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Miguel Najdorf vs Ernesto Ché Guevara
Havana (1962)  ·  Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Smyslov Defense (C93)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-10-04  molinov: In a wonderful book written by Najdorf's daughter she tells a differrent story. According to her ,quoting Najdorf, this game was not drawn. Najdorf told her that in this game he had offer Che a draw and that he had not accepted it. The game had gone on and Najdorf had won. In fact Najdorf said that Che had reminded him of the other game that they had played in Mar del Plata (the one that metajedrez mentioned). But in the book it says that najdorf had won that match aswell, and that Guevara told him that he wanted to even the score. So according to Najdorf his score against Guevara was 2-0. As for the political discussion I refer once more to the book: "My father was never a communist, but he always admired Che and the Cuban revolution". What I would add is that comparing the Cuban revolution to the Warsaw ghetto can only lead to false conclusions.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: I met Najdorf in the 70's. He was absolutely apolitical. He didn't even want to think about it! A real Candidates in 1948 would have included him in the spot R. Fine declined.
Jul-11-04  molinov: True he was apolitical, but that also means he was not right wing. Even though being apolitical in Argentina in the 70's many times meant being a right wing.
Jul-12-04  zb2cr: To return the subject to chess, why
didn't Guevara chop the Pawn at e4 on
his 16th? 16 ... Nxe4; 17 Bxh6, Nxf2
looks to me as if Black winds up with
an extra Pawn no matter what.
Jul-12-04  sneaky pete: <zb2cr> After 16... Nxe4 wouldn't 17.Qd5 .. be a bit embarrasssing? 17... Bb7 18.Qxe4 d5 19.Qg4 dxc4 20.Bxc4 .. leaves white a pawn up.
Jul-12-04  zb2cr: <sneaky pete>,
Ah. Thank you for your comment. Obvious, once someone else point it out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: "molinov: True he was apolitical, but that also means he was not right wing. Even though being apolitical in Argentina in the 70's many times meant being a right wing."

That's bozo eh? Trying to force 'apoliticals' into a left-right axiom spectrum, with death threats?

i recommend the 'above'! by far!

Sep-22-04  beatgiant: <why didn't Guevara chop the Pawn at e4 on his 16th?>

He probably feared something like 16...♘xe4 17. ♗b6 ♕d7 18. ♖xe4 d5 19. ♘4xe5 , or if 17...♕e7 18. ♖xe4 d5 19. ♖xe5 .

With 16...♗e6 he is now threatening 17...♗xc4 followed by 18...♘xe4 .

In chess too, one must lay the groundwork before entering into the struggle ;-)

Sep-22-04  Dick Brain: I believe Najdorf, besides Che Guevara and Castro, also played simul games against Churchill and Khruschev.
Sep-29-04  jsanpedro: I'm Argentine and some years ago I read in Najdorf's chess column in the newspaper Clarin that he offered a draw but Guevara refuses it, leaving him with no option but winning. I don't know why the game is recorded as a draw. May the agree on a draw and then keep playing until Guevara resigned? Che might be a good player, but I doubt he was good enough as to keep Najdorf at bay...
Oct-14-04  ricardolopez: I'm Argentine too and I remember Najdorf wrote that when he offered a draw to Guevara he agreed but saying: "Well, you are a great master of chess and a good diplomatic too. But now, please, play not diplomatically" and the following game was not recorded. If I'm not wrong the game we see at present was played in one simul sesion.
Oct-14-04  ricardolopez: Obviously, the second game was won by Najdorf. But Guevara wanted to experience the struggle with a GM, even knowing he will lose.
Mar-18-06  Nikita Smirnov: Why draw!
Oct-11-06  setebos: Why not draw? Che was a thug and Najdorf made a fortune in Argentina after the war. Think about it. If Najdorf had chosen to go to Cuba to save himself from the Nazis and made a fortune there he would have been considered a "class enemy" by Che and his henchmen. He would have lost everything and would have had to flee from another tyranny.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Good pictures of Che playing and watching games. Also some pics of older GM's. In Spanish.
Dec-31-06  Nikita Smirnov: Mr. Guevara and also mr. Castro are both good players!
Jan-06-08  DancingDean: The other thing to remember is:

1. Guevara was known to be able to benchpress over 85kg

2. Have you seen Guevara's "guns" (biceps)?

...Bring it on Najdorf...

...You have to ask yourself one question...

...Do you feel lucky?

...Well...Do ya...Punk?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Nikita Smirnov: Mr. Guevara and also mr. Castro are both good players!> According to Ludek Pachman, who played with both of them for several times in 1960s, Fidel Castro was enthusiastic but very poor player whose favourite opening move with black after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 was 2...Bd6. On the other hand Che Guevara played quite well according to him and he could have been on the level of a solid "1st class" player (i.e. player with ELO around 2000).
Oct-04-08  Ladolcevita: I didnt anticipate so much...
CHE,what a legend!
and play chess rather well too....
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: From the website that <technical draw> linked to, it appears that <ricardolopez> is right and this was a simul game. Not only that, it was a blindfold simul game. The website has a photo of Che Guevara with Najdorf from 1962 and the caption says that the picture is after the blindfold simul session, and that their previous encounter was in Mar del Plata in 1949.
Dec-01-08  mandy64: Interesting, that Najdorf agreed the draw. He should have tried 17.Ba4 followed by 18.Nb6, and Guevara would have been in trouble. In that case, white is winning the exchange in a superior position.
Dec-01-08  NakoSonorense: If Najdorf had tried to go for win, then HE would have been in REAL trouble...
Dec-01-08  mandy64: NakoSonorense: Your statement is ridiculous, Guevara was not the person who preys on a grandmaster, just because he plays better chess. Che was a revolutionist, not a blunt beast.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: <Che was a revolutionist, not a blunt beast>. Isn't that the same?
Feb-26-11  natno: Went to Cuba last week. He's a god there still. Didn't realize he was a competent chess player too.
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