Rashid Nezhmetdinov's Best Game Prizes
After showing all of Tal’s 15 best game prizes in my previous article, it struck me that many Chess.com members might not have heard of Rashid Nezhmetdinov (born 1912, died 1974), who tied with Karpov for the third and fourth places for the best game awards (Tal had 15, Kasparov had 12, and Karpov and Nezhmetdinov each had 10).
I also noticed that everyone was in love with Tal’s style. Due to that, I decided to let you see all 10 of Nezhmetdinov’s prize-winning games since his attacking skills were just as fine as Tal’s.
Since Rashid Nezhmetdinov was one of the most talented attacking players ever, you might wonder why he never challenged for the world championship. The problem was that he was one-dimensional. If you allowed him to have an attack you would probably be wiped off the board. But if you played a positional game, or an endgame, or a boring game, or a game that didn’t allow his pieces to be active, he just wasn’t the same guy.
Nezhmetdinov via YouTube.
Nevertheless, he did beat many of the Soviet Union’s finest players. For example, his won two games against Spassky (though Spassky had a plus score), had a win against the super-strong Geller (though Geller also had a plus score), got a win against Bronstein, and Nezhmetdinov had a plus score against Tal (both players went at each other tooth and nail).
He also beat great players like Mikenas, Furman, Estrin, Lilienthal, Szabo, Stahlberg, Shamkovich, Polugaevsky, Flohr, etc.
Of course, players that knew how to avoid Nezhmetdinov’s attacking positions did quite well. Korchnoi, Petrosian and Averbakh dominated him.
Image via AZ Quotes.
Here are Nezhmetdinov’s 10 prize winning games. I think you’ll like them!
Unlike normal people who like to develop their pieces before attacking, Nezhmetdinov was going after his prey by move nine! He continued to make one aggressive move after another and, though Black had better ways to defend, White’s nonstop barrage eventually beat Black down.
Apparently starting an attack by move nine wasn’t fast enough, so this time Nezhmetdinov goes for the gusto on move five! The game features a picturesque finish.
Another game, another beatdown. This game is even more brutal than our first two!
This is Nezhmetdinov’s masterpiece.
Let’s see...Belov (who apparently doesn’t understand Nezhmetdinov’s skill set) plays an opening that wins a pawn for White while leaving Black with a lead in development and far more active pieces. White’s strategy reminds me of someone putting their head in a lion’s mouth.
This game reminds me of two fast-draw cowboys who can’t wait to show that they are the fastest in the West! Tal decided to mix things up with 12...e5 but he “forgot” that his king wasn’t castled while White’s was. By the time he realized what he did, his position was swarmed by White’s cannibal/Borg army, which had only one thing in its hive mind: eat the black king!
I’m sure that when Black played 11...Bf6 he felt that his game was fine since White’s queen would have problems finding a new home. 12.Qh6 is met by 12...Bg7, 12.Qg4 and 12.Qh3 walks into the c8-bishop’s diagonal, and 12.Qg3 or 12.Qf4 gets clobbered by 12...Qxc3! However, Nezhmetdinov found another move.
This game started with typical Ruy Lopez maneuvering. However, when Black played the mistaken 22...Rxe4 his doom was sealed thanks to the pretty 24.Nf6+! (which Black clearly missed).
Black would have been okay if he castled on move 14. However, he tried 14…d6? only to see his position ripped to shreds.
This is a fun way to end this article. White misplayed the opening, Black sacrificed the exchange, and suddenly Karasev found himself being swarmed by Black’s pieces and central pawns.
What do you think of Nezhmetdinov’s best games?