Miguel Najdorf Memorial

Zhigalko, Macieja, Hammer, and Aleksandrov top seeded

Miguel Najdorf

Miguel Najdorf International Chess Festival, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Miguel Najdorf, is scheduled to take place on 17-25th July at the Sports and Recreation Centre in Warsaw, Poland. It will consist of 3 open tournaments (groups A,B, and C) with the participation of 50 titled players. Top seeded are Sergei Zhigalko (Belarus), Bartłomiej Macieja (Poland), Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway), and Aleksej Alexandrov (Belarus), all above 2600 ELO.

The organizers of the event are Warsaw Chess Foundation, Municipality of the Warsaw Central District, Warsaw Sports and Recreation Centre, and “Polonia Warsaw” Chess Club. The tournaments will take place in the Warsaw Sports and Recreation Centre at ul.Polna 7a in Warsaw

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. The Najdorf Variation in the Sicilian Defense, one of the most popular openings in modern chess, is named after him. Najdorf also made contributions to the theory and praxis of other openings such as the King’s Indian Defense. Najdorf was also a well-respected chess journalist, who had a popular column in the Buenos Aires Clarín newspaper. Find more information after the participants list.


1 GM Zhigalko, Sergei BLR 2647

2 GM Macieja, Bartlomiej POL 2618

3 GM Hammer, Jon Ludvig NOR 2610

4 GM Aleksandrov, Aleksej BLR 2604

5 GM Radulski, Julian BUL 2593

6 GM Erdos, Viktor HUN 2589

7 GM Dziuba, Marcin POL 2576

8 GM Malakhatko, Vadim BEL 2569

9 GM Mis’ta, Aleksander POL 2562

10 GM Vysochin, Spartak UKR 2555

11 GM Petrov, Marijan BUL 2545

12 GM Olszewski, Michal POL 2543

13 GM Brodsky, Michail UKR 2537

14 GM Simonian, Hrair ARM 2521

15 GM Berczes, David HUN 2519

16 GM Jakubowski, Krzysztof POL 2506

17 IM Warakomski, Tomasz POL 2499

18 IM Bernasek, Jan CZE 2495

19 GM Socko, Monika POL 2485

20 GM Boros, Denes HUN 2479

21 IM Burg, Twan NED 2449

22 GM Butnorius, Algimantas LTU 2439

23 IM Krysztofiak, Marcin POL 2436

24 IM Sznapik, Aleksander POL 2434

25 IM Cernousek, Lukas CZE 2408

26 IM Staniszewski, Piotr POL 2389

27 IM Beinoras, Mindaugas LTU 2386

28 IM Bobula, Mateusz POL 2384

29 IM Czerwon’ski, Aleksander POL 2378

30 m Krzyz.anowski, Marcin POL 2377

31 m Nguyen, Piotr POL 2372

32 FM Valsecchi, Alessio ITA 2370

33 m Deszczynski, Adam POL 2352

34 FM Rej, Tomek AUS 2344

35 FM Bentivegna, Francesco ITA 2343

36 FM Napoli, Nicolo’ ITA 2334

37 IM Zozulia, Anna BEL 2323

38 WGM Doluhanova, Evgeniya UKR 2312

39 m Stoma, Pawel POL 2309

40 WGM Kadziolka, Beata POL 2305

41 IM Adamski, Jan POL 2284

42 k+ Janczarski, Micha? POL 2281

43 k Pazderski, Ziemowit POL 2246

44 k+ Klim, Kamil POL 2245

45 k+ Skawinski, Arkadiusz POL 2233

46 WIM Fuchs, Judith GER 2231

47 Laurusas, Tomas LTU 2222

48 Alvarado, Carlos PER 2216

49 FM Bugajski, Robert POL 2209

50 k Drozdowski, Kacper POL 2203

51 k Lewandowski, Rafal POL 2191

52 I++ Weichhold, Pawel POL 2190

53 WIM Leks, Hanna POL 2165

54 I++ Malec, Sebastian POL 2114

55 I++ Smolak, Krzysztof POL 2096

56 I+ Choroszej, Aleksander POL 2093

57 I+ Kuciel, Wladyslaw POL 2084

58 Hetzer, Volkhard GER 2063

59 I++ Krasiewicz, Robert POL 2060

60 I Kielar, Maciej POL 2055

61 I Goslawski, Michal POL 2044

62 WFM Zakos’cielna, Kinga POL 2040

63 I++ Solnicki, Michal POL 2035

64 I Kaczmarek, Maciej POL 2032

65 k Spicak, Krzysztof POL 2026

66 I++ Gluszko, Monika POL 2012

67 k Andrzejewska, Anna POL 2006

68 I Liberadzki, Slawomir POL 2003

69 WFM Bursa, Renata POL 2000

70 Roring, Tres USA 1994

71 k Wis’niowska, Klaudia POL 1991

72 WCM Leks, Maria POL 1987

Official website

Miguel Najdorf

