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     Volume 4 Issue 62 | September 9, 2005 |

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Time Out

Uncorking a surprise! chess

Chess fans love to see a lot of action on the board, with the attacker unleashing a powerful sacrificial assault on the enemy king. They love brilliant combinations. But the problem here is that even the fiercest attacks can usually be repulsed with dour defence. You need patience and strong nerves to remain on the right track when the opponent is trying to blow you apart. Most players crack under pressure when the opponent's attack begins to look menacing.

Frank Marshall was a master who played attacking chess all his life. His methods worked well up to a certain level, but against the very best in the world Marshall did not have a good record. Both Lasker and Capablanca handled him with ease.

Marshall knew very well that it was almost impossible to knock Capablanca out with flawed combinations. He concentrated on developing a line of play that would give him a lasting initiative in exchange of some material, for he was good precisely in that type of game. Finally, he discovered the Marshall Gambit in the Ruy Lopez and kept it secret for a long time. He got the opportunity to play the line against Capablanca in 1918. Capablanca was completely on his own as he faced the counter attack that gave Black free play for his pieces and a very active position. What else did Marshall need to deal a fatal blow? Well, he would surely have been successful in the maiden venture of his gambit, had his opponent been anybody other than Capablanca. He lost the game as the great Cuban kept on making good moves in an unknown and unclear position.

Marshall's innovation , however, has won a permanent place in chess praxis. Aggressive players who don't like to remain bogged down while playing black are still trying the American' s gambit. In fact, Marshall Gambit is now part of many tournament players' opening repertoire. Marshall's abortive attempt to knock out a world champion has given him a respectable position in the annals of chess theory and innovations, as his gambit is still alive.

Here is the game.

White-Jose Raul Capablanca
Black-James Marshall,F [C89]
New York 1918

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.00 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 00 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 Nf6 12.Re1 Bd6 13.h3 Ng4 14.Qf3 Qh4 15.d4 Nxf2 16.Re2 Bg4 17.hxg4Bh2+ 18.Kf1 Bg3 19.Rxf2 Qh1+ 20.Ke2 Bxf2 21.Bd2 Bh4 22.Qh3 Rae8+ 23.Kd3 Qf1+ 24.Kc2 Bf2 25.Qf3 Qg1 26.Bd5 c5 27.dxc5 Bxc5 28.b4 Bd6 29.a4 a5 30.axb5 axb4 31.Ra6 bxc3 32.Nxc3 Bb4 33.b6 Bxc3 34.Bxc3 h6 35.b7 Re3 36.Bxf7+ 1-0

Position after 16.Re2


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