Does anibody know if Nezhmetdinov, a very strong chess International Master, was also a good checkers (10x10 or russian, i don't know) player?
Just visit google, Michele. There you will find this information (and a lot more....)
"Rashid Gibyatovich Nezhmetdinov was one of the greatest of attacking players of the post WWII era. He was also one of the least known in the Western Hemisphere. One reason is that he never acheived his GM norm and only ever attained the title of IM.
He was born on December 15, 1912. His parents were farmers in a town called Aktubinsk in Russia. They died when he was very young, leaving him and two other siblings to be raised by their brother. The orphaned family moved to Kazan, located on the Volga River. They were extremely poor during a time of great general hardship in Russia. WWI and the Russian Revolution had left the entire country in despair, ruin and famine. They somehow survived.
Nezhmetdinov had a natural talent for both chess and checkers. His chess education involved watching some people play at a chess club for a few hours after which he challenged one of the players to a game and won. This game was followed by another with a different player, which he also won. He played Kazan's Tournament of Pioneers at age fifteen, played fifteen games, won all fifteen. At this time, he also learned to play checkers. During the same month in which he learned this game, he won Kazan's Checker semi-finals and place seconf in the finals of the tournament. He place 6th in the Russian Checker Championship the same year. After this he gave up checkers for chess.
Soon WWII started in Russia and Nezhmetdinov served in the military. This postponed all serious chess until 1946, age 34.
An odd occurance happened in 1949. At that time the Russian Checkers Semifinals were being held in Kazan. Nezhmetdinov was attending them as a spectator, but one of the participants failed to show. Nezhmetdinov offered to sit in for him although he hadn't played a game of checkers in fifteen years. He won every game he played and the tournament, giving him a seat in the Finals. The Finals were to be held immediately following the Russian Chess Championship in which he was participating. He won the Russian Chess Championship and immediately after place second in the Russian Checkers Championship. He won the Russian Chess Championship five times total.
Nezhmetdinov never achieved the title of Grandmaster. International Master was his highest title. The accepted reason for this was that at the time invitations to international tournaments were hard to come by and the lack of proper competition prevented him for achieving the GM norms required by FIDE. However, Nezhmetdinov proved his strength by beating Tal, Bronstein, Spassky, Polugaevsky and Geller. He rose to prominence on talent alone. He was extremely tactically gifted. Botvinnik said the "nobody sees combinations like Rashid Nezhmetdinov." But later he honed his talent with opeing and endgame studies. He style was attack at it's most vicious, sacrificing in the Romantic style of Anderssen and Morphy. Polugaevsky said that Nezhmetdinov was "the greatest master of the initiative." Tal was so impressed with Nezhmetdinov that he chose him as his trainer for his World Championship match with Botvinnik.
Nezhmetdinov died in 1974."