarkable, because in all eight games the Spanish opening was played.
Since the early 1980s Unzicker played in the Bundesliga:
His last club was the SC Tarrasch Munich, with whom he played in the Oberliga Bayern.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday a doppelrundiges rapid chess tournament was held in his honor as part of the Mainz Chess Classics 2005, in which he again met the end of his career on Karpov, Korchnoi and Spassky.
Unzicker was in 1963 married to the watercolor painter Freia (* 1938) and left three sons: Alexander Gerhard (* 1965) is a teacher, Ferdinand ( born August 14, 1971) is a lawyer and chess player (2nd Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, highest Elo 2332 July 2009-April 2010 ), and Stefan.
Unzicker best historical Elo rating was 2686th This he reached in July 1960. Its highest position on the world rankings but he reached in January 1951, in 14th place.
Unzicker died during a vacation in Portugal from heart failure.
About his early chess career, he wrote in 1962 a book Forty own games. Along with Jacob Silbermann 1975 he wrote a history of chess. In 1975 he published the textbook Knaurs new chess book - for beginners and advanced, 1985 Chess for connoisseurs.
In 1994 he created on behalf of the German Chess Federation a legal opinion, in which he denies any copyright of players at the of them played games. This was necessary because players like grandmaster Robert Hübner were reluctant to rule that section notations are the property of the organizers of the event.
Unzicker 1954 received the Silver Laurel Leaf. In 1984 he was honored by the city of Munich with the city Medal. In 1995 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit.