Kindred’s Special: Reshevsky vs. Kashdan, NYC, 1942 Chess Match, Game 11

For my readers:  You can view the marvelous career of Isaac Kashdan by doing a search on Google.

This, the  11th game obviously met with some dispair by Kashdan who managed to tie Reshevsky for the US Championship title and through a questionable time forfeiture during the Denker game, -was awarded lst-2nd place tie with Kashdan.  Both agreed to play a 14- game match as both did not like having co-champions in the US Championship believing there should be only one champion.  Although Kashdan went on to perform well in tournaments, his best years were the 1920s and 30s, after which he slowly declined due to age and his parental responsibilities and work except for a few major victories and high scoring tournaments but never again reached the zenith of his younger years. For a few years, he was editor of CCLA’s The Chess Correspondent.

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

1. d4  d5  2. c4  c6  3. Nf3  Nf6  4. Nc3  dxc4  5. e3  Computers generally suggest 5. a4, the variation often seen in the Euwe – Alekine WCC match of 1937. Reshevsky adopted this 5. e3 as Kashdan favored it.

5. … b5  6. a4  b4  7. Na2  e6  8. Bxc4  Nbd7  Here Black seems happy to have driven back the Knight and will likely make getting his pieces into active play but this assault has weakened the Q-side pawns.

9. O-O  Bb7  10. Qe2  c5  11. Rd1  cxd4  Posing an interesting problem for White. For example, should he recapture with the pawn, he opens the diagonal for his Bishop but finds the Rook blocked by the isolani and a strong point on d5 for Black’s pieces.

12. Nxd4  Bc5  13. Nb3  There are other ideas here to consider. 13. Bxe6  fxe6 14. Nxe6  Qb6  15. Nxg7+ Kf7 16. Nf5 which is speculative due to the difficulty in developing the white Q-side forces. Should he venture into say, 13. b3 intending Bb2, then the c3 square and b3 pawn/square may prove weak during endgame play.  Here again, note the influence and value of square count.

13. … Be7  14.  a5!  Positionally a very wise move because it stops support by …a6-a5 of the b-pawn and zeros out the b6 square for piece action.

14. … O-O  15. Bd2  Qb8 16. a6  Bd5  A better choice again looking at square count theory suggests 16…Be4 and if 17. f3, then Bg6 with things like 18…Ne5 or 18…Bd6.

17. Bxd5  exd5  18. Nd4  Qb6  19. Nc1  Nc5  20. Ncb3 Rfd8?! 21. Na5  While this seems a good plan for White follow up play, better looks to be 21. Ra5 positionally speaking. For example, should Black then capture …Nxb3, 22. Nxb3  Rac8  23. Be1>f3>Bf2 jump moves look to give White a favorable position.

21. … Rdc8 22. Rdc1 Should 22. Bxb4 be considered good here?  The answer is no. 22.  … Qxb4  23. Nac6 Rxc6 24. Nxc6 Qe4 turns a plus to Kashdan.

22. … Bf8  23. Nab3  Ne4 24. Be1 Nxb3  Worth considering was 24…g6 >Bg7 striking the long diagonal.

25. Nxb3  Nc5  26. Nd4  Ne3 27. Nb3  Rc7  28. Rxc7  Nxc7 29. Qd3  Rd8 30. Qd4 Qb8 31. h3!  It is wise to give the King air and the pawn proves useful later on.

31. … Ne6 32. Qd3  Qe5 33. Nd4  Nxd4  Here, Kashdan goes astray missing 33…Rc1 34. Rd1 Nxd4 35. Qxd4 Qxd4 36. Rxd4  Rc8  37. Kf1 Ra8 38. Rxd5 Rxa6 leading to a drawish position. As played, Reshevsky gets to keep some pressure and Kashdan falters. Such microscopic edges, when combined, often lead to positions that become harder and harder to defend.

34. Qxe4  Qxe4  35. exd4 Rc1  36. Ra5  Rc7 Best was 36. …Rc6 with a likely drawish finish in the offering.

37. Rxd5 Rxb2  38. Rd7 Rxd7  39. Kf1  b3 40. Rxa7  g6  41. Rb7  Ra1  42. Rxb3  Rxa6  43. Rb8  Kg7  44. ke2  Ra2+ 45. Kd3  Ra3+ 46. Bc3  Bd6  47. Rb2 Be7  48. Kc4  Ra4+ 49. Kb5 Ra1  50. d5+ Kf8 51. Kc6  Ra8  52. Be5  Rc8+  53. Bc7  Bf6  54. Rb8  Rxb8  55. Bxb8  Bd4  56. Bd6+ Kg7  57. Bc5  Kashdan resigns and also the match.

Because of the war years, chess was in slight decline with pockets round the world of continued enthused interest just to perhaps block out the horrors of war, rationing, etc. This pressure chess match pinpoints age factors which ratings feature now various plateaus of current skill levels.  In Isaac Kashdan’s active chess through his prime to beginning dessent his rating is measured at 2700+, second in the world behind Alekhine.

This match followed on the heels of the regular championship that was perhaps flawed by the mistake of awarding a win to Reshevsky in his game with Denker when Denker felt he won on time forfeit. It caused Denker to never forgive Reshevsky because he knew Reshevsky lost on time. Whether chess archives on the championship proves this either way is past now. In any case, this match produced some very tight games and reflects the fighting spirit of both players.

Enjoy.

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