CHESS

Los Angeles Times - - SUNDAY COMICS - Bill Corn­wall cc­sknight@bell­south.net

One of his­tory’s most mem­o­rable at­tack­ing masters hailed from the United States. He was known, es­pe­cially in his early ca­reer, for his in­tense tac­ti­cal style of play. An oft-re­peated story is told about him. He moved his queen to where it could be cap­tured by ei­ther of two pawns or his foe’s queen. Tak­ing it would re­sult in mate or de­ci­sive loss of ma­te­rial; not tak­ing it would re­sult in mate. Though ac­counts vary, the story con­tin­ues that ap­pre­cia­tive spec­ta­tors show­ered him with gold pieces. We are talk­ing about New York City-born Frank Mar­shall, U.S. Cham­pion for a record 27 years, who con­firmed that this event “lit­er­ally” hap­pened to him.

So tricky was Mar­shall com­bi­na­tion­ally, that he de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for sal­vaging los­ing games by tac­ti­cal means. This be­came known as the “Mar­shall Swin­dle.” In chess, the word “swin­dle” has lost its pe­jo­ra­tive mean­ing. In­stead of be­ing crit­i­cized for be­ing un­eth­i­cal, a chess swindler is ad­mired for his sur­vival skills. In fact, Mar­shall was so proud of his be­ing able to snatch un­de­served vic­tory from de­served de­feat that he pub­lished a book called Mar­shall’s Chess Swin­dles. “... his prow­ess at res­cu­ing the ir­re­triev­able took on mag­i­cal pro­por­tions” [An­drew Soltis]. This col­umn’s fea­tured game has been con­sid­ered one of Mar­shall’s best swin­dles. It cer­tainly serves to en­cour­age us to never say die.

Game of the week Frank Mar­shall-Ge­org Marco Monte Carlo, 1904

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.c3 d3 6.0–0 d6 7.Qxd3 Nf6 8.b4 Bb6 9.a4 a6 10.Re1 Ng4 11.Ra2?(A) Nge5 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Qg3(B) Nxc4 14.Qxg7(C) Rf8 15.e5 Nxe5 16.Kh1 Be6 17.Rae2 Qe7 18.f4 Nd3 19.f5 Ne5(D) 20.fxe6 fxe6 21.Bh6 Qxg7 22.Bxg7 Rf5 23.Bxe5 Rxe5 24.Rxe5 dxe5(E) 25.g3 Rd8 26.Kg2 Rd3 27.Rxe5 Kf7 28.Re2 Be3 29.Rc2 Bh6 30.Rf2+ Ke7 31.Rf3 Rd1 32.Rf1 Rd3 33.Rf3 Rd1 34.Na3?(F) Rc1 35.c4 Ra1 36.c5 Bc1 37.Nc4 Rxa4 38.Ne5 Bb2 39.Nd3 Bc3 40.Rf4 a5 41.Rh4 axb4 42.Rxh7+ Kd8 43.Nf4 b3 44.Nxe6+ Kc8(G) 45.c6!(H) Be5?(I) 46.cxb7+ Kb8 47.Nc5 Ra2+ 48.Kh3 b2 49.Re7 Ka7(J) 50.Re8 c6 51.Ra8+ Kb6 52.Rxa2!(K) b1Q 53.b8Q+ Bxb8 54.Rb2+ Qxb2 55.Na4+ Kb5 56.Nxb2(L) c5 57.Kg2 c4 58.Kf3 c3 59.Nd3 Kc4 60.Ne1 Kd4 61.h4 Bd6 62.g4 Be7 63.g5 Ke5 64.Kg4 Bf8 65.Nc2 Ke4 66.h5 Kd3 67.Na1 Ke4 68.h6 Ke5 69.Kh5 Kf5 70.Nc2 Bd6 71.Nd4+ Ke4 72.Ne2 c2 73.g6 Ba3 74.g7 Kd3 75.g8Q Kxe2 76.Qa2 1–0

A) Over­look­ing a tac­ti­cal shot. From this point, Mar­shall is los­ing. B) 13.Qe2? Nxc4 14.Qxc4?? Be6. C) Con­stant ag­gres­sion, of course. D) Inac­cu­rate. The more com­pli­cated 19...Nf2+ 20.Kg1 Ne4+ 21.Be3 Bc4 22.Bxb6 Bxe2 23.Rxe2 cxb6 24.Qd4 0–0–0 25.Rxe4 leaves Black much bet­ter off. E) Mar­shall has al­most equal­ized. F) Un­wisely dis­dain­ing a draw by rep­e­ti­tion. Soon, his queen­side pawns will suf­fer. G) Clearly, Mar­shall is busted. In just a few moves his op­po­nent will have an ex­tra queen [...b2, b1(Q)]. H)Get­ting Tricky. I) Prob­a­bly avoid­ing 45...bxc6 46.Rxc7+ Kb8 47.Rb7+ Kxb7 48.Nc5+ since the Black rook falls and the b-pawn can­not ad­vance. But, 48...Ka7 49.Nxa4 Bd4 traps the knight which will be lost. J) Not 49...b1Q? 50.Re8+ Ka7 51.Ra8+ Kb6 52.b8Q+ Kxc5 53.Qxb1. K) Find­ing an amaz­ing com­bi­na­tion. L) Down a pawn and prob­a­bly in shock, Mar­shall’s foe drifted down to de­feat.

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