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Iivo Nei
Number of games in database: 628
Years covered: 1946 to 2001
Last FIDE rating: 2369
Highest rating achieved in database: 2500

Overall record: +188 -149 =291 (53.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (44) 
    B20 B80 B52 B81 B43
 Queen's Pawn Game (33) 
    A45 D02 A41 A40 A46
 English (28) 
    A10 A16 A19 A17 A18
 King's Indian (25) 
    E92 E61 E77 E70 E81
 English, 1 c4 e5 (25) 
    A28 A22 A21 A27 A29
 English, 1 c4 c5 (16) 
    A30 A35 A34 A31 A33
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (53) 
    C92 C84 C91 C68 C77
 Sicilian (33) 
    B94 B22 B40 B80 B92
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (30) 
    C92 C91 C84 C98 C86
 Semi-Slav (27) 
    D45 D47 D48 D43 D49
 Queen's Gambit Declined (23) 
    D31 D30 D37 D35
 French Defense (22) 
    C16 C05 C02 C11 C00
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   I Nei vs Petrosian, 1960 1-0
   I Nei vs Doda, 1960 1-0
   I Nei vs E E Book, 1969 1-0
   I Nei vs Larsen, 1964 1-0
   I Nei vs Koblents, 1956 1-0
   Bagirov vs I Nei, 1963 0-1
   I Nei vs Geller, 1963 1/2-1/2
   I Nei vs B Diesen, 1990 1-0
   H Westerinen vs I Nei, 1973 0-1
   I Nei vs S Makarichev, 1974 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Yerevan (1965)
   Tallinn (1973)
   USSR Championship (1963)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   USSR Championship 1966/67 (1966)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Tallinn 1973 by sneaky pete
   1964 Beverwijk Hoogovens by jww
   Tallinn 1981 by Chessdreamer
   1966 Beverwijk Hoogovens by jww
   Tallinn 1969 by Chessdreamer
   Yerevan 1965 by suenteus po 147

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FIDE player card for Iivo Nei

(born Oct-31-1931, 88 years old) Estonia

[what is this?]

An IM (1964), he has been Estonian champion on eight occasions - 1951, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1971 and 1974. He was a second for Boris Spassky during his World Championship Match against Robert James Fischer in 1972.

Wikipedia article: Iivo Nei

 page 1 of 26; games 1-25 of 628  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. I Nei vs Petrosian 0-1281946URS-ch U18E95 King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, 8.Re1
2. I Nei vs Lipnitsky  1-03019512nd Soviet Team-ch prelimA04 Reti Opening
3. M Pasman vs I Nei  0-1391952URS ch sfE70 King's Indian
4. I Nei vs J Klavins  1-0441952URS ch sfC44 King's Pawn Game
5. E Chaplinsky vs I Nei ½-½421952URS ch sfA19 English, Mikenas-Carls, Sicilian Variation
6. Chekhover vs I Nei  1-0501952URS ch sfD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. I Nei vs I Veltmander  0-1481952URS ch sfA04 Reti Opening
8. I Nei vs A Bannik  1-0631952URS ch sfC34 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Nikitin vs I Nei  1-0301952URS ch sfB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
10. I Nei vs V Mikenas  ½-½321952URS ch sfA28 English
11. I Nei vs Kan  0-1371952URS ch sfB72 Sicilian, Dragon
12. I Nei vs Ravinsky  ½-½251952URS ch sfA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
13. Koblents vs I Nei  1-0411952URS-ch sfD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. G Fridstein vs I Nei 1-0291952URS ch sfE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
15. I Nei vs E Terpugov  0-1791952URS ch sfD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. I Nei vs G Ilivitsky  0-1401952URS ch sfB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
17. I Nei vs Ragozin  1-0481952URS ch sfB72 Sicilian, Dragon
18. Tolush vs I Nei  ½-½411952URS ch sfD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Cherepkov vs I Nei  1-0531952URS ch sfE41 Nimzo-Indian
20. I Nei vs Keres  ½-½401953Tartu, Est op chD80 Grunfeld
21. I Nei vs Tal ½-½461955URS-ch sfB64 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
22. I Nei vs Boleslavsky 0-125195523rd USSR Ch semi-finalE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
23. Korchnoi vs I Nei 1-0391955RigaD53 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Tal vs I Nei ½-½321955VilniusC16 French, Winawer
25. Sokolsky vs I Nei 1-0691955URS-ch sfA00 Uncommon Opening
 page 1 of 26; games 1-25 of 628  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nei wins | Nei loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: We are the Iivo who says Nei!
Oct-31-06  BIDMONFA: Iivo Nei

NEI, Livo

Oct-31-06  Legend: <BIDMONFA> His name is Iivo, not Livo.
Oct-27-07  PAWNTOEFOUR: well if 2500's a patzer,i guess i'm only half a patzer then
Aug-18-08  myschkin: . . .


