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Iivo Nei
I Nei 
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons  
Number of games in database: 652
Years covered: 1946 to 2001
Last FIDE rating: 2369
Highest rating achieved in database: 2500

Overall record: +195 -154 =303 (53.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (46) 
    B20 B52 B81 B80 B54
 Queen's Pawn Game (33) 
    A45 D02 A41 D01 A46
 English (28) 
    A10 A16 A17 A19 A18
 King's Indian (26) 
    E92 E61 E77 E70 E81
 English, 1 c4 e5 (26) 
    A28 A22 A21 A25 A29
 English, 1 c4 c5 (16) 
    A35 A30 A34 A31 A33
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (54) 
    C92 C91 C84 C68 C77
 Sicilian (36) 
    B22 B94 B53 B84 B92
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (31) 
    C92 C84 C91 C98 C86
 Semi-Slav (29) 
    D45 D43 D47 D48 D49
 Queen's Gambit Declined (24) 
    D31 D30 D35 D37
 French Defense (22) 
    C16 C02 C05 C11 C00
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   I Nei vs Petrosian, 1960 1-0
   I Nei vs Z Doda, 1960 1-0
   I Nei vs E E Book, 1969 1-0
   I Nei vs Koblents, 1956 1-0
   I Nei vs Larsen, 1964 1-0
   Bagirov vs I Nei, 1963 0-1
   I Nei vs B Diesen, 1990 1-0
   Kupreichik vs I Nei, 1975 1/2-1/2
   I Nei vs Geller, 1963 1/2-1/2
   A Ornstein vs I Nei, 1977 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hoogovens (1964)
   Tallinn (1969)
   Hoogovens (1966)
   Yerevan (1965)
   Parnu (1971)
   Tallinn (1973)
   7th Soviet Team Championship (1960)
   Tallinn (1971)
   Tallinn (1975)
   Keres Memorial 3rd (1981)
   Keres Memorial (1977)
   USSR Championship (1963)
   Keres Memorial (1979)
   USSR Championship (1960)
   Heart of Finland Open (1992)

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

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FIDE player card for Iivo Nei

(born Oct-31-1931, 91 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 27; games 1-25 of 662  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. I Nei vs Petrosian 0-1281946URS-ch U18E95 King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, 8.Re1
2. Lisitsin vs I Nei 0-1341950Match Leningrad-EstoniaD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. I Nei vs I Lipnitsky  1-0301951URSA04 Reti Opening
4. Chekhover vs I Nei  1-0501952URS-ch sf RigaD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. I Nei vs E Terpugov  0-1791952URS-ch sf RigaD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. E Chaplinsky vs I Nei ½-½421952URS-ch sf RigaA19 English, Mikenas-Carls, Sicilian Variation
7. Tolush vs I Nei  ½-½411952URS-ch sf RigaD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Koblents vs I Nei  1-0411952URS-ch sf RigaD56 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. I Nei vs A Bannik  1-0631952URS-ch sf RigaC34 King's Gambit Accepted
10. I Nei vs V Mikenas  ½-½321952URS-ch sf RigaA28 English
11. G Fridstein vs I Nei 1-0291952URS-ch sf RigaE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
12. A Nikitin vs I Nei  1-0331952URS-ch sf RigaB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
13. I Nei vs I Kan  0-1371952URS-ch sf RigaB72 Sicilian, Dragon
14. A Cherepkov vs I Nei 1-0531952URS-ch sf RigaE41 Nimzo-Indian
15. I Nei vs J Klavins  1-0441952URS-ch sf RigaC44 King's Pawn Game
16. I Nei vs Ragozin  1-0481952URS-ch sf RigaB72 Sicilian, Dragon
17. I Nei vs G Ilivitsky  0-1401952URS-ch sf RigaB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
18. M Pasman vs I Nei  0-1391952URS-ch sf RigaE70 King's Indian
19. I Nei vs I Veltmander  0-1481952URS-ch sf RigaA04 Reti Opening
20. I Nei vs G Ravinsky  ½-½251952URS-ch sf RigaA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
21. S Zhukhovitsky vs I Nei  0-1401953Estonian ChampionshipB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
22. I Nei vs Keres  ½-½401953Estonian ChampionshipD80 Grunfeld
23. I Nei vs Tal ½-½461955URS-ch sfB64 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
24. J Klavins vs I Nei  ½-½2419554th Soviet Team-ch finalB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
25. I Nei vs Shamkovich  0-12019554th Soviet Team-ch finalA16 English
 page 1 of 27; games 1-25 of 662  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nei wins | Nei loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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.

Apr-20-09  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).
Apr-27-16  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):

Aug-10-16  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.

Oct-31-16  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.
Nov-01-16  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?
Nov-01-16  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.

Nov-06-21  login:

Palju õnne tema 90. juubelil, Iivo Nei.

'.. For cooperation with the Americans, Nei became restricted to travel abroad for two years. The punishment can be said to be symbolic since the investigation did not reveal any evidence of the sabotage of the Estonian chess player. But it was necessary to take some action against him and Nei was accused of not reporting to the KGB, contrary to the then existing practice that he was writing a book in collaboration with a US citizen.

Nei said that many people from the chess world were surprised to see him return to Estonia; they believed that either Siberia or the West was dear to him. "But why?" - wrote the chess player. - "Did I behave somehow wrong?".

In Estonia Ivo Nei ran a chess school, became the author of the popular TV show 'Chess School' which aired on television for 16 seasons. [After all] he was very surprised by Spassky's accusations that he was an American spy. ..'

from (an online sports site) by Andrey Shitkin, Oct 2021 (in Russian)



Nov-06-21  nimh: <Palju õnne tema 90. juubelil, Iivo Nei.>

I'm sure he'd be glad to know that someone far far away congratulates him. But correct would be "Palju õnne tema 90. juubeli<ks>. The transitive case instead of the adessive.

Nov-06-21  login:

Thank you for taking your time nimh, I had the 'idea' to combine expressions on two different pages because one lacked the actual age. Keep posting I miss your input here.

For the interested reader

You are right distance is a pity, whoever I know having visited Estonia is full of praise for country and people. Without exeption.

One day we hopefully sing together

Alles Gute + Ole tubli

Oct-31-22  offramp: Happy Hallo Iivo Nei -'n.
Nov-01-22  Nosnibor: He holds an impressive record against his old colleague Keres of 8 draws and 1 loss.
Jan-13-23  ndg2: This guy still lives. He should get an honorary GM title IMHO.
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