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. In August/September 1939, the outbreak of World War II found him in Buenos Aires, where he was playing the 8th Chess Olympiad, representing Poland at second board. Najdorf was of Jewish origin, as were two of his team-mates, Tartakower and Frydman. He decided to stay in Argentina.

In September 1939, after the 8th Olympiad, Najdorf tied for first with Paul Keres at Buenos Aires (Circulo); the two scored 8.5/11. In 1941, he took second, after Gideon Ståhlberg at Mar del Plata, with 12.5/17. Later in 1941, he finished equal first with Stahlberg at Buenos Aires, the two scoring 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 first with Herman Pilnik at Mar del Plata, with each scoring 12/15. In 1945, he won at Buenos Aires (Roberto Grau Memorial), with 10/12, ahead of Ståhlberg and Carlos Guimard. He took second place at Viña del Mar 1945, with 10.5/13, behind Guimard, then 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.

After World War II ended, organized chess resumed in the international arena, particularly in war-stricken Europe. In 1946, Najdorf tied for 4th-5th with László Szabó at Groningen, with 11.5/19; the event was won by Mikhail Botvinnik. He then won at Prague, with (+9 -1 =3), ahead of Petar Trifunović, Gosta Stoltz, Svetozar Gligorić, and Jan Foltys. He also won at Barcelona 1946, with 11.5/13, ahead of Daniel Yanofsky. In 1947, he took second place at Buenos Aires/La Plata (Sextangular), with 6.5/10, behind Ståhlberg, but ahead of Max Euwe. In 1947, he won at Mar del Plata. In 1947, he finished second, after Erich Eliskases, at São Paulo.

In 1948, Najdorf placed second at New York with 6/9, two points behind Reuben Fine. He tied for 4th-5th with Hector Rossetto at Mar del Plata, with 10/17, behind Eliskases, Ståhlberg, and Medina Garcia. Najdorf won at Mar del Plata 1948 with 14/17, ahead of Ståhlberg (13.5), Eliskases (12), and Euwe (10.5). He was second at Buenos Aires 1948, with 8/10, behind Ståhlberg. Najdorf won at Venice 1948, with 11.5/13, ahead of Gideon Barcza, Esteban Canal, and Euwe. In 1949, he tied for first with Ståhlberg at Buenos Aires. In 1950, he won at Amsterdam, with 15/19, ahead of Samuel Reshevsky (14), Ståhlberg (13.5), Gligorić (12), Vasja Pirc (12), and Euwe (11.5). He also won at Bled in 1950.

Najdorf’s string of successes from 1939 to 1947 had raised 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. Despite his strong results, Najdorf was not invited to the 1948 World Championship tournament as a replacement for Fine.

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 one of the inaugural International Grandmasters. In the same year he played at Budapest in the Candidates Tournament to select a challenger for the world chess championship, and finished fifth. Three years later, in the Zürich Candidates Tournament in 1953, he finished sixth, and never succeeded in qualifying for the Candidates again. The closest he would come in the remainder of his career was in the following cycle, when he narrowly failed to qualify from the 1955 Interzonal, held at Gothenburg, Sweden.

Najdorf variation

Najdorf also made contributions to the theory and praxis of other openings such as the King’s Indian Defense. Najdorf was also a well-respected chess journalist, who had a popular column in the Buenos Aires Clarín newspaper.

The Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defence is one of the most respected and deeply studied of all chess openings. Modern Chess Openings calls it the Cadillac or Rolls Royce of chess openings. The opening is named after the Polish-Argentinian Grandmaster Miguel Najdorf. Many players have lived by the Najdorf (notably Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov), although Garry Kasparov would often transpose into a Scheveningen.

1. e4 c5

2. Nf3 d6

3. d4 cxd4

4. Nxd4 Nf6

5. Nc3 a6

Black’s fifth move, …a6, aims to deny White the b5 square to his knights and light-squared bishop while maintaining flexibility in development.

