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     Volume 4 Issue 30 | January 21, 2005 |

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Time Out

'Marshal' by name Chess

Attacking players have a great weakness for the queen. It is the piece that almost always plays a vital role in a combination or a powerful sacrificial attack. Some players are so fond of the queen that they try to retain it even when the prospects of reaching a slightly better ending, with the queens off, are good. That is surely something you should avoid if you want to beat strong players.

The American master Frank Marshall (1877-1944) was a player with an amazing ability to unleash powerful attacks. Against mediocre masters, he would often finish the game very early. But his style was not that effective against the very best players in the world who knew how to blunt the force of a 'crude' attack. For example, Emanuel Lasker almost never allowed Marshall to get the positions that he liked! Lasker would choose a dull variation or a middlegame without the queens to dampen Marshall's flare for attacking play. And that worked very well. Marshall was indeed a fish out of water when the play demanded subtle and quiet maneuvering and chances of launching a direct attack against the enemy king were virtually non-existent. Capablanca adopted a more or less similar style against Marshall. Once the great Cuban had to face an opening variation (the Marshall Gambit in the Ruy Lopez) that Marshall had invented and kept secret for nearly two decades! Capablanca had to face the novelty over the board, and he won!

So against the world champions Marshall was not that impressive. But against lesser opposition he was simply lethal. Marshall was the best player in the United States for many years, though HN Pillsbury burst into the scene for a brief period in the late 1890's. Pillsbury's premature death again left Marshall without a real challenger for American championship.

In the following game, Marshall outplays Mikhail Chigorin, the father of the Russian School of chess. For a change, he gives up his queen to develop a powerful initiative on the kingside. Marshall sees his way through the complications to score the full point.

White-Frank James Marshall
Black- Mikhail Chigorin [A83]
Ostende, 1905

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.Nxe4 Qb6 7.Rb1 d5 8.Ng3 Be6 9.Bd3 Nd7 10.Qe2 Kf7 11.Nf3 Re8 12.00 Bd6 13.c3 Nf8 14.Nh4 Bf5 15.Nhxf5 Rxe2 16.Nxd6+ Ke6 17.Nc8 Qc7 18.Bxe2 Kf7 19.Nf5 Ne6 20.Nfd6+ Kg6 21.Bd3+ Kh5 22.Rbe1 Nf4 23.Re7 Qa5 24.Bb1 g6 25.g3 Nh3+ 26.Kg2 Ng5 27.Bd3 Rxc8 28.Nxc8 Qd8 29.h4 Qxc8 30.hxg5 1-0.

Position after 15.Nhxf5


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