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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Reshevsky Slugs It Out With Najdorf....

    ...literally. Samuel Reshevsky was known to be cantankerous at times; a Chess Life article some time back said he played with "sharp elbows." The Urban Dictionary gives the definition of the expression sharp elbows: In its most basic sense, it means pushing through a crowd. But it is also used for a more metaphorical sense. e.g. for people who don't mind pushing other people out of the way or stepping on others to get what they want. In other words, it means to be aggressive or ambitious, usually at the expense of others 
     It must run in the family. Larry Evans once complained that one problem with dealing with Reshevsky was his wife who was a pest that interfered in his games. Evans went on to describe an incident at the US Open in 1955 where he was analyzing another game with Donald Byrne while Reshevsky's game was in progress and Mrs. Reshevsky came over and knocked the pieces off the board and shrieked at them, "Stop analyzing my husband’s game!" Then there was the incident involving Reshevsky's son HERE
     On two different occasions Reshevsky and Miguel Najdorf slugged it out. One time was at Amsterdam in 1950 when after a game Reshevsky punched Najdorf in the eye. Najdorf won the tournament and Reshevsky finished second. Italian Eugenio Szabados, who finished tied for last place with Haije Kramer of The Netherlands and Harry Golombek of England, played in the tournament as part of his vacation and managed to draw with both Najdorf and Reshevsky. 
     The problem was that Reshevsky found out that Najdorf had helped Szabados analyzing his adjourned game against Reshevsky and got mad about it. I am not sure what the other occasion was, but back in 1936 at the Nottingham tournament Reshevsky and Fine nearly got into a fistfight when Fine became increasingly upset at Reshevsky’s attempts to win a dead-drawn endgame. 
     In this position Reshevsky is to play his 29th move...
     He should now play 29...Nb4 followed by the capture of the a-Pawn which would have left him with excellent winning chances thanks to his two outside passed Ps. Instead, he made the mistake of thinking the trade of Qs would facilitate the win and played 29...Qb4 only to find out that after 30. Rc2 Qxd2+ 31. Rxd2 Nb4 32. Bc4 Nxa2 33. Bxe6 fxe6 34. Kf3 Rb3 35. Nc4 Rb4 36. Rc2 b5 37. Nd2 Ra4 38. Rc8+ the win wasn't going to be so easy.
     Here it looks like he should have an easy win because of the a and b-Pawns. Things weren't so simple though because Szabados' pieces are near the action while Reshevsky's K and B are cut off far, far away. Here is the position after 51.Rxb5:
     If black plays either 51...Rc2 or 51...Rc1 then according to Stockfish and Komodo the evaluation is 0.00. Instead Reshevsky played 51...a4? and suddenly white is slightly better because both the Ps fell leaving white up a P and it's black who ended up fighting to hold the draw. The game dragged on until move 105, but Szabados could make no progress. 

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