The Greatest Queen sacrifice in Chess History : Nezhmetdinov vs Chernikov (1962)

The Greatest Queen sacrifice in Chess History : Nezhmetdinov vs Chernikov (1962)


Arguably the Greatest Queen Sacrifice in Chess History. Hi all I thought we could revisit a
fantastic attacking masterpiece which has a brilliant positional queen sacrifice. This is the game of Rashid Nezhmetdinov. He was
playing against Oleg Chernikov in the 1962 Chigorin Team cup competition.
Chigorin was considered one of the fathers of the Soviet chess
school so in this team competition which was being played at rostov-on-don a port
city in the southern Federal District at Russia let’s see what happened in this
game. So 1962 1.e4 from Rashid Nezhmetdinov We have the Sicilian defense
Knight f3 knight c6 d4 Rashid is not afraid to use the open Sicilian cxd4
Nxd4 and now we have an accelerated dragon g6 which does mean
because pressure has not been put immediately on e4 that white could have
the luxury here of playing c4 with a Maroczy bind on d5 so this is a very
very popular option here but Rashid Nezhmetdinov uses Knight c3 and he’s in good
company. Bobby Fischer later played Nc3 here as well. Bishop g7
so hitting that knight on d4 that’s protected Knight f6 and then we have
Bishop c4 black castles and the bishop just drops back and in fact we are
following also a Bobby Fischer game here and there is a classic Bobby Fischer trap
variation which just as a reminder if you haven’t seen it so Knight a5 was
played against Bobby Fischer by Samuel Reshevsky – they were
great rivals and unfortunately this runs into an amazing trap e5 Ne8 and can you
see what white plays here? this has been coined the “Bobby Fischer Trap” in this line okay
Bishop takes f7 check because after King takes there’s Ne6 – that pawn
is pinned on d7 so this is actually winning if the King takes here then the
king is dragged out until checkmate for example like this it’s going to be
checkmate So the fantastic Bobby Fischer trap
exists with Na5 but here we see Knight g4. Common is d6
this is more common continuation where black can actually play quite
aggressively would be b5 and it’s still thought to be still a small advantage for White. So
anyway Ng4 here and this is taken we have Knight takes d4 now modern GM’s have
actually played this position with Queen d1 that seems to be fairly popular in
this position. To have just retreated the Queen back to d1 while the highest level
game examples so far is to Sergey Tiviakov against Mountovani played in Ischia 1998 so that
was a win for white with Queen d1 you might want to check the pinned comment
for that reference game but here we have Queen h4 and now Queen a5 this is quite
a sharp move it’s basically encourages White’s to
Castle here and Castle kingside looks a lot safer in this position than Queen
side. If White’s spends a lot of move in the center for example like this then
Knight takes C2 check and there’s this unfortunate situation with the rook on
a1 hanging for example this and it’s a bit of a disaster so it’s sort of
prompts White to Castle here and now we have Bishop f6 and the story goes
actually that’s Oleg Chernikov being very confident here that he could just get a
draw actually by repetition and Nezhmetdinov started taking a long time over
this next move. In fact it’s rumored that Nezhmetdinov took about 40 minutes
to play his next move so he obviously was attracted to something
and wanted to really explore it further something very very committal and not
necessarily following a draw path now a draw path here could happen if for example Queen h6 and a repetition because the problem is on
Queen g3 can you see what black has in this position okay Black has Queen takes c3 and then that
knight in the center goes to e2 its check and then this is just very very good for
black so that’s just yeah a bit of a disaster there and also if here we have
the same kind of thing here on Queen f4 then there’s Queen takes c3 again with
the idea of Ne2 check so there’s a lot of nice tactics for black with this
Queen a5 it seems so what was all this thinking about if it wasn’t this
repetition draw? So let’s go back to the position why had Nezhmetdinov taken
40 minutes and in fact an excited little boy ran up to Chernikov
apparently with an exclamation for this next move which Nezhmetdinov – I wonder if you
can guess if I give you five seconds what would you play here? Okay yep Queen
takes f6. The exclamation of the little boy was “Mister he sacrificed his Queen to
you!” apparently so Chernikov returned back and was stunned but not so stunned
as to automatically recapture here. In fact Chernikov played quite a
resourceful move. If he actually took just with the automatic recapture exf6
then Bishop takes d4 actually it seems visibly as though White has
some good compensation so Chernikov was in the right
frame of mind here to actually throw in an intermediary check to take things off
balance a bit – this knight has been deflected back and so we have knight
takes e2 to and now exf6. However things are kind of restored with knight
c3 – the knight is still heading for that key d5 square and there’s still
some visible compensation for the queen but technically yeah this is it’s just
two pieces two minor pieces being given up we’re actually equal on pawns. So is
this really enough however there’s a big factor of peace coordination and central
pieces against f6. Re8 was played knight d5 which safeguards the e4
pawn. If rook takes e4 then there’s Knight takes f6 check winning that rook.
So the knight is starting to take care of things on d5 and it’s going to be a
