Archive for September, 2011

Kindred’s Special: 1942 Chess Match, NYC, Samuel Reshevsky vs. Isaac Kashdan, Game 7

September 26, 2011

Reshevsky serves up a one-game edge for game 7 where he stands to play the white pieces.  Kashdan serves up another Nimzowitsch Defence and Reshevsky alters the opening by choosing a favorite of Capablanca 4. Qc2 which went out of favor after 1933 due to the defence finding adequate play to keep in the game. The move has subsequently returned to favor and championed by Kasparov and others in modern times.

White: Samuel Reshevsky      vs.     Black:   Isaac Kashdan     Opening:  Nimzowitsch Defence

1. d4  Nf6 2. c4  e6  3. Nc3  Bb4  4. Qc2  d5  5. cxd5  Qxd5  I believe Fine regarded this recapture as good as 5. … exd5 that seems equal.

6. Nf3  c5  7. Bd2  Bxc3  8. Bxc3  Nc6  9. e3  O-O  10. Rd1  Qxa2  Kashdan improves on Capablanca vs. Fine, AVRO 1938 that appears on the surface to give Black good play; yet it seems as though to me that grabbing the pawn sheds a tempo which can prove costly in time.

11.  dxc5  Nd5  12. Be2  An interesting thought here is 12. Ng5 to score some positional points weakening Black’s pawnstructure.

12. … Ncb4  13. Qd2  Nxc3  14. Qxc3  Nd5  15. Qd2  b6!! Well played as it forces the coming exchange. Should Reshevsky try c6 here, then Black has the excellent response …Ba6.

16. cxb6  axb6 17. O-O  Bb7  18. Rc1  Rfc8  The right Rook, the wrong square. Best is 18. … Rfd8 and should White centralize the Queen with Qd4, then …Qa4! leads to sharp play.

19. Ne5  Nf6  This keeps an eye on the light squares but White has threats which he ably demonstrates in the following play.

20. Nc4!  Putting the finger on the shortcoming of Black’s strategy starting with some moves ago. Jump moves like ….>Rd8 ….>Be4 and ….>Qa7 might remedy the ill effects of Kashdan’s 18th turn.  But as so often is the case, a bad idea leads to other bad move choices.

20. … Qb3  21. Qd4  Rx6 22.  Nd6  Rxc1  23. Rxc1  Qd5  24. Qxd5  Bxd5  25. Rc8+  Rxc8  26. Nxc8  Kf8  27. Nxb6  Bb7  Now, for both players it becomes a rush to bring the Kings into active participation for the coming fight.

28. f3 Ke7 29. Kf2 Ne8 30. Nc4 f6 31. Ke1 e5 32. Kd2 Nc7 33. Bd3 h6 34. Na5 Bc8 35. Bc4 Kd6 36. Kc3 Nd5+ 37. Bxd5 Kxd5 38. e4+ Ke6 39. Nc4 Ba6 40. Ne3? h5 41. Kb4 g6 42. Kc5 f5 43. b4? fxe4 44. fxe4 Bd3 45. b5 Bxe4 46. g3 Bf3 47. h3 Bh1  48. b6 Ba8  49. Nc4  Kf5  50. Kd6 h4  Kashdan misses the strong 50. …e4!

51. gxh4  e4  52. Ke7  Bc6  53. Kf7  Bd5+ 54.  Kg7  Ba8  55. Kh6!  Bc6  56. Na5  Bd5  57. b7  Bxb7  58. Nxb7  e3  59. Nc5  Ke5  60. Nd3+ Ke4  61. Ne1  Kf5 62. Kg7  e2 63. Nc2  Kashdan resigns.

While I could not find any conditions of the playing area, temperature, time situation of both players, I tend to believe that each, if not all, had something to do with this long drawn out game and probable errors in judgment or even outright mistakes; such conditions usually lead to one side winning in a not too glamorous manner. It might be safe to say that both players suffered time control problems since both were considered skillful endgame handlers and possessed talent to spot such opportunities. This hard fought game put pressure on Kashdan who has fallen two points down.

In this game, Black strove to challenge the center directly.  Another interesting possibility is to play 4. Qc2  Nc6  5. Nf3  d6  6. a3, or; 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Bg5 which follows Capablanca’s theory expressed in his Chess Fundamentals about attacking aggressively and aimed at digging into the guts of the enemy position. Check what the opening books recommend.

Adios for now!

