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

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.

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