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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Frank James Marshall
"Novelty Gift" (game of the day Nov-19-2007)
New York (1918), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Oct-23
Spanish Game: Marshall Attack. Original Marshall Attack (C89)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-14-14  talwnbe4: Analysed with Stockfish: Marshall's whole attack with 13..Ng4 gets a 1.0 eval from Stockfish, after which Stockfish's suggestions are exactly the same as Capa's moves up to the finish at least at 10 secs a move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: With this information to hand, I am sure <donkrad> will now conclude that Capablanca had silicon assistance in creating this defensive/counterattacking masterpiece--never mind that the game antedated any contributions from the likes of Alan Turing by many a year!
Sep-15-14  Bronder: It is nice to watch Capablanca's seemingly effortless control of the game.
Sep-20-14  McNastyMac: Does anybody know the time controls for this game and/or how much did Capablanca spend on his 10th move? Thanks!
Oct-30-14  PJs Studio: Capa was such an amazing natural talent. So many of his games are littered with critical errors by his opponents - caused by their horizon being less than his own. This game has that same feel. Marshal missed something critical in his analysis leading up to 16...Bg4 after which his attack looks ok, and was even followed up on nicely. But alas, he was forced to go down this losing path because of the hanging Ra8 and Ng4.

Down a piece to Capa with no clear win is stupid. So Marshal's error was definitely before move 16. ((Was it Fischer who said "It's not a good idea to unnecessarily sacrifice material over the board.")) ...something like that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Well, 11....c6 was an improvement discovered later. Marshall lost the game, but surely his play here had terrific ideas and the opening is justly referred to as the Marshall Gambit. Spassky said they should make a statue of Marshall for his contributions to chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Indeed, for there is not only the gambit introduced here, but a line of the same name in the Semi-Slav and his introduction of the Modern Benoni into top-level play, amongst other ideas.
Nov-15-14  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Nice finish:

36 Bxf7+ Rxf7
37 b8=Q+ Kh7
38 Rxh6+ Kxh6
39 Qh8+

and mate next move.

Nov-22-14  gmelfranco: q valiente es usted capa
Nov-29-14  Ke2: i love the idea behind this game, as a secret weapon prepared for years, and i like the marshall enough to play it, but the actual game is not so tremendous. it seems that black is already grasping for straws after Rxf2. the whole idea with Nf6-Ng4 is pretty much refuted by capa, although the idea contains perilous traps.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Marshall was immensely proud of his invention. Maybe someday, at the GM level, someone will dig deep and unearth some discovery and actually win a game with it...
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <morfishine: Marshall was immensely proud of his invention.>

His invention was 8...d5.

However, CG thinks differently:

< Opening: Ruy Lopez, Marshall (C89) Player profiles: Marshall, Capablanca

Novelty of stem-game: 17. ...Bh2>

Peter Leko played it pretty often which at least indicates that losing with the Marshall is hard to do.

Nov-27-15  MariusDaniel: Nice chess novelty by Capablanca,great game!
Nov-27-15  Howard: Don't you mean it was Marshall's novelty rather than Capa's?
Feb-22-16  The Kings Domain: A personal fave, one of the all-time greats. A classic example of " grace under pressure", this memorable game highlights Capablanca's defensive skill and his calmness and strength as a Chess master and individual.
Apr-19-16  posoo: now dis - DIS - is a FINE example of a game played in da posooian style! Marshall tries to bake a litlel cake for cupoblunc, but BOOM BOOM BOOM it reigns down upon him and BAKFIRES! dis is little moar than a blits game and DAT is why it is great.