If black immediately plays 5…e5?! then after 6. Bb5+! Bd7 (or …Nd7 7.Nf5) 7.Bxb7+ Nxd7 8. Nf5 and the knight on f5 is difficult to dislodge without concessions.

Black’s plan is usually to start a minority attack on the queenside and exert pressure on White’s e4 pawn, which will often carried out by means of …b5, …Bb7, and putting a knight on c5.

The most common responses to the Najdorf are 6. Bg5 and 6. Be3, while 6. Be2 and 6.Bc4 also have their adherents. The moves 6. f4 and 6. g3 are less common, but are also respected responses to the Najdorf. The variation 6. a4 and 6. h3, the Adams attack are sometime played, the later has been played by Bobby Fischer. The timid 6. Bd3 is sometimes played.

The sharpest response by White is an immediate 6.Bg5 (Main Line or Old Main Line), after which 6….Nbd7 was the usual reply until the mid-1960s, with the rejoinder 7.Bc4 putting the line out of business. As a result, this main line was generally countered by 6…e6 7.f4, hoping to exploit the pin on the knight. 7. Qf3 was popular in the early days of the Najdorf, but the reply 7…h6 did not allow white to create a very dangerous attack. A common theme of this line is black leaving his king in the center and white castling queenside. White often sacrifices a knight on d5 to open the e file or on f5 to gain control of d5. After white completes Qf3, O-O-O, g4, Be2, Bg2 or Bh3 and Rhe1 then white will have a dangerous attack, but if black can consolidate his position he will have the advantage. The simplest response by Black is 7…Be7, when the main line continues 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7, and now 10.g4 or 10.Bd3. 8…h6 9.Bh4 g5 is the infamous Argentine (Goteborg) Variation, so named for the Swedish town where the variation was first played simultaneously by three Argentine players in 1955 when facing three Soviet grandmasters in the Interzonal. In this experiment, the three Argentine players lost and the line was, for a while, considered refuted. 10.fxg5 Nfd7 (Black aims to route a knight to e5, and then back it up by a knight at d7 or c6). 11.Nxe6!? was found by Efim Geller. 11…fxe6 12.Qh5+ Kf8 13.Bb5 and here two of three Argentine Tragedy games continued 13…Ne5, with the third deviating by 13…Kg7. It was only in 1958 that Bobby Fischer introduced the defensive resource 13…Rh7, versus Svetozar Gligorić at the Portorož Interzonal, in a critical last-round game. Modern theory has the line analyzed to a draw at best for White. However, other variations are promising.

One of the most popular choices at master level is 7…Qb6!?, which can lead to the extremely complicated Poisoned Pawn Variation: 8. Qd2 Qxb2 9. Rb1 (or the less common 9.Nb3) 9…Qa3. Black is up a pawn but somewhat underdeveloped: however, his pieces can quickly become mobile and his position is not easy for White to breach. Grandmasters Kiril Georgiev and Atanas Kolev, on page 10 of their 2007 book on the Najdorf The Sharpest Sicilian, state “For many years 6.Bg5 has been supposed to be the potential buster of the Najdorf, but nowadays it is seldom seen at the highest level. That is due to the so-called Poisoned Pawn Variation . . . .” In their opinion the line leads to a draw with best play, as in Vallejo Pons–Kasparov, Moscow 2004, which they state “will probably remain the last word of theory in that line . . . . ” (page 11). This has discourage some people wanting to win with black.

Other well-known replies to 7.f4 include 7…Qc7, championed by Garry Kasparov and Boris Gelfand, 7…Nbd7, the risky 7…Nc6!?, and 7…b5, the ultra-sharp Polugaevsky Variation.

Another possible continuation, the English attack, has become the modern main line. Since the early 1990s, the English Attack (6.Be3 followed by f2-f3, g2-g4, Qd2 and 0-0-0 in some order) has become extremely popular and has been intensively analysed, although 6…Ng4!? has cast a shadow on its use following Garry Kasparov’s successful utilization of it. However, White players who wish to avoid 6… Ng4!? can play 6.f3, transposing into the English Attack. On the other hand, if white plays 6. Be3, white has the potential to play into the Perenyi Attack if Black follows up with 6… e6, as White is able to push g2-g4 immediately without having to play f2-f3. The Perenyi attack leads to ultra sharp and very complex positions.

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