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Frank James Marshall vs Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky
"Not Dead Yet" (game of the day Jul-23-2015)
Karlsbad (1911), Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) AUH, rd 25, Sep-24
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Rosenthal Variation (D21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-17-05  Resignation Trap: According to Marshall, after his opponent made his 12th move, he said "Poor Marshall dead. Must be mate."
Premium Chessgames Member
  InspiredByMorphy: <Resignation Trap> <"Poor Marshall dead."> Lol. 12. ...h5 looks like the strongest continuation for black. Now 13. ...Qg3 is threatened. However white simply responds to 12. ...h5 with 13.Qe1 and it looks like blacks knight will have to retreat to the h6 square. The position looks equal.
Dec-18-07  MaczynskiPratten: And according to Marshall, after Dus returned to the board and saw that both his threats of 12...Qh2# and 12...Qxg2# had been unexpectedly answered by the simple 13 Qxg4, he threw over his king and exclaimed, "Oh, OH!! Marshall not dead ... I dead!!"
Nov-08-08  Rahj Flash22: i think 12...h5? is a mistake! It will be met by 13.Be1 thretening the Queen. 13..Qh614.hxN hxg15.Bg3 and white is one piece up! Or 12...h5 13.Be1 Nxe3 14.BxQ NxQ 15.RfxN...also one piece up for white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: Clear as a crystal 13.Qxg4 but how come Chotimirsky didn't see it.
Dec-01-09  MaczynskiPratten: According to Marshall, DC made his 12..Qg3 quickly - so excited by the two apparently unstoppable mate threats that he did not check carefully enough....

The complete story is in "The Chess Player's Bedside Book" under the title "A Sad Tale" - and, no doubt, in one or two other locations as well. I don't know the original source, but Marshall was dead long before TCPBB was written.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: It might not be irrelevant that this game was played in the final round of a gruelling 25-round tournament.
Apr-01-11  castle dweller: Marshall humorously recounts this game, blow-by-blow, in his autobiography "My Fifty Years of Chess".

I happen to have an original copy of the book - and it may be that the story in TCPBB was taken from there.

In his autobiography, Marshall goes into alot more detail about the game and mentions that his opponent had undergone "considerable coaching in anticipation of this game" and then describes how DC left the room to inform others of his impending "victory" - only to be crushed by Marshall's final move which completely dashed his spirit to continue.

Apr-01-11  MaczynskiPratten: <castledweller> is correct, I've looked again in The Chess Player's Bedside Book, and indeed it quotes My 50 Years of Chess as the original source.

According to TCPBB, DC had a pretty good tournament though - he defeated both the tournament winners, Lasker and Rubinstein. However, his CG biography suggests that it was actually St Petersburg 1909 where that happened. I don't know what Marshall said.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <MacyznskiPratten> It was at St. Petersburg 1909. You can find the tournament crosstable for Karlsbad 1911 here:

Game Collection: Karlsbad 1911

About the best thing you can say about Dus-Chotimirski's performance is that he seemed to have solved the Draw Death problem.

Here are DC's wins over Lasker and Rubinstein at St. Petersburg:

Dus Chotimirsky vs Lasker, 1909

Rubinstein vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1909

There is a legend that DC irritated Lasker by reading Nietzsche during the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: DC's result at St. Petersburg 1909 was, despite defeating Lasker and Rubinstein, +5-7=6. He also defeated Tartakower, Speyer and Znosko-Borovsky.

Al in all, not a bad result.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: from Marshall's My Fifty Years of Chess..

<after 13.QxKt

My opponent returned to the board and looked at what I had done. He threw over the pieces and in a loud voice exclaimed, "Oh, oh, Marshall not dead, I dead!">


Sep-28-11  Shams: <wordfunph> Great story. Terrible blunder from the childlike Chotimirsky.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Poor Marshall Dead. Must Be Mate!
Jul-23-15  Eusebius: Poor DC...typical example of chess blindness.
Jul-23-15  goetzaholic: So, is this game just famous for the story behind it?
Jul-23-15  Abdel Irada: <There is a legend that DC irritated Lasker by reading Nietzsche during the game.>

If so, I wonder if in retrospect the notoriously "psychological" Lasker appreciated the irony.

Jul-23-15  Abdel Irada: Wasn't Fyodor Ivanovich a Dostoevsky character?

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: chess blindness!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <goetzaholic: So, is this game just famous for the story behind it?>

Basically, yes. Without the story, it's just another premature attack culminating in a "Too-Good-to-be-True" blunder. It's not that uncommon. You get so excited at the thought of your brilliancy that you miss a simple defense.

And, really, the defense is nt that obvious, since White's queen doesn't guard g2 directly but through the body of Black's queen.

Knowing Marshall, he probably milked the moment for all it was worth before playing 13.Qxg4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I lost a lot of respect for FIDC after seeing this game and reading the backstory.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <thegoodanarchist> Oh, don't be so hard on him. The guy had character, not always a healthy trait in Soviet Russia. Look at this incident from four decades later:

Dus Chotimirsky vs Bronstein, 1954 (kibitz #5)

Jul-23-15  morfishine: W a d r, i t g r w o b a G? R? G?
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Phony Benoni: <thegoodanarchist> Oh, don't be so hard on him. The guy had character, not always a healthy trait in Soviet Russia>

Well, thanks Phony for the link. You and a few others, FSR for example, routinely give links to interesting or related games and stories. Either you have prodigious memories or you are keeping extensive notes!

In any event, I applaud you, FSR, Honza Cervenka and others who do this.

But the anecdote makes me dislike FIDC even more! How can you demand your opponent play a certain reply, while threatening not to play if he or she doesn't make your desired move?

I play chess my way, and if you don't like it, don't show up to begin with. Stay out of tournaments I play in, or else get over it. His demand is incredibly selfish and controlling, IMO. But his antics do make for interesting stories.

Oct-15-19  Jean Defuse: ...


From Marshall's book 'My Fifty Years of Chess':


<I felt rather nervous when I sat down to play the Russian master Dus-Chotimirsky in the last round; I knew that he had received con­siderable coaching in anticipation of his game with me. My excit­able opponent also showed signs of great nervousness. This amus­ing little game was the result of our meeting.>


11... Ng4 <Already giving signs of suffering from a hallucination. 11... Ne4 was a good continuation.>


12... Qg3 <My opponent made this move quickly, jumped up from his chair and went into the next room where most of the players were gathered. In his broken English he said, "Poor Marshall dead!" The players ran in and clustered round the table.>


(Position after Black's 12th move)

click for larger view


<I looked at the position and saw that he threat­ened mate in two ways, either with 13... Qg2 13... Qh2. Very threatening, but the solution was simple enough. I just played:>

13.Qxg4 <My opponent returned to the board and looked at what I had done. He threw over the pieces and in a loud voice exclaimed, "Oh, Oh, Marshall not dead, I dead!">


My 50 Years of Chess, p. 131-132


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