while before it can be actually attacked We have Re6 being played. On King
g7 here we’re gonna have a similar position to the game in any case so
Re6 here we have Bishop d4 King g7 so we get this position and how
does white exert more pressure well Rad1 with a big idea now of
a rook lift – for example like this to put more pressure on f6 so there’s a lot of
pressure mounting up on f6 here. d6 is played now rook d3. Bishop d7 this is
interesting if we look at this position it’s already pretty tricky if a6 here
then Knight takes rook takes rook f3 this position is very very pleasant for
white. It’s technically a nice advantage for white so we have Bishop d7
rook f3 yeah here it’s slightly different
if Knight takes rook takes here then maybe this this is a better chance for
black so Rf3 just keeping the tension keeping the pressure for a
moment and letting black have the possibility of playing an inaccurate
defensive move and in fact here black is prompted to play what seems to be one of
the less accurate defenses Bishop b5 was played. A fascinating position to analyze
there’s actually two target pawns here which were revealed in in the key
variations. If black tries rook c8 Knight takes and say Kf8 Nxd7
check is very good and if rook takes here rook takes this is very dangerous
if we look at this position the coordination of the bishops and the rook
is staggering and in fact here Bishop e6 maintains this bishop and here there’s
going to be nasty stuff going on a nasty discovered check from the bishop and
also hitting the Queen so this is winning for white a big advantage. So a
fascinating variation with rook c8 as an alternative now so this is a 19th move
if rook e5 here Bishop c3 and White as a small edge on King g8 then Knight
takes f6 check and this position is should be even actually
White has to play very accurately here. Again not taking an f6 … the key seems to
be to keep the tension going with rook d1 here and it seems actually d6 could be a valuable target so very very surprising deep moves in
this variation where white is very calm and just aligns to d6. This is one of the
big secrets about this game which makes these games worth revisiting this. This
line here is very very subtle Queen c6 f3 and black has big difficulties for
example if f5 Rc1 – this to win the exchange
potentially or just dent blacks position or win the Queen here this is a
fascinating line winning the Queen yeah so you might think well black wasn’t
forced to do that well it’s very very tricky yeah if we look at this. Okay if
Queen a5 instead then check takes rook takes e4 heading the Queen rook takes d6
– these this variation shows actually yeah black cannot take care of rook d8
checkmating rook d8 checkmating so white is able to get a very very good
position here potentially with a pleasant advantage. So fascinating but
Bishop b5 maybe a slight inaccuracy Bishop c3 attacking the Queen the
Queen goes to d8 here. Queen a6 is an interesting alternative. well that runs
into Nc7 this position at least reduces some of the tension but it turns
out that white should be having a small edge here. So the Queen went back to d8
we have Nxf6 and interesting here if rook takes f6 again just maintaining
the pin – celebrating the pin with Rook d1 is best and so for example King g8
then taking on f6 this position is really nice there’s ideas emerging here
which are really strong so that’s actually stronger than taking on f6 this position is still very nice for
white as well so anyway Bishop e2 was tried. Nezhmetdinov to play here can you see what white plays in this position if
I give you five seconds? okay this is a really fantastic undermining move played
in this position Knight takes h7 check which is not what you might think Bishop
e2 was actually designed for resources not just hitting the rooks but for a
bishop h5 defense so it’s not actually with the view of Rh3 check
because if King here then rook h8 is checkmate but the snag is yeah rook
takes f7 to the move the snag is here that there’s Bishop h5 and this is
actually gonna be better for black potentially yeah this is nothing for
white so that’s not the idea actually the idea is beautiful and it’s say King
takes then there’s rook takes f7 check to actually undermine that rook
on the e6 square and here after Bishop takes we have beautiful coordination demonstrated
with Bishop g7 check Bishop f6 check Bishop takes d8 – Whites has a big
advantage and in this position if King g5 then there’s a beautiful line f4
check g4 check King h4 and now Bishop f6 check and again not what you think to
take the queen by the way but rook h7 is checkmate and on Queen takes f6 then
Rh7 is immediately checkmate look at that King trapped in this line so
very very beautiful tactic Nxh7 so not with the idea of Rh3 to h8
but rook takes f7 fantastic stuff we have King g8 and now
Rh3 – so there are some echoes of trying to mate with a rook on h8 here
guided by the bishop so that coordination point the h8 point is of
great interest to White’s here. We have Re5 being played let’s have a look
at Bishop takes f1 Knight g5 is possible because if Queen takes g5 let’s have a
look if Queen takes g5 then there’s Rh8 checkmate and the knight is also
looking at some key squares here if Rook e7 then that’s checkmate. If rook e5
here then Nxf7 is devastating actually hitting the Queen and rook and
Knight takes e5 check for example Nd7 check wins the Queen there if f6 then
Bishop takes a6 check and white is scooping up a lot of things after Knight
f7 check yeah this is just absolutely winning so very very beautiful lines if
