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Frank Marshall vs Miklos Brody
Paris (1900), Paris FRA, rd 5, May-25
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Center Attack (C84)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Pressing relentlessly to win, Marshall errs on move 45 and escapes defeat only when Brody fails to find an endgame win.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba4 Nf6
5. 0-0 Be7
6. d4

This move (the "Center Variation") is not one of the usual lines in the Ruy Lopez, but it is certainly not bad.

6... 0-0

6...exd4 is most frequently played here, and is perhaps better than the text, which is nonetheless a reasonable alternative.

7. d5 Nb8

Very passive. 7...Na5 is best.

8. Qe2

Marshall is looking for a bind on Black's game, else he would surely have played the superior 8. Nxe5.

8... d6
9. c4 Ne8

Continuing his hedgehog defense. 9...c6 challenging the advanced White center was better. After the text, the position was as follows"

click for larger view

Not a setup most of us would strive for with Black!

10. Bc2

Anticipating exchanges on f5. Better, however, was either the simple developing 10. Nc3 or the prophylactic 10. h3. As it turns out, however, Marshall has guessed Brody's intentions and quickly gets a strategically won game.

10... f5

The move Marshall had expected, but not best. 10...Bg4 was much better.

11. exf5 Bxf5
12. BxB RxB
13. Nc3 Nd7
14. Bd2

Marshall could have saved a tempo and the best square for his Queen with the immediate 14. Qc2. Marshall is spoiling his position.

14... Nf8
15. Rae1

Better was 15. Rfe1 or 15. Ne4. Marshall is continuing to lose ground here.

15... Ng6
16. Qd3 Qd7
17. Ne4 Nf4
18. BxN RxB
19. Nfg5 BxN
20. NxB Qf5
21. QxQ RxQ

After the exchange of Queens, the position was as follows:

click for larger view

Marshall still has somewhat better chances, but it is doubtful that he could have won against best play. Perhaps he thought that his ability to post his Knight on e6 would give him a winning edge. If so, he was quickly disillusioned.

22. Ne6 g6
23. f4

Initiating another round of exchanges that simplifies Brody's task. To try for a win here, Marshall's best chance would have been 23. g4.

23... exf4
24. Rxf4 RxR
25. NxR Kf7

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Marshall again can post his Knight on e6, but has little chances for victory. The game, however, was far from over. Marshall tried gamely to win this endgame, and brought himself to the verge of defeat in this effort as I will show in my next post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post II

Marshall was determined to win this endgame and tried every which way to exploit what advantage he had.

26. Ne6 Rc8
27. Ng5+ Kg7
28. Ne6+

Rosenthal in the Tournament Book claims that "the right move was 28. Rf1," but that does not lead to anything I can see. Perhaps 28. g4 was Marshall's best chance here.

28... Kg8

Why move the King to the corner? Best was 28...Kf7. Indeed, the King goes there on Brody's next move.

29. Nd4 Kf7
30. Re3 Ng7
31. Rb3

A futile effort to provoke exploitable weaknesses on the Queen-side. In fairness, however, I see few good winning chances for Marshall here.

31... b6
32. Rf3+ Kg8
33. Ra3 Re8

Clever! If now 34. Rxa6 then 34...Re4 as Rosenthal points out in the Tournament Boo.

34. Kf2 Re4
35. Rd3 g5
36. b3 g4
37. Nc6 Nf5
38. Rd2 Kg7
39. Re2

A cute trap set by Marshall. The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

As Rosenthal notes in the Tournament Book, had Brody traded Rooks here, Marshall would have won with 39...RxR+ 40. KxR with Nb8 and Na6 to follow. Brody, however, correctly avoids this fatal line.

39... Rf4+
40. Kg1 Kf6

40...a5 seems more accurate, but Brody is still hanging on.

41. Nb8 b5

41...a5 may be theoretically best here, but Brody is tired of being a punching bag in this game and decides to work up some threats of his own with active defense.

42. Nxa6

Best and safest was 42. cxb5. Marshall is playing with fire here.

42... bxc4
43. Nxc7 c3!

Brody's idea. The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Remarkably, and as Rosenthal notes in the Tournament Book, the natural looking 44. Rc2 loses immediately here to 44...Ne3 45. Rc1 [not 45. Rxc3?? Rf1 mate] Rf8+ (45...c7 also wins) 46. RxR NxR followed by c2. Marshall sees this threat, but then errs on his very next move.

44. Ne6

Even better was 44. Nb5.

44... Rb4

45. Rc2?

45. Kf2 to keep the Knight away from e3 was essential.

45... Ne3

All of a sudden, Marshall is lost!

click for larger view

How Marshall saved this game (or, to put it less charitably, how Brody managed not to win from this position) will be the subject of my next post.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post III

Picking up from the last diagram in my last post, it appears that Marshall is busted. 46. Rxc3 loses a piece after 46...Nxd5. 46. Rc1 Nxd5 is also hopeless. So Marshall goes fishing.

46. Rf2+ Ke4?

Walking into Marshall's little trap. The game would have been over after 46..,Kg6

47. Re2

Pinning Brody's menacing Knight. Marshall is still lost, but now things get interesting.

47... Re4

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

48. Ng5 c2!
49. Re1

Marshall tries to spring another trap:

click for larger view

Amazingly, and as Rosenthal shows in the Tournament Book, 49...Kd4 50. NxR Nd1 loses to 51. Nf2!!:

click for larger view


Of course, 50...KxN saves the game for Brody in the above line, but he was obviously looking for more than a draw here. He therefore played:

49... Rd4
50. RxN+

The position was now:

click for larger view

Surely Brody will now win as soon as he gets out of check. But that's not what happened as I will show in my final post on this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  KEG: Post IV

Chess can be a cruel game. Brody defended bravely early in this contest, withstood Marshall's attack, hung on in the endgame with active defense, and then turned the tables on Marshall and obtained a winning position. On his 49th move, Brody sidestepped a brilliant trap by Marshall. Now all he needed to do was to move his King out of check.

50... Kf5?

50...Kf4 would have been sufficient for victory. Now, however, Marshall manages to escape.

51. Rc3 Rd1+
52. Kf2 c1(Q)
53. RxQ RxR
54. Nf7

click for larger view

All of a sudden, Marshall's Knight can capture Brody's d-pawn with check and can bring his King to g3. None of this would have been possible had Brody played 50...Kf4!

54... Rc2+
55. Kg3 Rxa2
56. Nxd6+ Ke5
57. Nc4+ Kxd5
58. Ne3+ Ke6
59. Kxg4 Rb2
60. Kf4 Rxb3

The position was now as follows:

click for larger view

Brody played on for another 15 moves, but was unable to make any progress and finally forced a draw on his 74th move.

An exciting game with lots of fine play but also many missed opportunities by both sides.

Mar-31-19  bubuli55: He Ainít Heavy. Heís M Brody
Apr-01-19  SugarDom: Great Pun, cowboy.

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