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Monday, July 11, 2016

Confusion Over a Najdorf Game

     Recently when I played over a game from Arnold Denker's The Bobby Fischer I Knew it caused me some confusion. Denker gave the game as Najdorf vs. either Frenke or Sapiro, stating that is was played in either Warsaw 1927 or Lodz 1939 adding that while Najdorf had a flawless memory for moves he rarely paid attention to such niggling details as places and dates. 
     The game that Denker was referring to was the one in Edward Winter's post titled Najdorf against the French Defense. See the Chess Review article reprinted in the post.  Relevant posts are:

Najdorf against the French Defense 
Polish Immortal
Najdorf vs. Gliksberg 
Glucksberg vs. Najdorf

     Some how or other looking through all this lead to me digging up the Najdorf vs. Frenkle game from Warsaw 1926 which is also a miniature, but a Sicilian Dragon, that is given below. 
     When we think of Najdorf we usually think of a risk-taking tactician, but Denker claimed that was not the case at all.  Najdorf won many "mixed" tournaments, including at least a dozen Mar del Plata events, Amsterdam 1950 (ahead of Reshevsky), Havana 1962 (ahead of Spassky and Smyslov), that included world class GMs as well as lesser masters because he had a knack for mowing down players in the bottom half of the tournament. 
     Najdorf himself helped perpetuate the myth that he was a gambler, but he usually won his games against the lower half of tournaments by by taking a positional approach that Denker described as half Capablanca and half Lasker. And, it's usually forgotten that he also won deep positional victories over world class players like Botvinnik and Spassky. 

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