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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: 2,103
Years covered: 1953 to 1994
Highest rating achieved in database: 2640
Overall record: +754 -252 =1026 (62.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 71 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 English (109) 
    A15 A17 A14 A13 A16
 King's Indian (104) 
    E88 E75 E73 E92 E97
 Queen's Indian (86) 
    E12 E15 E17 E19 E14
 English, 1 c4 c5 (70) 
    A30 A34 A35 A33 A36
 Nimzo Indian (55) 
    E54 E46 E21 E42 E55
 Reti System (51) 
    A04 A05 A06
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (395) 
    B96 B93 B84 B46 B92
 Queen's Indian (146) 
    E15 E12 E17 E14 E16
 Sicilian Najdorf (134) 
    B96 B93 B92 B90 B94
 Nimzo Indian (89) 
    E54 E32 E53 E46 E48
 English (71) 
    A15 A17 A13 A14 A16
 English, 1 c4 c5 (62) 
    A30 A36 A33 A34 A35
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1981 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Tal, 1969 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Korchnoi, 1980 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs E Torre, 1984 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Petrosian, 1960 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs I Bilek, 1969 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Mecking, 1971 1-0
   Polugaevsky vs Ivkov, 1969 1-0
   Spassky vs Polugaevsky, 1961 0-1
   Polugaevsky vs L Maslov, 1963 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Marianske Lazne (1959)
   Mar del Plata (1962)
   Skopje Solidarnost (1971)
   Hoogovens (1966)
   Mar del Plata (1971)
   Amsterdam IBM (1972)
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)
   USSR Championship 1968/69 (1968)
   Capablanca Memorial (1962)
   Chigorin Memorial (1966)
   USSR Championship (1965)
   Amsterdam IBM (1970)
   Riga Interzonal (1979)
   Solidarity Tournament 2nd (1968)
   USSR Championship (1956)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 42 by 0ZeR0
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 43 by 0ZeR0
   Grandmaster Performance (Polugaevsky) by Okavango
   Grandmaster Performance by Benzol
   Grandmaster Performance (Polugaevsky) by Qindarka
   Grandmaster Polugaevsky by Okavango
   Grandmaster Polugaevsky by Resignation Trap
   Dry Polugaevsky by Gottschalk
   USSR Championship 1968/69 by suenteus po 147
   Havana 1962 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Lev Polugaevsky
Search Google for Lev Polugaevsky

(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 85; games 1-25 of 2,106  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Polugaevsky vs R Nezhmetdinov ½-½52195313th Ch RSFSRE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
2. P Dubinin vs Polugaevsky  0-137195313th Ch RSFSRD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
3. G Ilivitsky vs Polugaevsky 0-144195313th Ch RSFSRD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
4. N Novotelnov vs Polugaevsky  0-134195313th Ch RSFSRD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Polugaevsky vs V Skotorenko 1-047195313th Ch RSFSRE98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
6. Polugaevsky vs N Sorokin 1-03619533rd Soviet Team-ch finalA24 English, Bremen System with ...g6
7. Polugaevsky vs V Soloviev  ½-½411954URS-ch sf GorkyB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
8. Polugaevsky vs A Khasin  0-1301954URS-ch sf GorkyE02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4
9. M Yudovich Sr. vs Polugaevsky 1-0321954URS-ch sf GorkyB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
10. Krogius vs Polugaevsky  ½-½141954RSFSR ChampionshipB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
11. Polugaevsky vs Simagin  ½-½411954URS-ch sf GorkyE01 Catalan, Closed
12. Geller vs Polugaevsky ½-½411954URS-ch sf GorkyB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
13. Bondarevsky vs Polugaevsky 1-0361954URS-ch sf GorkyB41 Sicilian, Kan
14. Polugaevsky vs G Uusi  ½-½411954URS-ch sf GorkyE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
15. V Zagorovsky vs Polugaevsky  0-1261954URS-ch sf GorkyB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
16. A Novopashin vs Polugaevsky  1-0361954URS-ch sf GorkyB69 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 11.Bxf6
17. Polugaevsky vs G Borisenko 0-1421954URS-ch sf GorkyE98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
18. N Aratovsky vs Polugaevsky  1-0241954RSFSR ChampionshipE98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
19. V Lepikhin vs Polugaevsky  0-1321954URS-ch sf GorkyB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
20. R Nezhmetdinov vs Polugaevsky 1-0341954URS-ch sf GorkyB30 Sicilian
21. Boleslavsky vs Polugaevsky  ½-½411954URS-ch sf GorkyB58 Sicilian
22. Polugaevsky vs I Veltmander  1-0361954URS-ch sf GorkyD36 Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange, Positional line, 6.Qc2
23. V Liavdansky vs Polugaevsky 1-0551954URS-ch sf GorkyB58 Sicilian
24. Polugaevsky vs Y Gusev  0-1721954URS-ch sf GorkyE61 King's Indian
25. Polugaevsky vs Lutikov  0-1371954RSFSR ChampionshipA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
 page 1 of 85; games 1-25 of 2,106  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Polugaevsky wins | Polugaevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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.
Mar-25-18  whiteshark: Here a lecture on / an homage to <Lev Polugaevsky> by GM Alejandro Ramirez: (~44 mins)
Premium Chessgames Member
  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!
May-19-21  NARC: I have a book about the Sicilian written by Polugaevsky and Gufeld. It's about the Dragon. There is a note about "Lektor: Franz Stahl".

