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... 
Lev Polugaeyevsky 
Rashid Nezhmetdinov;

(The position is already equal, according to most strong computer programs.)
9.Bd3,
(Maybe  '!?')
"White has not decided where to castle yet."  GM
A. Soltis.
[ 9.f3!? ]
9...Ng4!;
(Maybe  '!?')
An interesting 'switchoff' type of tactic not commonly seen.
Soltis
does NOT provide this move with an exclamation point, but it fully deserves one.
(In my own, humble opinion.)
(The move is very sharp ... and not at all obvious.)
"Black begins to probe White's position ..."  LM A.J. Goldsby I.
(Soltis provides us with no commentary here at all!)
"White's two pawns in the middle (e4, & c4); create a strong bind in
the centre, and
typical moves from Black will allow White to catch up in
development and gain a
comfortable advantage. Black must seek activity as soon
as possible, and the move,
9... Ng4; is the perfect way to do this. Now Black
has ideas of ...Qh4; and Nge5;
... and the pawn break of ...f5."  GM John
Emms.
'!'  GM John Emms.
[ 9...Ne5!? ]
10.Nge2,
(Maybe  '!?')
Simple development. (This can't be bad, can it?)
The natural Nf3 looks  at least at a first glance  to be a little better.
*****
[ Could White have
considered playing a move like: 10.000!?,
{Diagram?}
or is this too risky a plan for the
1st player?
Or 10.h3!? Nge5; "=/+" with maybe a slight advantage to Black?
***
Or 10.Nf3 Nge5!; 11.Be2,
(11.Nxe5 dxe5!?; "=/+" {Diagram?} ... "when Black has
a pleasant outpost on d4 for his Knight."  GM
John Emms.) 11...Nxf3+; 12.Bxf3 Nd4!;
13.Bd1 f5!;
14.exf5 Bxf5; "=/+" "Black has a powerful initiative."
 GM John Emms.
15.Ne2!?,
(Maybe '?!/?')
(15.00!? "~") 15...Nxe2!;
16.Bxe2!?, This might be inferior.
(16.Bxg7 Nf4!; 17.Bxf8 Qf6!!; "/+") 16...Bxb2;
17.Qxb2 Qg5!; "=/+"
when
Black has a powerful
initiative.
Vladimir Alortsev  GM Issac Boleslavsky;
U.S.S.R. (Soviet/Russian) Championship / Moscow, (RUS) / 1950.
(Click HERE
to see this game thoroughly annotated.)
That game concluded: 18.g3 Rae8!; 19.00 Bh3;
20.f4!, Bxf1!!;
An amazing
sacrifice in a seemingly tranquil position. It is positionally based,
however
... on White's rather obvious weaknesses of his light squares.
21.fxg5 Rxe2; 22.Qc3!? Bg2!!; 23.Qd3 Bf3!;
24.Rf1 Rg2+!; 25.Kh1 Bc6!;
(Maybe  '!!') 26.Rxf8+ Kxf8;
27.Qf1+
Rf2+; ('!') White Resigns, 0  1.
A brilliant effort by one of the best players
Russia has ever produced. The pity
is that most young players today have never
even heard of the player who
championed the Black pieces in this game! {A.J.G.}
Both GM's Nunn and Soltis rate this in the 'Top 50' of the best games ever played. ]
*****
10...Qh4!?;
(Maybe  '!')
A very nice and aggressive move.
Soltis
provides no commentary here, but several other authors
have given this move an
exclamation point.
Since this is the sharpest and best, and there is
significant risk (for BOTH sides!!!)
connected with this move, I believe it
fully deserves an exclam.
(Black also had several other viable alternatives at
this point.)
[ According to many strong computer programs, Black could have
tried:
10...Re8!?,
"=/+" (Maybe  '!') {Diagram?} which also looks ... VERY good
for Black!
(Several books have also given this line.) ]
11.Ng3!?,
(Too Risky?)
(Maybe  '?!')
White discovers a lateral defence of f2 with his own Queen.
This looks somewhat artificial, and this piece winds up costing White a lot of time.
<< Many years ago, (early 1970's) I tested this game on a strong
Master at a
'Southern Open' in Birmingham, AL. He also played g3.
(He had not
ever seen this game before.) When I asked him why not Ng3,
his reply was blunt:
"It's a bad move. The Knight has now moved twice to get
to a bad square ...
and it will probably have to move again!" He was also very
critical of the
way White had handled the opening.
(I had originally told him this was a game
between myself and one of my friends.)
When I told him GM L. Polugaeyevsky
was
White ...
he simply did not believe me!! >>
It is really hard to say if this is the best move for White.
[ Better maybe was: 11.g3!?,
(Equal ... unclear?) {Diagram?}
After this
move, White might be forced to castle QSide ... but would that be so bad?
Maybe
this would have been White's last chance at a completely equal game?
(When I
originally annotated this game, I had not yet looked at any notes. But GM
E.
Geller also preferred 11.g3 over the what was actually played in the game.)
11...Nce5?!; 12.gxh4 Nf3+; 13.Kd1 Nxf2+;
14.Kc2 Nxd2; 15.Kxd2 Nxh1;
16.Rxh1,
"+/="  GM
John Emms.
***
Not 11.Rd1?? Qxf2#;
To illustrate Black's threat
... and show I have a sense of humor. ]
11...Nge5!?; (Maybe  '!')
Probably the best. (According to many authors. But I prefer ...f5! here.)
"Black rejected 11...f5; (!)
because of 12. f4!, and if 12...Nxh2!?;
then
13. Nce2 and 000."  GM A. Soltis.
Some computers programs already
begin to favor Black from this position.
(But only very slightly.)
[ 11...f5!?; 12.f4! Nxh2; 13.Nce2, "~" ]
12.00; (Maybe  '!?')
Castling
into it, but White may not have much choice at this point.
(I think Be2! may have been just fractionally better here.)
[ Line 12WA.
White could have played: 12.Bc2 Nd4!; 13.Bd1
c5; "=/+" {Diag?}
{Maybe  Unclear?}
 Line by GM A.
Soltis. 14.Nd5!?,
(14.00!?) 14...Bh6;
15.f4?!,
(15.Ne3) 15...Bxf4!;
16.Nxf4 Qxf4; 17.Qxf4 Nd3+; 18.Kd2,
18...Nxf4;
"=/+" (Maybe  "/+")
{Diagram?}
Line by GM J.
Emms. (He ended at move 16. I took it 2 moves further for
the
sake of clarity.);
Line 12WB. Or White could have tried:
12.Be2!? Bh6!; 13.Qd1 f5;
"=" {Diag?}
 Line by GM A.
Soltis.
(Soltis claims both of the above lines, ...
" gives White a poor game.")
14.exf5 gxf5;
15.Nd5 f4!?; "~" {Diagram?}
...
"and White's King is still stuck in the center."  GM John
Emms.
Line 12WC. Definitely NOT 12.000?? Bh6; "/+" winning the White Queen. ]
12...f5!?; (Maybe  '!')
A nice, but rather obvious ... attacking move. (Several
Soviet annotators give this move
an exclam here, and I basically agree with
that.)
Almost stereotypically, the "NezMan" plays the sharpest possible move!
(Black had MANY good possibilities here!)
*****
[ Line #
12B1.)
Black could also
play: 12...Ng4!?; 13.h3 Nxf2!; 14.Rxf2,
{Diag?}
This is probably forced.
(Worse is: 14.Qxf2?! Bd4;
15.Qxd4 Nxd4; 16.Nd5 c5!; 17.Ne2 Nxe2+; 18.Bxe2 f5;
19.Rf4 Qh6; 20.Raf1 Be6; 21.Nc7 g5!; "/+"  GM John Emms.
