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Frank Marshall vs Amos Burn
"The Pipe Game" (game of the day Jun-09-2013)
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 14, Jun-12
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern Variation. Normal Line (D55)  ·  1-0



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Given 100 times; par: 27 [what's this?]

Annotations by Stockfish (Computer).      [30429 more games annotated by Stockfish]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-09-13  oeelizondo: This great game can be found in Marshall's book "My Fifty Years of Chess" along with many others!
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Marshall's play-by-play is hilarious!

Is there any chess master today who can write funny stuff like that?

Jun-09-13  Cemoblanca: I learned so much from this game:

First of all, the pipe must burn before the game, whatever the cost!

Secondly, if you cannot handle a pipe, then stop it (for once)! ;)

Really enjoyed the annotations! Wonderful! :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I've read 'em but I still don't get it.
Jun-09-13  RookFile: Black would have gotten a decent game with 8...Nxd5. If you're going to go with the formation where black prefers exd5, the bishop is actually better posted on e6 rather than b7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: Burns thought he could handle was just a pipe dream.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I still don't get it.
Jun-09-13  dbrenner23: Entertaining & informative! OK, it's either pipe smoking, or chess for me. But never both at the same time -- If I ever do take up pipe smoking!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I guess Burn was poor at multi-tasking
Jun-10-13  morfishine: <SuperPatzer77> I can't take credit for this gem of a pun...<hesyrett> made reference to this back in 2008:

Marshall vs Burn, 1900

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: And the game was GOTD back on 8/19/2005 with the same pun. Some games deserve repeats.

Game Collection: Game of the Day 2005

Aug-23-13  sfm: <vinidivici: the best thing is Marshall's annotation... best i've ever read in chess annotation in my life.> From a certain angle, I absolutely agree.
Jul-15-14  DanielBryant: Even if they did allow smoking in tournament halls these days, I don't smoke, so I suppose the closest I will ever come to the sensation is savoring the first few sips of my black coffee as I settle down for a long game.

(Incidentally, I used to know a player who genuinely believed caffeine should be banned from chess tournaments as a stimulant, and he was passionate about it.)

Jan-25-15  Madjesoomalops: @ DanielBryant
Why should stimulants be banned? I prefer Jon Speelman: ´If any product exists that enhances chessplaying performance, its use should be compulsory.´
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Further stipulate that in the case of Jon Speelman, the use of hair products should be compulsory.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Ceci n'est pas une pipe.
Feb-11-18  Grandma Sturleigh: <<morfishine> However the title "Burn Fiddles While Marshall Roams"...Now thats a pun worthy of a game like this>

I would have gone with "Going for the burn", since that applies to <both> players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: A spectacular closing combination combination makes this miniature a classic. While close analysis reveals that Burn erred badly at a few points, the refutation by Marshall is among the great moments in chess.

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Bg5 Be7
5. e3 0-0
6. Nf3 b6

6...h6 or 6...Nbd7 are better, but the text is certainly playable, though the commitment to putting Black's light-square Bishop on b7 is questionable at best.

7. Bd3

7. cxd5 immediately is simplest, but Marshall has an attacking variation in mind with the text. His plan worked brilliantly here!

7... B7

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book said that 7...Nbd7 was correct. While this is probably true, the text is consistent with Burn's 6th move and is a reasonable alternative (although, as noted above, it is highly questionable whether the Bishop belongs on this diagonal here).

8. cxd5 exd5

The position was now:

click for larger view

9. BxN

"Introducing a similar attack to the 'Fritz Attack' in the French Defense. Though not strictly correct, it offers nevertheless many potential chances" (Schlechter).

"In former years, this exchange was employed, with preference, by Blackburne. The opinions of the masters on the value of this mode of play seem to be far apart. Some, such as Marco and Maroczy, believe that Black has nothing to fear from the following attack, since he has the two bishops and prospects of organizing an attack on the enemy center with c5. Others mention that White's attack is very strong, indeed even resounding. Under the influence of [this game] and Marshall-Marco [played in the following round] have become convinced that Black must lose. But even these two games prove nothing, since, in both cases, Black collapses by a great blunder" (Marco).

