Sunday, 5 October 2008


Miguel Najdorf (born Mendel (Mieczysław) Najdorf in Grodzisk Mazowiecki near Warsaw, Poland, April 15, 1910 – died in Málaga, Spain, July 4, 1997) was a Polish-born Argentine chess grandmaster.
He played for Poland in the Chess Olympiads of 1935, 1937, and 1939. He was playing at the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939 when World War II broke out, and decided not to attempt to return home, taking Argentine citizenship (1944) and changing his first name to Miguel. His family, left behind, died in German concentration camps. In 1943 he set the record for simultaneous games played. He played 202 players (+182-8=12). In 1947, he conducted a simultaneous exhibition in which he played a record 45 games blindfolded (+39 -2 =4).
He played 11 times for team Argentina in Chess Olympiads from 1950 to 1976. He played first board at Dubrovnik 1950 (+8 –0 =6), and first board at Helsinki 1952 (+11 –2 =3). He took eleven Olympic medals (seven for teams Poland and Argentina –four silver, three bronze, and four individuals – three gold in 1939, 1950, and 1952, one silver in 1962). Argentina's best team finish was silver at Helsinki 1952.
He tied 1st with Paul Keres at Buenos Aires in 1939 after the Olympiad,with 8.5/11. In 1941 he was 2nd, behind Gideon Ståhlberg at Mar del Plata, with 12.5/17. Also in 1941, he tied for 1st with Stahlberg at Buenos Aires, the two scored 11/14. In 1942, he won at Mar del Plata, with 13.5/17, ahead of Ståhlberg. In 1943, he was second at Mar del Plata, behind Stålhberg, scoring 10/13. In 1943, he won at Rosario. In 1944, he won at La Plata, with 13/16, ahead of Ståhlberg. In 1944, he tied for 1st with Herman Pilnik at Mar del Plata; the two each scored 12/15. In 1945, he won at Buenos Aires (Grau Memorial), with 10/12, ahead of Ståhlberg and Carlos Guimard. He took second place at Vina del Mar 1945, with 10.5/13, behind Guimard. Then he won Mar del Plata 1945 with 11/15 ahead of Ståhlberg, and repeated at Mar del Plata 1946 with 16/18, ahead of Guimard and Ståhlberg. He also won at Rio de Janeiro 1946.
Najdorf's successes between 1939 to 1947 had lifted him into the ranks of the world's top players. According to Chessmetrics, he was ranked second in the world from mid 1947 to mid 1949. But Najdorf was not invited to the 1948 World Championship tournament.
Although not a full-time chess professional (for many years he worked in the insurance business), he was one of the world's leading chess players in the 1950s and 1960s and he excelled in playing blindfold chess. In 1950 FIDE made him an International Grandmasters.
In the Budapest Candidates Tournament 1950 he came fifth. At the Zurich Candidates Tournament in 1953, he finished sixth. He did not qualify for the Candidates again. The closest was in the following cycle, when he narrowly failed to qualify from the 1955 Interzonal.
Just before his 60th birthday, he participated in the 1970 USSR vs. Rest of the World match, achieving an even score against the former World Champion Mikhail Tal.
At age 69, he tied for second place in a very strong field at Buenos Aires 1979, with 8/13, behind winner Bent Larsen (11/13), but ahead of former World Champions Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky.
His name will be forever associated with one of the most popular chess openings of all time, the Sicillian Najdorf (1. e4 c5 2. f3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. xd4 f6 5. c3 a6).
I give not one of his best games But a game now called "The Polish Immortal"


Rolling Pawns said...

Nice game, 4 light pieces sacrificed and mate by pawn!
Interesting biography, thanks.
Kasparov loved Najdorf Variation, could probably add a few words here :).

CHESSX said...

Whites Queen dark squared Bishop and a1 Rook never moved.
Yes Kasparov used the Najdorf and by doing so gave it a different kind of respectability,it could not have got without him.

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