{ Interesting (in the above line) was: RR
17.Nf6+, Kh8; 18.Ne2, BxP/h3!!; "<=>" (counterplay)
IM Andrew Martin looks at this line (in some detail) in this video
on the YT channel. }
Not 14.Kxf2? Bd4+; 15.Ke2 Qxg3; 16.Kd1
Be5; 17.Rf3 Qh4; "/+" {Diagram?}
is simply horrible for White. )
14...Qxg3; "=/+" {Diagram?} which is clearly a lot better for Black.
***
Line # 12B2.)
Or Black could also play: 12...Bh6!?;
(Maybe  '!') 13.Qd1 Ng4!;
"/\" {Diag?}
Maybe better for Black? ("=/+")
***
Line # 12B3.)
Black could have tried: 12...Nxd3;
and now
... Junior 6.0 gives: 13.Qxd3 Ne5;
14.Qd2 Bh6;
15.Qe1 Be6; 16.Nb5 Rfc8; 17.Bxe5,
 0.35/9 {Diag?}
(17.Rd1!?)
17...dxe5;
"=/+" {Diagram?} is probably slightly better for
Black. ]
*****
13.f3!,
<< "The beginning
of a deep plan of defense," a Nezhmetdinov biographer wrote. >>
 GM
A. Soltis.
'!'  GM Andy Soltis.
(GM Soltis also gives this move an exclam.)
(Soltis goes on to point out the variation given below.)
[ Soltis gives the
variation: 13.f4? Ng4; 14.h3!? Bd4+;
15.Kh1 Qxg3;
16.hxg4 Qh4#
]
13...Bh6;
"=/+" (Almost  '!')
{Diagram?}
A nice "switchoff."
(The darksquared Bishop
leaves the seemingly green grass of the long diagonal for
a possibly inconsequential line of attack. ... It is quite clear this piece does gain a
tempo, however.)
According to MANY computer programs,
(Fritz6, Junior7,
Nimzo8, Shredder,
Rebel, and ChessMaster8000, ... and several others!); Black
already has a
fair size advantage.
I really like this move  and award it an
exclam  although GM Soltis, (and others)
do not follow suit.
White's next
move is pretty much forced.
14.Qd1 f4; (Maybe  '!?')
This seals the
darksquared Bishop OUT of the attack ... but ... it might be the best
longterm attacking idea. (The other possibilities fizzle out pretty quickly.)
[ Many computers like: 14...Be3+!?; 15.Kh1 f4; "~" with a nice attack for Black. ]
15.Nge2
g5; (Maybe  '!') {Diagram
just below.}
Black begins a "Pawn Storm" attack on the
Kside.
Black has used his initiative to mount a scary Kingside attack.
[ 15...Bg7!?; 16.Bc2 Be6; "=/+" ]
16.Nd5 g4!?;
(Maybe  '!/!!')
"Attack, always press forward. Always! TAKE
the initiative ..."
This
was the motto of one (American) General
George Patton.
It may have been the
personal credo of Master
Rashid Nezhmetdinov
as well!
I have personally tested
dozens of strong players here in this position.
Few  if any  will play this
'risky' move here.
[ Most players will play the safe, sane and reasonable move,
16...Rf7;
"=" {Diagram?} when the game is fairly level.
I really think this may be the best continuation at this point. ]
17.g3!, (Almost forced.)
Preventing the
g4g3 advance. (Gaining space for defense.)
"White is lost if he allows
17...g3; 18. h3, Bxh3; or an attack along the hfile
after ...Kh8; &
...gxf3."  GM A. Soltis.
'!'  GM Andrew Soltis. (GM Soltis also gives this move an exclam.)
[ The position after
17.Qd2 g3; 18.h3, {Diag?} is vulnerable to
a sacrifice.
(Since White is so tied up, I would play ..Rf7; then ...Be6; followed by ...Raf8.
Then ...Bxh3; would probably be decisive.); 17.Nxc7?!
g3!; 18.h3 Bxh3!;
19.gxh3 Qxh3; "/+"  GM John Emms.
]
17...fxg3!?;
(Maybe  '!')
"Good enough to keep the initiative ... "  GM John
Emms.
[ 17...Qd8!?; "=/+"  {A.J.G.} Or 17...Qh3!?; "="  GM John Emms. ]
18.hxg3 Qh3!?; (Maybe  '!')
You know Nez doesn't understand the meaning
of retreat!
[ 18...Qd8!? ]
19.f4!,
"+/=" ( Box, or '[]' ?
)
White gains
vital space on the KSide for the defence of his King.
Polu realizes that
...Nf3+; is not that big a deal.
(Considering how bad the alternatives are, this
move is virtually forced.)
(Soltis also gives this move an exclam.)
[ 19.fxg4?
Bxg4!; "/+" Or 19.Bxe5?!
gxf3!; "/+"
Or 19.Nxc7??
Be3+; 20.Rf2 Nxf3# ]
19...Be6!!;
(Maybe  '!?') {Diagram
just below.}
"An imaginative idea."  GM John Emms.
Soltis
only gives this move one exclam, but it certainly deserves two. The
amount
of calculation required to play this move is massive, and this alone
merits ...
TWO exclamation points.
My only problem is I have been working  on,
and off  on this game for almost 67 years ...
(ever since a reader of my web
pages sent me an email, after I announced I was going
to be building a web page
with, "The Best Chess Games of Chess Ever Played."); and
I am NOT yet
convinced this sacrifice is 100% sound!
[ Unclear is:
19...Nf3+!?; 20.Kf2 Qh2+; 21.Ke3,
"+/=" this position is ...
"OK for White," according to
GM Soltis.
Or 19...Rf7!?
]
20.Bc2?,
('?!',
Maybe only
dubious?)
Probably we can chalk this up to excessive enthusiasm by
Polugayevsky.
(Polu had a tendency to often underestimate his opponent's
position.)
"Here 20. Bc1, was refuted by 20...Nd4!! But the fate of the
game hung on the
difference between 20. Bc2, and the superior retreat to
b1."  GM A. Soltis.
GM Soltis (also) awards this move a question mark.
'?'  GM Andrew Soltis. '?'  GM John Emms.
"Under immense pressure,
Polugayevsky slips up, although at this stage it is far from
clear why this
plausible move should lose."  GM John
Emms.
Personally I feel 20. Bc2
looks like a more natural move than Bb1 ... by a factor of nearly 5.
To find
this line over the board  and the refutation in my notes  would have been a
nearly
a superhuman achievement.  LM A.J. Goldsby I
*************************
[ GM Soltis gives the main line of:
(Variation
# 20WA.)
20.Bb1 Bxd5; 21.cxd5,
This looks to be forced.
*******
a).
GM Soltis
also analyzes: 21.exd5 Nf3+; 22.Kf2 Qh2+; 23.Ke3,
23...Rae8+; 24.Be4[],
This is
forced.
***
If 24.Kd3 Rxe2!; 25.Bc3,
This is probably White's best try in this position.
( Or
25.Qxe2 Nb4+;
26.Kc3,
This is probably forced.
( But not 26.Ke3? Re8+; 27.Be4,
Forced.
(Not
27.Be5? Rxe5+!; ("/+") {Diagram?} White cannot capture
with the fpawn, because
of the pin on the h6c1 diagonal.)
27...Rxe4+!; 28.Kxe4 Qxe2+;
("/+") and Black has a won position. )
26...Qxe2; "/+" and Black is winning. )
25...Rfe8; "/+" Black has a dominating position.
***
24...Rxe4+; 25.Kxe4 Re8+; 26.Kd3 Nb4+; 27.Kc3 a5!;
"/+" {D?}
... " and Black wins." Main variation
(here) by GM A. Soltis.
*****
b).
21.Qxd5+ Rf7; 22.Bc3!? Re8;
23.Bc2 Nf3+; 24.Kf2 Ne7!?; {Diag?}
This move is the most forcing.
(24...Qh2+!? ; will transpose.)