Aug-18-08  Jason Frost: The best coach/second isn't always the best player, e.g. Dvoretsky was an IM.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: <Jason Frost The best coach/second isn't always the best player, e.g. Dvoretsky was an IM.> That's definitely true. Except that Dvoretsky still IS an IM. Dvoretsky probably could have become a GM eventually, but he wanted to concentrate on being a trainer. I don't know what the case w/ IM Nei never becoming a GM is. Maybe he wasn't good enough tactically or didn't have quite enough drive. These are probably the 2 most common reasons for an IM never becoming a GM. There must have been some good reasons for Spassky choosing Nei as a second...perhaps for his knowledge of the openings, strategy? I'm not sure. Also, <myschkin> that's a cool picture of Nei & Karpov by a bust of Keres in Estonia. Thanks for the link!
Apr-20-09  Raisin Death Ray: I come from Alabama with a banjo on my Nei!
Apr-20-09  blacksburg: this guy has more than twice as many vowels than consonants in his name. that's gotta be some kind of record.

almost as many vowels as Max Euoeuoeoeuowe.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: I met his sisters Sequoia and Eunoia. :->
Apr-20-09  Jim Bartle: Then maybe they should meet Lilit Mkrtchian
Apr-15-10  BIDMONFA: Iivo Nei

Legend, thank you.

Sep-20-11  Granny O Doul: This guy was once a clue/answer in the NY Times crossword (something like "Chessmaster Ivo" or "Chessmaster Nei"). Tal (especially) and Keres are fairly common crossword answers, but I can't think of many others.
Apr-12-12  Llawdogg: This guy beat Petrosian with a beautiful queen sacrifice in 1960 that Tigran never saw coming. So, he had better tactical vision than a world champion on at least one occasion.
Apr-20-15  Caissanist: In M60MG, Fischer credits Nei with an opening improvement in the Sicilian Dragon that helped him beat Reshevsky (Fischer vs Reshevsky, 1961).
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Biography:
(in Estonian)

As titleless player, Nei won at his first participation the prestigious Beverwijk Hoogovens 1964, joint with Keres, ahead of many elite top players, Portisch was third, Ivkov fourth, Larsen joint fiftht, Donner joint tenth (since 1968 this tournament is held at Wijk aan Zee, today billed as Tata Steel).

Nei got the IM for this really big tournament triumph at Beverwijk, but never was awarded the Grandmaster title nor the GM honorary title, in retrospective being a top-100 player according to chessmetrics rating (historical ELO by SONAS) from 1960 to 1978. Nei was best-ranked on position 21.

USSR Junior Champion in 1948 (joint with Viktor Korchnoi who won already in 1947, both born in 1931).

Iivo Nei will celebrate his 85th anniversary in coming October, high time for a picture of him, dear chessgames, and many thanks,

rather recent picture:

picture from 1966 (at his second and last invitation / nomination for Beverwijk, finishing as sole 5th out of 16 players, Polugaevsky won):

Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: There's a new interview out with Boris Spassky where he accuses Nei of spying for the Americans while part of Spassky's camp in the Fischer match. Does anybody know if there's any truth to this? The accusation is that Nei was secretly working on a book with Robert Byrne - Spassky doesn't directly say, or even really imply, that Byrne then passed on info to Fischer. Still, Spassky was clearly very pissed off about it - and is fully convinced of Nei's perfidy many years later. If it's true, it's a startling thing - a big risk for Nei to take (passing secret Soviet material to Americans); and it implies that Fischer may have had some inside information on Spassky's preparation.
Aug-10-16  TheFocus: Didn't Byrne and Nei do a book about the match?

I doubt that this is true. Bobby wouldn't have trusted the Soviets anyway.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: <There's a new interview out with Boris Spassky where he accuses Nei of spying for the Americans while part of Spassky's camp in the Fischer match.>

I read that interview, too. In recent years, Boris Spassky tends to tell some stories (eg. why he had to flee France), which are rather bizarre.

<I doubt that this (accusation) is true. Bobby wouldn't have trusted the Soviets anyway.>

Indeed, and why did Boris Vasilievich, living and enjoying life in France since the late 1970s and changing to the French Federation in the 1980s (at least since Linares 1983: Game Collection: Linares 1983, the relationship between Spassky and Karpov and the official USSR were rather cold), did wait more than forty years until revealing his suspicion, breaking abruptly with France and after suffering several serious health issues?

Boris Spassky will celebrate his 80th birthday next January.

Iivo Nei is 85 years today - happy birthday!

They are part of chess history, of course, Spassky as one of a few all-time-greats more than Nei: health and happiness to both players!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <TheFocus> <Didn't Byrne and Nei do a book about the match?

I doubt that this is true. Bobby wouldn't have trusted the Soviets anyway.>

There is a book by Byrne and Nei called Both sides of the chessboard

See for more information.

Oct-31-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Iivo Nei.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Spasski's getting old. All the time he didn't object to the story of Nei as his "physical trainer" and suddenly it's about chess.... it's a bit sad that Boris legacy has turned to: "I could have stopped the match... as the champ."
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It's a shame Spassky never wrote an opinionated auto bio. After Korchnoi, I can't think of a player who'd I rather see an autobiography from. Boris saw and lived it all, he must have some great stories, happy and sad. Why not tell the tale now?
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Yeah, I'd like to know what Spasski's statement is concerned to the world chess championship '92.

A joke but okaaay

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I have a hunch that Spassky might have liked the mini match tournaments.

Why? There is less pressure on a world champion, as the title hands off to different top players from year to year. He didn't like being world champion. That might have had something to do with the added pressure that comes from being a USSR player expected to defeat all of the best westerners, or he may have just disliked the heightened pressure, in general.

In the mini matches, you are just first among equals, and there are probably 20 different people who can win it, from year to year. It is no shame to lose the 'title' in such a tournament because there is to much randomness built into such an event.

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