Bishop takes f1 so perhaps quite wisely Rook e5 to try and blunt this Bishop
and say throughout you’re not coordinating with this bishop on c3 at
least but it’s nudged carefully with f4 trying to nudge that away now we have
Bishop takes f1 on rook h5 here Knight f6 check is strong. For example here
Knight x h5 then Knight f6 and this is just going to be a very very big
position after Bishop takes f7 exposing the black King and now here after
Nd5 again there’s a big threat of rook d7 checkmating and if rook e8 there
was Nc7 checkmate so very very beautiful variations here on on that
Rh5 and if we just have a look at that again here on Queen takes f6 we
just take that this is a very big advantage for white the two bishops are
more than adequate for the rook. So we have Bishop takes f1 in the game King takes. Rook c8 and whites position is super strong it looks as though black is
threatening rook takes c3 … it turns out White’s position is already super strong
here and winning white could actually play F takes e5 for example rook takes
then that check is avoided by the pawn temporarily supporting Nf6 check
and here this is absolutely crushing that’s checkmate so it turns
out this is just really really strong if d takes e5 then rook d3 – this
position this is really strong because believe it or not the Queen is being
kind of checkmated so again we’re back to the two bishops against rook
scenario – so some very fascinating variations here – this rook h3
is coming in here potentially so it turns out F takes e5 is already winning
but Bishop d4 preserving the bishop is also very strong and winning too. b5 was
played on rook … if the rook ever moves for example if Re7 then Ne8 is a beauty because it’s a double check and say king f8 Rh8
checkmate – so b5 we have Ng5 rook c7 yeah
anytime the rook takes just as a quick recap then there’s rook h8 checkmate so
Rc7 but now another fantastic mini combination by Nezhmetdinov. White to
play if I give you five seconds to pause video what would you play here with
white okay white to play here plays Bishop takes f7 fantastic shot. Now rook takes
f7 was played in the game let’s have a look what happens on other possibilities if King g7 this runs into the Ne6+
– you can see that the rook is pinned – and can’t take and the knight has
forked King and Queen so for example here and this is with check so that’s
absolutely winning we take the rook after on King f8 instead then strongest
is actually here in this particular position Rh8 check for example
here just taking on e5 temporarily is absolutely menacing that’s absolutely
crushing example here taking … check and taking the Queen so there’s
all sorts of really crushing possibilities here but also simply
Ne6 is strong here with a big advantage as well. Black is pretty
helpless in this position so rook takes f7 in the game and now the point is rook
h8 check so this is a bit similar actually it’s one of my favorite Tigran
Petrosian sacrifices against Boris Spassky where Petrosian had done a queen
sack on a h8 for Nf7 to regain the Queen. Here ok it’s a rook sacrifice.
King takes was played. On King g7 this is very strong rook takes d8. For
example here White’s just gonna end up a knight up so King took. Knight
takes f7 check and after Knight takes d8 White has two minor pieces for the
rook which is a big advantage in this ending. Rook takes e4 knight c6 holding
Bishop check King e2 and actually Chernikov was quite generous he actually
resigned here. Maybe there’s a few more moves left in the position to check out
for example ok let’s say let’s find a winning plan now as an example . White
could eventually just freeze blacks Queen side pawns
and then the two minor pieces will be overwhelming this kind of position for
example is a Zugzwang here if we reach this position with a beautiful blockade
on d4 say here then taking the pawn that is absolutely winning but anything else you
know black for example was crumbling here rook b6 or rook b8 they both fail
here in this scenario – Nf5 check picking up the rook or here Knight
c6 check picking up the rook so eventually once blacks Queen side pawns are frozen
that’s going to be it. But it was a bit of a generosity you know ending the game
here after that brilliancy and it is one of the most astonishing games to me in
chess history and really got me interested in Nezhmetdinov. I would
like to share a few quotations actually about him. This first one ‘nobody sees
combinations like Rashid Nezhmetdinov’ – Mikhail Botvinnik said that – ‘ 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 a virtuoso of
combinational chess’ that was David Bronstein.And remarkably a year before
this game in 1961 Mikhail Tal had actually the best known game in that
tournament in 1961 the USSR championship 29th edition –
there was game in round 15 between Mikhail Tal and Nezhmetdinov. And Nezhmetdinov won the brilliancy prize for his tactical masterpiece and
earned his name in that tournament – ‘The Evergreen Rashid’ and years later Mikhail Tal
told a journalist that that loss was the happiest day of his life due to the
beauty of his opponents play. That game has also
have video annotated on this channel so this is a real artist of the chessboard.
I thought this game was worth a revisit and a little bit more detail I hope you
enjoyed it as much as me and if you did enjoy it please check out the top
left box which should appear shortly to become a member of Chessworld.net and
you can see all the updates to this analysis on the improve … learn from the
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appreciated. Thanks very much.

