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Frank Marshall vs David Janowski
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 3, May-21
Scotch Game: Haxo Gambit (C45)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-23-05  fgh: Interesting game. Black is down an exchange and up a pawn, but his bishop pair dominates a big part of the board. Some analysis:

6. ... d3!? seems to be the only correct answer in the position. 6. ... dxc3?! gives white open lines and attacking chances. 6. ... Qf6 also isn't very good because of 7. b4! followed by 8. b5, and if black plays 7. ... dxc3?, then he loses after 8. bxc5! c2 (Otherwise white plays Qc2 and black is lost.) 9. Qxc2 Qxa1 (The only move from the material point of view, black would have been in a big material disadvantage.) 10. Bb2 Nb4 11. Qb3 Qxb1 12. Rxb1 Nc6 13. Bxf7+ with a totally winning position for white .

Position after 16. ... Kxf7: Black is a exchange down and a pawn up, but he has the better position. His bishop pair dominates a big part of the board, the white square complex on the queenside and the center is quite weak, and white has not yet mobilised his rooks.

18. c4 wouldn't have been very good. For example: 18. ... Rd8 19. Rad1 Ba5 20. Bc1?! Bxd2 21. Rxd2 Rxd2 22. Bxd2 Bxc4 23. Rc1 Bb5 and black still seems to hold his advantage.

19. Ne4: Looking for an exchange, to simplify the position. However, this move allows black to threaten the position of his white squared bishop become even stronger, together with the win of a tempo.

20. Nc5: once again seems like the best move. 20. Nxf6? looks like a quite big blunder, after 20 ... gxf6 black's e pawn is consolidated, he can advance his f-pawn whose strenght will be even increased in combination with the bishop which pressures on f2, while the other bishop guards the f1 square. The ideal postion of black's pawns would be the following: c4, e4 and the f-pawn on f4 to prepare e3.

23. Nxf6 leads into similar positions as in the last variation. 23. Bc5, white is once again trying to exchange some pieces. However, after 23. ... Nd5! black has still a much better position, the weakness of the white squares is horrendous. Not to mention that the a-pawn is also weak. After some exchanges, the rest is an easy win for black. His two connected and passed pawns together with his centralized king and strong knight on d5, give him enough advantage to win. Nice game.

Apr-23-05  cade3: <fgh> that is one fine analysis!
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A fine game with all the thrust and parry one would expect from these two attacking players. The game has been closely analyzed by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book, by Hoffer in "The Field," and by user fgh on this site. Rosenthal and Hoffer think that Marshall was much better and perhaps close to winning after he won the exchange on move 16, and that he lost only because of later mistakes. fgh disagrees and thinks Janowski was much better after giving up the exchange and had a won game by move 23. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Janowski certainly had compensation for the exchange (he was always dangerous with two Bishops!), but Marshall probably was somewhat better overall and only lost because of later misplays.

Consistent with his aggressive tendencies, Marshall played the Scotch Gambit.

6...d3. User fgh says that this was Janowski's only correct move here. Rosenthal calls the move "weak," and claims that the "correct" move here was to accept the pawn sacrifice with 6... dxc3. fgh correctly notes that 6...dxc3 gives White open lines and attacking chances. On balance, it is not clear that White has adequate compensation, but the position would have suited Marshall's style and defending this kind of position was definitely not Janowski's cup of tea. Objectively, White was certainly better after 6...d3 7. Qxd3. For this reason, Hoffer opts for 6...Bg4 which he calls "usual." Hoffer seems to have the best of this argument.

Whatever the merits of 6...d3, Marshall's 8. e5?! was premature. He needed to get his Queen's-side pieces into play, and should have played 8. Bg5. Had Janowski played 10...Bd6 instead of his inexplicable 10...Bg6, he would have had the best of the opening.

Marshall's 11. Ng5 led to the sequence in which he won the exchange. Janowski should surely have played 11...Rf8 rather than his actual 11...Ke7. White might still win the exchange in some variations, but Black would then have definitely been better.