Kindred’s Special: 1942 Chess Match, Reshevsky vs. Kashdan, Game 6

September 20, 2011

White: Isaac Kashdan   vs.    Black: Samuel Reshevsky     Opening:  Ruy Lopez – Morphy variation

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  Be7  6. Re1  b5  7. Bb3  d6  8. c3  Na5  9. Bc2  c5  10. d4  Qc7  11. h3  O-O  12. a4  Bd7  13. Nbd2  cxd4  14. cxd4  Rfc8.  So far as played between Fine vs. Reshevsky, AVRO 1938. Kashdan varies now from Fine’s continuation of 15. Bd3 sacrificing a pawn for position. Kashdan obviously tries to improve on that game which Reshevsky won.

15. axb5  Qxc2  16. Qxc2  Rxc2  17. Rxa5  Bxb5  18. Ra1   Perhaps Kashdan thought he could capture on e5 but discovers that the black Bishop can play to b4 and White is in trouble.

18. … Rac8  19. b3  Bf8  20. dxe5  dxe5  21. Ba3  Bxa3  22. Rxa3  Rc1  23. Rxc1  Rxc1+ 24. Kh2  Rc2  25. Ra1  Kf8  26. Kg1  Nd7  27. Nc4  Bxc4.  Alekhine says when annotating this game that he would have played 27…f6 with the threat of Nc5 so 28.Na3  Rb2  29. Nxb5 axb5  30. Rd1 Ke7 31. Rd3 b4 and 32…Nc5 would be clearly in Black’s favor.

28. bxc4  Rxc4  29. Rxa6  Rxe4  30. Ra7  Ke7 31. Ng5  Rd4  32. Nxh7  f6  33. g4  Kf7 34. g5  f5  35. Kf1  Rd6  36. g6+ Rxg6  37. Rxd7+ Kg8  38. Re7  Kxh7  Draw.

Reshevsky just misses a win in this strategic battle that suggests that you try to win with white and be satisfied drawing with black.  With five games remaining, the score is now 3.5-2.5 in favor of Reshevsky who now opens game 7 as White.  Such strategy puts pressure on the adversary.  One might conclude that a draw in this game actually equals a win in match strategy.

During this period Alekhine was respectful of potential challengers coming to the fore.  He held great respect for Reshevsky’s skill and considered him a true child prodigy who carried forth his talent for chess into adulthood. He acknowledged this depth of skill and only whether Reshevsky desired to work hard to achieve the right for title match and desire it strong enough.

Kindred’s Special: 5th Match Game, 1942, Samuel Reshevsky vs. Isaac Kashdan

September 19, 2011

New York City was the home of USA chess where numerous chess elite from Capablanca to Fine, Reshevsky, Horowitz, and Marshall, etc. found solace in the leading clubs that attracted many colorful characters through the years. With the score tied 2-2, Reshevsky opened with his favorite 1.d4 and Kashdan decided to switch from his dependence upon the Grunfeld and decides to adopt the Nimzowitsch Defence.

White:  Samuel Reshevsky            vs.         Black:   Isaac Kashdan            Opening:  Nimzowitsch Defence

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  e6  3. Nc3  Bb4  4. a3  Later in his career he liked to play 4. e3 here. Nowadays most frequently seen is the old 4. Qc2. The text is called the Samisch and remains a very popular way of playing the White side.  Another alternative which was made popular by Boris Spassky on his rise to stardom was the Leningrad system 4. Bg5. All these moves have purpose and have become standard in opening books and seen in tournaments round the world as well as correspondence events. Despite these, the popularity of this defense has not been bashed and continues to thrive across the chessworld.

4. … Bxc3+ 5. bxc3  c5  6. e3  O-O  7. Bd3  Nc6  8. Nf3  d6  9. Qc2  e5  I have often mentioned that time is a key factor in chess development. While true, Black misses the opportunity here to develop with 9…Re8 which is useful as a prelude to e5. White would likely go for solidifying the center with 10. e4, after which h6 (sqct) keeping out the Bishop from pinning the Knight and then follow it up with …e5 which now is ideal because the Rook is on the e-file.  Some have asked about my square count as to it’s value in determining either a plan of development or a single foray into the guts of the enemy or to keep same from your own shores.  Let me suggest that this is a good example of it. Should White not go into playing e4 himself, the Rook on e8 would support a further inroad of the center by …e4.

10. d5  Ne7  11. O-O  Kh8  This interesting plan secures the King’s safety from a surprise check as Kashdan visualizes his plan of …Ne8> … f5.  Reshevsky upsets this in time by the following series.

12. Ne1!  Ne8  13. f4!  Reshevsky strikes first.

13. … exf4  14. exf4  g6 15. Nf3  Bf5  16. Bxf5  Nxf5 17. g4  Nh6 18. f5!  Sharp play gives Kashdan problems to solve.

