Can someone identify the chess player in this photo?

The source of the photograph is Sputnik Mediabank #972762, where the caption says:

International chess Grandmaster Mikhail Tal watching a game.

However, the player (man sitting at the board) doesn't look like Tal.

  • 1
    I notice that caption says it's Tal watching the game, so I'm wonder if the man standing on the right is in fact Tal. However, with only his chin being clearly in the image, it's hard to tell, and its really not clear why the photo would be labeled as being of him and not Polugaevsky who seems to be actually playing the game, as identified below.
    – RisingZan
    Commented Feb 18 at 16:20
  • 2
    FWIW, there are other photos by the same photographer. #972761 mentioned "International Grandmaster Mikhail Tal watches a game at the Moscow Interzonal Chess Tournament."
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Feb 18 at 17:54
  • @wim: You might note that you don't believe the caption in the photo (i.e. that it's a picture of Tal) and why.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Feb 20 at 21:28
  • 1
    @GreenMatt Done. Perhaps the original photo has been cropped too aggressively.
    – wim
    Commented Feb 20 at 22:15
  • @wim: Thanks. I suspect RisingZan's explanation is correct.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Feb 20 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


It's Lev Polugaevsky. Here's a reference pic of old Polugaevsky.

Despite the caption from the source, it's not Mikhail Tal. He did indeed have only 3 fingers on his right hand.

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