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Lev Polugaevsky
Courtesy of the Dutch National Archives, The Hague
Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989
Nummer toegang Bestanddeelnummer 926-4780
Number of games in database: 1,927
Years covered: 1953 to 1994
Highest rating achieved in database: 2640

Overall record: +690 -247 =939 (61.8%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 51 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (98) 
    A15 A14 A17 A13 A10
 King's Indian (93) 
    E88 E73 E75 E97 E92
 Queen's Indian (84) 
    E12 E15 E17 E19 E14
 English, 1 c4 c5 (63) 
    A30 A34 A35 A33 A36
 Reti System (51) 
    A04 A05 A06
 Nimzo Indian (49) 
    E46 E55 E57 E21 E54
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (377) 
    B96 B90 B84 B46 B23
 Queen's Indian (137) 
    E12 E15 E17 E14 E16
 Sicilian Najdorf (124) 
    B96 B90 B92 B93 B94
 Nimzo Indian (85) 
    E32 E54 E53 E57 E46
 English (64) 
    A15 A17 A13 A14 A16
 English, 1 c4 c5 (61) 
    A30 A33 A36 A34 A35
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1981 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Tal, 1969 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1984 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Petrosian, 1960 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Korchnoi, 1980 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs I Bilek, 1969 1-0
   Spassky vs Polugaevsky, 1961 0-1
   Polugaevsky vs Maslov, 1963 1-0
   Fischer vs Polugaevsky, 1970 1/2-1/2
   Polugaevsky vs P Ostojic, 1969 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1969)
   IBM Amsterdam (1972)
   USSR Championship (1967)
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)
   USSR Championship (1965)
   USSR Championship 1968/69 (1968)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   Manila Interzonal (1976)
   Petropolis Interzonal (1973)
   USSR Championship (1976)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   Palma de Mallorca (1972)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Grandmaster Performance by Benzol
   Grandmaster Polugaevsky by Resignation Trap
   Dry Polugaevsky by Gottschalk
   USSR Championship 1968/69 by suenteus po 147
   Havana 1962 by suenteus po 147

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(born Nov-20-1934, died Aug-30-1995, 60 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Lev Abramovich Polugayevsky was born in Mogilev*. In 1953, he took second place in a strong Russian tournament, gaining his master norm. Polugaevsky was twice Soviet champion, in 1967 [rusbase-1] and 1968 [rusbase-2] and twice finished runner-up. He participated in five Candidates matches. Polugaevsky had an excellent record in the Olympiads as well. He was one of the most influential theoreticians of his day and contributed heavily to the development of the Sicilian Najdorf. One of the most complex variations of the opening bears his name, the Sicilian, Najdorf (B96) Polugaevsky variation: 1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.♘xd4 ♘f6 5.♘c3 a6 6.♗g5 e6 7.f4 b5. He passed away in 1995 in Paris, France from a brain tumour.

*Wikipedia article: Mahilyow

Wikipedia article: Lev Polugaevsky

 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,927  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Polugaevsky vs Nezhmetdinov  ½-½52 1953 13th RSFSR ChE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
2. G Ilivitsky vs Polugaevsky 0-144 1953 SaratowD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
3. Polugaevsky vs I Veltmander  1-036 1954 URS-ch sfD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
4. Krogius vs Polugaevsky  ½-½14 1954 Ch RussiaB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
5. Polugaevsky vs G Borisenko 0-142 1954 URS-ch sfE98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
6. Polugaevsky vs V Soloviev  ½-½41 1954 URS-ch sfB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
7. Polugaevsky vs N Gusev  0-172 1954 URS-ch sfE61 King's Indian
8. Bondarevsky vs Polugaevsky  1-036 1954 URS-ch sfB41 Sicilian, Kan
9. Polugaevsky vs Spassky  ½-½38 1954 TournamentA73 Benoni, Classical, 9.O-O
10. A Novopashin vs Polugaevsky  1-036 1954 URS-ch sfB69 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 11.Bxf6
11. Boleslavsky vs Polugaevsky  ½-½41 1954 URS-ch sfB56 Sicilian
12. Geller vs Polugaevsky ½-½41 1954 URS-ch sfB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
13. Polugaevsky vs N Gusev  0-135 1954 TournamentA19 English, Mikenas-Carls, Sicilian Variation
14. Nezhmetdinov vs Polugaevsky 1-034 1954 URS-ch sfB30 Sicilian
15. Polugaevsky vs A Khasin  0-130 1954 URS-ch sfE02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4
16. Polugaevsky vs Antoshin  ½-½70 1954 Leningrad masterA84 Dutch
17. Polugaevsky vs Geller  1-036 1954 Leningrad masterD80 Grunfeld
18. Cherepkov vs Polugaevsky  1-021 1954 TournamentA04 Reti Opening
19. V Zagorovsky vs Polugaevsky  0-126 1954 URS-ch sfB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
20. M Yudovich Sr. vs Polugaevsky  1-032 1954 URS-ch sfB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
21. Polugaevsky vs Chekhover  1-058 1954 Leningrad masterB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
22. Polugaevsky vs Lutikov  0-137 1954 ch-RSFSRA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
23. Polugaevsky vs G Uusi  ½-½41 1954 URS-ch sfE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
24. Lepichin vs Polugaevsky  0-132 1954 URS-ch sfB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
25. V Liavdansky vs Polugaevsky 1-055 1954 URS-ch sfB58 Sicilian
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,927  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Polugaevsky wins | Polugaevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Happy Birthday Lev :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If you study his games you are a poluologist.
Mar-27-13  TugasKamagong: I kinda hope the Polish GM Grzegorz Gajewski will produce a son he'll name Paulo. Seems to me "Paulo Gajewski" would be pronounced very much like "Polugaevsky."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. World Championship challenger: Lev Polugaevsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Analysis, if it is really carried out with a complete concentration of his powers, forms and completes a chess player> - Lev Polugaevsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Analysis is a glittering opportunity for training: it is just here that capacity for work, perseverance and stamina are cultivated, and these qualities are, in truth, as necessary to a chess player as a marathon runner> - Lev Polugaevsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Hard to believe his portrait isn't here.