31 thoughts on “The Greatest Queen sacrifice in Chess History : Nezhmetdinov vs Chernikov (1962)

  1. Replayable game with indented variations: https://www.chessworld.net/chessclubs/ltpgnviewer32/ltpgnboard.asp?GameID=5023912&v=o9IOLiSjdC0

  2. i played like that… by accident or from hypertension. Check out this #chess game: andrewjeselson2 vs jcaz2018 – https://www.chess.com/live/game/3185185062

  3. My favourite Queen sacrifice. The game against Tal, which you mention, you analysed in this video, at 29.12 or so:

    https://youtu.be/pXEfgLZMoEk

    The earlier video which you made about Nezhmetdinov-Chernikov is here:

    https://youtu.be/qvX6aM-fXjY

    p.s. May I suggest that game 135 in CCC 2, Ethereal-Andscacs, deserves attention. Furthermore, as you may well be aware, game 153, also involving Andscacs, is classic Leela.

  4. Why are you analyzing humans!! Leela is going to be upset. You should know never to anger a woman. I have seen this game many times, and greatly enjoyed your analysis. Good job!

  5. A fantastic game, with many lovely combinations, both on and off the Board, maybe the loveliest was the variation with the family fork and mate with Nc7. There is a book Queen sacrifice by Nezmetdinov. It is Worth mentioning that Chigorin was one of the original five grandmasters. Good analysis, thanks KC keep up the good work

  6. I find it fascinating that Leela, learning all by herself with no human influence, learns and plays chess like the greatest players and values the things they used and taught.

  7. “We cannot resist the fascination of sacrifice, since a passion for
    sacrifices is part of a Chessplayer’s nature”
    ~Rudolf Spielman

    Whether that sacrifice was sound or not, it made for one magnificent game, thank you for sharing the analisys!

  8. I’ve seen this game covered on other channels, but I happily watched it again. One of the best games ever. It’s definitely in my top 5.

  9. I've seen this game before but this is the best version i love all the side variations you gave showing how great Rashid was

  10. 1:05 "moroxy bind" – what kind of animal is that? You probably want to mention the name of Géza Maróczy, a strong hungarian chess player from Emanuel Lasker era. But pronouncing his name the english way is rather ugly idea. Put word "Maróczy" in Google Translator, define language as hungarian, and then press speaker icon. You will hear the difference.

  11. This game is the chess equivalent of one's favourite movie. Depending of the tastes, it can be watched again every few months or every few years. A (human 🙂 masterpiece.

  12. I love it the way you are giving us 5 seconds to guess the move and yet Rashid took 40mins

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