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

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!

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