The Fantastic Tartar!

The Fantastic Tartar!‎

GM Julio_Becerra
36 | Chess Players

Rashid Nezhmetdinov was born on December 15, 1912 to a peasant family then living in the Kazakh town of Aktyubinsk.  Both his parents died when Rashid was very young and it was left to his elder brother to care for him. 

He learned chess by watching others play at a chess club and also learned to play checkers at this time.  At 15, he played in Kazan's Tournament of Pioneers, winning all 15 games. During the same month in which he learned the game, he won Kazan's checkers semi-final and placed second in the finals. In the same year, he placed sixth in the Russian Checkers Championship. He ultimately won the Russian SFSR Chess Championship a total of five times. Later, however, he gave up checkers for chess.

During World War II, Nezhmetdinov served in the military, thus delaying the further progress of his chess career until 1946.

Very little was known of Rashid Nezhmetdinov outside of the U.S.S.R. mainly due to the Soviet regime allowing him just one chance to play in an international tournament outside the Soviet Union! That was in 1954, together with Korchnoi, Furman, and Kholmov at the Bucharest International tournament, where he took second place just half a point behind the winner: Victor Korchnoi! This result was good enough to earn him the title of International Master.

Nezhmetdinov had a reputation for beating the best in the Soviet Republic. It has been said that he was always seeking the inherent beauty of the game rather than concentrating on the accumulation of points. How times change!

Nezhmetdinov won a number of games against world champions and also had success against other world-class grandmasters! He achieved a plus score in the 20 games he contested against World Champions. Such was his reputation that he served as trainer to Mikhail Tal during his World Championship matches against Mikhail Botvinnik. One win against Polugaesvky was described as the best game of chess ever played!

Nezhmetdinov had a natural talent for chess and was a fierce, imaginative, attacking player, capable of beating anyone in the world, and he has duly gone down in historical estimations as one of the greatest attacking geniuses of all time! Nezhmetdinov never achieved the grandmaster title but his games are still well-known and appreciated for their profound combinational content.

He passed away on June 3, 1974 at Kazan. The Kazan Chess School is currently named after Rashid Nezhmetdinov.












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