KEG: A fine endgame by Marshall (apart from his slip on move 30 which Brody did not exploit). As bishop noted on this site almost 15 years ago, "Marshall's King walks in."
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nf6
Trying the line with which Showalter had defeated Burn the day before. 3. Nxe5 is more usual, but the text is a robust and well-recognized alternative.
4. Bd3 d5
5. Nxe5 Bd6
Burn had played 5...Be7 in his loss to Showalter. Marshall's move is better, though Hort played 5...Be7 against Spassky in their 1977 match.
As played by Tahl against Benko at Hastings 1973-1974. MCO-13 gives 6. c4 as the normal line, but the text seems more solid. 6. Nd2 is a good alternative.
Tahl played 7. Nc3 against Benko and got an equal game. I prefer the developing 7. Nd2 to challenge the e4 Knight, but all of these alternatives seem reasonable.
Too passive and weakening. 7...BxN was better.
Pursuing a flawed plan in a futile attempt to win a pawn. Better was the simple developing 8. Nc3.
A needless precaution. Best was 8...Na6. The Tournament Book recommends the craven 8...Nf6, but this gives White excellent chances after either 9. c5 or 9. Nc3.
Apparently under the misapprehension that he can win a pawn. But Marshall has seen farther ahead. Best was the simple 9.Nc3 with much the better game. Now Marshall can get at least an even position (though, as we will see shortly, Marshall is looking for more).
10. BxN dxB
As will become clear very shortly, White cannot keep his extra pawn. Meanwhile, Marshall now has the two Bishops and a good prospects.
Setting a nasty trap for Brody (into which Brody does not fall). Better and simpler was 11...Bf8.
12. Qd5+ Re6
As Rosenthal notes in the Tournament Book, any attempt by Brody to hold onto the extra pawn with 13. Nf3 or 13. Nc4 would lose immediately to 13...Bxh2+. Brody, however, sees through this transparent trap and with the fine text move gets the better game.
Brody's move, of course, does not hang the Knight. Had Marshall now played 13...fxN 14. f5 (though it does not win as is erroneously claimed by Rosenthal) allows White to come out better after 14...exd4 15. Bf4 Be7 16. QxQ+ BxQ 17. 17. fxR Bxe6, though Black has a pawn and the two Bishops for the exchange and reasonable chances.
A safe alternative to the complications after 13...fxN leaving White at best a marginally better position (he is still a pawn ahead cannot reasonably expect to hold it).
14. QxQ+ BxQ
This forfeits any advantage Brody may have enjoyed. Better was 15...Nc4.
There is no rush to win back the pawn. The isolated d-pawn cannot survive for long.
16. Kh1 Rd6
17. Nc3 Bg4
17...Bxd4 would lose immediately to 18. Nb5, as Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Book.
Perhaps hoping to keep his extra pawn, but serving the more realistic purpose of forcing Black to lose tempi in regaining the pawn.
Marshall must get his Knight into play and must free his a8 Rook for action.
19. h3 BxN
20. RxB Nb4
21. b3 Nxd5
Did Brody really think this pin would win a piece? If so, he was soon to be disillusioned. Best was 22. NxN simplifying down to an even endgame. Now Marshall seizes the advantage and never relinquishes it for the rest of the game.
23. Ba3 R6d7
It may have only been here that Brody realized that 24. Rad1 loses to 24...NxN 25. RxR NxR. Now he has to enter an inferior endgame (though one he probably should have been able to hold.
25. RxR RxR
The position was now as follows:
Marshall (Black) is clearly better. But could he win from this position? This issue will be covered in my next post on this game.