Miguel Najdorf Is Dead

by Roberto Alvarez

 

Miguel Najdorf

 

Yesterday, at the age of 87, Miguel Najdorf died in Malaga, Spain, victim of a heart attack.

 

He was born in Poland, on April 15th 1910, and since 1939 he lived in Argentina. When the

2nd World War started, he was playing in Buenos Aires on the 2nd board of the polish team

in the Olympiads. He stayed in Argentina at the outbreak of war and found after the war that

all his family died at the hand of nazi soldiers. He had no alternative other than to try and

recover from such a tragedy.

 

Trying to obtain some news of his family, he called the world's attention to his cause in 1946,

when he played 45 blind games (+ 39 = 4 - 2) in San Pablo, Brazil, which was a word

record, never beaten (I think).

 

A very nice man... He was eight times Argentina chess champion, and played over the board

till quite recently (in 1992 he played in the strong Mar del Plata open and in 1991 in his last

national championship). His chess career had plenty of successes : he won 52 international

tournaments, and during the '40s and '50s he was one of the best five players in the world,

taking part in the memorable Candidates Tournament held on Zurich, 1953.

 

He played against all the world chess champions excepting Steinitz, and beating

Botvinnik,Smyslov,Petrosian,Tal and Fischer.

 

In the Olympiads, he was a very important part of the Argentina's successes in 1950,1952

and 1954 (first board), playing in 13 olympiads (11 for Argentina, 2 for Poland). He was a

well known personality, playing chess games against Churchill, Kruschev, the Shah of Iran,

Juan Peron, Fidel Castro, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and many others. Always courtious, he

always offered draws to such personalities, and all accepted, excepting Ernesto "Che"

Guevara. Najdorf told "I have no other alternative than to beat him ".

 

In recent years, he was an active chess organizer, as shown with his well-known 'Najdorf's

Opens' and the masters groups, some of high category. Now, CAISSA pays tribute to him

and hopes he plays again with the greatest world chessplayers...