Lev Polugaevsky vs Rashid Nezhmetdinov 1958 – Nezhmetdinov’s Immortal

In 1958 there was a brilliant attacking chess game between Lev Polugaevsky and Rashid Nezhmetdinov played in a tournament held in Sochi, Russia. Nezhmetdinov chose the Old Indian Defense, Ukrainian variation and quickly obtained a slight lead in time when comparing the kingside developments. Polugaevsky’s decision to try and quickly negate Nezhmetdinov’s kingside fianchettoed bishop with 6.Qd2 and a subsequent/timely b3,Bb2, quite possibly influenced the coordination of Polugaevsky’s kingside minor pieces. Namely the kingside knight opted for e2 instead of f3. Nezhmetdinov’s queen, as a result, found a strong and aggressive post on h4 which eventually forced many concessions in the white camp. This impacted Polugaevsky, who chose a king walk towards the center despite all but two pawns of Nezhmetdinov’s entire army remaining on board. This set the stage for a brilliant masterpiece of attacking chess where a precise depth of calculation and an intuiative feel for resulting positions reigned supreme. It is no wonder so many have it pegged, “Nezhmetdinov’s Immortal”.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 e5 4. e4 exd4 5. Qxd4 Nc6 6. Qd2 g6 7. b3 Bg7 8. Bb2 O-O 9. Bd3 Ng4 10. Nge2 Qh4 11. Ng3 Nge5 12. O-O f5 13. f3 Bh6 14. Qd1 f4 15. Nge2 g5 16. Nd5 g4 17. g3 fxg3 18. hxg3 Qh3 19. f4 Be6 20. Bc2 Rf7 21. Kf2 Qh2+ 22. Ke3 Bxd5 23. cxd5 Nb4 24. Rh1 Rxf4 25. Rxh2 Rf3+ 26. Kd4 Bg7 27. a4 c5+ 28. dxc6 bxc6 29. Bd3 Nexd3+ 30. Kc4 d5+ 31. exd5 cxd5+ 32. Kb5 Rb8+ 33. Ka5 Nc6+ 0-1

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