The Best Chess Player You've Never Heard Of

Hey guys,

How's it going? My last blog post was about an unknown game featuring one of the nicest moves in chess that I've ever seen. I'll continue along the same path this time, but instead about a player that I'm pretty sure most of you haven't heard of. Not only do most people not know of him, but he was also 5 time USSR Champion and had a lifetime winning record against World Champions! Maybe you know who I'm talking about by now but if not, the man I'm referring to is Rashid Nezhmedtinov.

Because a lot of people don't know who he is, they have no idea how he plays. Tactic books everywhere are filled with imaginative games played by players such as GM Tal; but in terms of imagination and aggression, Rashid may even outdo Tal!

Here is an example game played between two of the most aggressive players of all time, Nezhmetdinov and Tal. See what I mean!?

Games like this were commonplace for Rashid, and I would like to share some other great attacking games played by him and Tal in my upcoming Chess University class on these two players.

If you'd like to work on your tactics or attacking play then this class is perfect for you. If you'd like more information on this class you can go to this link It's on Saturday July 28th!

Nezhmetdinov has certainly inspired some of my play. It's been a while since I took a look at my own games, but having just played several tournaments such as the World Open, I feel like it's the perfect time to take a look back at what I've learned. I'd like to start with one of the tougher losses that I suffered which was to my friend, FM Eugene Yanayt.

The game started out as a very interesting Benoni in which I ended up sacrificing a piece in very unusual Benoni fashion (on a4)! The sacrifice seems to be sound and it resulted in a very double-edged position. I then sacrificed another piece and had a very nice position but was never quite able to find a way to put him away. Surely enough, he defended well, and after he consolidated, the tables turned, and I was now the one defending. We battled until we were both in very intense time pressure and I opted to decline a repetition, but made a mistake in our tense position and was soon punished. I think I had 6 seconds left in the final position and he had 9 so it was right down to the wire. 59... b2 would have been winning, not to mention many earlier chances. The loss was extremely frustrating, but in the end a fair result after not capitalizing on earlier chances.

My best effort of the summer took place in my most recent game. I was playing the White pieces against GM Evgeny Romanov, who is a strong Grandmaster from Russia. It started out as an Evan's Gambit declined and eventually the game reached a double rook endgame. I needed to win the game in order to tie for the U-2500 FIDE prize at the World Open. I have been putting in some work when it comes to my endgames, because I've always felt like they were one area of my game that I could improve, and it felt awesome to put some of what I have been learning to use.

I hope that these games can prove beneficial for some of you - even if hard work doesn't pay off right away, it's worth the wait. I love finding players like Nezhmetdinov to help inspire me. I hope to see some of Saturday at my Chess University class!


  • 4 years ago

    NM Ilusha

    yes i agree Rashid-polugaevsky prob a even more famous game, and more original tool. He is a very well known player/personality, i dont understand why Molner says best player we never heard of.

  • 4 years ago


    Iam sure I could have taken him with my bends and legato.

    on my guitar!


     imagination were does it come from ??

  • 4 years ago


    Nezhmetdinov has the red tape at the bottom of the inscription in Russian "Champion", and in the top of the ribbon emblem of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

    From Russian wiki:
    Rashid Gibyatovich Nezhmetdinov (December 15, 1912, Aktobe, Turgay oblast Russian Empire June 3, 1974, Kazan, RSFSR, USSR) - international chess master, master of sports drafts, Merited Coach of the USSR (1962), a five-time champion of the Russian Federation (1950, 1951, 1953, 1957, 1958), three times champion of the USSR in the team championship of the country.

    In a large collection of sports regalia Rashid Nezhmetdinova many prizes for the most beautiful game tournaments, including a win the game at M. Tal (which by personal meetings in tournament games 4-1 in favor Nezhmetdinov).

    Kazan school of chess named Rashid Nezhmetdinov (now Chess-School named the Rashid Nezhmetdinov). Since 1979, in Kazan held annually the Rashid Nezhmetdinov Memorial teams of chess schools of Russia. In recognition of his invaluable contribution to the development of chess in the country in 1988, at number 76 on Bauman Street, where he lived, a memorial plaque.


    RSFSR was the biggest part of the USSR. Now, it is Russia.

  • 4 years ago


    A serious chess player knows who is Nezhmetdinov because his games reflects a creativity rarely found in the chess world.

  • 4 years ago


    Pishkin undusted the guy with the book Super Nezh a while back.

  • 4 years ago


    Unknown???-You want to say FAMOUS... I recommend to You other "UNKNOMN" game Rashid vs Polugaevsky ...Rashid was Black and checkmated Polugaevsky in the centre of the board!

  • 4 years ago

    WFM amandarm

    I think 5-time champion of RSFSR is still pretty great - and doesn't deter at all from the meat of this article and why it was written. Mac wasn't giving a detailed biography on the man, but instead providing us with some cool examples of the unique chess style of a phenomenal chess player that many of us know little about. In that regard, this post is great - thank you!

  • 4 years ago


    He may have been a good player, but i´m sure he was never champion of the Soviet Union (USSR)!

  • 4 years ago


    You right  Caliphigia,  there is no way to tell somebody how succes a chess

    player had, if we can get the correct information as fast as possible, read more.

  • 4 years ago


    The first game was incredible even Tal did not used to play as agresively as Nezmetdinov did there. Tal must have felt like looking in a mirror!

  • 4 years ago


    Nezhmetdinov is not that obscure - many have heard about him. However, he was not 5 times USSR champion, in fact he never even came close to winning it. He was the champion of RSFSR, or Russian Federation, on of the republics that formed USSR. Also, players from Moscow and Leningrad had their separate championships, on the same level (quarterfinals of USSR championship, if I remember correctly) as the championships of RSFSR and other Soviet republics (Latvia, Ucraine etc.)

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