The man who beat Mikhail Tal

11/19/2006 – On the 70th anniversary of the great Mikhail Tal’s birth our Playchess Monday night lecturer Dennis Monokroussos takes a look at... one of Tal’s regular conquerors. Viktor Korchnoi? No. Lev Polugaevsky? Wrong again! It is a mysterious figure who managed to accumulate a hefty 4-1 career score against the 8th World Champion. Meet Rashid Nezhmetdinov.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the great Mikhail Tal’s birth, and it’s worth celebrating, too. Accordingly, this week’s show will focus on…one of Tal’s regular conquerors. Viktor Korchnoi? No. Lev Polugaevsky? Wrong again! Instead, we’ll take a look at a game of the tactical genius Rashid Nezhmetdinov, whose career score against the 8th World Champion was a hefty 4-1, with the only loss coming on a gross blunder! Nezhmetdinov was an inconsistent player, to be sure, never even achieving the title of grandmaster (though this was far more a function of the difficulty in getting to compete for that title rather than a lack of playing strength), but capable of beating anyone, and in staggering style.

Today’s game sees Nezhmetdinov’s attacking prowess in action against a certain Kotkov from the 1957 Russian Championship in Krasnodar. Kotkov may have employed the Berlin Defense in the hopes of dampening his opponent’s aggressive nature, but he didn’t exactly succeed. Making simple moves, White obtained a healthy advantage, but the way he converted his edge was far from simple! Tune in to see the brilliant attacking finish, and to add a useful anti-Berlin sideline to your arsenal. It may well prove a nasty surprise for Berlin-lovers who employ that variation in the hope of playing a long, tactics-free game.

See you tonight: 9 p.m. ET!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Tuesday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).


Dennis Monokroussos is 40, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.



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