25.Qe6 Qh2+; 26.Ke3 Nf5+!; 27.exf5 Rxe6+;
28.fxe6 Re7;
29.Bf5 Qh5; "/+"
(Maybe
"/+") {Diagram?}
Black is probably winning in this position.
Line by  GM J.
Emms.
*******
(Returning now to the main analysis line, #20WA.)
21...Ne7;
22.Kf2!?, {Diagram?} Ugh!
(Maybe  '?!/?')
This simply has a bad
"feel" to it. (And it looks bad too!)
(I should point out many annotators have given this move an exclam.)
***
( The computer gives: 22.Bxe5!
dxe5; 23.Rf2, "+/=" (Possibly only equal, or: "=" ?)
This looks to be MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better
than what White got in the
game!!
{Refutation?}
After months of
computerassisted analysis, the best
lines I could find for Black were slightly
inferior and merely a slim hope for a
draw. (I first found this line in the late 70's, when I was stationed
at
Kirtland A.F.B.)
"Black can still complicate
matters by means of: 23...Bxf4!; 24.gxf4,
24...exf4; "~" {Diagram?} ... when the two
advanced pawns are very
threatening."  GM John Emms.
Again. I found several draws here, but no forced win. )
***
22...Rxf4+!!; (Nice.)
 GM E. Geller.
23.gxf4 N7g6;
... " with a winning attack,"
according to GM
A. Soltis.
E.g., 24.fxe5?,
(Maybe  '??') {Diagram?}
This is the only move some
(most!) annotators give here.
***
a). BUT ... The computers give: 24.Bxe5! dxe5; 25.Qd3!, "+/" Maybe "+/"
This looks winning for White. Is this the
REFUTATION
of White's
entire attack???
25...Qh2+; 26.Ke1 exf4!; "~"
{Diagram?}
When
Black has VERY limited compensation for his material deficit.
b).
24.Qc1?! g3+!; 25.Ke1,
{Diagram?} This could be forced.
(25.Nxg3? Bxf4; "/+") 25...g2;
26.Rg1 Nxf4; 27.Nxf4 Qg3+; 28.Ke2,
28...Qf3+; 29.Ke1 Bxf4; ("/+")
{Diagram?} Black is winning.
c).
24.a4? g3+!; 25.Ke1 g2; 26.Rg1 Nxf4;
27.Bxe5 dxe5; 28.Nxf4 Bxf4;
29.Qd3 Qh2;
"/+" {Diagram?}
and Black has a decisive attack. (line by)  GM John
Emms.
d).
24.Qd4 g3+!;
25.Nxg3 Nxf4; 26.Rg1 Bg7; 27.Qd1, {Diagram?}
Seemingly the only defence, Black threatened to play ...Ng4+;
winning White's Queen in this position.
(27.Nf5?? Qf3+; 28.Ke1 Qe2#)
27...Ng4+;
28.Ke1
Bxb2;
("/+") {D?}
This is an obvious win for Black.  (Line by) GM John
Emms.
***
24...Rf8+; 25.Ke1 Qh4+; {Diagram?}
Black is winning. ("/+")
{Probably a mate in 2.}
Main variation by GM A. Soltis.
********
(Variation # 20WB.) White could try
something like the following:
20.a4?!
Bxd5!; 21.cxd5 Rxf4!; 22.Rxf4,
This looks forced.
(22.gxf4? g3; "/+" or "/+")
22...Bxf4; 23.Nxf4 Qxg3+;
24.Kf1,
Again, this is probably the only
move.
***
( Or 24.Ng2 Nf3+; 25.Kf1,
Once again, the only move.
(25.Kh1??
Qh2#)
25...Rf8!;
">" ("/+") and Black has a winning attack.
)
***
24...Rf8; "/+" and Black should win easily.
********
(Variation # 20WC.)
No one wants to talk about Nxc7. (For
White.)
Most have intimated it loses by force ... one author gives:
"Not 20. Nxc7?,
because of 20...Rxf4!!" This same author gives no further
analysis but
simply states that: ... "and Black has a winning attack."
But it is not that clear if Black even has a win after 20. Nxc7!?
For instance: 20.Nxc7!?, (Maybe  '!') This could be White's best bet.
Many months (years) of work and analysis ... aided by computers ...
have yet to
reveal a clear forced win in this line!!!! {A.J.G.}
I should also note that GM
J. Emms (and GM J. Nunn) did NOT
find a forced win for Black here either!!!
20...Rxf4!!;
{Nice.} Easily the best move here.
(And by now ...
thematic!!)
*****
Black could also try: 20...Bxf4!?; 21.Rxf4, Definitely forced.
***
( 21.Nxf4? Qxg3+;
This is the best.
(Now if 22. Kh1, then 22...Rf6! wins.) 22.Ng2 Rxf1+!;
23.Bxf1,
23...Nf3+; ("/+")  GM John Emms.
Or 21.gxf4? g3; "/+"  GM John Emms. )
***
21...Rxf4; 22.Nxa8!?,
(Hmmm.)
GM J. Emms seems to like this
"greedy" move.
(22.Nxe6 Rf3; "~" (Maybe  "+/=")  GM E. Geller.)
22...Rf3; (Maybe  '!?') {Diagram?}
It is hard to say what the best move is
here.
( Perhaps another alternative is: 22...Rf8;
23.Nc7 Nf3+; 24.Kf2 Nfd4+; ('!?') {D?}
Is this the
best move here? (Or 24...Nfe5+; 25.Kg1 Nf3+;
26.Kf2 Nfe5+; 27.Kg1, "="
It looks like a draw, now.) 25.Ke3!?,
This might be forced.
(Or 25.Kg1? Nxe2+; 26.Qxe2 Qxg3+; 27.Qg2
Qe3+; 28.Kh1 Rf3; "/+" {Diag?}
& Black wins easily.) 25...Rf3+;
26.Kd2 Qh6+; 27.Kc3, "~"
{Maybe equal?}
This
position ......... "is a complete mess."  GM John Emms.
)
23.Bc2
Nxc4!?; 24.bxc4 Rxg3+; 25.Nxg3 Qxg3+; 26.Kh1[],
Onehundred percent forced.
( Not 26.Kf1?? Bxc4+; 27.Bd3 Bxd3+;
28.Qxd3,
This is forced. (Not 28.Qe2?
Qf3+; "/+" {D?} and Black wins easily.)
28...Qxd3+;
("/+") It is a very easy win for the second
player here.
)
26...Qh3+; 27.Kg1 Qg3+; 28.Kh1
Qh3+, "=" {Draw.}
A draw by perpetual check.
 GM John Emms.
***
(We now return to the main analysis line of #20WC.)
21.gxf4,
Most
computers consider this move forced.
(GM Emms gives this move a question mark,
but does not
sufficiently substantiate this with analysis.)
*****
GM John Emms gives
the following variation:
21.Nxf4! Qxg3+;
22.Kh1 Bxf4; 23.Rxf4 Nxd3?!; (Maybe
 '?')
Why this lemon of a move?
( Black seems to win with: >/= 23...Qxf4;
24.Bxe5 Nxe5; 25.Nxa8 Qh6+; 26.Kg2,
26...Qh3+; 27.Kg1 Qe3+!; 28.Kh1 Nxd3;
29.Qc2!? Nf2+!; 30.Kg1 Nxe4+;
31.Kg2 Nd2!; 32.Rf1 Qh3+; 33.Kf2 Qxf1+;
34.Kg3 Qg1+; 35.Kf4 Qf2+; 36.Kg5,
36...h6+; 37.Kxh6 Qh4+; 38.Kg6 Nf3!;
("/+") {Diagram?}
It is mate in just a few moves.
I have checked
this line dozens of times ... with several DIFFERENT chess
analysis engines. I
could generate pages of analysis, (There perhaps dozens
of different sidelines
and variants.); but the result is always the same ...