18. … Nxg4  19. h3  Ne5!!  20. Nxe5  dxe5  This empties the d6 square for an effective blockade by Nd6. Kashdan rises to the occasion and now threatens to take over the initiative with advantage.

21. Bh6  Rg8  22. f6  g5  Unnecessarily weakening the King position.  Why not simply proceed with Nd6 which brings the Knight back into the game and acts as an excellent blockader against the d5 pawn?

23. Qf5  Rg6  24. Bf8 Not the best as Reshevsky’s desire to win back his material lets Black slip out of danger with drawing chances.  He has better with 24. Bg7+!  Somewhere I read that one must always look at checks on the King. Now, 24…Nxg7,   25. fxg7+ Rxg7 26.Qxe5 > Rae1 tactically is superior to material as White has more than ample play against the Black forces.  Here again, the beauty of square count comes into play.  In any case, Kashdan finds himself under pressure.

24. … =Nd6! 25. Bxg7+  Kg8  26. Qxe5  Qd7?? Sad indeed as Kashdan could have saved the game by two different chances here.  26. … Ne81! draws because of the capture coming by Nxg7; the other is even better probably attacking the Queen with 26…Nxc4! The loss of time lets loose the symbolic power of the pieces in the King hunt.

27. Rae1  h5  28. Qe7 Qxe7  29. Rxe7  Rd8  30. Rfe1  Kh7  31. Kg2  g4  32. R1e5  gxh3+ 33. Kxh3  Rg1  34. Rxh5+ Kg6  35. Ree5  Rh1+ 36. Kg4  Ne4  37. Rxh1  Nf2+  38. Kf4  Kashdan resigns as he sees 38….Nxh1 as futile due to mate in 3.

Reshevsky takes the lead and the score is now:  Reshevsky 3   Kashdan  2.

Perhaps most revealing is my employing square count and it’s effect on the play in this game. I hope it gives you some guidance into seeing the aesthetic beauty of chess in all it’s glory.  Mistakes are there to be made. The best plans sometimes can go awry by just one fault play despite the fact that the moves are there to be seen but the player must choose the right path. Often life is like that. A traveler comes to pathways that cross and must choose which one goes to a wanted destination. Take the wrong one and he or she is lost.

Kindred’s Special: Reshevsky vs. Kashdan Chess Match, Game 4–The Ruy Lopez Again Visited

September 18, 2011

Leading 2-1 with the white pieces, Reshevsky enters this game having once again to face the determination of Isaac Kashdan and his favorite 1. e4 opening, The Ruy Lopez.  Reshevsky again opens with a Steinitz Defence setup and Kashdan varies deciding to essay the Duras Variation. Instead of following a course of hypermodernism, Reshevsky decides to deal with the opening in a more classical form.  Once again, Kashdan establishes a spatial edge that multiplies into a greater square count differential as the critical position is reached.  Kashdan carries out his operations in Grandmaster form and once more the match is tied.

White:  Isaac Kashdan      vs.     Black:  Samuel Reshevsky            Opening:  Ruy Lopez –Steinitz Defence Deferred

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  d6  5. c4   Varying from Game 2 adopting the Duras Variation probably is a good idea and illustrates that White can also build upon home preparation for surprise value.

5. … Bd7  6. Nc3  Nf6 I do not really like this developing move that seems to be the prelude to his later positional problems.  A bit of hypermodernism with 6…g6 7. d4 Bg7 8. Be3 exd4  9. Nxd4  Nge7 is offered in the books as an alternative plan. Yet, this has problems that arise as well for Black.

7. d4  exd4  8. Nxd4  Nxd4? I give this move a ? because my play versus my computer 2600 program as well published games in New In Chess Magazine often avoid exchanges.  I ask, “why exchange developed pieces when you have men to develop”? It would seem more logical here to try 8…Be7 >9…O-O.  On the other hand, perhaps Reshevsky felt that exchanges might loosen his defensive requirements later on and give him more room to maneuver.

9. Bxd7+ Qxd7  10. Qxd4  Be7 11. O-O  O-O  Again, I point to the advisability of castling before the King is caught in the center.  This, of course, is standard procedure in playing good chess strategy but I have seen many games at every level of skill where the King caught in the center finds itself with no clothes.

12. b3  Rfe8  13. Bb2  Bf8  14. Rad1  Re6 Interesting defense that at this stage I do not understand.  It seems to me that Black should try Rad8 and then the square count defensive resource of …c6 to cover the d5 square from a future invasion by the Knight.