Once Janowski played 11...Ke7, he had no choice other than to sacrifice the exchange with 13...RxB. The critical question, after the resulting exchances, is who stood better after 16...KxB. The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Rosenthal and Hoffer think White is much better here. fgh disagrees and reaches exactly the opposite evaluation. As I will attempt to show in subsequent posts on this game, both sides had chances, but Marshall was probably slightly better (Fritz gives White a tiny edge of 0.33).

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: After 17. Nd2 Ba6 Marshall played 18. Rfe1. fgh contends that 18. c4 "wouldn't have been very good." I agree that Marshall's 18. Rfe1 was probably best, but 18. c4 also looks OK. Janowski would undoubtedly have responded 18...e4. fgh's proposed 18...Rd8 is not as good. After 18...Rd8 19. Rad1 (19. Rfd1 looks better) fgh's 19...Ba5 is awful since White would simply play 20. Nb3 forcing Black to trade off his remaining Rook giving White an almost certain winning edge. After 19...Ba5? fgh's 20. Bc1 was doubtful, and his proposed 20...BxN? (why not 20...Rd6 or 20...Bc3) seems to lead to a win for White. At the end of fgh's line (24...Bb5), White still seems to be winning, and fgh's claim that "Black still seems to hold his advantage" is incorrect.

After 18. Rfe1 Re8 19. Ne4 Bd3, fgh's claim that 20. NxN would be a "big blunder" is incorrect. in fact. 20. NxN cuts down on Black's attacking chances, and is given as best by Fritz. But I agree with fgh that Marshall's 20. Nc5 is fine.

Rosenthal claims that Marshall's 22. Nd7 was an error and that 22. Rd2 wins. This is nonsense. After 22. Rd2 e4 23. h3 (inferior to 23. g4 or 23. Rd4), White may have a slight edge, but to call this position a "win" for White is ridiculous.

Both Rosenthal and fgh praise Janowski's 23...Nd5, but in fact this was probably Janowski's worst move of the game. After 24. Bd4 Bxa2 (perhaps 24...Kg8 was best) Marshall would probably have had a won game after the obvious 25. Ne5+ followed by Nxc6, as noted by Hoffer. But Hoffer is wrong to say that Marshall had the inferior gameafter 25. Rd2. Marshall still had about equal chances, as I will discuss in subsequent posts.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Having missed his chance to get a winning position with 25. Ne5+, Marshall finally played the move on his 27th turn, one move too late to pick up the c6 pawn.

After 32...Kf7, all of the commentators claim that Marshall was lost. Hoffer proclaims that Janowski's Knight and two pawns were worth more than Marshall's extra Rook. This might not have been the case had Marshall played 29. h4 instead of 29. BxB, but was Marshall truly lost after 32...Kf7. Here was the position:

click for larger view

Had Lasker,or Pillsbury, or Capablance or Rubinstein taken over the White position here, they might not have won against Janowski, but they surely would not have given up the game as lost. At worst, White has chances to sacrifice the exchange to pick up a pawn and reach a tough Rook ending.

Marshall's problem here was that he lost patience. His 34. f4? was awful. It ruined his King's side pawn structure, and limited his later efforts at counterplay. Best was 34. Rb2.

Even after 34. f4?, Marshall was still in the game. But his 37. Rb3 was bad, and made his Rook a target. He should have played 37. Rb2.

From this point on, Marshall collapsed. He should have sought to penetrate with his Rook beginning with 38. Ra3 instead of his useless 38. Rcb1. Janowski should have punished Marshall's 38th move with 38...c4 (or perhaps 38...Rh5). His 38...Re7 gave Marshall another chance to play 39. Ra3. Instead, Marshall continued ruining his position with 39. f4? Now, 39...c4 by Janowski would have been crushing. But Janowski gave Marshall one last glimmer of hope with his weak 39...Rb7. Though probably still lost, Marshall should have tried to weaken Janowski's pawns with 40. Rh3. His. 40. f5 was crazy, and from here on Janowski gave him no chances.

Marshall played the early part of this game quite well. This tournament was his coming out party in major international play, and the fact that he botched the endgame apparently did not discourage him, given that he went on to defeat both Lasker and Pillsbury and wound up tying for 3rd place with Janowski only half a point behind Pillsbury (but well behind tournament winner Lasker).

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