Black should win. {A.J.G.}
)
24.Nxe6; "~" (Maybe equal?)
Emms says this is very unclear.
(The chess
engine, Nimzo 8.0, after several hours of analysis ...
considers this position
close to approximately equal.)
***
(We now return (again) to the main
analysis line of #20WC.)
21...g3!;
22.Nxg3 Qxg3+; 23.Kh1 Qh3+!;
Black obviously has a draw, if he now wants one.
24.Kg1 Nxd3!;
This looks to be
forced.
*****
a). 24...Bg4!?;
25.Qc2?, {Diagram?} This looks
wrong.
(Why not the natural move, 25.Be2, "=" here?)
25...Rf8; "/+"
 GM John Emms.
b).
Or 24...Qg3+; 25.Kh1 Qh3+;
26.Kg1 Qg3+;
27.Kh1 Qh3+;
("=") which is an obvious draw.
c). 24...Qe3+;
(Hmmm.) {Diagram?}
It is hard to be sure what to think here.
25.Kh1,
{Box.} This looks forced.
(White walks into a pin with: 25.Rf2?! Nxd3; "~"
which is wild and unclear.)
25...Bg4; 26.Qc2 Bf3+; 27.Rxf3[],
This looks forced as well.
(27.Kh2?? Qxf4+;
28.Kh3 Qg4+; 29.Kh2 Bf4#.)
27...Qxf3+; 28.Qg2+,
Once again, this looks like (probably) White's only move.
(28.Kg1?? Nxd3; "/+")
28...Qxg2+; 29.Kxg2 Nxd3;
30.Nxa8 Nxb2; "=/+" {Diagram?}
This looks slightly better for
Black.
(Black has two minor pieces for a Rook and a Pawn.)
(I find it curious that Emms did not even analyze this line here.)
*****
(We now return (one more time) to the
main analysis line of #20WC.)
25.Nxa8, The greediest ... or the stiffest test for the attacker?
*****************************
(
Or (>/=) 25.Qf3!? Nxb2; "~" (Maybe  "=/+") (Since I found a win
for Black
in the main line of this subvariation, White may be forced to play
this.) )
(Analysis diagram after 25.Qf3, Nxb2; given just above.)
*****************************
25...Bxf4!; An improvement after years of analysis! (Feb, 2002.)
( I had originally considered the move: 25...Nxb2; "=/+"
{Analysis Diagram?}
...
"with a wildly unclear position which I would adjudicate as slightly better
for Black." (Maybe.) {I first wrote these words in like October, 1999.}
)
26.Rxf4 Nxf4; 27.Qc2 Qg3+;
28.Kh1 Bg4; ("/+") {Diagram?}
Black has a
winning attack. (Feb. 03, 2002.)
Since I had believed for nearly 20 years that
20.NxP/c7
would win
for WHITE!, finding this line was
truly a revelation!!!
********
(Variation # 20WD.)
Not 20.fxe5?
Bxd5!; 21.Bc1!,
This could be White's best chance in
this position ... and all
the computer programs seem to
agree with this verdict.
(21.exd5? Be3+; 22.Rf2 Bxf2#.)
21...Nxe5; 22.Bxh6 Nf3+; 23.Kf2,
This looks forced.
( 23.Rxf3? gxf3; 24.Nf4 Qxg3+; 25.Kf1 Rxf4!; 26.Bxf4 Qg2+;
27.Ke1 f2+;
28.Kd2 f1Q+; 29.Kc3 Qxf4; ("/+")
Black wins easily, he
has a whole extra Queen  for one White Bishop. )
23...Qh2+; 24.Ke3 Qxh6+; ">" {Diagram?}
with a probably winning attack for Black.
(The computer shows this as an easy
win for Black. He is a Pawn ahead
and his attack will continue.)
********
(Var. #
20WE.)
20.Bc1 Bxd5!;
Maybe the best move here.
*****
a). Or 20...Nd4!?;  E.
Geller. 21.Nxd4 Qxg3+; 22.Kh1 Qh3+;
{Diag?}
Black cannot afford to take any risks here.
(If Black plays: 22...Bxd5; 23.fxe5 Qh3+;
24.Kg1 g3; 25.Rxf8+ Rxf8;
26.Nf3 g2; 27.Be2 Bxe4; 28.Bxh6, "+/="
and White is just a little better.  GM John
Emms.)
23.Kg1 Qg3+;
("=") {Diagram?}
This is an obvious draw by what some call: "perpetual check,"
but is actually a draw by repetition of the position.
(A continuation that could be risky for the second player would be:
23...g3!?; 24.Ne7+ Kh8;
25.Qc2 Nxd3; 26.Nxe6 Qxe6; 27.Nf5 Nxc1;
28.Qc3+ Rf6; 29.Raxc1 Bg7; 30.Nxg7
Kxg7; 31.Rf3!?, "~" {Diag?}
with possibly the slightly worse game for Black here. {A.J.G.})
***
b). 20...Nf3+; 21.Kf2 Qh2+;
22.Ke3
Bg7; 23.Rh1 Qg2;
24.e5 Bf5; "~" {Diagram?}
"The opening of the centre
favours Black, whose King remains
the safer of the two."  GM John Emms.
*****
21.cxd5, This is (probably) forced for White in this position.
( </= 21.fxe5?!, ('?') 21...Nxe5; "/+" )
21...Nd4!; 22.Nxd4 Qxg3+;
23.Kh1 Qh3+; 24.Kg1
Nxd3; "/+" (Maybe "/+")
Black is certainly better here, and may
be winning.
 LM
A.J. Goldsby I
*************************
20...Rf7;
"~" (Maybe  '!?/?!')
{Diagram below.}
Black
now defends c7.
This is good, but is this the only move?
Neither GM A. Soltis or GM John Emms analyze any alternatives to this move.
Follow this line
of thought: If Black is going to sacrifice his Rook on f4 anyway, isn't the
move
...Rf7; just a waste of one tempo in this position?
[ Black had a very
reasonable alternative in: >/= 20...Bxd5!?;
(Maybe  '!/!!')
21.cxd5,
{Diagram?} This looks positionally forced.
(White tries to keep all the lines leading to
his Kside closed.)
{The alternatives were no better.}
*****
a). 21.Qxd5+?! Rf7;
22.Bxe5, {Box?} This looks
positionally forced.
(White must remove some of the Black pieces before the
attack becomes
an overwhelming force.) (22.Rac1?
Re8; "/+") 22...dxe5;
('!?' ... Maybe  '!')
I like this as the most logical way of continuing the
attack.
(Maybe even better is: 22...Nxe5!?; {Analysis Diagram?}
bringing another
piece into the attack. But I never found a forced win
after: 23.Kf2!, (Best.) with maybe an unclear position.)
23.Rf2 Rd8;
(Hmmm.) This looks best.
24.Qe6
Nd4; 25.Nxd4 exd4; 26.Rg2 Rd6!; 27.Qe8+ Rf8;
28.Qe7,
28...Bxf4!!; 29.gxf4 Qe3+;
30.Kh1, Looks forced.
(30.Kf1?? Rxf4+; 31.Rf2 Qxf2#) 30...Rh6+;
31.Rh2 Qf3+; 32.Kg1,
32...Qg3+!;
33.Rg2 Qe3+; 34.Rf2,
Unfortunately, this could be (is) forced.
(34.Kf1? Rh1+; 35.Rg1 Rxg1#) 34...g3;
35.Qg5+ Rg6; ("/+")
and Black wins without any problems.
***
b). 21.fxe5?? Be3+; 22.Rf2 Bxf2#.
***
c). 21.exd5?! Nf3+;
22.Kf2
Qh2+; 23.Ke3 Rae8+; 24.Be4,
{Box?}
This looks pretty much forced.
( Not 24.Kd3?!
Rxe2; 25.dxc6,
{Diag?} What else is
there?
