Nezhmetdinov's Immortal Queen Sacrifice - Best Of The 60s - Nezhmetdinov vs. Chernikov, 1962

Nezhmetdinov's Immortal Queen Sacrifice - Best Of The 60s - Nezhmetdinov vs. Chernikov, 1962

NM SamCopeland

The great Rashid Nezhmetdinov (whose birthday is today!) is a unique figure in the history of chess. Although he never became a grandmaster, he was a tremendously strong player who won the Russian Championship five times. He was also a tremendous checkers player and finished second in the Soviet Championship.

Nezhmetdinov is beloved by chess players for his creative and attacking play. It's no surprise that he was a good friend and second for Mikhail Tal, and chess players were excited to see his beautiful concluding checkmating combination against Kasparian used in "The Queen's Gambit" in the game Harmon vs. Beltik.

Nezhmetdinov has won two truly immortal games in his life. The second, presented here, is his positional queen sacrifice against Oleg Chernikov. Nezhmetdinov's radical move dazzled spectators at the time, and it has only gained in fame since. It is the standard by which all other positional queen sacrifices are measured. For a long time, computers questioned this sacrifice though humans heralded it, but modern day neural network engines are of a different mind and show that the sacrifice is fully sound.

Top 10 Games of the 1960s

When Chernikov plays 11...Bf6, he is certain that Nezhmetdinov will acquiesce to the draw with 12.Qh6 Bg7 and repetition. When Nezhmetdinov enters deep thought, Chernikov is puzzled. All is made clear by the incredible 12.Qxf6!! Nezhmetdinov only gets two minor pieces for the queen, but they are incredible pieces, and Chernikov cannot find scope for his major pieces and has no good defense of the dark squares.

Nezhmetdinov finishes with a flurry of pretty tactics to crown his great achievement.

My annotations with comments from Nezhmetdinov's autobiography [Amazon affiliate link supports the content.] are available below.

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