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Boris Siff vs Isaac Kashdan
"Kashdan's Immortal" (game of the day Sep-24-2009)
New York (1948), rd 5
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Noa Variation (E36)  ·  0-1



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Given 26 times; par: 53 [what's this?]

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+ sac: 20...Bxh3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: < Phony Benoni: Kashdan's Other Immortal: Colle Vs Kashdan 1931 > I don't think, this game can find its place in the Immortal Archives. Definitely, a beautiful game with lots of classic combinations.
Premium Chessgames Member We just analyzed this game for purposes of the Guess-the-Move database yesterday. For those premium members who haven't seen this game yet, why not give it a try and help us get some good statistics for a par score? The link is:

Guess-the-Move: B Siff vs Kashdan, 1948

Sep-24-09  RandomVisitor: After 14...g6:

click for larger view

Rybka 3:

<[+0.33] d=17 15.Rae1> Ng7

[+0.33] d=17 15.f4 Ng7 16.g4

Sep-24-09  Marmot PFL: <Jim> 25 Nde4 looks strong, probably Fine or Reshevsky would have found it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: Indeed, a very superb game worthy of high praise! With a sudden violent attack, White's stubborn defence was 'Blown to smithereens' & ultimately, the galloping gallants knights sending the White King to gallows is a delight to watch. Definitely, an indelible display of power, brilliance & grace.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: My pun is "Siff sniffs."
Sep-24-09  WhiteRook48: he sacs everything but his knights!
Sep-24-09  tivrfoa: wow. Maybe the most beautiful game I ever saw.
After 26. Kh2 I tried to find out how black could win, but I failed. Very difficult sequence.
Sep-24-09  SirChrislov: Breathtaking. its hard to see where white went wrong. the final position reminds of the position from that movie Killer Night Moves.
Sep-24-09  randomsac: Lovely play, great job of boxing in the white king with the knights.
Sep-24-09  kingfu: Sorry guys, I got this one totally backwards. Siff got HIS revenge in only 21 moves. I am older than Karpov so I forget things!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A fantastic ending! The knights swarm like the snakes in Indiana Jones' movies.
Oct-11-09  kingfu: I hate snakes. Why does it ALWAYS have to be snakes?
May-26-10  sneaky pete: <24.Bg2 ..> White plays for a win. Perpetual check could be forced with 24.Kh1 Nxe3 25.Qd3 Nfg4 24.hxg4 Qh4+

<27.Nf3? ..> The losing move. (...) Correct was 27.Nf1! Nxf1++ 28.Kg1 Nd2 29.Rb2 Ng4! 30.hxg4 Qe3+ with perpetual check.

Hans Müller in the Austrian Schach-Magazin, January 1949.

Aug-08-10  abstract: by move 19.. all white pieces are at the left part of the board and away from the king... thats a typical poor defence..maybe as a rookie.. i would be winning this position for black..
Oct-12-10  sevenseaman: A wonderfully pleasing ending; very rare!
Mar-08-14  Blunderdome: So...yeah.
May-31-17  bamonson: In sheer terms of material investment, is there another game that even compares? Granted, the opposition was weak, but this game SHOULD be as well known among romanticists as Morphy-Duke of Brunswick and Anderssen's "Evergreen Party" and "Immortal" against Kieseritsky.
Mar-24-21  Gaito: A fantastic game by Isaac Kashdan. The position after 20.Rab1 was equal according to the chess engines. The first sacrifice 20...Bxh3! was very brilliant from the point of view of a human being, yet the chess engines (LcZero and SF13) coldly consider 20...Bxh3 to be a "normal" move with numerical evaluation of 0.00. Of course, chess engines do not have emotions, they only give the moves they consider good, period. It is for us humans to add the part of emotion and excitement when we see a brilliant piece sacrifice.

We must thank Boris Siff that he didn't always find the best defense, because that way he allowed this masterpiece to be created. Had Kashdan made the sacrifice 20...Bxh3 against a machine, the game would have ended as a draw without a doubt.

Mar-24-21  Gaito: Position after 22...Nf5:

click for larger view


According to the best chess engines availabe in the year 2021, the posiiton is equal and White should now capture the rook (23.fxe3) with an equal game.

White did play the correct move 23.fxe3, but later on he failed to find the best defense.

After 23.fxe3 Qg3+ 24.Bg2?! (not a bad move, but 24.Kh1 was somewhat more precise according to the machines) Qxe3+ 25.Kh1 Ng3+ 26.Kh2 Qf4!, the following critical position was reached:

click for larger view


White played 27.Nf3?!, a move that seems to be logical and reasonable, as it brings another piece over to the defense of the attacked king. What are the moves suggested by the chess engines? Stockfish 13 suggests 27.Nde4 with evaluation of -0.26 (equality), but LcZero believes that 27.Nf1 is a good defense, and it is that move that the engine recommends. Another very strong chess engine, Ethereal 12.75 also plays 27.Nf1 in this position. On the other hand, Defenchess 2.2, one of the best defensive engines available in 2021 chooses the move 27.Nde4, but considers that 27.Nf1 is the second-best move for White, in both cases the evaluation is of equality.

Mar-24-21  Gaito: According to Kibitzer <sneaky pete> ten years ago:

"Hans Müller in the Austrian Schach-Magazin, January 1949 stated that correct was 27.Nf1! Nxf1++ 28.Kg1 Nd2 29.Rb2 Ng4! 30.hxg4 Qe3+ with perpetual check."

Excellent comment by Hans Müller more than 70 years ago, now endorsed in the year 2021 by the strongest computer engines.

Mar-29-21  Retireborn: Is the occasion/tournament of this game known?
Mar-29-21  Z4all: <RR> quite likely the <Manhattan Masters Tournament (Jun 13 - Aug 15 1948)>.

See CR v16 p4.

Mar-30-21  Retireborn: What does v16 mean? The pdfs for 1948 only go up to 12.2. Perhaps you could just tell me what it says.
Jul-01-21  Whitehat1963: Great finish!
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