Did they write it straight away in German or was it translated?

May-22-21  login:

Band 3, Lew Polugajewski – Sizilianisch – Drachensystem bis Geschlossene Variante, 1982 (1. Auflage)

ISBN-13 : 978-3328002024

e.g. see

(in German)

'Vergangenheitsbewusst und progressiv'

'.. Zu unserem hochkarätigen Team zählte mit Franz Stahl ein fachlich sehr kompetenter Lektor, der mehrmals an DDR-Einzelmeisterschaften teilgenommen hatte. Um die 24 Eröffnungsbände der legendären „Schwarzen Reihe“ [je Band ca. 250 Seiten, insgesamt über 6000 Seiten] innerhalb von nur zwei Jahren mit einer Startauflage von jeweils 10.000 Exemplaren herauszugeben, verpflichteten wir neun Übersetzer [!], die alle etwas vom Schach verstanden haben. Darunter waren auch die Schachspieler Albin Pötzsch¹ und Bodo Starck.


Als kompetenter Koordinator fungierte der ehemalige Nationaltrainer Hans Platz. Diese Bände zählten auch in Westdeutschland jahrelang zu den eröffnungstheoretischen Standardwerken. ..'

from KARL, issue 1/2015 (in German)



Das rasante Ansteigen des eröffnungstheoretischen Wissens macht es für Schachspieler jeglichen Leistungsniveaus immer notwendiger, geeignete Lern- und Orientierungshilfen zu benutzen. Die 24bändige „Moderne Eröffnungstheorie“ wird diesem Bedürfnis in jeder Weise gerecht. Alle Bände sind selbständig angelegt und gleichermaßen als Lern- und Nachschlagewerk verwendbar. Bei der Erarbeitung dieser Reihe wurden die langjährigen Erfahrungen, die der Verlag mit der bisherigen neunbändigen „Modernen Theorie der Schacheröffnungen“ gewann, verwendet und weiterentwickelt. Das zeigt sich an der Aufbereitung des Materials der Benutzung von Figurensymbolen in der Notation, einem gesonderten Partieanhang, dem erweiterten Gesamtumfang bei gleichzeitiger Umfangsreduzierung der Einzelbände und anderem mehr.


Dieses eröffnungstheoretische Standardwerk - verfasst von den sowjetischen Internationalen Grossmeistern Lew Polugajewski, Alexey S Suetin und Mark Taimanov koordiniert von dem sowjetischen Internationalen Grossmeister [unknown player] bietet höchste Qualität in jeder Beziehung.

May-30-21  NARC: Thanks for the information, login :-)
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