(Naturally, bad is: 25.Qxe2? Nb4+; ("/+") & White
will lose his Queen.)
25...Rd2+;
("/+")
and of course, Black is
winning here. )
24...Rxe4+!; 25.Kxe4 Re8+;
26.Kd3 Nb4+; 27.Kc3 a5!;
28.c5[], {Diagram?}
Forced.
(28.Nd4?? Re3+; 29.Qd3 Rxd3#. Or 28.Rxf3?! Rxe2; 29.c5 Re4!!; "/+")
28...Rxe2; 29.Kc4 Rd2!; 30.cxd6 cxd6!;
("/+") {Diagram?}
Black has a killer attack ... and tons of murderous threats.
*****
(Returning now to the main analysis line.)
21...Rxf4!!;
{Analysis Diagram?} The best move here.
(And, the by now ...
very familiar sacrifice.)
(Or 21...Nf3+!?; 22.Kf2 Qh2+; 23.Ke3, "~")
22.gxf4,
This looks forced.
*****
(The alternatives were not appealing.)
a). 22.Nxf4? Qxg3+; 23.Kh1, Again, this looks forced.
( Worse is: 23.Ng2?? Be3+; 24.Rf2,
Really  the only move.
(Other than resignation!) (Not
24.Kh1? Qh3#.) 24...Nf3+!;
25.Qxf3 gxf3;
26.Kh1, {Diagram?}
Again, this is forced. (The
alternative is: 26.Raf1 Qxg2#.)
26...Qh3+; 27.Kg1 Qxg2#.
Mating in style! )
23...Bxf4!; 24.Rxf4[] Qxf4;
and Black
still has a strong attack.
(Note that White's King is completely exposed to
attack.)
25.dxc6 Qh6+; 26.Kg2 Qh3+;
27.Kg1 Nf3+; 28.Kf2 Qh2+;
29.Ke3 bxc6!; "=/+"
(Maybe  "/+")
Black has three pawns for the piece... and
his attack continues.
(Additionally White's King is in an extremely awkward
position!)
Or
b). 22.Rxf4 Bxf4; 23.Nxf4,
{Diagram?} This is probably best.
(23.gxf4 g3; 24.Nxg3 Qxg3+; 25.Kf1 Ng4; 26.Bd4 Nb4; 27.Bb1 Nxd5!!;
28.exd5 Re8; "/+") 23...Qxg3+;
24.Kf1!?, {Box?}
This is also {prolly} forced.
( 24.Ng2? Rf8; (Best.)
25.Bxe5 Nxe5; 26.Qd3,
{Diagram?}
This seems just about forced.
(26.Rc1? Rf2; "/+") 26...Nxd3;
27.Bxd3,
27...Qf2+; 28.Kh1 Rf6; {Diag?}
("/+") Black wins. {Mate in three.} )
24...Rf8; 25.Bxe5 Nxe5;
Probably the best line for Black.
(25...dxe5!?) 26.Qd2,
White must be able to cover {protect} his King.
(The continuation of: 26.Ke2 Qh2+!; 27.Ke3 Rxf4!; "/+"
{Diagram?}
is also an easy win for Black.) 26...Rxf4+;
27.Qxf4, {Diagram?}
This is also forced. (Worse
is: 27.Ke2 Qf3+; 28.Ke1 Qf1#)
27...Qxf4+; 28.Ke2 Qh2+; ("/+")
Black has a winning material advantage ... and his attack
continues.
*****
(Returning again to the main line.)
22...g3;
23.Nxg3 Qxg3+; 24.Kh1 Qh3+; 25.Kg1,
25...Kh8!;
(Maybe 
'!!') Black walks into a pin, but it does not matter.
26.Kf2, (This) Looks to be forced.
***
( 26.Qd3!? Rg8+;
{Diagram?}
(The Queen could not be taken
because of the pin on the long diagonal.)
27.Kf2 Qg2+; 28.Ke1 Nb4; 29.Qe2
Nxc2+; 30.Kd2 Nxa1; 31.Bxa1,
31...Qg3;
32.Bd4, This looks forced. (
Or 32.Qe3!? Qh2+!; 33.Rf2, {D?}
(33.Kd1?! Qxa2; "/+") 33...Rg2; 34.Ke2 Rxf2+; 35.Qxf2 Qxf2+;
36.Kxf2 Bxf4; ("/+") Black is winning easily. )
32...Bxf4+;
("/+") Black should have no problem winning. )
***
(Once more, we return to the main {analysis} line.)
26...Rg8;
27.Ke1,
This looks forced.
(27.Qd3 Qh2+; 28.Ke1 Nb4; "/+"
Or 27.Bxe5+ dxe5;
28.Qd3 Qg2+; 29.Ke1 Nb4; "/+")
27...Qh4+; 28.Kd2, (again) Looks forced.
(Slightly worse was the continuation: 28.Rf2? Rg1+; 29.Ke2 Qg4+;
30.Kd2 Bxf4+; 31.Kc3 Rxd1; 32.Rxd1 Qg3+;
33.Bd3 Qxf2; ("/+") {Diag?}
Needless to say, this is an easy win for
Black. )
28...Bxf4+; 29.Kc3 Rg3+; 30.Bd3 Nxd3!;
31.Kc2+! Nxb2; 32.Kxb2
Be5+;
33.Ka3,
{Box?} The White King scurries to the edge of the board.
(Not 33.Kb1?? Qxe4+; 34.Qc2 Qd4!; "/+" Or 33.Kc1? Rc3+; "/+")
33...Qxe4!;
34.Qe1, Forced, to prevent ...Qb4#.
( </= 34.dxc6? Bc3;
"/+" (Also good is: 34...Qxc6!?;
35.Rf8+ Kg7; 36.Qf1!?,
36...Qc5+; 37.Ka4 Rg4+; "/+" which also wins for Black.)
)
34...Qxd5; ("/+")
Black has a material win and his attack continues unabated.
If this
analysis holds up, then this is a forced win ... and a big improvement
over 20...Rf7. And it all seems to be pretty much forced  there are no unclear
lines in which White can look for salvation.
This is all my original analysis ... as
far as I know, no other author ...
even LOOKS at 20...Bxd5!!
 LM A.J. Goldsby I
]
21.Kf2!,
Soltis also gives this move an exclam, but he does not explain
why.
(Basically it looks like White's only hope is to run away from the
attack! And this move
also threatens Rh1, winning the Black Queen but Nez isn't
too worried about that one!!)
[ 21.fxe5? Bxd5!;
22.Rxf7 Bxf7;
(22...Be3+!?;
23.Rf2 Rf8; "/+")
23.Bd4
Bg7!; ">" {Diag?}
with probably a winning attack for Black.
Or 21.Bxe5!? Nxe5!; "=/+" {Diagram?} Black is slightly better. ]
21...Qh2+;
22.Ke3, (Maybe  '!')
Is
this forced?
[ Much worse would be:
22.Ke1? Nf3+;
23.Rxf3 gxf3; 24.Nf6+ Kf8; 25.e5,
(25.f5!?)
25...dxe5;
26.Qd3,
(26.Nxh7+!?) 26...f2+;
27.Kd2, This is forced.
(27.Kf1?? Bh3#) 27...Rxf6;
"/+" {Diag?} with a won game
for Black. ]
22...Bxd5!?;
(Probably  '!')
"Eliminating a key defender. Black has to act before White begins to strike
back with Rh1."  GM A. Soltis.
[ 22...Nf3!?; The computer likes: 22...Qh5!? ]
23.cxd5
Nb4;
This is almost forced and easily the best.
24.Rh1!?,
(Is this move an error?) {Diagram
just below.}
It is not clear if this is best, forced, or even any good. And Soltis provides
no commentary here to guide us!
(Is it possible this is the losing move???)
*****
[
Could White try: 24.Rc1!?,
"~" {Diagram?}
Maybe this is slightly better for White??
