I was looking at some games between of Rashid Nezhmetdinov and noticed he doesn't seem to be as popular (I don't know if this is the best word) or as well-known as Mikhail Tal. After reading some of the things said about him, you would think this is not the case:

"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

Here is his most celebrated brilliancy vs Lev Polugaevsky, featuring a stunning queen sacrifice:

[FEN ""]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 e5 4.e4 exd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd2 g6 7.b3 Bg7 8.Bb2 O-O 9.Bd3 Ng4 10.Nge2 Qh4 11.Ng3 Nge5 12.O-O f5 13.f3 Bh6 14.Qd1 f4 15.Nge2 g5 16.Nd5 g4 17.g3 fxg3 18.hxg3 Qh3 19.f4 Be6 20.Bc2 Rf7 21.Kf2 Qh2+ 22.Ke3 Bxd5 23.cxd5 Nb4 24.Rh1 Rxf4!! 25.Rxh2 Rf3+ 26.Kd4 Bg7!! 27...b5! and 28...Nec6#. 27.a4 c5+ 28.dxc6 bxc6 29.Bd3 Nexd3+ 30.Kc4 d5+ 31.exd5 cxd5+ 32.Kb5 Rb8+ 33.Ka5 Nc6+ 0-1

Regarding the above game, Polugaevsky is quoted as saying, "I must have beaten Rashid a dozen times. But that one loss was so good I would have traded them all to be on the other side of the board."

  • 1
    Tal was a much stronger player; he was a World Champion. – Akavall Feb 8 '13 at 17:38
  • Perhaps "much stronger" is unnecessarily strong. Especially since the personal score between Nezhmitdinov and Tal is 3-1 (all decisive games, where Nezhmitdinov was white in every game)chessgames.com/perl/…. This one chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1102235 is probably the most exciting. – Akavall Feb 8 '13 at 20:09

Probably because he never made it to world champion, And Mikhail Tal did. Another great player that is not as popular as he deserves to be was Akiba Rubinstein


I will give a shot at answering this question as well. I found a 3 part biography on Rashid Nezhmitdinov which you can find on youtube here (part 1, part 2, part 3). According to the Biography, although Rashid beat many of the top grandmasters in his day and won the Russian championship many times, he never was able to achieve the GM title, but only the IM title. Some theorize that he was not given a fair chance (not able play much internationally) because of his Tartar heritage and his faith, but this is only theory and Rashid would have never made any excuses. It also seem like Rashid was always at the tip of being on the top, but could never place first in many tournaments. He also seemed to a be inconsistent at times.

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