15. Rfe1  Rae8  16. f3  Kh8 Putting me in a box because in the earlier game of this match I said the King found safe haven in the corner which is often the case.  I suspect, however, that Reshevsky again may have been in time trouble and made the move more as uncertainty as to what course of action to take so he played a safe move.  The problem with this though is that the opponent may establish a gain in position that simply has too many threats or punctures practical defensive motifs.  I would have chosen perhaps the move 16…Qc8 with the intention of playing c6 guarding the entry way for Kashdan’s Knight.

17. Ne2 with visualized jump moves of a Knight walk >Nd4 > Nf5. This seems an excellent plan. And talking about a plan, Reshevsky seems to lack one to adequately keep in the game.

17… Qc8  18. Qf2 Nd7 19. Nd4  R/6e7  20. Qg3  f6  21. Nf5  Re6  22. h4  With the dual purpose to (1)  put stress on his opponent by anchoring the Knight on f5, and; (2) inroads to the King position.

22. … b5 It was uncommon for someone of Reshevsky’s talent to get into such a crampt mess. His effort to break out with this Q-side pawn demonstration only adds to weaknesses in Black’s position because the position of the Rooks make any such counter measures impractical. Yet, there is little Black can do but pray for a miracle. And ill laid plans just don’t work in the real world. American politicos–take note!!

23. cxb5  axb5  24. h5  Qa6 25. a3  c5  26. Rd5  Ne5 27. Red1  Notice how my theory of square count almost beckons the right course of action.

27. …Nf7  28. Qh4  Ne5  29. f4  Nf7  30. h6  Oh, how Kashdan must have relished this position!

30. … g6  31. Bxf6+  Kg8  32. Ng3  Bxh6  33. Bb2 Eyeing the coming powerful pawn advance. Fischer might call it, “I like to see my opponent squirm.”

33. …Bg7  34. f5 Bxb2  35. fxe6  Rxe6  36. Qg4  Re8  37. Qd7  Rd8  38. Qe7  Rf8  39. Rf1  Be5  40. Rd3  Qc8  41. Rdf3  Qe8 42. Rxf7  Qxe7 43. Rxe7 Bxg3  44. Rxf8+ Kxf8 45. Rb7  c4  46. bxc4  Black resigns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindred’s Special: 1942, 11-Game Match, Reshevsky versus Kashdan, Game 3

September 17, 2011

Picture 1942 when the world was in warring turmoil and, for chessplayers in every land, it was a time to find some relief from the constant barrage of bad news, setbacks that just began to see the light as industry, human cooperation and dedicated togetherness of whole populations found unity of purpose–to destroy the war machine of the Axis Powers.  It was also a time to give relief of such everyday turmoil and troubles to find relief in occasional sport competition and this included the battle over the 64-squares by those little wooden men that possessed the symbolic power witnessed on battlefields. In England there was the correspondence master, Charles W. Warburton, whose duty throughout the war aided military planning for Allied forces. (I have already told the contribution by Reynolds in an earlier column.) It was a time when England almost stood alone. The Nazi military introduced the fast movement of the Blitz by armed vehicles which included tanks, planes, and ground troops that crushed resistence in all of  mainland Europe and with air bombardments of London and other cities smashing lines of defense that could not hold back the Nazi hordes. America was besieged by brownshirts and German sympathizers who set up youth camps that saluted the Fatherland; the seas had been constantly seeing U-Boats sinking shipping just off the shores of America.  The spy ring sent to America to create havoc among the populous with such explosives as hidden in the pens that would explode upon use was caught and arrested when they landed on the shores of America by alert defense personnel. These spies were convicted and shot. How different in those days!! from the wishy-washy behavior of government officials seen today.

The match gave a time to reflect and provide some joy in a blackened-out world at war.

White: GM Samuel Reshevsky    vs.  Black:  GM Isaac Kashdan         Opening:  Grunfeld Defence   3rd Match Game

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nc3  d5  4. Qb3  dxc4

Reshevsky chooses a different course and a more popular variation than that chosen in Game I.  Kashdan, an expert of the Grunfeld, chooses a sharp line exchanging the center pawn for the c-pawn. Earlier I had mentioned that the c-pawn advance was in hopes of breaking the center pawn structure of Black which could have been maintained by defending d5 with c6, a rather tame line. The objective of this exchange is to make good counterplay with Bg4 and reasonably good play toward the middle game battle.  White now faces a bit of a problem because he has space and more freedom during the first phase of the game. In chess it is often necessary to find a way to achieve something tangible. He must find ways to tickle vulnerable points within  the defense and in this Reshevsky is a master.  He gives a good lesson in achieving his aims, something Kashdan could not prevent but remains alert to provoke some weaknesses on the Q-side and hoping to get a chance to pressure the position should White go astray.

