With the death this week of Miguel Najdorf at the age of 87 the chess world has lost of one of its greatest eponyms. Although he did not invent the "Najdorf Variation" of the Sicilian (the credit for that goes to the Czech master Karel Opocensky) Najdorf was the man who moulded it into Black's boldest system against 1.e4. After the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3, before Najdorf came along, the only respectable moves were 5...g6, 5...e6 or 5...Nc6. His idea of 5...a6 - both preparing ...b5 and planning ...e5 without allowing a bishop check on b5 - began a revolution in our understanding. Before Najdorf, the task in the opening was to get the pieces into play, quickly and harmoniously. After Najdorf, it was permissible to get on with the middlegame before the opening was over.

The following game is another example of Najdorf's deep strategic understanding. After 11...b5, the theory of the time was 12.Bxb5 Nxe4 13.Nxe4 Qa5+ with a good game for Black. Najdorf showed that White can leave the pawn on b5, and undermine it later. He took control with 16.a4! and 21.e5! and was winning by the time Fischer blundered at move 30. After 31...Qxd6 32.Nxb7 Rxb7 33.Qc8+ White wins a rook.

White: Miguel Najdorf

Black: Bobby Fischer

Santa Monica 1966

1 d4 Nf6 17 Nd1 Ne5

2 c4 g6 18 Ne3 Ng6

3 Nc3 Bg7 19 Nec4 Nf4

4 e4 d6 20 Bxf4 gxf4

5 Be2 0-0 21 e5 dxe5

6 Bg5 c5 22 Bf3 Qf8

7 d5 e6 23 Nxe5 Bb7

8 Nf3 h6 24 Ndc4 Rad8

9 Bh4 exd5 25 Nc6 Rxe1

10 cxd5 g5 26 Rxe1 Re8

11 Bg3 b5 27 Rd1 Rc8

12 Nd2 a6 28 h3 Ne8

13 0-0 Re8 29 N6a5 Rb8

14 Qc2 Qe7 30 Qf5 Nd6

15 Rae1 Nbd7 31 Nxd6 resigns

16 a4 b4

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