("+/=");
***
Or 24.a3!?,
"=" An interesting try, White prevents
...Nb4;
   which is so
devastating in so many lines. (I first began looking at this
move  seriously  when I was
stationed at Kirtland A.F.B. I would analyze
this move with other members of
the Albuquerque Chess Club.)
(Several authors claim to have
refuted this move, but I have never
checked their analysis in depth
 and using a computer.)
A fan sent
me the following analysis stating it was done on CM9000:
24...Nxc2+!?;
This is probably forced.
(24...Qh3?; 25.axb4, "+/")
25.Qxc2,
This is forced.
(25.Kd2?? Nxa1; "/+")
One fan offers the line of:
25...Raf8; '!?'
(Maybe  '!')
This could be the best try.
(
Maybe Black
could also try: = 25...Qh3!?; 26.Bxe5!? dxe5;
27.Rh1 exf4+!?; {D?}
Is this
best? (27...Rxf4; 28.Kd3 Rf3+; 29.Kc4 Qg2; 30.Rxh6!?
Re3; "~"
This could be
better for Black ... but that is not entirely certain.)
28.Kd3 Qg2;
29.Rxh6
f3!?; 30.Nf4 Qxg3; 31.Nh5 Qe5; 32.Qc3 Qxc3+;
33.Kxc3 f2;
34.Rf1 Rf3+;
35.Kb2
Raf8!; "~" with continuing complications.
)
26.Rac1!?, (Previously,
this move was given without any comment here.)
This is all very old analysis ... it is based on work that I
probably started in the late
1980's or the mid1990's. (Monday;
May 9th, 2011.)
> [ (early) April, 2011
I decide to have another look at this critical line, the analysis engines (and the computers!)
have gotten much stronger in the years since I first seriously analyzed this game.
I spent several days on this position, and I even did a DPA overnight ...
but there seems to be nothing more than a draw for Black. To wit:
>/= 26.Rh1! Rxf4!!; 27.Rxh2 Rf3+;
28.Kd4 Be3+!; 29.Kc3
Bc5+!; 30.Kd2 Be3+;
31.Kc3 Bc5+; 32.Kd2 Be3+;
" = " (repetition) with an obvious draw. )
{Analysis engines used  primarily Fritz 12 and Houdini 1.5a.} ]
26...Qh3; 27.Bxe5!?, I am not sure about this move.
( But worse is: 27.Kf2?! Bxf4!!; ">" ("=/+")
and Black is clearly a bit better.
(To say the
least!) )
27...dxe5; {Box.}
Of course, Black must recapture.
28.Rh1
exf4+!?; "~" {Diagram?}
The position is very radical. (And unclear.)
{This fan
claims to have checked all of this on programs like ChessMaster 9000 ...
but he
made so many simple mistakes, this is sort of hard to believe.}
(Black can
also try the VERY tricky move: 28...Rxf4!?;
also with a complex position.
);
***
But not 24.Bxe5? dxe5; 25.Bb1
exf4+; "/+" {Diagram?}
with a probably
winning attack for Black. (Maybe "/+") ]
*****
Black to play. (See the diagram  above  after 24.Rh1.)
FM Burgess picks up his analysis of this game with this position.
"Black
has been attacking vigorously since the opening, and crowns his offensive
with
a magnificent Queen sacrifice."  FM Graham Burgess.
(From his book, "Chess Highlights Of The 20th Century,"
pg. # 121.)
Now
"Super  Nez" plays one of the most stunning and exciting shots
...
in all
of the annals of chess.
24...Rxf4!!;
(Ultrabrilliant.) (Maybe
 '!!!' or '!!!!') {Diagram
below.}
Now this is truly an extraordinary shot and fully deserves
the double exclam that
Soltis awards it. (Maybe it even deserves more?)
"Black had foreseen this brilliant shot when deciding on his 19th
move."
 GM A. Soltis.
(Soltis also gives this move 2 exclams.)
"The White King will be dragged all over the board to its doom."  FM G. Burgess.
(FM Burgess also gives this move two exclams.)
"A fabulous
move which is the start of a long combination, forcing the White King
to trudge
up the board to its death."  GM John Emms.
'!!'  GM A. Soltis. '!!'  GM John Emms. '!!'  FM Graham Burgess.
One of the more amazing things about
Black's 24th move, is even in the year 2001,
with the best computer programs,
running on a Pentium IV with 132 MB of RAM ...
do NOT find this move!! (Even if
you give them several minutes.)
25.Rxh2, (Forced?)
Sigh.
White is going to be toasted. He may as well enjoy himself!
[ Var.
# 1.) Soltis gives: 25.Nxf4? Nxc2+; ... "is winning for Black."
 FM Burgess.
(...
"is also a disaster for White."  GM John Emms.) 26.Qxc2[]
Qxc2; "/+" {Diag?}
This is winning for
Black.
Var. # 2.) Soltis also gives:
25.gxf4?! Bxf4+!;
26.Kd4, {Diagram?} Is this
forced?
(26.Nxf4? Nxc2+;
("/+")  Soltis and Burgess.) 26...Qf2+;
27.Kc3 Qc5#. (Mate.)
 GM A. Soltis.
Var. # 3.) Or
25.Kd4? Qf2+; 26.Kc3 Qc5+; 27.Kd2 Rf1+!;
28.Nf4
Nf3+!; (nice)
29.Qxf3[],
{D?} This looks forced. (29.Ke2 Rf2#)
29...Qxc2+; 30.Ke3 Qd3#.
]
25...Rf3+;
This is a doublecheck, and there is only one legal response.
26.Kd4,
{Diagram below.}
This was White's only legal move!
Now Black has a serious choice to make in this position.
26...Bg7!!; (Maybe '!!!')
{Diagram below.}
Soltis bubbles over at this move, but was it really
necessary? (Maybe yes and no.)
<< The special nature of this
extraordinary position, Nezhmetdinov noted, is that
Black's threat is a
"quiet" move, 27...b5!; which eliminates c4 as a flight square
and
thereby threatens 28...Nec6# mate. Black also has a second mating idea:
27...c5+; 28. dxc6, bxc6; and 29...c5. >>
 GM A. Soltis.
For my part, I
will say if this combination is sound, this is one of the greatest quiet
moves
ever made!
(Soltis also gives this move two exclamation points.)
"Threatening the remarkably calm 27...b5; and 28...Nec6#."  FM G. Burgess.
"A whole Queen down,
Nezhmetdinov produces a deadly quiet move.
The main
threat is the simple 27...b5; followed by 28...Nec6#." 
GM John Emms.
'!'  FM Graham Burgess. '!'  GM John Emms.
***
[
Black wins easily with
the more mundane: (boring) 26...c5+!;
{Diagram?}
Now White's only legal move is to
capture, "Pawn takes Pawn, en passant."
(Otherwise it would be mate.)
27.dxc6 b5!;
GM Andrew Soltis seems to have overlooked this move.
(Soltis only gives: 27...bxc6?; 28.Bd3!, "~")
28.Bd3[], This looks completely forced.
(Not 28.Rxh6?? Nexc6# Or 28.Qd3? Rxd3+; 29.Bxd3 Nf3+; 30.Kc3 Bd2#
This complicated mate is seen pretty quickly by
most computers, but missed
by most humans I have tested this position on.)
28...Nexc6+; 29.Kc3 Bg7+;
30.Kd2 Rxd3+; 31.Ke1 Rxd1+;
32.Rxd1
Bxb2; "/+" {Analysis diagram.}
Probably "/+" and winning for Black.
This win is
much simpler than the one in the game, and is not mentioned by many
authors.
But the game continuation is obviously VASTLY superior to this line! ]
Polugaeyevsky thought his next move was forced.
27.a4[], (Definitely
forced!)
White has to stop b5. (If he allows Black to play ...b5;
he will be mated in short order.)
"There is no good option here."  FM G. Burgess.