Marco and Schlechter are almost certainly correct that the text is--theoretically--inferior to such moves as 9. 0-0, 9. Qc2, or even 9. Qb3. But as a practical matter, and before players had the chance to dissect Marshall's variation with careful home analysis and later with computers, Marshall's plan presented serious attacking chances for White and tough defensive issues for Black. Indeed, Marshall wiped out Burn in this game (in 17 moves) and Marco in the following rounds (in 23 moves) with 9. BxN. While Marshall's victories in these two games can be traced to serious defensive lapses by Marshall and Marco, this does not detract from Marshall's brilliance and creativity.

9... BxB
10. h4?!

"The threat is 11. Bxh7+ KxB 12. Ng5+, known as the 'Pillsbury Attack,' " (Marshall).

"This method of attack leads to an exceedingly interesting game" (Marco) -- What an understatement.

10. 0-0 is the soundest and theoretically best move. But Marshall's move makes this game the classic that it is--not to mention its success in the very next round against Marco despite the improvement Marco cooked up for Marshall after seeing this game.

10... g6

This much-criticized move in fact was not all that bad. Hoffer, in his commentary on this game, called 10...g6 a "bad move" and said that 10...h6 was "compulsory." But 10...g6 is far inferior to the text, and Burn would have had to work hard to defend his game after 10...h6 11. g4!.

Tartakower-DuMont suggest 10...Re8, and that is arguably better than the text, though White would still have attacking prospects after 11. Ng5.

The best move for Black here has (10...c5), so far as I can determine, been identified only by Rookfile and patzer2 on this site. As patzer 2 has correctly noted, after 10...c5 Marshall's intended 11. Bxh7+ would lose to 11...KxB 12. Ng5+ Kh6! [though I disagree with patzer2's follow-up, since 13. Qg4 should be answered by 13...Nc6 or 13...Qd7 rather than by patzer2's 13...g6 which allows White chances after 14. h5]. Best for White after after 10...c5 is patzer2's 11. dxc5 which--as patzer2 notes, equalizes for White.

While 10...c5 does seem best, Burn's actual 10...g6 was not all that bad, and there is no reason he should have lost the game at this point. Indeed, Marco, who had seen Marshall's win here and prepared a "refutation," played 10...g6 in the next round.

The position after 10...g6 was:

click for larger view

As I will attempt to show in subsequent posts, Burn's loss here was the result of his weak play from this point on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Whatever the merits or weaknesses of 10...g6, Burn still had about equal chances through this move. From there, however, his defense became weak and Marshall crushed him quickly and brilliantly.

11. h5

The logical continuation of Marshall's plan begun with 9. BxN and 10. h4.

11... Re8

Marco called this "a pointless move" and played 11...c5 in the very next round at Paris 1900 against Marshall (losing but not because of this move).

Though Marco's 11...c5 was an improvement on 11...Re8, Tartakower-DuMont claim in their commentary on this game that it loses to the line adopted against Marco: 12. hxg6 hxg6 13. Ne5 BxN 14. dxB. While White indeed has the better game in this line, the position is hardly a win for White. More significantly, Marco's 13...BxN was a mistake. He could have had at least equal chances--if not the better game--after 13...cxd4. Thus, the best Marshall had--again from a theoretical view--was 13. Qc2 or 13. dxc5 with about equal chances. In real life, however, it must have been a nightmare for Burn or Marco to face Marshall in this opening over the board.

Perhaps as good or better than 11...c5 here was 11...Nd7 as recommended by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book.

In any case, even after Burn's 11...Re8, he still had a playable (though difficult) position. But then he fell apart.

12. hxg6

This (or 12. Qc2 immediately) would have allowed Marshall to play 0-0-0 had Burn not erred and gotten blown off the board by move 17.

12... hxg6

Tartakower-DuMont claim that 12...fxg6 was better, but after 13...Qc2 Kg7 14. 0-0-0 Burn would have a difficult game. The text would have been fine absent Burn's horrendous 13th move.

13. Qc2

The position was now:

click for larger view

Burn here played:

13... Bg7?

and was promptly crushed by Marshall. What should he have played here? Three alternatives have been proposed: 13...Kg7, 13...Re7 and 13...Nd7. Any one of these moves would have kept Burn very much in the game.

