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Kashdan - L. Steiner Match

Isaac Kashdan6/10(+5 -3 =2)[games]
Lajos Steiner4/10(+3 -5 =2)[games] Chess Event Description
Kashdan - L. Steiner (1930)

This match was played in the Manhattan Chess Club, (1) New York, from 19th April to 4th May 1930. It was for the best of 12 games, with the winner the first to accrue five wins; drawn games did not count. (2)

The 26-year-old Lajos Steiner had come to the United States to participate in the Bradley Beach (1929) tournament, where he had come a close second to world champion Alexander Alekhine.

Isaac Kashdan was 24, the 1929 Manhattan Chess Club champion and the rising star of American chess. He had been the first board of the American team at the 1928 Chess Olympiad, scoring an impressive +12 -1 =2.

Progress of the match

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Kashdan ½ 0 1 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 6 Steiner ½ 1 0 1 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 4

Kashdan had white in the odd-numbered games.

Progressive scores:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Kashdan ½ ½ 1½ 1½ 2½ 3½ 4½ 5 5 6 Steiner ½ 1½ 1½ 2½ 2½ 2½ 2½ 3 4 4

It was a hard-fought match with only two draws in ten games.

The games

Game 1. Kashdan as white gained no advantage in the opening. Kashdan then illustrated he had the technique to hold an unfavourable rook and pawn ending.

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By taking on <g2> immediately, rather than advancing his King, Steiner may have squandered his opportunity. "Kashdan played a Four Knight's Opening. The Manhattan champion forced the fight from the start, sacrificing a pawn for the attack and later another pawn. The defence, however, was ably managed by the Hungarian player. The endgame, a Rook and Pawn ending with Steiner two pawns to the good, was probably theoretically a win, but due to Kashdan's ably handling his pieces a draw resulted". (3)

Game 2. From a promising position as Black, Kashdan blundered away his Queen.

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With 35...Rxd4? Kashdan allowed the White queen to penetrate his position and his queen to be eventually taken by a discovered check. Instead <35...Bxg4> should have won. "Game 2 was a Petrov resorted to by Kashdan. Again Kashdan sacrificed a pawn for a desperate Queenside attack. Steiner, however, was able to bring about an exchange of pieces and with the exchange won in good form." (3)

Game 3. Steiner equalised as Black using the QGD Cambridge Springs defence. Through miscalculation, he then allowed Kashdan to push his <d> pawn through, costing Steiner the exchange and then the game.

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Game 4. Kashdan changed his defence to the French. He played aggressively on the queens-side but at the expense of leaving his King in the centre. A mistaken combination exchanging his queen for two rooks misfired and allowed Steiner's queen to break in and mate Kashdan's vulnerable monarch. "After four games and with Steiner leading by 2-1, the match took a surprising turn and Kashdan annexed the next three games right off the reel. Sterling chess, such as enabled him to capture the Manhattan title, produced this somewhat unlooked-for result. However, the New Yorker is not yet out of the woods and may look for sturdy opposition from the Hungarian expert from now on.. Steiner's defeat in the seventh game was due to a slip in the opening which cost him a pawn. This is not apt to happen again. On the other hand, Kashdan has succeeded in sizing up his opponent thoroughly and is playing with the utmost confidence." (2)

Game 5. Game 5 was described as a "slap-bang fireworks game". (1) It was the start of a series of three consecutive wins for Kashdan which were all fighting games. Characteristically, this was an up and down game. Steiner played inaccurately in the opening but Kashdan let him off the hook. In the end, Kashdan's passed <f> and <g> pawns beat Steiner's passed <c> pawn.

Game 6. This was a very sharp game. Steiner defended a Spanish using the Chigorin Defense. He had two passed pawns on the queenside against Kashdan's build-up of forces on the opposing wing. Kashdan broke through with a rook sacrifice to harry Steiner's king and then always found the moves to keep his attack going towards victory.

Game 7. Steiner having lost two consecutive games and now playing Black took the decision to play aggressively. Defending a Spanish, he loosened his Kingside but gained nothing substantial in return. Kashdan could have won more quickly but Steiner could not overcome the disabilities of his position.

Game 8. Kashdan defended with the Petrov and equalised out of the opening. This was the most 'correct' game so far in the match. The score was now 5-3 in favour of Kashdan who had White in the next game.

Game 9. Kashdan opened with the Spanish and had some advantage. Rather than play for a draw, he attacked but then overpressed by sacrificing a knight for a Kingside pawn attack. Steiner counter-sacrificed a bishop and turned the tide of the attack. He was now only a point behind and it was his turn to have White in the next game.

Game 10. Once again the opening was a Spanish with Kashdan who defended with the Chigorin defence. Steiner made little progress in developing a kingside attack. Instead, Kashdan broke through on the queenside with his knights galloping lethally through Steiner's position. The match was Kashdan's by a margin of two games.

In June 1930, Kashdan showed that this was not a fortuitous result by crushing Jaffe in very short order. "I. Kashdan, Champion of the Manhattan Chess Club, continues his fine work. He completed his match with Jaffe, one of New York's strongest veteran players, by winning three straight games." (4) In September 1930, he came second to Aron Nimzowitsch at Frankfurt (1930) which was to be his best individual performance. (5) Kashdan according to Chessmetrics was the number two graded player in the world between November 1932 and June 1934. Kashdan concluded, however, that he could not support his family on his chess earnings and instead held down a full-time job in insurance.


1 The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), 18th May 1930, Section 6, p. 70
2 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York), 1st May 1930, p. 27
3 The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 11th May 1930, p. 80
4 The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 29th June 1930, p. 16

Text by User: User: Chessical. The original collation of the games of this match was completed by User: User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kashdan vs L Steiner ½-½731930Kashdan - L. SteinerC66 Ruy Lopez
2. L Steiner vs Kashdan 1-0571930Kashdan - L. SteinerC42 Petrov Defense
3. Kashdan vs L Steiner 1-0341930Kashdan - L. SteinerD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. L Steiner vs Kashdan 1-0311930Kashdan - L. SteinerC17 French, Winawer, Advance
5. Kashdan vs L Steiner 1-0431930Kashdan - L. SteinerA15 English
6. L Steiner vs Kashdan 0-1521930Kashdan - L. SteinerC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
7. Kashdan vs L Steiner 1-0421930Kashdan - L. SteinerC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
8. L Steiner vs Kashdan ½-½611930Kashdan - L. SteinerC42 Petrov Defense
9. Kashdan vs L Steiner 0-1461930Kashdan - L. SteinerC87 Ruy Lopez
10. L Steiner vs Kashdan 0-1371930Kashdan - L. SteinerC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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