Polu - Nez 

Lev Polugaeyevsky (2730) - Rashid Nezhmetdinov (2500) 
 Russian Federation Championships, (R.S.F.S.R.) 
 Sochi, U.S.S.R. (Russia); 1958. 


This is a game many regard as one of the greatest ever played. 
(Apparently Soltis ranks it as maybe the best OTB game of the whole of the twentieth century.) 

   It definitely contains one of the most interesting combinations ever played.   
    (Lots of fun and fascinating to analyze, if not entirely 100% sound.)

Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols that I use. 

Click  HERE  to see my Geo-Cities page ... where this game is DEEPLY annotated. 
 (Text-score only.) 

1.d4 Nf62.c4 d63.Nc3 e5;   {See the diagram just below.}   
Black trots out an "Old Indian." For a long time this was considered a bad opening, 
but today it used occasionally by many GM's. 

(It was very popular during the late 70's and also the 80's.) 

   The actual game position after 3 moves. Black has played an "Old Indian." (pol-nez_rp1g0_pos1.gif, 88 KB)

White clamps down on d5, but at the cost of tempi. 

     [  A more solid alternative is probably the line: >/=   4.Nf3 Nbd75.e4 g66.Be2 Bg7
0-08.Be3 c69.d5 c510.Ne1 Ne811.Nd3, "+/=" {Diagram?} 
        A. Khalifman - V. Kozlov;  Soviet Armed Forces Championships. 
        Sverdlovsk, RUS; 1987.  (1/2-1/2, 64)  ]   


Black gives up the center, but gains time by attacking White's Queen.   

5.Qxd4 Nc66.Qd2!? g6; ('!')  
White has started an aggressive line that plans on developing his QB on the long diagonal. 
Black counters by fianchettoing his own Bishop.  

7.b3 Bg78.Bb2 0-0; "="    {See the diagram just below.}   
Black has already nearly fully equalized. This is rare this early in the opening. 

   The actual game position after Black has castled. Black already has a very good game.  (pol-nez_rp1g0_pos2.gif, 86 KB)


9.Bd3!? Ng4!?;  
Black probes White on the left-hand side of the board. 
(Left-hand, from the second player's side of the board!) 

     [ 9...Re8!? ]  

White continues his grand plan of development.  
(If left alone, White can castle, and then play N-f4-d5, with a sizeable advantage.)

Maybe 0-0-0 was better? 


     [  A better line might be: 10.0-0-0!? f511.Rf1 Nce512.Bc2 a6;  
        13.f4, "+/=
{Diag?}  White had a small advantage and went on to win. 

         D. Shapiro - J. Luchan;  Nassau CC Championships. Nassau, Bahamas; 1995. 
          (Source CB on-line database.)  ]   


Black continues to press. 

     [ 10...Nce5!? ]  

11.Ng3 Nge512.0-0,  
White sort of castles into an attack here, maybe Be2 was a saner alternative. 

     [ 12.Be2!?

12...f5!?; (Maybe - '!')  
Black opens some lines on the King-side, obviously intending an attack. 

     [ 12...Ng4!? ]  

13.f3!,    {See the diagram just below.}    
Several annotators - including GM A. Soltis - have praised this move. 

("The beginning of a deep plan of defense," says one Nez biographer.) 

     [  A safe, but maybe bland, alternative was the line: 13.exf5 Nxd3
Bxf5; "=" {Diag?} with a fairly equal position.  ]  


  Black begins an assault, although it is relatively early in this game. (pol-nez_rp1g0_pos3.gif, 89 KB)


Black continues to play VERY strongly and aggressively ... obviously intending an attack. 
13...Bh6!?; ('!')  14.Qd1 f4!?;   
Black advances with a gain of time. (But blocks his own Bishop in.) 

     [ 14...Be3+!? ]  

15.Nge2 g5!;  
Now Black starts a "pawn roller" on the King-side. 

16.Nd5 g417.g3!,  
Soltis praises this move and gives it an exclam. 
(White wishes to prevent g3.) 

     [  The continuation of:  17.Nxc7!? g3!; 18.h3 Bxh3!; "--->"   
         will probably yield Black a winning attack. ]  


17...fxg318.hxg3 Qh319.f4!,  
Soltis praises this move and awards it an exclamation point. 

Apparently Polu realized that ...Nf3+ looked much worse than it actually was. 

     [  Obviously bad for White would have been the following line: 
Nf3+20.Rxf3[] {Diagram?} The only move for White. 
          (20.Kf2?? Qh2#   20...Rxf321.Bc2 Bxg4;  "-/+"  {Diag?} 
        and Black has a won game. ]  


19...Be6!;   (Maybe - '!!')    {See the diagram just below.}   
Soltis praises this move as well, and also awards an exclam. 