(June 14th, 2007) POSTSCRIPT: Today, the programs have become
much stronger than
when I first began my project of trying to find and analyze the best games of chess.
BEFORE White's 27th move, the computer has Black winning by two or three points.
AFTER 27.a4, the machine switches to a "matefinder" mode ... ... ...
(I leave you to draw your own conclusions about this move, Fritz
prefers either 27.Ng1 or
27.Nc3. Both of these moves are analyzed  in a fair
amount of detail
 just below.)
**********
[
(Line # 27WA.)
27.Ng1 Rxg3!; 28.Ne2 Rf3;
29.Ng1 Ned3+!; 30.Kc4, {Box.}
Pretty much forced.
( The line:
30.e5 Bxe5+; 31.Kc4[],
{Diagram?} This has got to be forced.
(31.Ke4?? Nc5#) 31...Rf4+;
32.Bd4 Rxd4+; 33.Kc3 Nxd5+; 34.Kd2,
34...Bf4+;
35.Ke2
Re8+; 36.Kf1 Ne3+; ("/+")
Black wins. {Diagram?}
... "is complete
carnage."  GM John Emms.
)
30...Nxb2+;
31.Kxb4 Bc3+; 32.Ka3 b5!;
"/+"
... "and wins," according to Soltis.
(This line makes
sense, in fact is it beautiful. The computer seems to have found
some slight
flaws in some of the other lines Soltis gives in this game.)
Continuing this line, we get: 33.b4, Probably the only defense for White.
a).
Silly is: 33.Nxf3?? b4#;
b).
Or 33.Qd4!? Bxd4; 34.Nxf3 Bc3!!;
35.b4 a5!!; ("/+") and Black should
win easily. (35...Nc4+; 36.Kb3 Bxa1; 37.Ng5
g3; "/+")
33...a5!;
34.bxa5 Nc4+; 35.Kb3 Nxa5+; 36.Ka3
Nc4+; 37.Kb3 Ra3# {Diag?}
 FM G.
Burgess. (Line by Steve Giddins?  GM
John Emms.)
*****
(Line # 27WB.) (>/=)
27.Nc3!, {Analysis Diagram.}
Here Soltis
gives: "27...Rxg3!;
and among other things 28...Nbd3!; 29. Bxd3, Nxd3+;
and
a win is threatened."
However, when this line is entered in the computer
...
Instead Black should probably play:
27...Ned3+!;
Maybe this is the
best move for Black at this point.
***
a).
Interesting is: 27...Rxg3!?;
(Hmmm.) Soltis gives this move an exclam.
(Originally I thought this move to be
an error, but it appears Black can also
win with this move.) 28.Rb1,
One annotator highly recommended
this move. (I guess the idea is to protect the
Bishop and prevent the fork
between the King and Queen that occurs in so many
variations.)
a1).
Did GM A. Soltis miss the fairly interesting move:
28.Rxh7!?,
"~" (Maybe  '!')
It is not completely clear if Black can still win
from this position.
a2).
28.Bb1 c5+!;
(28...c6!?) 29.dxc6
bxc6; 30.Na4 c5+; 31.Nxc5,
31...Rc8!;
("/+") Black has a
winning attack.
a3).
28.Ne2 Rf3;
(Maybe  '!') Black simply keeps the
White King in the trap.
29.Ng1 c5+!; 30.dxc6 Ned3+!;
31.Kc4 b5+!; 32.Kxb5
Rb8+; 33.Ka4[],
(33.Kc4?? Nxb2#) 33...Nxb2+;
34.Ka3 Nxd1; 35.Bxd1 Rc3; 36.e5,
36...Rxc6;
37.Rh4 h5!; "/+" (Maybe  '!!')
{Diagram?} So that if Rxh5,
Black
responds simply ...dxe5! Black's many threats will carry the day.
28...a6!; 29.Bd3 Nec6+!;
(29...Nbxd3!?; "/+") 30.Kc4 b5+!;
31.Nxb5[],
31...axb5+;
32.Kxb5 Ra5+; 33.Kc4 Rc5#.
Or b).
27...c5+!?;
28.dxc6 Ned3+; 29.Kc4
Nxb2+; 30.Kxb4 Bxc3+; 31.Ka3,
31...Nxd1; 32.Rxd1 bxc6;
(best.) 33.Rxd6 Rxg3;
"=/+"
is probably just an inferior version of the main continuation in this line.
(After 27.Nc3.);
***
28.e5,
{Diagram?} This is probably forced.
(28.Kc4 Nxb2+; 29.Kxb4 Bxc3+; 30.Ka3,
30...b5; 31.b4 a5!; "/+"  GM John Emms. (Emms notes this
variation is similar to
several
other lines.) ) 28...Bxe5+;
29.Kc4, Forced.
(29.Ke4?? Nc5#) 29...Nxb2+;
30.Kxb4 Bxc3+;
31.Ka3 Nxd1; 32.Rxd1 Rxg3;
"/+" and Black is much better, maybe
even winning. ("/+") Now FM G. Burgess gives: 33.Rxh7
Rg2; "/+" {D?}
(Maybe "/+") Black is probably winning. (GM J. Emms also gives this
line.)
34.Bb1!? b5!; ("/+")
{Diagram?} Black is much better. (If not winning outright.)
He has a material advantage of 2 pawns. Additionally, he still has threats against
the White
Monarch.  LM A.J. Goldsby I
*****
(Line # 27WC.) 27.Rf2!?, {Diagram?} Soltis gives this move an exclam. ('!')
Soltis now gives the line:
27...Rxf2; 28. Ke3, Rf3+; 29.
Kd2, Bh6+; 30. Nf4, Rxg3;
... "with a murderous attack."
 GM A. Soltis.
But instead Black should play: 27...c5+!; Easily the best move here.
( Soltis gives: 27...Rxf2; 28.Ke3 Rf3+; 29.Kd2 Bh6+; 30.Nf4 Rxg3;
"/+" {Diagram?}
Soltis stops here. ( ... "with a murderous attack," says
GM
A. Soltis.) 31.Bxe5,
31...dxe5; 32.Bb1 Bxf4+; 33.Ke2 Rf8; "/+" (Maybe 
"/+") {Diagram?}
Black does have a very strong  if not a winning  attack here.
{A.J.G.} )
28.dxc6 Ned3+; 29.e5, White tries blocking the check on the long diagonal.
(
FM G. Burgess gives the line: 29.Kc4 b5+;
30.Kxb5 Rb8+; 31.Ka4,
{Diagram?}
This looks close to being forced.
(</= 31.Ka5? Nxc6+; 32.Ka4 Rb4+; 33.Ka3 Bxb2#)
31...Nxb2+; 32.Ka3
Nxd1; 33.Rxf3, {Diagram?}
Again, this is close to being forced
here. (Worse is: 33.Bxd1?!
Rxf2; "/+") 33...Nxc2+;
34.Ka4 Nb2+; 35.Ka5,
35...gxf3;
"/+" {Diagram?}
... and Black is winning. (Line by)  FM G.
Burgess.
(Also by GM John Emms.) )
29...Bxe5+;
30.Kc4 b5+; 31.Kxb5 Rb8+; 32.Ka4,
This is forced.
( 32.Ka5 Nxc6+; 33.Ka4, Forced. (Or 33.Ka6 Nc5#) 33...Rb4+; 34.Ka3 Bxb2# )
32...Nxb2+; 33.Ka3 Nxd1; 34.Bxh7+, Prolly forced.
(Not 34.Bxd1?! Rxf2; "/+" Or 34.Rxd1? Nxc2+; 35.Ka4 Rxf2; "/+")
34...Kg7!;
35.c7 Rc8; 36.Rxf3 gxf3; 37.Rxd1 fxe2; 38.Re1
Bc3; 39.Rxe2,
39...Kxh7;
"/+" {Diagram?}
and Black is winning easily.