5. Qxc4  Bg4  6. Qd3  This suggests that both players were familiar with the game from Kemeri 1937 by Flohr that went 6. Qb5+ Nc6  7. Nf3  Nd5 8. e4 a6 9. Qa4 Nb6 10. Qd1 Bg4  11. Be3 Bg7 which looks okay for Black right now.

6. … Bg7  7. e4  c6  8. Nf3  O-O 9. Be2  Ne8!  Good plan as he wants to exchange a pair of bishops which gives a bit more breathing air for the defense.

10. O-O  Nd6  11. Qc2  Bc4  12. Bf4  Bxe2  13. Qxe2  Qb6! With pressure on the Q-side and preparing to offer the exchange of Queens eliminating much of the tactical chances. Once the Queen gets to the light a6 square, it will nip at Reshevsky’s plan of operations.

14. Rad1  Qa6  15. Rd3  Nd7  16. e5!?  One of the crucial positions is reached. Reshevsky puts all his eggs in one basket.  Possible was a more positional approach by 16. Rfd1 where I think my sqct. shows itself as valuable.

16. …Nb5  Finding a good solution to answering his opponent’s tactical plan of 17. e6 which can now be met by Nxc3  18. bxc3  fxe6.

17. Ng5  Nxc3  18. bxc3  h6  19. Ne4 c5!  An excellent counteraction that chops at the c-file and Q-side.

20. Rfd1  cxd4  21. cxd4  Rac8  22. Qd2  Rfd8!  Brilliantly making the attack 23. Bxh6 Nxe5 24. Rh3  Rxd4  25. Qxd4  Nf3+  26. Rxf3  Bxd4  27. Rxd4 Qxa2 28. Rfd3  f5 with advantage to Black (Alekhine analysis). Who says chess is boring?

23. h4  Kh7 24. h5 g5 25. Bg3  Rc4   Launching an all-out attack is blunted but still dangerous. A little better is 25. … f5 immediately.

26. f4  f5  27.Nc3 gxf4  28. Bxf4 e6?? Alekhine points out that Kashdan has a good position after 28. … Qe6 with about = chances. The move played lets Reshevsky get the chance to show his prowess for attack. He spots the fact that it opens the door for pressure on the enemy King.

29. Rg3! Increasing once more, a growing square count!

29. … Nf8  30. Rxg7+!! This shot may have caught Kashdan off guard but the former boy prodigy is ever keen to take advantage of any little slip.

30. … Kxg7  31. Bxh6+ Kh7  32. Qg5  Rd7  33. Bxf8 Rxc3  34. Qg6+  Kh8  35. Qe8!  Rcc7 36. Be7+ Note how the King’s movement is restricted more and more.

36. … Kg7  37. Qf8+  Kh7  38. Qf7+ and mate cannot be avoided.

A checkmate means that the King which is mated has no free square and his head is on the chopping bloc.

My passion for this beautiful game called chess goes further than merely the play alone or the ratings of the players.  The literary history beckons the general public to share with the lovers of the game such illusionary delights as found in the game just examined as well as the large assortment found in the archives that touch base on every level. This game holds considerable learning features and should enrich your appreciation of fighting chess and deep struggle experienced. One can almost feel the tension and fight within the spirit of the contestants.  Enjoy!!

With this battle, game 3 gives Reshevsky a pull. Victory often comes from persistence and strong will. See you for Game 4!

 

 

 

 

Kindred’s Special: 1942 Chess Match Between Reshevsky and Kashdan, Game 2

September 8, 2011

Leading 1-0, Reshevsky decides to defend with a rather unusual defence to the Ruy Lopez which was a favorite White opening of Kashdan. He chooses the Steinitz Defence Deferred that is complex, requires exceptionally precise and circumspect play. Also, I believe Reshevsky often played this defensive line 1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Bh4  Nf6.  Opening books were much less detailed with many variations and published lines so players had to do more personal work and often chose plans that fit their personal styles and preferences. There was room therefore for experimentation, personal analysis and preparation for a game which often was played in Round Robin Tournaments seen with a game a day or a game a week. Published materials were usually from actual game play with light or no notes of alternatives. There was a psychological war in the opening stage with a weapon in the pocket often of the defender who had the benefit of home analysis or discussion with that of an assistant.

White:  Isaac Kashdan    vs.   Black:  Samuel Reshevsky   Opening:  Ruy Lopez– Steinitz Defence Deferred

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  d6 5. c3  Often played was 5. Bxc6 bxc6  6. d4 f6, or; 5. c4 which is the Duras Variation which Kashdan chose in Game 4. With the text move, Kashdan wants to set up a strong center and potential open lines.

