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Miguel Najdorf vs Ernesto Ché Guevara
Havana (1962), Havana CUB
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Smyslov Defense (C93)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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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!

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Oct-11-06  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).
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Dec-31-15  cunctatorg: George Washington and the Great Fathers of the American Nation were revolutionists and certainly not blunt beasts!

Oliver Cromwell and "his henchmen" were revolutionists; however Oliver Cromwell was both a responsible and pretty worthy statesman, in fact a great statesman and also a cruel leader...

Fidel Castro is a revolutionist but history will not pass judgement on him for the Cuban Revolution but for the evolution of Cuba under his regime... Obviously history will find Fidel Castro lacking compared to George Washington and/or Oliver Cromwell and the only open question is "how much lacking?"

This isn't the real tragedy; after all Cuba isn't a tyrannical regime with gulags and such; it's well known that if someone doesn't like this regime, he/she isn't free to argue or protest but he/she is "eventually free" to flee; the issue of Cuba's prosperity and stability (under Castro's regime) is another matter of course...

Vietnamese communist leaders were also revolutionists but a person should be insane to call their regime a tyranny ... for many obvious reasons... The question of prosperity, financial and general growth and power of their country under their regime is another (open!) question that the history of this century will answer...

The really tragic questions are these about Stalin and Mao; just because their starting points (tsarist Russia or Russia at 1917 etc and "Imperial" China respectively) were pathetic and sick states and these two leaders were somehow capable to deliver two powerful states ... or so...

Regarding Ernesto Che Guevara, this revolutionist is "a class of his own" but this would be a lengthy discussion; Guevara's story (the worst scenario) should be analyzed with the aid of T. S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral" though nobody -to my best knowledge- seriously accused Che for murders or executions...

Nov-30-16  The Kings Domain: Guevara knew his Ruy Lopez. He certainly was a better player than Castro. Fun game.
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