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Miklos Brody vs Frank Marshall
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 5, May-26
Russian Game: Modern Attack. Center Variation (C43)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-23-02  bishop: Marshall's King walks in. Notice that the immediate 36...Kg5? runs into 37.Bd2! and White draws by perpetual check.
Sep-10-09  ToTheDeath: Great example of the power of active pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
3. d4

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.

3... Nxe4
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.

6. 0-0

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.

6... 0-0
7. c4

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.

7... c6

Too passive and weakening. 7...BxN was better.

8. Qc2

Pursuing a flawed plan in a futile attempt to win a pawn. Better was the simple developing 8. Nc3.

8... Re8

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.

9. cxd5

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).

9... cxd5
10. BxN dxB
11. Qxe4

As will become clear very shortly, White cannot keep his extra pawn. Meanwhile, Marshall now has the two Bishops and a good prospects.

11... f6

Setting a nasty trap for Brody (into which Brody does not fall). Better and simpler was 11...Bf8.

12. Qd5+ Re6
13. f4

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.

13... Bc7

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
15. Nf3

This forfeits any advantage Brody may have enjoyed. Better was 15...Nc4.

15... Bb6

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.

18. d5

Perhaps hoping to keep his extra pawn, but serving the more realistic purpose of forcing Black to lose tempi in regaining the pawn.

18... Na6

Marshall must get his Knight into play and must free his a8 Rook for action.

19. h3 BxN
20. RxB Nb4
21. b3 Nxd5
22. Rd3

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.

22... Rad8
23. Ba3 R6d7
24. NxN

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.

24... RxN
25. RxR RxR

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Marshall (Black) is clearly better. But could he win from this position? This issue will be covered in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

After 25 moves, Marshall clearly had the better chances in the endgame. Can White's position be held with best play? In practice, Marshall (with one slip) made quick work of Brody from this point on. As will be seen, however, this was in large part because of weak play by Brody.

26. Bb2

Very weak play giving Marshall everything he wants. Rosenthal in the Tournament Book recommends 26. Rb1, but that is even worse than the text and gets clobbered immediately by 26...Ra5!

Brody had to seek active counterplay. 26. Re1 therefore seems to offer White the best chances of resistance.

26... Rd2

Marshall never needed a second invitation to go on the attack! Also good for Black here would be 26...Rd3.

27. Bc3 Rf2
28. g3 Kf7

Marshall needs to bring his King into action, but he should have played 28...Rc2 first. The text allows Brody a problem-like way of defending his position.

29. b4?

Useless. Brody should have played 29. Rd1! since he could then answer 29...Rxa2 with 30. Rd7+. Had Marshall played the better 29..Ke6 Brody then could have played 30. Rd2 leading to an inferior but probably holdable Bishop and pawn endgame.

29... Kg6
30. a4 Rf3?

Letting Brody off the hook. He needed to continue his King march with 30...Kf5.

31. Be1

Did Marshall overlook this simple defensive resort. Brody now should have been able to hold the ending.

31... Bd4

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

32. Rd1?

This is clearly bad and Marshall now mops up. Also hopeless, as noted by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book, was 32. Kg2 which loses to the brilliant 32...Rxg3+!. But 32. Rc1 seems to give Brody--at last--some real counterplay with his Rook and excellent chances of holding the game.

After 32. Rd1?, the rest of the game is target practice for an attacking genius like Marshall.

32... Rf1+!

White is busted.

33. Kg2 Rg1+
34. Kh2

As demonstrated by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book, 34. Kf3 loses to 34...Bc3 35. Kf2 RxB 36. RxR BxR+ 37. KxB Kf5 38. Ke2 Ke4.

34... Be3!

I love this move, which absolutely paralyzes White. The move is so pretty I give the position:

click for larger view

35. g4

As good as anything for White here, but hopeless.

35... h5!

Marshall doesn't miss a beat here.

36. f5+

Setting a final (and very clever) trap.

Once again, the position warrants a diagram:

click for larger view

As bishop has pointed out on this site, had Marshall here played the tempting and seemingly natural 36...Kg5 Brody would have drawn by perpetual check with 37. Bd2!!! since if 37...RxR 38. BxB+ and Black can not escape the Bishop checks. A great spot by bishop. Bravo!

But Marshall is not about to be fooled at this stage of the game.

36... Kh6

Avoiding Brody's trap.

37. a5

Now the game is over. In fairness to Brody, however, even the "best" move---37. gxh5 was inadequate to save the game.

37... hxg4
38. hxg4 Kg5

Now, following the pawn exchanges, this move is crushing since there is no longer a perpetual check with Bd2 since the g-pawn is hanging.

39. Kh3

39. Rd7 might have allowed Brody to hold on a few moves longer, but would not have changed the outcome.

39... Kf4

As bishop has noted, Marshall's king simply "walks in."

40. b5

Leading to immediate disaster, but there was no way to hold the game.

40... Kc3

Continuing the King march!

41. Kh2

To avoid mate.

41... Rf1


The threat of Bf4+ followed by Rh1 mate makes resignation entirely appropriate.

A very nice endgame by Marshall.

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