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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
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-21-04  Bitzovich: Wow i never the Cuban Idol played good chess!! Quite entertaining
Mar-22-04  TrueFiendish: Yes, Guevara was a good player and a lot better than Castro. In this game white has an advantage but his sympathy for the cause may have convinced him agree to a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: I doubt that Najdorf who was an entrepreneurial businessman in addition to a GM ( he became very wealthy! ) was particularly sympathetic to the cause of Communism. Paul Albert
Mar-22-04  Bitzovich: Yes, but who knows, had he gone on to win the game, he might have been accused of being a "bloody capitalist" Lol
Mar-22-04  TrueFiendish: paulalbert: I must say that to presume someone could have no sympathy for the Cubans because that person operated in a capitalist world is a gross oversimplication, to say the least. I make some money and I would like to make more, but I sympathise with them. Maybe I'm a hypocrite, though if I am there are many like me... And what's more I was referring more to the cause of the Cubans, not necessarily the cause of Communism.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: I am sure Miguel Najdorf had a lot of sympathy for Cubans. That's why he would likely not have great sympathy for proponents of autocratic systems of government achieved by violent means such as Che Guevara. Najdorf lost his entire family in Poland to another autocrat while he was he was stranded in Argentina in 1939 while playing in the Chess Team Tournament. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Najdorf never found out what happened to his wife,daughter, and other relatives, and I think he only returned to Poland once 40 or 50 years later, so painful was this event in his life.

On the chess game which is what we should be discussing on this site ( not politics), I would speculate that the agreement to a draw was merely a respectful courtesy, not influenced by political ideology or anything else very profound. Paul Albert

Mar-23-04  zsystriker: <paul> Agreed, but why limit the forum to just chess games? I think the politics, history, psychology, philosophy, any and everything of chess players are fascinating. With loons like Fischer spouting off garbage out of his mouth, I don't think we can avoid not talking about other things.
Mar-24-04  TrueFiendish: paulalbert: now we're getting into sheer unsubstantiated personal bent. To extrapolate how Najdorf may have equated Guevara with the situation in his homeland is too much of a stretch, and I opt out. BTW, politics is constantly discussed on this site, like it or not. Personally I believe that's a good thing.
Apr-15-04  ConLaMismaMano: Bitzovich: Ernesto "Che" Guevara is argentinian.
Apr-15-04  ConLaMismaMano: Was argentinian :)
Apr-15-04  Kaspablanca: Hasta la victoria siempre.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Under what circumstances was this game played?
Apr-17-04  InspiredByMorphy: I cant understand why the game would draw at this point. Both were playing well, it would have been cool to see at least 10 more moves, but oh well...
Apr-17-04  Kenkaku: <InspiredByMorphy> I'm sure they both knew that Najdorf would have won in the long run, so Guevara offered a draw and Najdorf humored him as a gesture of goodwill (perhaps a nod to the fact that Guevara played well thus far). If a GM accepted a draw offer from me, it would certainly raise my chess self-confidence.
Apr-17-04  InspiredByMorphy: <Kenkaku> Agreed. I got a draw from a strong local master at a simul with the Tarrasch defense and was very excited.
Apr-27-04  metajedrez: Najdorf was playing in a blind and simultaneous session with other opponents of the Cuban Government. The "Che" was, no doubt of this, the strongest player of them, so a quickly draw was good for both. By the other hand, Najdorf often said that when he played in such conditions against a gabinet he always drew with thw president by courtesy and defeat the ministers. In this session he drew against Castro and the "Che". But, when Guevara isn`t famous, in 1949, he drew a simoltaneous game against ¡Najdorf! in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Apr-27-04  ughaibu: Metajedrez: I dont see how a "draw was good for both". If you get the chance to play a famous grandmaster are you happy with a quick draw, or do you want a real game?
May-03-04  Whitehat1963: Does anyone know of any games between Che and Fidel?
May-03-04  TrueFiendish: There would have been no contest between the two. Che would have waxed Fidel completely, but no doubt they played heaps. It'd be interesting to see a game, though.
May-15-04  fantasticplastic: Nice game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: On SBC's page there is this cool pic,
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.
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