Apr-19-16  AlicesKnight: Golombek calls this game "... a masterpiece", and I am with him in this (and with <The Kings domain> and <Rookfile> among others). Curious that Spassky used it (against Tal?) in the 1960s Candidates, very much as a drawing device, it would seem.
May-28-16  N.O.F. NAJDORF: Re: Nice finish:

36 Bxf7+ Rxf7
37 b8=Q+ Kh7
38 Rxh6+ Kxh6
39 Qh8+

and mate next move,

I am reminded of this finish:

Bronstein vs Korchnoi, 1962

Sep-19-16  posoo: dis is da most IMPORTANT GAME in da chusgums databus.


Becos Marshall is a NIBBLE NOBBER. One of da gratest of all time, yes, but a NIBBLE NOBBER

he coms u pwith a clever line dat he thinks is good.

CAPABLUNCO dos not have a compoter

he dos not study


nobody on dis site is QUALLAFIED to speak his name.

Dec-05-16  Shajmaty: In 23 moves (between 14. ♕f3 and 36. ♗xf7+), Capablanca plays the best move (i.a.w. Stockfish) 21 times! Exceptions: 21. ♗d2 instead of 21. ♔d2 and 32. ♘xc3 instead of 32. ♗xc3. Together with Fischer, the biggest natural talent the game has ever seen.
Dec-05-16  todicav23: <Shajmaty: In 23 moves (between 14. ♕f3 and 36. ♗xf7+), Capablanca plays the best move (i.a.w. Stockfish) 21 times! Exceptions: 21. ♗d2 instead of 21. ♔d2 and 32. ♘xc3 instead of 32. ♗xc3. Together with Fischer, the biggest natural talent the game has ever seen.>

The players in pre-computer era are underrated. Even without computer help they were still able to play high quality chess.

Dec-06-16  andrewjsacks: This is the perfect pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Shajmaty: In 23 moves (between 14. ♕f3 and 36. ♗xf7+), Capablanca plays the best move (i.a.w. Stockfish) 21 times!>


That would have been my reaction a long time ago. After I had studied his games in more detail, I'm not surprised anymore.

Capablanca was a real freak of a chess player. Had he been born in the 1980s or 1990s and we were witnessing his games live in the internet, we would all be staring flabbergasted at his ability to replicate the best computer lines again and again in real time while playing more rapidly than any human being we have ever seen, and even in the sharpest of positions. There have already been many computer studies. In all of them Capablanca always places high, usually first or second. If computers were self-aware, they would undoubtdly choose Capablanca as their all-time favorite chess player.

And to think someone actually said this:

<Jonathan Sarfati....Someone in Australia quite seriously said about Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine a few years ago: "IMO, they would play at master level, say 2200-2300, but modern GMs would beat them quite consistently.">

<perfidious comment to the above: Good grief--this is risible.>

My comments:

Bridgeburner's analysis of the individual games of Lasker - Schlechter World Championship Match (1910) page made me feel guts to bone that Lasker and Schlecter were playing at the same level field as more recent World Champions and Challengers in their WC matches.

Details are in the individual game pages of the match.

2. Only someone who has not studied the games of the LCA trio, or has blinders, would say this. Unfortunately these 'someones' are occasionally well respected masters themselves.

Even such a prominent GM as Bent Larsen fell into this attitudinal trap. He boasted he would easily crush any 1920s chess master. It was totally ridiculous because as a young master on the rise, he was around and managed to play chess against two of the oldies- Botvinnik and Keres who both started their careers in the 1920s, and who both gave the young surging Larsen sound beatings in their chessic old age. So who got crushed?

In spite of his best efforts, Larsen never won a game against Keres, who beat him two times. How did Keres fare against the only one of the LCA trio that he managed to play in more than a dozen games? Oldie Alekhine would regularly and consistently beat young peaking Keres. This was no fluke. Alekhine also would usually place ahead of Keres on the tournament table. Moreover, and this is what really convinced me, if one goes through their games, it becomes apparent that the archaic Alekhine was mostly beating Keres in highly tactical attacking and counter-attacking games, just where the young Keres was at his strongest. (See for instance Alekhine vs Keres, 1942)

Yes, Alekhine was that good a chess player and tactician. He more often than not crushed the same guy who played most post WW2 World Champions to nearly even records, and for whom Tal and Korchnoi were regular meat.

