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Friday, August 23, 2019

Nezhmetdinov’s Flight of Fancy

     From time to time I like to pull out Super Nezh: Rashid Nezhmetdinov, Chess Assassin by Alex Pishkin and play through a few of his games.
     Nezhmetdinov was an early version of Tal...his combinations were fantastic, if not always entirely sound. Every time I play over his games I get to thinking I could play like that, but, of course I can’t.
     The following game was played against Oleg Chernikov (October 15, 1936 – February 6, 2015), an International Arbiter and the 2000 World Senior Chess Champion. It was played in a Russian team championship at Rostov-On Don in 1962. 
     After Chernikov played 11...Bf6 a position was reached that had long been known to be drawn and so after making it Chernikov went for a stroll thinking Nezhmetdinov would take a quick draw. But, Nezhmetdinov sunk into deep thought and everyone wondered what he could be thinking about. Finally after 45 minutes a youngster rushed up to Chernikov and informed him that Nezhmetdinov had sacrificed his Queen. 
     Nezhmetdinov’s Queen sacrifice only netted him two pieces, but he hoped to attack the weakened dark squares around black’s King. Immediately after the game it was thought black had a draw at best. After this game subsequent analysis reached the conclusion that the chances should be about equal if black plays 14...d5 instead of Chernikov’s 14...Re8. However, since then it’s been discovered that black has several reasonable moves. While the engine evaluations after 14.Nc3 lead one to believe that the chances are even, practical results strongly favor black. 
     In the end, Nezhmetdinov didn’t succeed in overturning theory, but what does that matter? The depth of his plan and his flight of fancy are worth more than reams of engine analysis. 

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