Google image search allows filtering on copyright protections, here's a nice photo from wiki commons:

I think I'll submit it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: (Ha - I see out of the various wiki common photos of Lev, that wikipedia choose the same one)
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <First and foremost it is essential to understand the essence, the overall idea of any fashionable variation, and only then include it in one's repertoire. Otherwise the tactical trees will conceal from the player the strategic picture of the wood, in which his orientation will most likely be lost> - Lev Polugaevsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <My most difficult opponent is myself. When I am playing I often involuntarily make a world champion out of a candidate master> - Lev Polugaevsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: Now with photo!
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: His spirited variation in the Najdorf Sicilian still seems viable, yes? In this game black seemed OK out of the opening...Wang Hao vs Nakamura, 2012.
May-25-15  SimonWebbsTiger: @<parrisattack>

there have been a few new ideas in the Polu' variation. Everyman published "Chess Developments: the 6. Bg5 Najdorf Sicilian" by Kevin Goh Wei Ming in 2014.

Ming uses the quoted Hao-Naka game as his illustrative game, embedded with theory, etc.

12...Ra7 seems all but essential. 12...Qe5 looks to be refuted. Naka's 15...Qc7 varied from the big main line with 15...Qxb2.

Some things to look at but it has always been a dangerous line and the computer analysis of variations inevitable now in such a line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Thank you <SimonWebbsTiger>

All I have on the Poly per se is the Syzygy monograph from the 70s and of course the Love books. It is not dissimilar to what we used to call the 'Fast Paulsen' - but not much on that after MCO 8 and the Syzygy 'Scheveningen with Early ...b5' volume.

<.... computer analysis of variations inevitable now in such a line.> Sigh... :(

Jun-21-15  rayoflight: <parisattack>
Do you play on under Parisstay?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Nice high quality photo of Polu.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Hi <rayolight> No, I don't play Internet chess tho I occasionally play internet Go on the PandaNet server.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: A very nice, very in-depth biography of the man and his games can be found here:

(Item #5, about 1/3 down)

One to save to your local hard drive...

PS- <CG> finally picked a great photo, congrats and thanks. And thanks to the Dutch, whose open documentation is a true treasure for all the chess world to share.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Check out this caricature of him:

(scroll down just a bit)

Nov-05-15  Mr. V: <zanzibar> Wow, that is a great blog! Thanks for posting it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy Birthday, Lev! Thanks for that Sicilian variation.
Nov-20-15  Petrosianic: I don't think he'll be having a very happy birthday today.
Nov-20-15  Howard: Agreed---his last "happy" birthday was back in 1994.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: From the <Mammoth Book>...

<In 1981 his classic work <Grandmaster Preparation> was published, a brilliant source of inspiration for those hoping to become top players. [...] Polugaevsky really cared deeply about this work, and spoke out against the tendency for lazy authors to throw books together quickly, and without much thought or effort. His great strengths as a player were his strategic understanding and deep opening preparation, while his Achille's Heel was his tactical vision, which let him down in some crucial games.>

Maybe one of these games is this one:

Polugaevsky vs Nezhmetdinov, 1958

But then there is this game:

Polugaevsky vs Tal, 1969

Polugaevsky vs Tal, 1969 (kibitz #20)

<"It goes without saying that an innovation lasting 25 moves is a rarity, but it once more emphasizes what a great return - both competitive and creative - a player can expect from searching, and from experimenting. In itself, such a success far exceeds the disappointments from other, less successful attempts, and it is quite capable of inspiring a player, as the game with Tal inspired me in the USSR Championship" - Lev Polgaevsky>

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Lev Polugaevsky.
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