5. … Bd7  6. d4  Nge7  Reshevsky had an alternative of 6. … g6 as sometimes played but tends to weaken the K-side squares. Instead he chooses to proceed slowly with development but which has a drawback of giving White the chance to establish a strong mobilization without fear of much counteraction.  Reshevsky often played his openings from move 1 much the way I do where we share the idea of reaching positions with more understanding of their intricacies due to planning instead rote play.

7. Bb3!  This neat move is strong because White threatens Ng5 so Black must reply…

7. … h6  8. Be3  Ng6 Varying from a 1930 game, Ahues-Rubinstein, San Remo Tournament that continued with  8. … g5? falling into a shocker 9. Bxg5! hxg5  10. Nxg5 with a strong attack for the piece.  If on the other hand he tries 8. … g6 the problem of his King safety remains due to something like  9. Na3  Bg7  10. Qd2.

9. Nbd2  Qf6! Probably the improvement discovered by Reshevsky either at the board or in his preparation for the match. It offers a good chance to achieve equal chances with play for both sides.

10. Qe2  Be7  11. O-O-O. Brave soul but I do not like the square f4 being open for Knight to attack as it allows for the needed exchanges to free up the black units. Better as Alekhine pointed out on the game is 11. g3  Bh3  12. O-O-O > Rdg1. The consequence here is that Black gets to have a fair edge of the Bishop pair.

11. … Nf4!  12. Bxf4  Qxf4  13. Kb1  Na5! Heads up chess.  Reshevsky realizes that White has a strong continuation looking at jump move threats of Nf1 > Bc2 > Ne3 and prepares his forces for counterattack.

14. Bc2  O-O  15. Nf1  Bb5!  16. Bd3  f5!   This strike at the center assures Reshevsky a good game having equal chances with chances to achieve some advantage.  Unfortunately there is no stopping at this point to congratulate himself (how often does this feeling touch each chessplayer who experiences such bliss) so the enthusiasm of achievement causes like mistakes that was experienced by the adversary. Often it comes down to tit for tat.

17. dxe5  Bxd3+  18. Qxd3  fxe4?  Of course it is hard to see the end result of this folly which could have been avoided by simply going for a draw with 18. … Qxe4 19. Ng3  Qxd3+ 20. Rxd3  Nc6 with good drawing chances.

19. Qd5+  Kh8 20. Rd4  dxe5?  One mistake often leads to another.  One unknown is the time remaining on Reshevsky’s clock who was notorious for time problems.  I say this because he still had the practical chances to create some counterplay with a rather unclear position and some chances for survival. Best is probably getting the Knight back into the game. 20. … Nc6 21. Rxe4  Qf5  22. Ng3  Qg6 or go for the ending with 20. …c6  21. Qxe4 Qxe4  22. Rxe4  d5.

21. Nxe5!  Leaving Black with an impossible defence.

And I leave you with this position; the game lasted to 47 which seems a clue that time pressure played a role in this middle game with Kashdan wiping up the board.

You may of course wonder why I would choose to show this match so long ago contested.  Historical battles hold many valuable lessons and this game is a great example of tension in chess and how human nature and thought process in tense situations can do strange things on the board. For chess is a game where human thought and planning is unveiled in picture form of combat and the struggle experienced by the contestants.

I also turn your attention to my coverage of the match between Staunton and St. Amant, the conditions under which it was fought probably would not be tolerated by modern day players.

Enjoy. Your comments are welcome!

Kindred’s Special: GM Samuel Reshevsky, American Champion, 11 Game Match vs. Isaac Kashdan–Part 1

September 6, 2011

I refer you back to an earlier article I did on Samuel Reshevsky. In all the years of his really active play prior to his aging, he never lost an organized chess match, yet as fate would have it, he was never given the chance to play for the World Championship. Many in the chessworld, especially in what was known as the WEST during the cold war, felt he should have been in the seat opposite the world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, as he had defeated Botvinnik 2-1 in the USA – USSR chess team match.  Many people today do not know Reshevsky existed or, therefor, knew he was crowned the Western World Champion as a result of the celebrated match between himself and Miguel Najdorf, who at the time, was considered to be the top player out of the West along with Reshevsky. This title was partly the result of the frustration by Western players who felt that it would be appropriate to establish the best match player outside the Soviet Bloc. At the time, Reshevsky was number 1 in North America and Najdorf was number 1 in South America and these two were the dominant players in the West.  The logical step was to play for the Western World Championship which took place in 1951.

