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Grandmaster Performance
Compiled by Benzol

Published by Pergamon Press in 1984.

ISBN 0-08-026913-3 (Hardcover)

ISBN 0-08-029749-8 (Flexicover)

This book followed his previous work "Grandmaster Preparation" and in it Soviet Grandmaster Lev Polugaevsky (1934 - 1995) presents sixty-four of his best games.


From the Author

Some 30 years ago, when I was still a boy, I was given some advice by one of the oldest Soviet masters, one of Alexander Alekhine's fellow players back in the 1909 St Petersburg Tournament, Pyotr Romanovsky. "If you want to play well", he said, "in the first instance study games. Your own and other peoples'. Examine them from the viewpoint of the middlegame and the endgame, and only then from the viewpoint of the opening. This is more important than studying textbooks". Perhaps such advice is not indisputable, perhaps it will not appeal to everyone, but I accepted and have followed this recommendation all of my life. Of course, on becoming a master, and then a grandmaster, I had to make a detailed acquaintance with opening monographs and with endgame guides, but nevertheless the analysis of games still remains for me the most important thing. To a great extent, this is why I am now offering this collection of my own games, played over nearly a third of a century. They have been selected such that the reader should obtain as clear an impression as possible of what promises victory in chess. This is a fundamental knowledge of the openings (even if not all, but only certain ones), a mastery of the skills of attack and defence, and an ability to form a strategic plan. (The following aphorism is after all true : "It is better to follow a bad plan, than to play without any plan at all".) This is the ability to play endgames, and the ability to play in critical situations, which is acquiring greater and greater significance : psychology today is the key to the solving of many problems, including those associated with chess. But I hope that the reader will take note of, evaluate, and arm himself with the main message of the book : at whatever stage of the game the victory was gained, by whatever means it was achieved, it was always as a result of effort. Always great, and sometimes enormous. The author is firmly convinced that without this it is impossible today to mount even half the steps of the chess staircase, leading upwards. I consider myself to have been fairly fortunate in chess. I have scored victories in many major tournaments, and have more than once been a Candidate for the World Championship. But the greatest joy in this field of my life has nevertheless been gained from individual, quite specific games. When everything succeeds, and victory is gained, these are the happiest moments in the life of any chess player. To all readers of this book, I should like to wish as much happiness of this type as possible.

Lyev Polugayevsky

International Grandmaster



Problems From the First Move
Polugaevsky vs Stein, 1961 
(E82) King's Indian, Samisch, double Fianchetto Variation, 40 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Tal, 1969 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 37 moves, 1-0

Portisch vs Polugaevsky, 1970 
(E54) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, 44 moves, 0-1

Jansa vs Polugaevsky, 1980
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 41 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Korchnoi, 1980 
(E17) Queen's Indian, 73 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1981 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 40 moves, 1-0

In Search of the Truth
Polugaevsky vs Lutikov, 1957 
(E10) Queen's Pawn Game, 29 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Suetin, 1958 
(E87) King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 28 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs A Khasin, 1961 
(D42) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3, 34 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Vasiukov, 1961 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 57 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs L Maslov, 1963 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 33 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs N Padevsky, 1966
(D85) Grunfeld, 44 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs H Rossetto, 1968 
(A23) English, Bremen System, Keres Variation, 30 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs I Bilek, 1969 
(A30) English, Symmetrical, 32 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs H Pfleger, 1969 
(A13) English, 25 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Gheorghiu, 1972
(A34) English, Symmetrical, 35 moves, 1-0

Balashov vs Polugaevsky, 1973 
(B91) Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation, 40 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Vasiukov, 1974
(A80) Dutch, 41 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Larsen, 1978 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 38 moves, 1-0

I Chikovani vs Polugaevsky, 1978
(B22) Sicilian, Alapin, 40 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Romanishin, 1978
(D19) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 41 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Petrosian, 1981
(E12) Queen's Indian, 46 moves, 1-0

From Defence to Attack
Portisch vs Polugaevsky, 1963
(D23) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 53 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1976 
(E71) King's Indian, Makagonov System (5.h3), 42 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Adorjan, 1976 
(A10) English, 46 moves, 1-0

Timman vs Polugaevsky, 1979
(E16) Queen's Indian, 57 moves, 0-1

Y Gruenfeld vs Polugaevsky, 1979 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 53 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs F Braga, 1982
(E06) Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3, 37 moves, 1-0

The Touchstone of Mastery
Boleslavsky vs Polugaevsky, 1956 
(B58) Sicilian, 55 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Spassky, 1959 
(E42) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein), 41 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Korchnoi, 1966 
(A17) English, 31 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Gheorghiu, 1968 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 33 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Gligoric, 1969
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 39 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Browne, 1971
(E94) King's Indian, Orthodox, 68 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs J H Donner, 1970 
(E73) King's Indian, 49 moves, 1-0

R Nezhmetdinov vs Polugaevsky, 1972 
(E12) Queen's Indian, 58 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Keres, 1973 
(D40) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 42 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs A Saidy, 1973 
(D58) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst, 23 moves, 1-0

Tal vs Polugaevsky, 1974 
(E55) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation, 61 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs L Espig, 1975
(A04) Reti Opening, 35 moves, 1-0

R Byrne vs Polugaevsky, 1975 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Korchnoi, 1977 
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 36 moves, 1-0

Bagirov vs Polugaevsky, 1977 
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 38 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Smyslov, 1979 
(E11) Bogo-Indian Defense, 32 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Larsen, 1979 
(D16) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 39 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Ljubojevic, 1980 
(A31) English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation, 41 moves, 1-0

Psakhis vs Polugaevsky, 1982
(E12) Queen's Indian, 36 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Seirawan, 1982
(E12) Queen's Indian, 49 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs A Rodriguez Cespedes, 1982
(E92) King's Indian, 38 moves, 1-0

Finale of the Chess Symphony
Polugaevsky vs Averbakh, 1963
(E08) Catalan, Closed, 76 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Geller, 1968 
(E73) King's Indian, 66 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Ivkov, 1969 
(A35) English, Symmetrical, 41 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Uhlmann, 1970 
(E92) King's Indian, 65 moves, 1/2-1/2

A Planinc vs Polugaevsky, 1971 
(B61) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, Larsen Variation, 7.Qd2, 61 moves, 0-1

Gheorghiu vs Polugaevsky, 1973 
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 55 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs S Kagan, 1973
(A42) Modern Defense, Averbakh System, 65 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs K Grigorian, 1973
(A04) Reti Opening, 48 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Mecking, 1975
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 58 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Balashov, 1977 
(A27) English, Three Knights System, 87 moves, 1-0

Polugaevsky vs Reshevsky, 1978 
(E01) Catalan, Closed, 40 moves, 1-0

Psychology of the Chess Struggle
Polugaevsky vs Portisch, 1973 
(A09) Reti Opening, 39 moves, 1-0

Bellon Lopez vs Polugaevsky, 1975 
(A20) English, 41 moves, 0-1

Timman vs Polugaevsky, 1982 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 51 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Petrosian, 1982 
(A17) English, 27 moves, 1-0

64 games

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