*****
(Line # 27WD.) 27.Rc1? b5; 28.Bb1 Nec6#; (Mate.)
*****
(Line # 27WE.) 27.Bd3?! Nexd3+;
28.Kc4 Nxb2+; 29.Kxb4
Nxd1;
30.Rxd1 Re8;
("/+") ... "and Black will be two pawns
up."  GM John Emms.
]
**********
27...c5+;
28.dxc6 bxc6;
The computers, after several hours of analysis, says this
position is like a mate in 7.
(For Black.)
29.Bd3
[],
Looks forced.
"At least this clears c3 for the King in case of 29...c5+."  GM A. Soltis.
[ 29.Rh5??
c5#. Or
29.Qd3?! Nexd3+; 30.Kc4
d5+; 31.exd5 cxd5+;
32.Kb5
Rb8+; 33.Ka5 Nc6+; 34.Ka6 Nc5#.
]
29...Nexd3+;
30.Kc4,
One almost feels sorry for Polugayevsky's King at this
point.
[ Soltis points
out the line: 30.e5 Bxe5+;
31.Kc4 d5#.
(FM G. Burgess also gives this line here.) ]
30...d5+; 31.exd5 cxd5+; 32.Kb5 Rb8+; 33.Ka5 Nc6+; White Resigns, 0  1.
"Mate is forced."  FM G. Burgess.
"White did not wait for Black to choose between 34. Ka6, Nc5 mate, and 34...Rb6 mate. An extraordinary contest."  GM Andrew Soltis.
Easily one of the prettiest games of chess ever played ... and certainly one of the more amazing KingHunts of all time.
Nezhmetdinov  himself  considered this his best game of chess.
******************************************************************************************
My complaints/criticisms of this game are as follows:
#
1.) Polu had played this line many times, even using it in speed
chess. It is entirely possible
that much of this game was the result of home
preparation by Nez. (The
entire game  up to White's 10th move  had been played many
times before, see the note after White's 10th move.)
#
2.) Polugaeyevsky's play in the opening is certainly below standard
and could be called downright ugly.
(Just about everyone I have shown this
game to over the years has been
critical of the manner in which White handled the opening.)
#
3.) I have worked on this game now almost 6 straight months. And I
have been working on it  off and on
(Fairly consistently.)  for OVER 23 years.
And although I have not refuted Black's play, (At
least not to a 100% certainty.); I remain unconvinced that this game is 100 per cent
sound. I still
think it is possible that White may be able to refute Black's concept
.......... > starting with 19...Be6. (See Var. # 20WA.)
{ALSO ... I have yet to
find a forced win after 20. Nxc7!? > This
WAS true for almost 3 years!!!!!}
#
4.) Additionally, MANY of the other moves of this game can be called
into question, and it is clear
that probably both parties may have missed the
best continuation of moves at various
points in this incredible game. (Probably not an unexpected result, considering
this might be the one of the
most complex games ever played.)
******************************************************************************************
(I have seen this game dozens of times over the years. I have even had about a dozen people send me photocopies of magazine articles, and newspaper columns on this game. And I have seen this combination analyzed in several books on chess tactics.)
******************************************************************************************
(The
34 main books that I have referenced concerning this game are as
follows.)
Bibliography:
"The
100 Best," by GM Andrew Soltis.
[The 100 Best Chess Games Of The 20th Century, Ranked." (c) 2000, MacFarland Books.]; (Game # 2, page # 38.)
"Chess Highlights of The 20th Century," by FM Graham Burgess. (Year 1958, Pg. # 121.) [ (c) 1999, G. Burgess & Gambit Publications, Ltd. ]
[The
Mammoth Book of] "The World's Greatest Chess
Games," by Dr./GM John Nunn, GM John Emms, and (of course) FM Graham Burgess.
[ Copyright (c) 1998, by all the authors; and Robinson Publishing (UK)
and Carroll & Graf Publishing House. (USA) ] (Game # 40, page # 224.)
"Nezhmetdinov's
Best Games of Chess," by (IM) Rashid
Nezhmetdinov.
The great masters greatest games, with the notes culled from
many different Soviet/Russian chess books, newspapers, and chess
magazines.
(A translation of the original Russian book, by Dale A. Brandeth.) Published by Caissa Editions, Yorklyn, Delaware; (USA) © 2000.
ISBN: # 0939433559
(I did not have this book when I first annotated this game, I only
obtained it in November or December, 2003.)
[ I intend ... sometime in the near future ... in going over the rather
lengthy annotations in this book, and see if there is anything really
significant
that I could add to my annotations of this great game. Dec.
31st, 2003. ]
I also have SEVERAL different books on Soviet chess ... and this game is in virtually all of those books!
*****
But it is still a very beautiful game ... and one of the more exciting and interesting Queen sacrifices ever played.
Another thing that stands out for me, is that despite the fact I have analyzed this game many, many times; I am still very much impressed with Black's incredible quiet move on move 26. It is to me, one of the most incredible quiet moves ever played in all the annals of chess.
Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I; (©) A.J. Goldsby, 2000  2003. (©) 2004.
0  1
(All HTML code initially) Generated with ChessBase 8.0
Click HERE to see a deep computer analysis (using the program, Rybka) of this game by {user} <RandomVistor> ... from the CG website.
I first annotated
this game (seriously) in the early 1980's.
(Annotating it on my friend's computer, and also in several notebooks.)
I worked on it several times, and then laid it aside.
(I actually repeated this process several times,
as I have done with MANY chess games.
***
I started on it
again, when I began this project of finding the best chess games of all time.
(9798)
I have been working on this game for many YEARS ... but not
continuously.
It then took nearly another 7 11 weeks (or more!) of work to get this web page
ready ...
for publication on my website. SO ... Enjoy!
This game, in
ChessBase format; is
probably one of the best annotation jobs anyone has ever done
on this particular game. It also contains a fairly decent survey of the
opening. If you would like a copy
of this game to study on your computer, I hope you would contact
me.
May, 2003: Many of you have written me complaining about my criticisms of this game. Please understand I went looking for ten of the most beautiful games of chess ever played. One of my main beliefs was that the winner's conduct  both in terms of strategy and tactics  should be SOUND! I don't think this is unfair or unreasonable.
Many have accused me of hating the player or wanting to denigrate Nezhmetdinov's achievements. Nothing could be further from the truth!! (Visit my "Forgotten Players" Page, and see the section on Nezhmetdinov. Play over the small selection of the games there.) I also want to petition FIDE ... one day ... and see if we could not get the title of GM granted to this great player. (He certainly deserved it!!)
***********************************
Note: (Late May, 2006.) There has been much analysis on one popular server ... as concerns this game. While there has been nothing dramatic, it is all interesting analysis. I hopefully will eventually incorporate some of that material into this page. {A.J.G.}
***********************************
June 16th, 2007: I finished about a three month project of going over this game. I changed several old variations, deleted a few lines, etc. However, most of the analysis that I did over five years ago is remarkably accurate, I found no major holes in my analysis. And after literally dozens of requests, I added a few diagrams to this page.
***********************************
Monday; May 09, 2011: I added a new line here ... to the critical analysis after White's 24th move. (A bold, highlighted arrow ... at the left side of the page ... should make it easy to find this new addition.
Click HERE
to return to the page you left. (The "Best All  Time Games" page.)
Click HERE
to go to (return) to my home page. (Main Page.)
***
If you enjoyed this page, you
might enjoy my page dedicated to ...
"The Best Short Games Of Chess."
(Click HERE.)
***
This game was (first) posted on my website on: (2000?)
(This page last updated on: Wednesday, May 06, 2015 .)
Another great GAME ... ... ... featuring the "Old Indian" Opening!!
Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I
Copyright
(©) A.J. Goldsby, 19852014.
Copyright (©) A.J. Goldsby, 2015. All rights reserved.