Gajewski succeeds in Najdorf Memorial

by Dejan Bojkov
7/25/2016 – Miguel Najdorf was a successful businessman, a colorful personality, a man with a passion for chess and one of the best chess players of his time. He was born in Poland but when the Second World War broke out during the Chess Olympiad 1939 in Buenos Aires he decided to stay in Argentine. But Poland still honors him with a memorial that year after year attracts strong players. This year Grzegorz Gajewski won.

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Najdorf Memorial in Warsaw

Miguel (Mieczyslaw) Najdorf was born in Poland, in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, 40 km from Warsaw, and before going to the Olympiad in Buenos Aires 1939, where he played for Poland, he had already established himself as one of the leading players of the world. In the Olympiad he scored 14.0/18 on board two and was the best player on board two. But during the Olympiad the Second World War broke out in Europe and Najdorf decided not to return to Poland but to stay in Argentine. This probably saved his life. All relatives of Najdorf, who comes from a Jewish family, died in the war or in concentration camps.

Miguel Najdorf

But Najdorf was lucky to live a long and fulfilled life. In Argentine he became a successful and wealthy businessman but this did not diminish his great passion for chess.

Najdorf’s contribution to the game was neatly summarized by G. Kasparov in his series My Great Predecessors: " He was a true ambassador of chess, met a variety of political leaders such as Churchill, Castro, Khrushchev, The Shah of Iran, Che Guevara and Peron and he corresponded with John Paul II".

Poland likes to honor the memory of Najdorf with a strong tournament bearing his name. This year it was played in Warsaw from 8. to 16. July. There were four sections, ranging from a super-strong "A" tournament for players rated above 2200, to the "D" which was for talented players and future masters – you had to be born 2006 or later to play here. Backed by the ACP, which enlarged the prize-fund (all in all more than 20,000€ could be won in the "A"-tournament – 5,000€ of which went to the winner), the “A”-tournament attracted 136 players, of which 36 were grandmasters and 25 of them had a rating of 2600 and better.

Before the opening comes the opening ceremony

Igor Lysyi

Zahar Efimenko

Alexander Areshchenko

Alexander Fier

Gawain Jones

Sue Marroa, Ehefrau von Gawain Jones

Tania Sachdev

Igor Kovalenko

Ivan Ivanisevic

Oleg Romanishin

Josefine Heinemann

Polish chess celebrities

The local hero Kacper Piorun was top seed but among the participants were strong players like the former world championship contender Gata Kamsky and many established players and rising stars.

Piorun lost against his fellow countryman Tomczak

However, being a rating-favorite does not guarantee a prize and, in fact, neither of the two players mentioned above won a prize. However, first prize went to another Polish player: Grzegorz Gajewski. He played strong and solid chess and decided the tournament in his favor by winning the last round "game of the seconds" against Hrant Melkumyan to keep the trophy on Polish soil. But despite this loss Hrant was happy with his result – he had been leading throughout the event and finally finished third. Second place went to Ilia Smirin from Israel.

Final standings A-Open

M-ce Nr Tytuł Nazwisko Imię R. FIDE Pkt. MBch. Bch.
1 24 GM Gajewski, Grzegorz 2605 7.5 40.00 50.00
2 2 GM Smirin, Ilia 2676 7.0 39.00 49.00
3 12 GM Melkumyan, Hrant 2640 6.5 40.50 52.00
4 14 GM Khairullin, Ildar 2629 6.5 38.00 50.00
5 13 GM Gupta, Abhijeet 2630 6.5 38.00 49.00
6 17 GM Fier, Alexandr 2616 6.5 37.00 48.50
7 37 GM Indjic, Aleksandar 2547 6.5 36.50 47.00
8 28 GM Tomczak, Jacek 2583 6.5 36.50 46.00
9 9 GM Zhigalko, Sergei 2653 6.5 34.50 44.00
10 7 GM Efimenko, Zahar 2655 6.0 42.00 54.00
11 8 GM Areshchenko, Alexander 2654 6.0 41.50 52.00
12 11 GM Bartel, Mateusz 2649 6.0 40.50 51.00
13 23 GM Salem, A.r. Saleh 2608 6.0 37.00 47.50
14 19 GM Neiksans, Arturs 2614 6.0 36.50 46.50
14 20 GM Krasenkow, Michal 2614 6.0 36.50 46.50
16 27 GM Miśta, Aleksander 2584 6.0 36.00 45.50
17 30 GM Lalith, Babu M R 2565 6.0 35.50 45.50
18 32 GM Rozentalis, Eduardas 2552 6.0 35.00 45.00
19 18 GM Oleksiyenko, Mykhaylo 2615 6.0 33.50 43.00
20 33 GM Sengupta, Deep 2551 6.0 33.00 42.50
21 6 GM Ivanisevic, Ivan 2656 6.0 32.00 41.50

... 136 players



Prize-giving ceremony

Gata Kamsky

My American students needed some time to get used to the style of an European Open with only one round per day leading to lengthy and detailed preparation. They were a little flustered at the beginning but the longer the tournament lasted, the better they found their stride. Ashritha Eswaran scored 3.0/9 in the main tournament, while her little sister Aksithi scored 6.5/9 in the "C" event to win both the junior U12 prize as well as the prize for the best female player.

Aksithi Eswaran

Ashrita Eswaran

The tournament was such a big success that I hope its tradition will continue.

Talent from the C-tournament

And Polish people proved to belong to the friendliest on earth. We will never forget how quickly they organized themselves and helped us one evening when the tram hijacked us in the middle of the night and brought us to a completely different place than the one we had wanted to go to.

Impressions from Warsaw

Art and flea market



Palace of Culture and Science

An idyllic park

A sea of flowers

Trying to unerstand the nature of bubbles

Polish humor

The Rolling Stones in Warsaw


"Do widzenia!"

Tournament page...

GM Dejan Bojkov's Blog...

Dejan Bojkov, born in 1977, is a Bulgarian GM who qualified from the Sports Academy of Sofia as a trainer, a profession which he has followed in various countries. After his work as a trainer in Kavala (Greece) he trained ex World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova. Bojkov regularly reports for and In 2009 Bojkov was champion of Bulgaria and member of the Bulgarian team at the European championships. Bojkov is the authorof a number of popular ChessBase DVDs and in cooperation with Vladimir Georgiev wrote the book "A Course in Chess Tactics" (Gambit 2010).


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