The year 1939 brought to an end the great movie films of the thirties. It also brought the beginning of war drums to Europe, the fulfillment of Nazi dreams for creating a (super) superior race. It also found the chess Olympiad of that year scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On April 15th 1910 was born Mojsze Mendel (Mieczyslaw) Najdorf, eldest son of 5-children of Gdalik and Raisa. His twelve-year-old sister Ines died at age twelve in a skiing accident. He was rather late learning the game of chess which was introduced to him by a violinist with the Warsaw Philharmonic and friend of his father. His own mentor chess coach was Savielly Tartakower of whom he later wrote that he learned to play at his side. He was a humanist, a fine humorist, a man of great culture, an extraordinary man by any standard. His first tournament was at age eighteen where he finished in fifth place but took all three brilliancy prizes.
In 1936 he married Genia, a talented pianist, who was to die in the Holocaust with all his clan members. On readying for the trip to Buenos Aires with her husband, she and their daughter fell ill and Genia decided to remain in Poland. The Olympiad was held one month before the Nazi invasion of Poland. He later noted that his family numbered 300 and none survived the Holocaust.
As I recall it was decided to hold a Western Hemisphere Championship which brought together Samuel Reshevsky and Miguel Najdorf. Najdorf had changed his name from Mendel to Miguel. Reshevsky, the brilliant child prodigy, won the title, both providing viewers some top quality chess and defended it in future matches. This event came about because the USSR refused to allow a match between their champion Mikhail Botvinnik and Samuel Reshevsky. The Americans had sought such a title fight for world champion because Reshevsky had defeated Botvinnik 2-1 in a match held between their countries and Reshevsky had never lost an organized match.
To show the brilliant chess of Miguel Najdorf, I chose a game with another great Grandmaster Paul Keres which was from 1939.
White: Miguel Najdorf vs. Black: Paul Keres Opening: Slav-Indian Defense -D94
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bd3 Bg7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 d:c4 8. B:c4 Nbd7
This has been a standard way of meeting d-pawn openings and following my theory of square count like 8…Bg4 stressing piece development and pin on the Knight. The text is also based upon square count and personal style and maybe home analysis of the whole system.
9. Qe2 Ne8
Keres’ defense strategy seems based upon opening the center but leaves White a 4/3 pawn edge on the Kingside, giving White a center e-pawn. Black has a half-open file. Black’s 3/2 pawn edge on the Q-side falls a tiny bit short because White’s majority often times is more mobile and can be used in spearheading a King hunt.
10. Bb3 e5 11. N:e5: N:e5 12. d:e5 B:e5 13. f4 Bg7
Square count stands at 12/9. Maybe 13…B:c3 to create three White pawn islands as well as isolani pawns has merit but White is then in possession of the bishop-pair.
14. e4 Be6 15. B:e6 f:e6
Black takes on the added weakness of the center complex isolani but what could he do. The bishop is daunting on the diagonal. It is a position hard to play. Perhaps 14….a5 or a6 offers an alternative purpose to avoid weakening the position. Sometimes doing nothing to harbor a position change that spells a weakening is a better course for defense.
16. e5 Nc7 17. Be3 Nd5 18. Ne4 b6 19. Rad1 Qe7 20. g3 Rad8 21. a3!
White quietly limits the Knight’s mobility by taking away one of its squares.
21. … Nc7 22. Rd6! c5!
A powerful attack based upon square count theory. White opens the diagonal for the Bishop to enter the attack.
23. … e:f5 24. Bg5 Q:e5 25. B:d8 Ne6 26. Bf6! Resigns
Since 26…B:f6 27. N:f6+ will put the Rook into the box.