The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Lev Polugaevsky

Lev Polugaevsky
Photo: Dutch National Archive.
Full name
Lev Polugaevsky
Nov 20, 1934 - Aug 30, 1995 (age 60)‎
Place of birth
Mogilev, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union


GM Lev Polugaevsky was a three-time candidate for the world championship and two-time Soviet champion. He earned the GM title in 1962. In his three straight Candidates tournaments, it took the eventual tournament winners to knock Polugaevsky out: GM Anatoly Karpov in 1974 and GM Viktor Korchnoi in 1977 and 1980. Polugaevsky’s Soviet championships came in 1967 and 1968, the first of which he shared with GM Mikhail Tal, and he also lost on tiebreaks to GM Tigran Petrosian in 1969. 

Polugaevsky was a successful and celebrated author, and took that work quite seriously, being quoted once as saying, “You should take at least two years [to write] a book, or not do it [at] all.” Polugaevsky passed away in 1995 at the age of just 60 from a brain tumor. His obituary in the Los Angeles Times characterized him as “a diligent, persistent man, popular with his peers” and noted that in 20 career Soviet Chess Championships, Polugaevsky not once had a negative score. A fantastic player.

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