|Thu Jul 9 2009 2:26PM | edited: 2:42:47 | MsgID: 11660154|
Translated from 'Schaaklezen' written by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam. It's a collection of dutch chess collumns.
The most stunning of careers are often determined by pure daft fate, Lev Polugayevsky, who died in Paris, on 08-30-1995 at the age of sixty, remembered how he became hooked on the game of chess, when he was a ten year old boy. At the Pioneers palace in Koeibitsjev he had the choice of several activities and because he wasn't sure he liked mathematics over geography or maybe something completely different, he let fate decide: 'Fine, I said to myself, I will open this door on the left and see what they are doing there. Guess where I arrived.'
The young Polugayevsky threw himself on chess with great determination, even though no one else in his family shared his hobby. He could still count on the support of his father though, because the latter quickly understood his son had a remarkable gift, but further more he encouraged his son not to give up his school work. For many years Polugayevsky combined his chess activities with his engineering job. This combination seldom gave him difficulties. In the majority of cases, he was awarded his days off without any problems to participate in major tourneys. Only in the seventies did he become a full time chess player. He had already won many large tourneys, including the prestigious Soviet Union national championship twice. For many years Polugayevsky belonged to the top ten of the chess world. He qualified for the candidate matches three times. In 1973 it was Karpov who defeated him and in 1976 and 1979 it was Kortchnoi who thwarted his attempt on the world championship. He also won many tourneys in the Netherlands, including Wijk aan Zee in 1979.
As pointed out by him, it was the lack of a 'killer instinct' which prevented him to successfully grab the highest title. Probably there was also a psychological barrier which he was unable to breakthrough in his life. On many occasions Russian players such as Kortchnoi, who were a little older, besieged the insecure Polugayevsky for decades with well camouflaged annoyances and intimidations and not without success. I experienced how sensitive this issue still was at the Sicilian theme tourney, specially organised for Polugayevsky which was held in Buenos Aires in 1994.In reference to Kortchnoi’s declaration that Polugayevsky has always been too nervous in an innocent, seemingly innocuous interview, led to a fierce self defence by Polugayevsky. On the contrary, Polugayevsky argued, his character has always been very strong. He continued that if he was afraid of someone or something then he would face the challenge undaunted.
It wouldn’t be an audacious claim to state that Polugayevsky will be remembered more as a writer then as a player. On numerous occasions he described his life changing dramatically on December 17, 1969. During a stroll through Belgrado accompanied by Botvinnik, he was asked if he also was writing a book. In response to his negative answer Botvinnik sternly responded: ‘admit it, you’re just lazy!' That dismissive comment from the player who he admired like no one else, turned out to be the seed for a productive writing career. Beautiful classics followed he wrote on the evolution of his Polugayevsky variation and, in a broader sense, his huge love for the Sicilian. Reserved and humble as he was for all matters outside the 64 squares, so vigorous and entertaining he was as his deep feeling of the game of chess came into consideration. During the first interview I had the pleasure to take, in the summer of 1990 in Moscow, he described the strength of players like Kortchnoi and Smyslov in a artificial way which I will not soon forget: ‘They look at chess not as a rounded entity with firm dogmatic truths. It is their strength not to see chess as an egg'
As a worthy tribute to the player and writer Lev Polugayevsky, the book 'Sicilian love' emerged from the publisher Interchess in Alkmaar, Holland just a few weeks before his death. This book is initially a survey of the already mentioned themed tourney in Buenos Aires for the occasion of his sixtieth birthday which was offered by his friend Joop van Oosterom. Besides that, it is a stunning study book for the Sicilian defence. All games in Buenos Aires are thoroughly analysed. Partly by the players themselves but mostly by Dutch GM Jeroen Piket, It is Piket's first test of ability in the profession in which Jan Timman a long time ago earns his plaudits. It must be said - he delivered a beautiful piece of art.
Whilst reading the book, I was especially interested in the contributions made by Ljubomir Ljubojevic. Only on seldom occasions did the Yugoslavian neurotic trust his thoughts enough to put pen to paper, but if he was convinced, it would lead to memorable paragraphs. His win against Ivanchuck he descibed as follows: 'After I lost to Anand in the first round, the night seemed endless to me because I had to clear my mind after an absurd and unfair defeat. Again and again the moves and variations flashed before my eyes wondering how I could throw away such an easy win. The only way to get some decent sleep was for me to emotionally wear myself out. I knew the game tomorrow was more important, but because it was the start of the tourney I had lots of energy and could not force myself to close my eyes before it was seven o'clock and time for breakfast.'
Apart from a thorough interview with Polugayevsky the book also contains his ten most memorable games in the Sicilian defence. One of these ten games is a game played with fischeresque clarity from the Sofjet national championship in 1961 played in Baku.
White: Rashid Nezjmetdinov
Black: Lev Polugayevsky
[[1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 b5 This is it. The dynamic double edged Polugayevsky variation.
8.e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7 10. exf6 Qe5+ 11.Ne4?! his own idea of the attacking player who passed away much too early.The main variations are 11.Be2 Qxg5 11. ..Qxe4 12.Ne2 Nc6! 13.Qd2 h6! The key move of the defence Polu had prepared. His common sense couldn't believe retrieving the knight from d4, which is a nice square could topple his variation. 14. Be3 Bb7 15.Ng3 In case of 15. Nc3 black planned 15. ..Qh4+ and 16. .. Qxf6 after 15. fxg7 Bxg7 16. 0-0-0 Rd8 17. Nc3 Rxd2 or 17. Qg6 black is fine 15. .. Qe5 16.fxg7 Bxg7
Blacks strategy has been a success.His pieces are on good squares and his Bishops are particularly monsterious. 17.Bd3 Nb4! 18. 0-0 Nxd3 19.Qxd3 Rad8 20. Qe2 h5! The start of an annoying attack. 21.Rae1? white goes wrong immediately. Better was Qf2 although black has the better chances in the endgame after 2. .. Qe3+ 22. Qxe3 Bd4 23. Qxd4 Rxd4 21... h4 22. Qf2 Rd7 23. Nfe2 h3 24. gxh3 He doesn't like to play this but after 24. Bd4 comes the blow 24. .. Rxd4 24. .. Rxh3 25. Ng3 Qd5 26. Bb6 Be5 27. Rxe5 What else? 27. .. Qxe5 28. Rfe1 Qg5 29. Be3 Qg4 30. Ref1 f5! the exchange sacrifice did not bring any relief. 31. Bf4 Rd1 32. c3 Rh4 33.Bc7 f4! 34.Qxf4 Qxf4 White resigned.]]
Playable game scores in this posting
Playable game #1