|Full name||Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov|
|Born||December 15, 1912|
Aktiubinsk, Russian Empire
|Died||June 3, 1974 (aged 61)|
Kazan, Soviet Union
|Peak rating||2455 (January 1973)|
Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov (Tatar: Рәшит Һибәт улы Нәҗметдинов, [ræˈʃit næʑmetˈdinəf] Russian: Рашид Гибятович Нежметдинов; December 15, 1912 – June 3, 1974) was an eminent Soviet chess player, chess writer, and checkers player.
Nezhmetdinov was born in Aktubinsk, Russian Empire, in what is now Aktobe, Kazakhstan, in a Tatar family. His parents died when he was very young, leaving him and two other siblings to be raised by their brother. The orphaned, impoverished family moved to Kazan, Tatar ASSR.
Nezhmetdinov had a natural talent for both chess and checkers. He learned chess by watching others play at a chess club, whereupon he challenged one of the players, won, and then challenged another player, winning that game as well. At 15, he played in Kazan's Tournament of Pioneers, winning all 15 games. He also learned to play checkers at this time. 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 later won the Russian Checkers Championship at least once. 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. In 1949, the Russian Checkers Semifinals were held in Kazan. Nezhmetdinov attended as a spectator, but when one of the participants failed to show up, Nezhmetdinov agreed to substitute for him even though he hadn't played checkers for 15 years. He won every game, qualifying him for the Finals, which were to be held immediately after a chess tournament in which he was also participating. He won the tournament and immediately thereafter placed second in the Russian Checkers Championship.
Nezhmetdinov was a fierce, imaginative, attacking player who beat many of the best players in the world.
Nezhmetdinov got the historical record of five wins of the Russian Chess Championship, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1957 and 1958.
International Master title
FIDE awarded him the International Master title for his second-place finish behind Viktor Korchnoi at Bucharest 1954, the only time he was able to compete outside of the Soviet Union. Despite his extraordinary talent, he never was able to obtain the grandmaster title. Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh, a strong positional and endgame player, suggested a possible reason for this in his interview by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam in The Day Kasparov Quit:
Nezhmetdinov, ... if he had the attack, could kill anybody, including Tal. But my score against him was something like 8½–½ because I did not give him any possibility for an active game. In such cases he would immediately start to spoil his position because he was looking for complications.
Results against world champions
Nezhmetdinov won a number of games against world champions such as Mikhail Tal, against whom he had a lifetime plus score, and Boris Spassky. He also had success against other world-class grandmasters such as David Bronstein, Lev Polugaevsky, and Efim Geller. He achieved a plus score in the 20 games he contested against World Champions. But in addition to his aforementioned dismal score against Averbakh, he could only score +0−3=2 against an excellent defender like Tigran Petrosian
Kazan Chess school is currently named after Rashid Nezhmetdinov.
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- "Nobody sees combinations like Rashid Nezhmetdinov." Mikhail Botvinnik
- Nezhmetdinov is "the greatest master of the initiative." Lev Polugaevsky
- "His games reveal the beauty of chess and make you love in chess not so much the points and high placings, but the wonderful harmony and elegance of this particular world." Mikhail Tal
- "Rashid Nezhmetdinov is a virtuoso of combinational chess." David Bronstein
Bronstein also wrote that Nezhmetdinov was "a fantastic mathematician."
- Nezhmetdinov's Best Games of Chess by Rashid Nezhmetdinov; Caissa Editions, 2000
- Nezhmetdinov's Killer Chess Instinct by Pyshkin : ISBN 9996301184
- Nezhmetdinov - Lezioni di fantasmagoria scacchistica dalle partite di un genio del gioco d'attacco by Mauro Barletta; Messaggerie Scacchistiche (Brescia, Italy) 2018