Najdorf’s KID Fianchetto Thrilla in Manila

Najdorf’s KID Fianchetto Thrilla in Manila‎

NM GreenLaser
10 | Chess Players

Mendel Najdorf was born near Warsaw, Poland April 15, 1910 and died in Malaga, Spain July 4, 1997. He was instructed in chess by Dawid Przepiorka and Savielly Tartakower. For links to my articles on Najdorf’s teachers see: and .
In the years before World War II, Najdorf won the Warsaw Championship, defeated Tartakower in match play, and tied for first in the Hungarian Championship. The fourth time he played for Poland in the Chess Olympiad it took place in August-September 1939 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On September 1, 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany and World War II began. Najdorf was Jewish and remained in Argentina. About twenty players, Jewish or not, stayed in Argentina and escaped from combat, the Holocaust, and other effects of the war. An exception was Tartakower, who was also Jewish. He returned to fight in the French forces. Argentina became a more important and stronger chess nation and Mendel of Poland became Miguel of Argentina.
Miguel Najdorf used his ability to simultaneously play blindfold games in impressive numbers in the hope that the fact that he was alive would reach his family as news. He continued to play chess in the forties and demonstrated that he was one of the world’s strongest players. In 1950, FIDE began awarding the title of international grandmaster and Najdorf was among this first selection. He did lose two matches to Reshevsky in the early fifties, but remained a top player during the next two decades. For a link to my article on Reshevsky see: .Najdorf continued to play well for years after his prime. He was well known for blitz play. I would see him when he came to New York crushing Jack the Hustler in five minute chess at the Flea House while exhibiting another talent, his humor when winning. During the games he called Jack, “the worst player I ever saw.”
Najdorf is most famous for the opening variation of the Sicilian Defense that bears his name. He also is particularly known for his play in the King’s Indian Defense. I have selected an example, with Najdorf as White, from Manila 1973. Najdorf was nearly 63 years old and came in ninth out of sixteen places with 8/15. His opponent was 22 and is an Indonesian GM. Najdorf played the fianchetto (g3-Bg2) variation. The many move choices and plans are not shown. They are found in the ECO codes E62-E69. If that is not enough, there is also E72 which has the fianchetto after e4 is played.

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