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Jose Raul Capablanca vs Frank James Marshall
Moscow (1925), Moscow URS, rd 13, Nov-26
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Tarrasch Defense (A14)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-10-04  iron maiden: "Overall record: Jose Raul Capablanca beat Frank James Marshall 21 to 4, with 29 draws."

A gambler and a machine just don't mix, do they?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: I thought Marshall only beat Capablanca twice. The first time in the 1909 match and the second time at Havana 1913.
Aug-10-04  iron maiden: <Benzol>, check out Marshall vs Capablanca, 1910

and Marshall vs Capablanca, 1910 (not the same game, click on the link).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <iron maiden>
I've done some homework and found out that these two 1910 games were part of an informal match designed to test the validity of Marshall's move 15.♗h6 in the Max Lange Attack. Capablanca took the Black pieces in every game.
The result of this handicap match is also not clear but may have been +3, =1, -2 from White's point of view. Marshall published three games (these two plus a drawn one) in his book 'Modern Analysis of the Chess Openings'. I gleaned this info from 'The Unknown Capablanca'.
I imagine the games although informal were played under normal tournament conditions so they would count towards official records. Therefore I guess Marshall did score four wins against the great Cuban.
Aug-10-04  iron maiden: <I guess Marshall did score four wins against the great Cuban.> Which, I think, is more wins than any other player in history except Alekhine.
Aug-10-04  Whitehat1963: They also played him a lot more than anyone.
Mar-22-06  Whitehat1963: Playing through the moves from Capa's 15. Ne4 to the end illustrates well the difference between these two and showcases Capablanca's superiority in the middlegame. It also shows Marshall choosing material at the expense of strategy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Marshall's 15...Qxa2 must have been influenced by Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Lasker, 1925, played earlier in the same tournament.
Mar-23-06  blingice: I randomly thought of this. Say the position after black's 17th is this:

click for larger view

with the king on h8 rather than g8.

18. Bxe5 Qxe2 19. Bxf6+ Kg8 20. Bxd8

I donno, that may seem apparent, the queen sac, but I know I wasn't able to see five ply a while ago, and I certainly wouldn't sacrifice my queen. It would be rather difficult to stop the queen onslaught against the pawns, wouldn't it?

Nov-17-06  Maynard5: The opening of this game is noteworthy inasmuch as Capablanca, a classical player, adopts the hypermodern double fianchetto introduced by Reti one year earlier, at the 1924 tournament in New York. There is an interesting win by Capablanca using the same deployment against the Russian player Andor Lilienthal in 1937, which is annotated in Kasparov’s book. In fact, the 1937 Capablanca-Lilienthal game is a much better example of hypermodern technique. Marshall’s play here is catastrophic. He attacks the pawns on a2 and b3, only to find his queen trapped on the b-file.

Nov-17-06  Karpova: <The opening of this game is noteworthy inasmuch as Capablanca, a classical player, adopts the hypermodern double fianchetto introduced by Reti one year earlier, at the 1924 tournament in New York.>

Life would be so boring without the possibility of putting everything and everyone in some category.

Reinfeld: <Capablanca's use of this opening was very sparing and it may reasonably conjectured that his adoption of it here was due to Marshall's dislike of the patient position play which is required>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: The third game to round out the set

Marshall vs Capablanca, 1910

Aug-05-07  Karpova: Capablanca gave the following combination right after the game was over, according to Reinfeld (my own comments in brackets): 20.Bxe5 fxe5 21.Qg4+ Kf8 22.Rxf7+ Kxf7 23.Qg5 Rf8 24.Bxh7 (<Not 24.Rf1+ Ke8 and white gained nothing>) 24...Bc6 (<it's necessary to make d7 accesible for the king. If black tries to cover his e6-pawn the following will happen: 24...Qb6 25.Rf1+ Ke8 26.Bg6+ Rf7 27.Bxf7+ Kf8 28.Bh5# and 24...Bc8 25.Rf1+ Ke8 26.Bg6+ Kd7 27.Rxf8 doesn't look more inviting than the text move)>) 25.Bg6+ Kg7 26.Bf5+ Kf7 27.Qg6+ Ke7 28.Qxe6+ Kd8 29.Qd6+ Ke8 30.Bg6+ Rf7 31.Raf1

But 20.Rfb1 is a perfectly fine move and wins in short order also.

Jul-19-10  sevenseaman: A relatively easy game for Raul; perhaps a Marshall concession. Marshall delibrately compromises his Q by taking the a file pawn here.

click for larger view

Hereafter the White Q continues to sit on a pile of explosive till it is blown off.

Jul-19-10  sleepyirv: <Benzol> Can you really count games with a force opening? Knowing what your opponent is going to do (and in fact, preparing it for a long time) is a hearty advantage that Capablanca would normally not give.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <sleepyirv> <<Benzol> Can you really count games with a force opening?>

An interesting question. Should you count the results between Lasker and Chigorin at Brighton in 1903 where they tested out the validity of the Rice Gambit. Then there are the theme tournaments where a certain opening has to be played in every game. IIRC there was a tournament not so long ago dedicated to Lev Polugaevsky where the Sicilian Defence was compulsory. Should the results of these games be dismissed?

Jul-19-10  sleepyirv: Maybe not. Those not all of these cases are equal.
The Sicilian Defense allows, obviously, a lot of variations compared to Rice Gambit or a very specific line in the Max Lange Attack.

In this case, Marshall was very comfortable with the opening, while Capablanca was "forced" down a certain unknown line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: It's also fascinating that Capablanca was forced down another unknown line in their famous encounter in 1918. See

Capablanca vs Marshall, 1918

Capa deserves respect for going into a line that he knew must have been analysed by his opponent beforehand but judging that he would still be able to withstand the onslaught. That took guts.

Oct-27-10  mirai ishizuka fan: Is it true that ONLY Alekhine has ever beaten Capablanca more than 5 times in a same match ?? (In the world championship match in 1927)
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Already after 5 Bg2 a new position had been reached which shows how rarely this system was used at the time. It would have been more consistent for Marshall to play 9..e5 keeping the position closed; instead his 9..dxe? opened up the position for the White bishops. 12..Qa5?! seems like a poor idea; 12..Qe7 was played in a more recent game and seems more logical. After 15 Ne4! Black is already lost.
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