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Lev Polugaevsky vs Viktor Korchnoi
"Pol Tax" (game of the day Nov-18-2018)
Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1980), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 12, Aug-14
Queen's Indian Defense: Classical Variation. Polugayevsky Gambit (E17)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-16-04  Tigran Petrosian: 25.Rd7!! is a beautiful deflection.
Feb-16-04  drukenknight: gee what is wrong w/ 58...Qxa3+? Great endgame though, once whites K gets in front of the pawns he is home free.
Jun-06-04  Tigran Petrosian: Then 60.Qe6+.
Oct-15-06  aw1988: 12. Nxg7!
Oct-15-06  Madinina Killer: Home prep
Oct-15-06  aw1988: I think it really makes Korchnoi's opening system dubious. After Nxg7 White has the superior game.
Apr-24-07  Maatalkko: This is an awesome game. I can't wait to study it more and see how accurate it is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Game 12 of this Candidates' Semifinal. The last game of normal time and Polugaevsky was losing 2-1.

Previous games with Kortschnoi as black had included Queen's Indians where this position had arisen after 6.0-0:

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...with a standard follow-up 7.d5 exd5 8.Nd4, exploiting the pin between the ♗g2 through the ♙ to the ♗b7.

The trouble with the move is that soon a black knight arrives on c6 and there are exchanges. In this must-win game Polugaevsky invents a new gambit!


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(He may have known of the game Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927 which reached this position after 7.Nh4:)

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Both players play well. Polugaevsky finds a very good move in this position:

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Kortschnoi eventually loses his queen. But he only needs a draw so he plays on until the bitter end; but Polugaevsky has everything under control. He even lets Kortschnoi promote first.

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Polugaevsky must have been delighted when his gambit was repeated at the very highest level in Kasparov vs Karpov, 1984, game 2 of their first match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Clearly this is the best game of chess ever played.

I doubt anyone can improve on even two moves of White.

Jun-14-18  ndg2: Lev "alpha0" Polugaevsky
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The earliest appearance of the d5 gambit in the database comes in A Sandrin vs G K Fielding, 1954, although both players soon muffed the ensuing play. Incidentally, Sandrin was blind. Would seem appropriate to label 8.Nh4! as the Polugaevsky Continuation of the Sandrin Gambit.
Nov-18-18  Ilkka Salonen: Nice game. "Anarkismi on tosiasioiden tinkimätöntä tarkastelua."
Nov-18-18  singate: No dull moments in this one. Usually games with this many moves have a lot of waiting moves behind a wall of pawns. Hard to believe there aren’t pages of kibitzing on this gem.
Nov-18-18  cunctatorg: I don't know what is more remarkable in this beautiful game: Polugaevsky's crushing and imaginative attack ... or Korchnoi's defensive struggle!!...
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <An Englishman: <The earliest appearance of the d5 gambit...>>

Earliest game w/ <7.d5> in Megabase is <Guimard vs Pilnik>, La Plata Jockey Club, 1944

Nov-18-18  Ironmanth: Holy crap, what a game!! Thanks as always, chessgames. A wondrous, safe, and sane holiday to all; play hard, play on, everyone! What a blessing to have our royal game!
Nov-18-18  Muthuraja2: What happens after 29..Be6 instead of 29..Qe6 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: After 29....Be6, 30.f5 would be a strong retort.
Nov-19-18  Howard: Regarding the August 1, 2017 comment about lack of "improvements" for White, Polu did miss a quicker win at one point...but I don't recall where.

Inside Chess pointed it out in a write-up on Polu right after he died, in 1995.

Remind me to check the Informant when I get home.

Nov-20-18  Howard: According to Informant 30...

27. Re1 !

33. Qh7!

34. Qg7 !

...would all have won quicker.

Offhand, I think it was 27.Re1! that Inside Chess pointed out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <When Korchnoi had achieved a winning position, he took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves and stared aggressively at his opponent. The audience responded with a knowing laughter. It seemed he was mocking the similar action by Polugaevsky after he had gained the decisive edge in Game 12.>

I propose a different GOTD title:

"Glaring Error"

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