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

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!

 

 

 

 

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