Reshevsky had long been supreme in the United States and was a first rate prodigy from the time he was about 6-8 years old, giving a host simultaneous displays both in Europe and then in the USA.  He was born in Poland and his parents moved the family via travels in Europe which supported his exhibition schedule to finally settle in the United States.  But I do not want to rehash what I have already given earlier so dig up the article and enjoy.

Isaac Kashdan was a leading player and had acquired a good reputation as a GM and success in European events.  The two agreed to do battle in an 11-game match which took place in New York City in 1942.  The effects of battling WWII seemed to make chess not so important and this match probably had something to do with keeping chess interest reasonably high in the country. For history sake I give the entire 11-game match which will be continued through several columns.  Enjoy.

White:  Samuel Reshevsky     vs.    Black:  Isaac Kashdan    Opening: Grunfeld Defence  Game 1.

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  g6  3. Nc3  d5  4. Bf4  This interesting variation idea was popular before and during the 1938 AVRO Tournament.  Like most things in life that are pursued, openings in chess are often based upon “fashion of the times.”

4. … Bg7 5. e3  O-O Already, Black has his sights set on putting the question to White whether he should accept taking the c-pawn in the following sequence, 6. cxd5  Nxd5  7. Nxd5 Qxd5 8. Bxc7 Nc6! 9. Ne2  Bg4 > Rac8 ending in a position already seen in Keres vs. Lilienthal, Moscow 1940.  Reshevsky was noted for opening plans with one move at a time which often caused him to get himself into time trouble through the years. He would sit and set up a plan in mind drawing perhaps on his brilliant mind for chess as a prodigy.

6. Qb3  c5  7. dxc5  Ne4!  8. cxd5  Qa5  9. Ne2  Nxc6  This was known from AVRO Capablanca vs. Flor.  Reshevsky hits first with a brilliant concept and upsets Kashdan who probably reckoned on uncorking  after what Capablanca played of 10. Qc4  Na6 11. Nd4 by e5 instead of Flor’s …Bd7 here, creating a tactical motif shot for favorable complications after 12. dxe6ep  Bxe6  13.Nxe6  Nxe6 with good square count.

10. Qd1!!  e5 Again a sqct move taking away the d4 Knight post. Kashdan likely thought that he was in a good position since now, 11. Bg3 yields either Bf5 or maybe 11. … b5  12. a3  b4  13. axb4  Qxb4 with an energized position.

11. Bg5!  f6  Again, this electrifiing push seems to give Black joy as 12. Bh4 gives Black the initiative, regaining the pawn, and getting a rather unbalanced position favorable for him. But here the genius of Reshevsky is seen with his superb skill and depth of powers to visualize the operations that are taking place on the board and consequential result of possessing a superior ending at the end of it’s execution. White correctly determines the dangerous looking center pawns will not get far due to the backwardness of the Black Qside position. It is probable that Kashdan was taken by surprise with the effectiveness of White’s reply.

12. a3!! I like this whole idea; it is wonderful! and shows Reshevsky at his best.

12. …Ne4 13. Bh4 g5 14. Bg3 f5 15. f3 Nxc3 16. Nxc3 f4 17. Bf2 e4 18. Rc1 Bf5 19. Be2  exf3  20. gxf3  fxe3  21. Bxe3  Nd7  22. O-O  Rae8  23. Bd4  Ne5  24. Kh1 As my earlier column on King safety a corner square is “the pits for the opponent.”

24. … a6  25. d6! Eyes open for a powerful  26. Qb3+.

25. … Kh8  26. b4  Qd8  Black is finally forced to make his reply because 26…Qxa3? meets   27.Nd5 winning.

27. Nd5  g4  28. Nc7  gxf3  29. Bxf3  Nxf3  30. Bxg7+ Kxg7  31. Nxe8+  Qxe8  32. Rc7+  Kg8  33. Re7  Qg6  34. Qd5+  Kh8  35. Rxf3  Kashdan resigns.

I was only 4-years old when this match was played.  And it was four more years before my brother Ray came home from the Army.  He went to college on the GI Bill and had chosen for English an interesting view of chess which dealt with + – = moves as I recall and got an A or B on it.  I used to sit and watch the games he reviewed and documented. I never took much interest in chess until my teen years although I must have got some polish for it into my brain by that experience. I remember questioning why not this move or that move in certain positions and my brother who was a expert would say something like, “yes that is an interesting thought and looks okay to me, too.” He had taught me when I was 3 how the pieces moved and had enjoyed a few games with my brothers and sister although I think it was more a chore for them than for me to go through that experience.  What I really learned from those hours spent with my brother was a love of chess history that he would convey to me during some of the games examined.

