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Alexander Kotov vs Miguel Najdorf
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 27, Oct-18
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch. Closed Variation (E87)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-29-03  Rookpawn: As Bronstein put it, "Where Kotov took a knight and a pawn for each of his rooks, Najdorf gets only a pair of pawns for his pair of rooks, leaving Kotov the knights as interest, so to speak... This game might better belong in an adventure magazine than in a tournament book."
Sep-12-03  refutor: this is a very interesting game. i am really impressed by the way that kotov keeps fighting and fighting to turn a lost position into a drawn position. bronstein described 25. ... Ne8 as the deciding move for Najdorf "...this one probably costs him the win." this game is definitely worth playing over.
Aug-27-06  WhoKeres: Najdorf's drawing strategem in this game is most unusual. Can anyone else tell me whether they're aware of any other tournament games where one player was left with only a knight pair at the end of the game? To play this way in a Candidates' Tournament is just amazing.
Aug-28-06  Caissanist: There's a little story about the end of this game (thanks to <Resignation Trap> for setting me straight on some of the details). As we can see, instead of simply offering a draw Najdorf decided to end the game with the joke moves given above, and after Kotov took the second rook he said "draw".

Kotov then looked up at Najdorf with a puzzled expression: "why?"

"Because it's a book draw."

"Ah yes," responded Kotov "that used to be true". He then went on to explain to a horrified Najdorf about the old man in Tbilisi who had recently solved the problem about how to to mate the lone king with two knights. It took a few seconds before it dawned on Najdorf that Russians know how to tell jokes too.

Mar-01-09  WhiteRook48: NN vs K!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "One of my favourite anecdotes, often told but worth repeating here for the young, concerns the game Kotov-Najdorf from the 1953 Candidates' tournament in Switzerland. Najdorf had sacrificed his two rooks for two pawns to reach a drawn ending in which Kotov had king and two knights against Najdorf's lone king. Draw, Najdorf said. Kotov refused, after which Najdorf jumped from his chair, exclaiming that he had won 40 international tournaments and now Kotov was trying to mate him with two knights! Then Kotov explained that Siberian amateurs had recently worked out a way to mate with two knights by force. Najdorf exploded and the arbiter had to come to calm him down. Then Kotov accepted the draw, of course."

- GM Hans Ree (from NIC 2005/05)

<exclaiming that he had won 40 international tournaments and now Kotov was trying to mate him with two knights!>


Jul-14-11  Blunderdome: Some other accounts of the ending from CN 5042:
Mar-21-20  Mats G: In their tournament book (Gideon Ståhlberg and Paul Keres: Världsschackturneringen Neuhausen-Zürich 1953 – Världsmästarmatchen Moskva 1954, Sveriges Schackförbunds Förlag, Örebro 1954, page 269) the authors (who were playing in the tournament and thus eyewitnesses) write that after 50. Nh5 x g7

“To Najdorf’s audible and visible indignation Kotov accepted a draw only after having enjoyed his material advantage for several minutes” [my translation].

In the original Swedish: “Till Najdorfs hör- och synbara indignation accepterade Kotov remis först efter att under några minter ha njutit av sin materiella övervikt”.

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