13...Kg7 was proposed by Rosenthal in the Tournament Book, by Marco in his commentary on this game, and by al wazir on this site. patzer2 has done an excellent job of analyzing 13...Kg7. Best play after 13...Kg7 is 14. 0-0-0 Rh8 which leads to approximate equality as demonstrated by patzer2. Rosenthal's 14...Nd7 is not as good, but it does not lead to a lost game as patzer2 claims. After 14...Nd7 15. e4 [patzer2's move which is far better than Rosenthal's 15. Rh2 Rh8] dxe4 16. Bxe4 (as given by patzer2) Black can hold with 16...BxB rather than patzer2's 16...Qc8 17. Kb1 a6? (17...Rb8 still gives Black chances) 18. Qb3.

13...Re7 as proposed by Rookfile on this site also allows Black to survive.

Tartakower-DuMont give a different score, and state that Burn here played 13...Nd7? and got crushed with 14. Bxg6! fxB [14...Kf8 would have been better if Burn did indeed play 13...Nd7, but would also have been hopeless] 15. Qxg6+ Bg7 16. Ng5 arriving at the same position as in the score given in the Tournament Book.

One thing is for sure, Burn's 13...Bg7 gave Marshall a chance for a brilliant winning combination as I will show in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

After Burn's 13...Bg7? the position was:

click for larger view

Marshall now unleashed his winning combination starting with:

14. Bxg6!

There is no real defense to this gorgeous sacrifice. Black is lost.

14... fxB?

Burn obviously did not see what was coming. Had he done so, he might have tried something like 14...Na6 or 14...Qd6 or 14...c6, all of which are ugly but at least allow Black to play on for a while.

The only serious effort to salvage Black's game I have seen if 14...c5 as proposed by Rookfile on this site. While this is a bold effort to obtain counterplay, it fails to patzer2's 15. Bh7+ Kf8 16. 0-0-0. Even more lethal is the computer move 15. Rh5 which Fritz 15 spit out in a nanosecond.

After Burn's 14...fxB, the game ended quickly.

15. Qxg6 Nd7

As patzer2 has demonstrated on this site, all other options lose for Black.

16. Ng5

Game over. The only chance to survive was to sacrifice the Queen with 16...QxN. But Burn apparently didn't see what Marshall had cooked up.

16... Qf6

The position was now:

click for larger view

This could be given as a problem: White to mate in 2. Marshall found the pretty solution:

17. Rh8+!!


Dec-13-19  HarryP: Plato, I like your comment on 10-11-06. Burn was a much better player than the delightful "Pipe Game" seems to indicate. He could be tough.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: Ceci n'est pas un Amos Burn.
Apr-14-20  Sally Simpson: ***

Ray Keene cleverly uses this game as a closing link link between this game and the Penrose - Donner game where he had to pour Donner's coffee over a burning ashtray.

If you cannot get the link to work to read the whole article which covers many others aspects, the gist of the Penrose - Donner tale is here.

Raymond Keene (kibitz #761)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: George Botterill was a philosophy lecturer at Aberystwyth in the mid-70s. He smoked a pipe. When I was in his tutorial for political philosophy we used to see how many matches we could make him waste. We'd wait until he had struck a match and ask him as good a question as we could think of. If he thought about it too long the match would go out. The more matches in the ashtray at the end of the session, the more we'd made him think.
Sep-26-21  DouglasGomes: 13.. Re7 doesn't stop the sack:
SF: <+2.51 d41> 14... fxg6 15. Qxg6+ Rg7 16. Qf5 Rf7 17.Rh6 Bg7 18.Qh7+ Kf8 19.Rg6 Nd7 20.Ng5 Nf6 21.Ne6+ Ke7 22.Qh3 Qd7 23.Nxg7 Qxh3 24.gxh3 Rg8 25.Nf5+ Kd8 26.Rxg8+ Nxg8 27. Ng3 Rh7 28. Ke2 Rxh3 29. Rh1 Rxh1 30. Nxh1 That is evaluated at the end of line but Black has no stronger alternatives along the away.

13... Kg7 14. O-O-O Nd7 (better Rh8 +0.7) does not hold the game:

SF: <+2.94 d41> 15. g4 Rh8 16.g5 Be7 17.Rh6 (17... Rxh6 18. gxh6+ Kxh6 19. Rg1 +4.84 (Kh7 Rg1 +6.42)) Qe8 18.Nb5 Rc8 19.Nxa7 Ra8 20.Nb5 Rc8 21.Rxh8 Qxh8 22.Na7 Ra8 23.Qxc7 Rxa7 24.Qxd7 Qc8+ 25.Qxc8 Bxc8...

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