“I believe that the purpose of chess is to encourage and develop the human mind through the medium of the game.”

Lev Polugaevsky was a distinguished Soviet and later Belarusian chess grandmaster. Born on November 20, 1934, and passing away on August 30, 1995, Polugaevsky was a formidable player who was among the world’s elite in the mid to late 20th century. He was a Candidate for the World Championship several times and was known for his deep theoretical knowledge and contributions to chess openings, particularly the Sicilian Defense. Polugaevsky won the Soviet Championship three times (in 1967, 1968, and 1969) and was renowned for his analytical skills and innovative ideas.

Lev Polugaevsky was particularly known for his expertise in the Sicilian Defense, especially the variation that bears his name: the Polugaevsky Variation in the Najdorf Sicilian. This sharp and complex opening reflects his aggressive and dynamic style of play. He was also skilled in other classical openings, consistently seeking deep and rich positions that allowed for extensive analysis and strategic depth.

Lev Polugaevsky’s peak Elo rating was 2645, achieved in January 1973. This rating placed him among the top players in the world during his peak years. His consistent performances in top-level competitions and his contributions to chess theory solidified his reputation as one of the leading grandmasters of his time.