Lev Polugaevsky Biography

Lev Abramovich Polugaevsky was born on November 20, 1934, in Mogilev (now Mahilyow, Belarus).

He began playing chess around the age of 10 and was eventually trained by renowned teachers such as Alexy Ivashin, International Master Lev Aronin, and Rashid Nezhmetdinov. 

Chess Career

Polugaevsky was a frequent contender for the World Championship, although he never achieved that title.

He was a three-time candidate for the world championship and two-time Soviet champion. He played on the Soviet national team in seven Chess Olympiads, winning gold medals in 1966, 1968, 1970, 1978, 1980, 1982, and 1984. 


Aside from his accomplishments as a player, Polugaevsky was also a distinguished author and opening theorist, with his contributions in this field remaining important to the present day. Some of his notable works include the book “Grandmaster Preparation” and “Grandmaster Performance”


Polugaevsky passed away on August 30, 1995, in Paris, France. He was known as “the head of the Sicilian clan” and was considered one of the best chess players in the world during the 1970s and 1980s. 


Lev Polugaevsky was one of those Grandmasters from a generation of great players who left a mark in the chess world. His legacy will continue to influence future generations of chess players, as his openings and strategies remain popular and relevant in modern chess.

How did Lev Polugaevsky’s playing style differ from other top players of his time.

Lev Polugaevsky was known for his bold and aggressive playing style, which set him apart from other top players of his time.

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He was a complicated chess player who played the sharpest and most complicated games, often initiating risky and complex positions backed up by deep analysis. 

Despite being described as a very timid person, he was famous for his opening preparation, taking it to an unprecedented level. 

This emphasis on pre-game analysis was suggested to be the result of a lack of confidence in solving problems over the board, despite his undoubted practical strength.

Polugaevsky’s playing style was characterized by his willingness to take risks and engage in sharp, tactical battles. He was known for playing the ultra-sharp Polugaevsky Variation in the Najdorf Sicilian Defense, an opening he thoroughly researched throughout his life. 

His variation, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5, bears his name and reflects his aggressive approach to the game.

In summary, Lev Polugaevsky’s playing style differed from other top players of his time due to his boldness, willingness to take risks, and emphasis on deep opening preparation, which made him a formidable and unique presence in the chess world