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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: 1,940
Years covered: 1953 to 1994
Highest rating achieved in database: 2640

Overall record: +697 -249 =943 (61.9%)*
   * 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 (100) 
    A14 A15 A17 A13 A10
 King's Indian (95) 
    E88 E73 E75 E97 E92
 Queen's Indian (84) 
    E12 E15 E17 E19 E14
 English, 1 c4 c5 (64) 
    A30 A34 A35 A33 A36
 Reti System (50) 
    A04 A05 A06
 Nimzo Indian (49) 
    E54 E46 E55 E21 E32
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (367) 
    B96 B93 B84 B46 B92
 Queen's Indian (137) 
    E15 E12 E17 E14 E16
 Sicilian Najdorf (130) 
    B96 B93 B92 B90 B94
 Nimzo Indian (85) 
    E54 E32 E53 E46 E21
 English (66) 
    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 Korchnoi, 1980 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs I Bilek, 1969 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Petrosian, 1960 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Mecking, 1971 1-0
   Spassky vs Polugaevsky, 1961 0-1
   Polugaevsky vs Maslov, 1963 1-0
   Fischer vs Polugaevsky, 1970 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1969)
   IBM Amsterdam (1972)
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)
   USSR Championship (1965)
   USSR Championship (1967)
   Tallinn (1973)
   USSR Championship 1968/69 (1968)
   Manila Interzonal (1976)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   Petropolis Interzonal (1973)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   Biel Interzonal (1985)
   USSR Championship (1971)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Grandmaster Performance by Benzol
   Grandmaster Performance (Polugaevsky) by Qindarka
   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 1,940  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. G Ilivitsky vs Polugaevsky 0-1441953SaratowD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
2. Polugaevsky vs Nezhmetdinov  ½-½52195313th RSFSR ChE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
3. Polugaevsky vs N Sorokin  1-03619533rd Soviet Team-ch finalA24 English, Bremen System with ...g6
4. V Zagorovsky vs Polugaevsky  0-1261954URS-ch sfB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
5. Polugaevsky vs Lutikov  0-1371954ch-RSFSRA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
6. M Yudovich Sr. vs Polugaevsky 1-0321954URS-ch sfB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
7. Polugaevsky vs G Uusi  ½-½411954URS-ch sfE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
8. Lepichin vs Polugaevsky  0-1321954URS-ch sfB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
9. Krogius vs Polugaevsky  ½-½141954URS-ch sfB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
10. V Liavdansky vs Polugaevsky 1-0551954URS-ch sfB58 Sicilian
11. Polugaevsky vs I Veltmander  1-0361954URS-ch sfD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
12. Polugaevsky vs G Borisenko 0-1421954URS-ch sfE98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
13. Polugaevsky vs V Soloviev  ½-½411954URS-ch sfB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
14. Polugaevsky vs N Gusev  0-1721954URS-ch sfE61 King's Indian
15. Bondarevsky vs Polugaevsky  1-0361954URS-ch sfB41 Sicilian, Kan
16. A Novopashin vs Polugaevsky  1-0361954URS-ch sfB69 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 11.Bxf6
17. Boleslavsky vs Polugaevsky  ½-½411954URS-ch sfB58 Sicilian
18. Geller vs Polugaevsky ½-½411954URS-ch sfB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
19. Nezhmetdinov vs Polugaevsky 1-0341954URS-ch sfB30 Sicilian
20. Polugaevsky vs A Khasin  0-1301954URS-ch sfE02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4
21. Polugaevsky vs Chekhover  1-0581954Leningrad masterB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
22. Polugaevsky vs Spassky ½-½381954Leningrad masterA73 Benoni, Classical, 9.O-O
23. Polugaevsky vs N Gusev  0-1351954Leningrad masterA19 English, Mikenas-Carls, Sicilian Variation
24. Cherepkov vs Polugaevsky  1-0211954Leningrad masterA04 Reti Opening
25. Polugaevsky vs Antoshin  ½-½701954Leningrad masterA84 Dutch
 page 1 of 78; games 1-25 of 1,940  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Polugaevsky wins | Polugaevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. World Championship challenger: Lev Polugaevsky.
Mar-29-15  TheFocus: <Analysis, if it is really carried out with a complete concentration of his powers, forms and completes a chess player> - Lev Polugaevsky.
Mar-29-15  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.
Mar-29-15  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.

Mar-29-15  zanzibar: (Ha - I see out of the various wiki common photos of Lev, that wikipedia choose the same one)
May-12-15  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.
May-12-15  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.
May-25-15  lost in space: Now with photo!
May-25-15  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.

May-26-15  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.
Jun-21-15  parisattack: Hi <rayolight> No, I don't play Internet chess tho I occasionally play internet Go on the PandaNet server.
Nov-02-15  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.

Nov-04-15  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!
Nov-20-15  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.
Nov-20-15  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>

Nov-20-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Lev Polugaevsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Here a lecture on / an homage to <Lev Polugaevsky> by GM Alejandro Ramirez: (~44 mins)
Nov-20-18  xenophon: In a way it's a shame that for my generation he will probably be best remembered for being "battered" by Korchnoi in 2 candidate matches.
Nov-20-18  AlastairMarston: Leeds Rapidplay 1991, I watched him (against an English GM) blitz out a win with the King, Knight and Bishop v King ending. Superb technique!
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