A prime Alekhine vs Larsen in the 1920s? Poor Larsen would have been impaled though his big mouth.

Yet Larsen was a very intelligent man, who certainly knew his chess. How could Larsen ignore such a clear empirical evidence (as in getting beaten up by two of them) that the best pre WW2 masters were better than him?

The answer is probably the 'narcissistic generation syndrome' (explained in my profile).

Addendum. More unbelievable info in the Capablanca vs J Corzo, 1901 page:

<TheFocus: <visayanbraindoctor> Here are the times for all the games in the Capablanca - Corzo match.

1 Capablanca Corzo (0:40 0:20)
2 Corzo Capablanca (0:17 0:17)
3 Capablanca Corzo (0:38 1:15)
4 Corzo Capablanca No times given.
5 Capablanca Corzo (0:45 1:10)
6 Corzo Capablanca (0:21 0:10)
7 Capablanca Corzo (0:20 0:40)
8 Corzo Capablanca (0:40 0:05)
9 Capablanca Corzo (0:24 0:43)
10 Corzo Capablanca (0:55 0:35)
11 Capablanca Corzo (0:42 1:35)
12 Corzo Capablanca (1:02 0:19)
13 Capablanca Corzo (0:28 0:40)>

Note game 11, Capablanca Corzo (0:42 1:35), this game.

This 12 to 13 year old played a kind of game that even a super GM would be proud of; and more than that he sacked his Queen in a complicated middlegame and proceeded to play a freakishly precise 60 move ending, all in a freakishly unbelievable 42 minutes. That's less than a minute per move. How can any one play that well that fast? And this a mere kid?

Capablanca would be an unbeatable beast in the World Cup tiebreak quick games and the World Blitz championships.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <visayanbraindoctor> Great post, thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member We were breaking in our new Analysis Laboratory to really give this game a workout and in the process confirmed what others have said on this page, that Jose Raul quite literally played like a machine.

Some of the moves were analyzed for 10 minutes, others for hours, and in particular interest to the theoreticians 13...? was given a 10 hour probe to find the best two moves.

In accordance with the comments on this page, Stockfish incredibly had virtually NOTHING to say even in "intensive mode" (which means it couldn't find a serious quibble in either side's play given the opening that Marshall chose to play.)

So while it's impossible to not heap praise on Capablanca for this effort, some respect much be paid to Marshall, who conducted the attack with great precision and unfailingly gave Capablanca the most testing moves. It takes to two make a masterpiece!

The one comment the silicon regarded worth mention was the mere trivia that after 35....Re3 Capa had achieved mate-in-14 if Black were to make "best play" starting with suicidal moves like <35...Qe3 36.Bxf7+ Rxf7 37.Qxe3 Rxe3 38.b8=Q+ Kh7 etc.> Marshall played more natural looking moves instead, thereby shortening his suffering, and JRC obliged with a perfectly swift mercy-killing. That's not much of an analysis comment; just trivia, in case you were wondering at what stage there was absolutely no way to prolong the game.

What is interesting is that during a more superficial analysis (by that I mean "only" an hour on the position) the move 13...Ng4 came under silicon scrutiny, as it believed that the attack simply doesn't work and other moves would leave White in good shape, but not as good. After a huge 10 hour probe of that position the conclusion was that in this position

click for larger view

The best two moves are 13...Bb7 followed by 13...Qd7, both of which leave White slightly better. So if Stockfish is to believed, the 13...Ng4 attack simply does not work, but other alternatives leave White better anyhow. Incredibly, JRC illustrated the very precise way to refute it the 13...Ng4 attack just like a modern computer would. No wonder they called him "The Chess Machine."

The fruits of this analysis are now stored both here

Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918 [analysis]

and in the case of 13...? here Opening Explorer

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