  Black plays the move, ...Be6!  He has in mind a truly unique idea. (pol-nez_rp1g0_pos4.gif, 86 KB)


     [ 19...Nf3+!? ]  


20.Bc2?!(Maybe - '?')   
According to many, this is a big mistake. 

(Soltis slaps a question mark on this move, and categorically states that 
 Bb1 was much better.) 


     [  Maybe better was: 20.Bxe5 Nxe521.Nxc7; "~" {Diagram?} 
        putting Black's ideas to a very stern test. 

        GM Andy Soltis gives: >/=  20.Bb1 Bxd521.cxd5 Ne7;  
Rxf4+!!;  "~ {Diagram?} and Black has a fierce attack. ]  


Many annotators - like GM A Soltis, GM John Nunn, and FM Graham Burgess; 
(and many others) - have all applauded this move. 


     [ I like: 20...Bxd5!?; "~" {Diagram?}  but the results of this move will not be clear    
       for many, many more moves to come. ]      


White comes up with a rather ingenious, but simple, defense. 
He will try to run away from Black's attacking forces. 

(Soltis & others give this move an exclam here.) 


     [ White wades into a ocean of deep hurt with:  21.Bxe5?! Nxe522.fxe5 Bxd5;  
        23.exd5? Be3+24.Rf2 Bxf2# ]   


21...Qh2+22.Ke3 Bxd5; ('!')  
This move is good because it eliminates a key defender. (GM A. Soltis.) 

      [ It is too late to back-track in this position in any case. 
23.Rh1, "+/"  {Diag?} & White is clearly better. ]  


23.cxd5 Nb424.Rh1!?,  
White decides to win Black's Queen.   


     [  Maybe a  MUCH  better line is the defense that begins with the   
>/=  24.a3!; "~"  {Diagram?}  with chances to defend.  ]     


24...Rxf4!!;     {See the diagram just below.}   
Easily one of the most imaginative and daring sacrifices ever played. 

Black will now be a whole Queen down, and his compensation will  NOT 
be immediately evident! 

   Black captures on f4 ... and lets his Queen hang.  What is the point of this move?  (pol-nez_rp1g0_pos5.jpg, 26 KB)



25.Rxh2 Rf3+26.Kd4 Bg7!!;  
This one move gets this game entry into the "Chess - Hall of Fame." 

This is the most amazing 'quiet' move ever played on a chessboard.  
 (Click  here  to see more about this move, and great moves in general.)  

Now Black threatens ...b5; and then an unstoppable threat ... 
of Knight-at-e5-to-c6 ... ... MATE!!! 

He also now has secondary threats of ...c5+;  with a mating attack as well.  
White is now toast. 

     [ 26...c5+!? ]  


Apparently Polu later wrote that this move is pretty much forced.  


     [  Soltis gives one amusing line of:  27.Ng1 Rxg3!28.Ne2 Rf329.Ng1 Ned3+!!
Nxb2+31.Kxb4 Bc3+32.Ka3 b5!; ("-/+") {Diagram?} 
        and Black is winning.  

        Another interesting line is:  27.Nc3 Rxg3!28.Rb1 c5+!29.dxc6 bxc6
c5+!31.Nxc5 Rc8!;  ("-/+") {Diagram?} 
        and Black has a winning attack.  

        GM Andy Soltis gives the line: >/=  27.Rf2! Rxf2?28.Ke3?! Rf3+29.Kd2 Bh6+
Rxg3; "-/+"  ... "with murderous threats."  - GM Andy Soltis. 
        But both 27...Ned3+!?; and also the move, 27...c5+!; appear to win instantly for Black. 
        And Bc3 on White's 28th move appears to be a sizeable improvement for the first player.
        (In this last line.)  ]  


Now Black must find a mate, something Nez reveled in.  
27...c5+28.dxc6 bxc629.Bd3,  
This was virtually forced. 

     [ 29.Nf4?? c5# ]  

White continues with his epic and dangerous little 'walk-about' with his King. 

     [ 30.e5?! Bxe5+31.Ke4 d5#  ]  

30...d5+31.exd5 cxd5+32.Kb5 Rb8+33.Ka5 Nc6+;  White Resigns. (Just in time.)   

If Ka6, then 34...Rb6#.  (...Nc5 also worked.) 

One of the grandest and most amazing  "King-Hunts"  of all time.  


Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I;   Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2003.


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This is not the original version of this game, I have modified it greatly for this web page. 
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  Page first posted on my web site in November, 2002.  
(Page last updated:  Monday;  February 24th, 2003. Last edit or save on: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:27 AM .)

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