This first game of the Reshevsky – Kashdan match provides an insight into match play at the highest level where both must have used personal research of openings from a major tournament like the AVRO of 1938.  It also reflects upon the understanding that following plans and ideas from past battles, while good to know, can be subject to changes in appraisals and/or outright redirection of a concept with the introduction of new moves which makes home analysis rather useless and throws the combatants on their own.  At the least that would be the case and at the most it might force use of much time to try and find final clarity if at all possible for the results of a future position or how it effects the nature of an approaching endgame structure.

Kindred’s Special: Arturo Pomar, Chess Prodigy

September 4, 2011

Arturo Pomar, born 9/1/31 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain is relatively unknown to the American general public and even many chess enthusiasts.  He celebrated his 80th birthday in 2011. He learned the game at age 4, his tutor was World Champion Alexander Alekine who was recruited by Franco to teach the young prodigy during WWII.  At the age of 10 he competed in the Spanish Championship; he was champion of the Balearic Islands at age 11; he played in his first international tournament held in Madrid in 1943 and earned his master title at age 13. He brought joy and surprise to the world chess audience when at age 12 he drew with Alekhine and was the youngest to achieve such a result against a reigning World Champion.

I first became acquainted with Pomar when my brother’s Chess Review magazine came for March 1946. He conquored the Spanish chessworld winning the national title seven times–1946, 50, 57-59, 62 and 1966.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and played for Spain in 12 Olympiads from 1958-1980. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1962.

The University of Rochester held a simultaneous exhibition in Rochester during Pomar’s tour of the United States.  I was the youngest to play among some 40 or 50 opponents and was the last to have to turn down my King.  I had good chances to draw but he tempted me to swipe a pawn in the endgame that allowed his King to take a walk into the guts of my position so I LOST IT. He had played the Giuoco Piano against me and the game lasted about 50 moves or so.  Needlesstosay, it attracted many around my board to watch the ending. I remember him to be slight and lightweight, small in stature, and when we shook hands, it felt like I had hold of a moist noodle. Unfortunately I lost the account of the game. He went on to share lst-2nd with Larry Evans in the 1954 US Open held in New Orleans that year, taking 2nd on tie-break.

In 1965 Pomar suffered a nervous breakdown and a second one during the 1967 Dundee event from which he never fully recovered.  He had been ranked in the top 50 in the world from 1959-1965.

In his excellent chess book, 107 Great Chess Battles 1939-45, Alexander Alekhine gave his impressions of his young student. One of the games chosen was his 1944 draw at Gijon, 1944, a game in which Alekhine appears to be nervous against his youthful opponent sitting opposite him and made unusually weak choices.  He states that Pomar had a winning endgame position but chose to go for the draw. This demonstrates perhaps a lack of self-confidence and uncertainty in his thoughts and says he must overcome this if he wants to achieve striking successes in the future.

White:  Arturo Pomar    vs  Black: Ticoulat   Opening:  Nimzowitsch Defense   Championship of the Balearic Islands, 1944

1. d4  Nf6  2. c4  e6  3. Nc3  Bb4  4. e3  b6  5. Bd2  Breaking the pin seems logical but this move is rather passive.

5. … Bb7  6. Nf3  O-O  7. Bd3  Bxc3  The Bishop is not threatened for the moment and Black would be advised to consider such moves as 7. …d5 or c5 or maybe a hedgehog type set up with a plan of jump moves,  7. …Be7 >…d6 > Nbd7.  It is important to try and keep pieces on the board as complications might lead to tactical motifs.

8. Bxc3  Ne4  9. Bxe4  Bxe4  10. d5!  Well played.  Both sides must always keep an eye open for a possible d5 smash into the center by the Queen Pawn.

10. … c5 11. Nd2!  Bg6  No good is the alternative 11…exd5  12. Nxe4  dxe4  13. Qg4 f6  14. Qxe4 Nc6 15. O-O-O with a crushing advantage.

12. h4  f5 13. Qf3  Na6  14. h5  Be8  15. Qg3  Qe7  16.d6  Qf7  17. h6  Qg6  18.hxg7  Rf7?  19. Qxg6  Resigns  (1-0).

I have noted in other articles the importance of keeping oneself in good physical condition.  All the great players practice some sort of exercise schedule to stay fit. If you make use of a chess tutor or a coaching program, be certain that you keep physically fit to stay healthy and so you can play your best.  Getting enough sleep will help keep your mind sharp so you can spot those moves that lead to sparkling wins!